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The Locust Plague, Food Insecurity, and Climate Change


As a High School or Undergraduate teacher in Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences, or Agricultural Sciences, you can use this lesson plan to teach your students about the desert locust outbreaks of 2019-2020, how it may be causing food insecurity in some countries, and the link between the current locust outbreak with unusual weather and climate conditions.

Massive locust swarms, sometimes as large as the size of cities, have caused widespread damage to crops in parts of East Africa, South Asia, and the Arabian peninsula since October 2019 leading to a potential food crisis in some nations. The situation is further exacerbated as relief measures are hampered due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is thought that unusually wet and warmer weather conditions driven by climate change caused favorable breeding conditions for the locusts. According to the UN secretary general, António Guterres, “There is a link between climate change and the unprecedented locust crisis plaguing Ethiopia and East Africa. Warmer seas mean more cyclones generating the perfect breeding ground for locusts.”

This lesson plan provides teaching resources to introduce the desert locust plague of 2019-20 and how it is causing a potential food crisis in some countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen. It focuses on how unusual weather conditions caused by the Indian Ocean Dipole could have led to favorable conditions for the locust breeding and that future locust outbreaks could become more common in a warmer world.

Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a topic in Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences, or Agricultural Sciences.

Learning Outcome

The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:

  1. Learn about desert locusts and the locust plague of 2019-20.
  2. Understand how the locust plague is causing food insecurity in several countries.
  3. Understand how climate change is causing a change in weather patterns potentially responsible for the breeding of locusts.
  4. discuss climate change and how it is affecting food security.

Mapped Sustainable Development Goal(s), apart from 4 and 13


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