Increased temperatures in the atmosphere caused by climate change have influenced the agriculture and supply of high-demand foods such as coffee, chocolate, honey, avocados, wine, seafood, strawberries, and bananas. At the moment, these foods are at risk for extinction in the near future. If climate change continues its course, it is likely for these beloved foods that comprise most of our daily diet to go extinct.
The increasing effects of climate change are influencing and declining the agriculture of numerous delicious foods we consume on a daily basis. The climate crisis has impacted Earth in ways ranging from disturbed seasons, weather changes, rising ocean levels, as well as animal and plant extinction. With such, some of our most treasured foods are slowly becoming extinct due to our negligence in the environment.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report stating that the world’s land and water resources are at risk of going extinct due to climate change. The report specifies the unprecedented rates at which these natural resources are being abused.
In other words, they cannot keep up with the current production rates. The topsoil used for the agriculture of crops around the world is disappearing between 10 to 100 times faster than it takes to replenish it. Such soil erosions increase the loss of crops, further affecting food extinction.
The following foods will most likely become extinct if climate change isn’t controlled. You’ll be surprised!
Coffee is one of the highest consumed beverages in the world. The caffeine obsession dominates our lives as most Americans cannot begin their daily routines without a cup of coffee. About 64% of Americans drink coffee daily, out of which consume on average 3 cups per day.
The enormous caffeine consumption not only gives us jitters but fabricates over 400 million used plastic cups every single day that transforms into trash. The coronavirus pandemic has also increased coffee consumption, as it currently stands as the number one consumed liquid in households.
Rising climate changes affect coffee bean farming similarly to other foods. The increase in greenhouse gasses, pollution, and rising sea levels are contributing to the farming of coffee beans. There are over a hundred different species of coffee, all growing in warmer climates. The coffee bean is a dainty plant and requires a specific environment to flourish in.
According to an article published by Yale University, the Columbian mountain region, known for its delicious coffee beans, is warming 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.3 Celsius) per decade. A study conducted by a team of scientists found that the number of daily sunlight hours in the region has decreased by 19% over the past few decades. The decreasing sunlight affects the natural production of a successful coffee tree.
Lastly, as the climate continues to change and temperatures keep rising, insect populations will increase. The growing population of insects occurs due to reduced tree vigor and their ability to expand with warmer temperatures. Insects destroy coffee beans and reduce soil density, which further threatens the production of coffee beans.
Chocolate, a prized sweet enjoyed by everyone around the world, has also been directly impacted by climate change. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), scientists believe cacao trees may become extinct by the year 2050.
Cacao trees grow near the equator, thrive in rainforests with high humidity, significant rain, and warm temperatures. Studies illustrate that temperatures within the area are set to increase 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.1 Celsius) by 2050. Rising temperatures won’t damage cocoa production directly, but the increase in evapotranspiration – the process in which water evaporates from leaves during photosynthesis – does impact the production of cacao. The rise in temperatures is not expected to adjust to the increase in rainfall, which is necessary to balance the amount of moisture in the atmosphere for cocoa trees to flourish. This will inevitably impact cacao’s sustainable production and attractiveness to farmers.
As the world’s largest chocolate suppliers, with over 70% of all global production, Ghana and Ivory Coast are believed to drastically reduce the production of cocoa crops by 2030. Within the next 40 years, scientists believe temperatures in Ghana and Ivory Coast will increase 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), creating an overly hot and dry climate for cacao crops to cultivate.
The major chocolate shortage has already begun, as suppliers are escalating prices on average by 25%. To prevent such catastrophes, consumers and corporations must tackle the man-made impacts of the environment and ecosystem.
Honeybees are a significant contributor to the balance of our environment and ecosystem. Without bees, there would be no plants, crops, animals, or humans.
A study conducted by ABC News illustrates that between 2018 to 2019, 40% of the honeybee population declined, a 7% increase from the previous year. These high averages have been common since 2006. While some regions experience lower reductions, some regions have seen 90% bee colony losses. National Geographic has named this the “colony collapse disorder.”
As with many other foods, the decline in bee populations is a consequence of rising temperatures. Heat may not affect bees directly, but the rise in parasites and mites that strive in heat are found to kill bees at faster rates. The Varroa mite is the most devastating one, as it invades hives and kills bees by spreading diseases.
While most damage done to the honeybee population is due to climate change, other factors such as loss of habitat due to deforestation as well as human inability to properly care for colonies apply. Without honeybees, the honey supply will diminish, increasing prices on the market. Experts believe almond prices will increase the most due to a lack of pollination.
To prevent a collapse in the ecosystem, consumers must battle the climate crisis by lessening their carbon footprint. Specialists must also incorporate better ethical practices to protect honeybees from parasites and mites.
Can you imagine a world without avocado toast and guacamole? Over the past decade, avocados have grown in popularity among millennials. Although the demand is statically increasing, climate change has made the production of avocados harder to attain. Increasing heat waves and droughts leave scientists believing the fruit will become extinct by 2050.
