Fiji, a tourist hotspot known as a tropical resort paradise, is in deep in drought. Over 50,000 people are affected. It is relatively rare for islands to suffer drought, since there is a lot of humidity over islands, but the water is simply falling somewhere else.  If anything, we are actually seeing more precipitation in fewer storms, and this year, far less of it on land. One of the worst effects of drought is the damage it does to crops, Fiji’s chief export, sugar, for example.

All plants need water for metabolism, and an inefficient metabolism leads to an inefficient immune system. We have explained this process in more detail here, so we will not discuss it in the present article. Drought in Brazil has been harming coffee farmers for at least the year of 2014, but now it is causing trouble for its mate; sugar. Most of the world’s sugar comes from sugar cane. Some comes from sugar beets or from other sources. Much of that cane sugar comes from India, which is suffering from a lingering drought.  Some of the sugar cane crop is so bad that farmers have resorted to using it as feed for their livestock. While we are not likely to see a decline this year, the shortfall in production will affect availability in 2016-2017, but that portends a rise in price. While sugar is one of the cheapest food products on the market, with a kilogram (2.2 pounds) cost of $1.13 USD, and an increase in price would hardly be devastating, it may be the harbinger of dramatic food price increases. In the 2011 Arab Spring,, very high food prices was arguably the precipitating factor. There were other issues in play, but the high food prices seem to have been the last straw. The upshot of this is that high food prices have already possibly caused a massive uprising. Prices for bread, a vital staple food in the region, increased by 37%.

In the Nevada, drought is tragically affecting wild horses. The vegetation they graze on has been disappearing due to the arid conditions. The Bureau of Land Management is tasked with preserving wild horses, as by law they are to be preserved as a symbol of the frontier spirit of the American West. Many of the horses in Nevada are inadvertently being tamed, as well-meaning people have been feeding the emaciated horses.

Unfortunately, the tragic events we reported on are in no way a full reflection of what has been going on in the world.  If you would like to see all of our headlines from the past week, please click here.

 

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