This post draws from an article from Climate Reality. It deals with how a changing climate is changing our plates. No matter where you live, climate disruption is touching the food we eat.
For people living in fragile economies, this is a real concern. Warming oceans off the coast of tropical nations mean fish populations are declining. Changing air temperatures are also changing where staple crops like maize and wheat can grow and are contributing to lower yields. And the increasing risk and severity of extreme weather globally mean farms and farmers everywhere are in greater and greater danger from devastating floods or droughts.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a developed country, you might think that this kind of scenario could never happen to you, that the impact climate change has on food is someone else’s problem. Then think back to the shining moments of your childhood. Think back to the last time you went out with friends. Think back to the last visit with your extended family, or at least the last visit you want to remember. Chances are some kind of food and drink was involved.
Because as fish populations dwindle and crop yields decline, even in wealthy nations we’ll start seeing the foods we love and make us who we are get increasingly expensive or just plain disappear from everyday life. One by one, to be sure, but after a while, our lives will show the holes and our days become a little more monotone and a little less colorful.It’s not a picture we’d choose and it’s certainly not the future we want.
Below is a list of just some of the foods that scientists think could be impacted by climate disruption. If they feature in your everyday, imagine life with them out of reach or gone altogether. The good news is that we can still make sure this doesn’t happen by switching away from the fossil fuels driving climate disruption.
Climate disruption is contributing to more frequent and extended droughts all around the world. We’re already seeing what this means for farmers in California that produce 20 percent of U.S. dairy products and the majority of U.S. fruits, nuts, and vegetables. It’s not just farms that feel the pinch in a drought either, as less access to water leads to more conflicts for all kinds of resources.
Corn, Wheat, Rice
Scientists project that warming temperatures mean yields of these staple crops will decline, which is bad news for food-insecure nations that depend on them. More troubling still is that some hotter areas like Sub-Saharan Africa may have trouble growing them at all as production shifts to cooler climates.
Heat stress from warmer temperatures can put a real strain on how much milk cows can produce. Add in greater threats of less water thanks to more frequent droughts and you’ve got some seriously unhappy cows producing less milk on your hands.
As oceans warm, fish are moving to cooler waters, which is bad news for long-standing fishing communities.
Already apple trees in some parts of the world are blooming earlier, making them more vulnerable to cold snaps. Scientists are also predicting lower yields, softer fruits, and changing regions where trees can grow as the world warms.
Climate disruption is projected to put real pressure on the regions that produce coffee, thanks to warming temperatures making some areas too hot to continue production and increasingly frequent extreme weather events that threaten small farmers in particular. Already, Brazilian coffee farmers are feeling the pinch of an extended drought, and we’re hoping it doesn’t become a trend.
When it comes to wine, it’s all about location. Just ask the French growers in Bordeaux, the Italian producers in Chianti, or the Californian farmers in Sonoma. But as the climate changes, so will where farmers can grow their grapes and the distinctive qualities they take from their native soils. Already French producers are buying estates in southern England with an eye to the future. And that’s really got to hurt.
For the full article, link to Climate Reality.