The increase of demand for avocados has led to climate change effects, as they require 72 gallons of water per fruit. The United States’ supply of avocado is composed of 80% of crops coming from Mexico, 10% from other Central and South American countries such as Dominican Republic, Chile and Peru, and 10% domestically grown in California. The strict water supply needed to accommodate such demand has accounted for California’s inability to keep up with the desired market.
Avocado farmers in Mexico are experiencing significant downfalls to production because of extreme temperatures and droughts affecting soil textures. The pressure to accommodate the United States’ demand for avocado has influenced deforestation, further threatening the climate crisis. California avocado farms are also suffering from similar conditions of heatwaves and droughts. A study in 2017 by the University of California, predicts the avocado population will shrink in half by 2050 due to climate variations. Weather changes are declining avocado crops at faster rates in comparison to other fruits.
Similarly to coffee and cocoa beans, wine grapes require strict conditions when growing. The best wine is said to come from struggling grape vines, which grow in rough soils, limited water supply, and warm temperatures ranging from 77 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 32 degrees Celsius).
According to an interview done by USA Today, if the heat in the atmosphere rises by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, some prominent wine-producing regions will experience a 56% loss of production. While a 3.6 degree Fahrenheit increase will have such devastating consequences, the United Nations predicts a 5.76 degree Fahrenheit increase until the end of the century.
Temperature rises are also affecting the quality of some grape species. This occurs because grapevines are sensitive to changes in temperatures and seasons. Grapes may not become extinct from the heat alone, but the taste of wines could alter. Grapes ripen more efficiently in warmer temperatures, increasing their sugary taste and lowering acidity. Changes in the climate will make it difficult for farmers to harvest grapes at the right time for the best quality in taste.
Marine life is one of the most affected foods by climate change due to water pollution, increased water temperatures, and ocean acidification. The Marine Stewardship Council states that oceans absorb 93% of the heat accumulated in the Earth’s atmosphere. Seafood is affected separately in different types of water. Tropical areas, for instance, are set to experience a decline in seafood catch of 40% by 2050, while some species in colder water are expected to populate.
Freshwater fish have been crucially influenced by climate changes, with a third of them threatened to go extinct. Within previous years, 80 fish species have gone extinct, 16 of them in the past year alone. Species such as the Mega Fish have declined by 94% while migrating fish have dropped three quarters since the 1970s.
Shifting patterns in seafood populations create challenges for fishermen. To battle such changes, consumers must purchase directly from ethically sourced fish corporations.
Strawberries, high in nutrients and vitamin fruits are also at risk of going extinct due to environmental changes. Strawberry agriculture has been shaped by global changes of high heat in California and Florida farms. These states produce 95% of the strawberry supply in the United States alone.
Strawberries have three different periods of flowering: during spring, summer, and fall. High degrees in recent decades have delayed the flowering of strawberries – condensing production and resulting in fruit shortages. Scientists believe the delays will continue as global temperatures keep increasing.
Strawberries grow in both cool to warm temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27 degrees Celsius). Although the fruit can also tolerate winter temperatures as low as 22 degrees (-5 degrees Celsius), heightened temperatures and carbon dioxide levels will shrink both the supply and quality of strawberries.
Strawberries also require a significant amount of water to grow and sweeten. Warmer climates cause more water to evaporate, further restricting the proper resources to successfully grow strawberries. The fruit shortages have resulted in heightened prices and a decline in grocery store supply.
Bananas, another delicious and popular fruit, are cultivated in 120 tropical countries around the globe. Most production comes from South America, Asia, and Africa. As the climate crisis is raising temperatures around the planet, countries such as Ecuador and Honduras are experiencing a boost in crop production.
However, the leading countries in banana agriculture, such as India, Ivory Coast, and Brazil, have experienced a decline in crop yield. Bananas flourish in warm, humid climates ranging between 80 to 95 degrees (27 to 35 degrees Celsius).
Within recent years, banana crops have been threatened by the Panama and Black Sigatoka disease, a fungus causing the plant to die from dehydration. Climate change could accelerate the risk of crop diseases such as the Sigatoka, as they thrive in warm temperatures. Although the disease may not wipe out the entire banana population, it will drastically affect countries battling it, impacting the global supply of bananas.
The current state of human-made climate change is strongly affecting our food supply and production. The foods listed above are only a few of the many becoming extinct, others include peanuts, maple syrup, wheat, rice, and soybeans. The shortages of some foods listed are also caused by the intense demand from countries such as the United States and the inability for producing nations to deliver crops with such climate conditions.
Predicted climate changes are expected to cause agricultural challenges for farmers, markets, and consumers as soon as 2050. Such harmful effects will impact both the agriculture of crops as well as the quality desired by customers. If we do not make ethical decisions to limit our carbon footprint and mitigate climate change, our food supply and health will suffer.
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