G-Beetle, A Step Towards Fighting Climate Change by Loay Radwan
The entire world is being devastated by the effects of climate change. However, the region that is most affected, and will continue to be affected, is the African region. A direct result of climate change in Africa is the decrease in rainfall, which is disastrous in a region that mainly depends on rainfall to grow their crops and food. If that yield is affected, then not only the food supplies will be affected but also increasing the economic crisis of African countries due to the decreased export of crops and an increased import rate.
Additionally, due to the fact that the African climate system is hugely understudied in comparison to the others, this will result in unexpected changes in the African climate for which the losses will be extremely devastating for the entire world. This is due to the dependence of the planet’s tropical weather systems on the thunderstorms that occur in the central African region. A decreased rate of rainfall in the region can lead to catastrophic results that would endanger the second-largest rainforest system of the world located in Central Africa.
This means that the carbon store of the rainforests will also be hugely affected which could indicate disaster for the entire world.
Agriculture in Africa depends hugely on the African monsoon system, a three month period of rainfall that cuts the dry season that spans nine months of the year. But due to the drastic changes caused by climate change, this system has been affected. The main cause of this is pollution due to emissions by the western part of the world. The African has recorded the longest period of drought around the globe. In Southern Africa, the summer rains have been delayed and their span has been shortened. This defect in the African climate system will see a five degrees rise in temperature in a number of countries such as Namibia and Zambia.
In the northern region of the continent, the most common climate disaster is flooding. In 2001, Algeria experienced a catastrophic flood which resulted in 800 deaths and losses that were estimated at $400 million. However, this is not limited to the northern coast of Africa. In 2000, Mozambique was struck by an even more devastating flood causing around also around 800 deaths and affecting millions of people, most of whom were already in desperate need of food and agricultural yield.
The increased temperature and the long droughts affect the health of people in the African continent especially countries that are already facing economic crises therefore they do not possess proper healthcare systems. Health issues due to severe heat stress are common in African countries and with the drought that they are facing, there is no practical solution that can be offered to civilians. Also, the heat waves and the low quality and pollution in air cause respiratory issues. Additionally, the agricultural lands in Africa face deforestation which directly affects the nourishment of the African citizens. According to a number of studies, one in four people the sub-Saharan region suffers from undernourishment.
Most of the northern African countries are already suffering from water scarcity. And with the climate change effects, the situation is getting worse. For instance, Egypt uses more than 85% of its water resources in agriculture. Unfortunately, huge amounts of this water are wasted through evaporation and inefficient irrigation system. Luckily, technological advancements provide us with a way to adapt to these issues and the aftermath of climate change.
In G-Beetle, we are using rover technology to help farmers adapt and preserve their crops. Through the help of multiple sensors and machine learning algorithms, we monitor the plants’ and soil conditions and provide the farmers with recommendations to rationalize their water consumption, detect and treat any type of infestation at an early stage. By decreasing the amount of water used we reduce the number of resources consumed including energy, pesticides, and fertilizers. The integrated solution targets all the sectors of the Water-Energy-Food nexus providing a sustainable and accessible solution for all.
About the Author
Loay Radwan is an SDG Young Leader Class of 2020. He is the co-founder of a startup named G-Beetle, which aims to help farmers adapt with the aftermath of climate change and save water. His main motive is to provide people with a better quality of life and help make a change towards a prospering Earth. Loay aspires to become a renowned entrepreneur and dedicate his career towards solving environmental challenges. Read Loay's full profile here.