Climate Change is Putting Your Favorite Foods at Risk
The climate is changing — the global temperature is rising, weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising. Its effects are serious and widespread, but have you ever considered its effects on your favorite foods? Here are 6 foods that will likely be affected if climate change progresses.
Avocados. Scientists expect to see a 40 percent decrease in avocado production over the next 30 years unless farmers uproot and seek more suitable climates. Why? Blame the warming global temperatures. That means a drastic increase in avocado prices, which probably means your guacamole consumption will be cut down in its prime.
Chocolate. Chocolate brings happiness — it’s just scientific fact. But cocoa crops may be on the decline. While cocoa’s ideal altitude is 100 to 250 meters above sea level, that’s expected to rise to 450 to 500 meters above sea level by 2050. With most cocoa coming from Ghana and the Ivory Coast, this could have a dramatic impact on cocoa costs as yield begins to decrease and arable land diminishes.
Coffee. Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. However, it’s an environmentally sensitive plant. Coffee-growing regions around the world are experiencing the initial complications of climate change. A serious fungus called coffee rust has been sweeping across Central America, spurred by warming temperatures. A pest in Hawaii known as the coffee berry borer is expected to become an even greater threat to crops in upcoming years if it is allowed to spread. And with the temperature rise, coffee-growing regions in Africa — the birthplace of coffee — are expected to decrease from 65 to 100 percent. That’s right, 100 percent. No more African coffees if the surface temperature continues to spike.
Almonds. Over the next 30 years, almond production is expected to decrease by 20 percent. Interestingly, the model scientists used did not account for decreased rainfall due to changing weather patterns, so this decrease in yield could indeed be greater. If the drought in California is any indication, we may not be enjoying almond milk as regularly in the future.
Grapes. Grapes are very sensitive to temperature and weather changes. In fact, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that 19 to 73 percent of the land suitable for grape-growing in wine regions will be lost to climate change by 2050. France is already feeling the effects, with some winemakers being forced to harvest earlier due to an increase in mild nights and extreme weather. If this trend continues, grapes may thrive less in these regions, while places like China or Montana may become surprisingly more accommodating.
Potatoes. With rising surface temperatures, potato farmers in the Andes have been forced to move to higher and higher altitudes to grow their crops. Eventually, if temperatures continue to rise, farmers will simply run out of arable land. (Unless we’re looking to start farming on Mars.) Think of all the traditional foods around the world that are potato-centric! It’s the third most consumed crop worldwide after wheat and rice, with over a billion people regularly consuming potatoes.
Climate change is real, and our agriculture is extremely sensitive. If you needed a reason to get serious about climate change, what’s more powerful than the threat of losing your favorite foods?