Globally, 795 million people are chronically hungry; 161 million children under five are stunted. Yet we use 1.5 times the planet’s resources every year, exhausting resources faster than the planet can naturally regenerate them. A fifth of cropland has been so degraded it is no longer suitable for farming, while 90 percent of fisheries are fished at or above capacity. At the same time, changes in climate in the last 30 years have already reduced global agricultural production 1 to 5 percent per decade and could reduce it by 2 percent per decade for the rest of the century. Up to 600 million more people could be at risk of hunger by 2080 as a result. Proposed solutions to hunger in a changing climate often emphasize increasing food production. Improving yields where there is not enough food or among small-scale food producers is key. But simply increasing small-scale food producers’ yields is not enough to end hunger.
Inequality shapes who has access to food and the resources to grow it and buy it. It governs who eats first and who eats worst. Inequality determines who can adapt to a changing climate. Hunger and poverty are not accidents—they are the result of social and economic injustice and inequality at all levels. The reality of inequality is no truer than for women—half the world’s population, with far less than their fair share of the world’s resources. To end hunger and malnutrition in a changing climate, we must address the underlying inequalities in food systems.