Bill Gates, in his essay on climate change, highlighted how global health and climate change are inseparable as hotter temperatures render poverty alleviation measures futile by increasing food insecurity, diverting resources away from the poor, and heightening the probability of the spread of infectious diseases.
“The poorer a community is, the more vulnerable it is to climate change. And the more impacted a community is by extreme weather events, the more entrenched in poverty it becomes. To break the cycle, we need to make progress on both problems at the same time,” wrote Gates in the essay.
According to Gates, the prevailing belief among the masses that only either of the problems can be tackled at once due to paucity of time and resources is erroneous. The Microsoft co-founder is adamant in his belief that such storms can be weathered if backed by the right innovations and delivery channels and cited India’s progress as an example.
“India as a whole gives me hope for the future. It’s about to become the world’s most populous country – which means you can’t solve most problems there without solving them at scale. And yet, India has proven it can tackle big challenges. The country eradicated polio, lowered HIV transmission, reduced poverty, cut infant mortality, and increased access to sanitation and financial services,” Gates wrote in his praise.
Regarding the impact of climate change on farming, Gates states, “consider the field of next-generation chickpea plants currently growing at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, or IARI, in Pusa. Chickpeas are a staple crop in India. They provide an important source of income for many smallholder farmers, and families across the country rely on them for nutrition. But the chickpea harvest is threatened by climate change. Higher temperatures could reduce yields by as much as 70 percent, putting lives and livelihoods at risk.”
Therefore, the American billionaire collaborated with the Indian public sector and CGIAR institutions to fund researchers at IARI who successfully found a solution in the form of drought-resistant chickpea varieties. One variant is currently available for farmers, and others are presently being evolved at the institute. “As a result, India is better prepared to keep feeding its people and supporting its farmers even in a warming world. It’s no exaggeration to say that India’s agricultural future is growing right now in a field in Pusa,” Gates writes.
The American business magnate observed that solving problems like climate, hunger, and health seems unconquerable due to the absence of proper tools. However, he is optimistic that innovation will lead the way in solving these issues.