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Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in General News

Sheila Zurbrigg – Conflict and Climate: Changing Course NOW!

Sheila Zurbrigg was a guest speaker discussing food distribution, health, and mortality at our conference on November 9, Conflict and Climate: Changing Course NOW!

Zurbrigg discussed the mass shift in access to food that has occurred in the past few decades. She urged the importance of our society to rethink our understanding of food provisions.

Zurbrigg connected the food security and health of individuals to the level of militarization they face to date; “war is a profound trigger of famine.” Although, she did state that historically those who endured war and had proper infrastructure had a higher level of mortality, due to provisioning everyone had 2 square meals a day. Zurbrigg states that we should not fear with growing populations that we have enough food, if we are able to provision food everyone would have enough.

Ms. Zurbrigg discussed the relation of market prices to food security and mortality. Prices determine access to food. According to Zurbrigg, speculation is the central dynamic of the global market system. In years such as when bio fuels were introduced, or post-2008 economic crisis when investments were being protected, food prices sky rocketed. Furthermore, when these price changes occur, “acute/endemic starvation feeds high mortality, and this is hard to see and rarely reported.” To see hunger is incredibly difficult, but endemic starvation is an epidemic today.

Sheila Zurbrigg is an independent health history researcher. A physician by training, several decades ago she turned to full-time research in human health history following five years of work with traditional village midwives in southern Tamil Nadu in the later 1970s.”The implications of global warming for the modern portion of this health trajectory are enormous, with climate destabilisation affecting global weather systems, rain patterns, agricultural harvests, and thus directly food security.The risks are profound, and most poorly understood amongst ‘northern’ societies, the principal drivers of climate change.”

Zurbrigg’s powerpoint notes can be found here.

Thank you Sheila Zurbrigg for presenting at our conference.