Sometimes, climate change can seem distant. But beyond the polar bears, coral reefs and natural disasters, climate change is also a total disaster for food. Some of our fave treats and staple pantry items face obliteration in the uncomfortably near future because of climate change. This is just a taster of how climate change will affect food.
Chocolate, guys. CHOCOLATE! Let me say this again so it really sinks in: climate change is driving this sweet, sweet dopamine-inducing treat to the brink of extinction. Ok, I might be a little dramatic here (barely), but studies consistently warn that the yield of cacao beans will severely drop in the coming decades due to rising temperatures and falling water supplies. Lower quantities of cacao beans means that chocolate will become a treat only the super rich will be able to afford. Apart from our scales and waistlines, no one is happy.
Yep, our only motivation to get out of bed in the morning is under threat. In recent years a deadly fungus aptly named “coffee rust” has swept across plantations, heavily impacting production of our favourite bean and some of the world’s poorest economies that rely on coffee. The fungus and other coffee-endangering pests are flourishing due to warmer temperatures. And to make matters worse, as the climate continues getting hotter, coffee-growing regions of Africa – the world’s coffee cradle – are expected to decrease between 65-100%! We can already feel the withdrawal symptoms creeping up on us and the panic setting in.
Can’t imagine life without a glass of vino to kick off the weekend? Well, at the rate we’re going, wine may become a luxury of the past. Grapes are sensitive little things so with rising temperatures, the perfect grape will become a moving target and traditional winemaking regions will no longer be suitable for production. While you may think “so what if 70% of Australian wine regions dry up by 2050? I’ll just get my wine from elsewhere thanks to climate change!”, there still is the issue of terroir: geography-based flavour. China might become the next Barossa Valley, but never again will you find the variety you crave.
The polar bear isn’t the only Canadian icon threatened by climate change: so is maple syrup. The famous maple tree and the golden goodness that runs through its veins have already felt the impact of shorter winters and year-round warmer temperatures, heavily reducing the annual yield of maple syrup. Maple syrup is a delicate product that relies on a specific kind of climate with a narrow temperature range of freezing nights and mild days. In the ’50s and ’60s, 80% of the world’s syrup came from the US and 20% from Canada… now it’s the opposite! Sounds like we’ll have to chase the syrup North until it completely disappears. Can you imagine a world without maple syrup on your pancakes?
That’s crap! What can I do?
We’d hate to just leave you with bad news, so the good news is, there’s plenty we can do to eat out way out of climate change!
Research by our contributor Alexandra Jobin. Image credit: Unsplash