Six foods threatened by climate change
Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017 9:59AM EDT
Climate change isn’t just threatening our planet; it’s also threatening some of our favourite food and drink.
Co-creator of YouTube channel ASAP Science, Greg Brown, told CTV’s Your Morning that as weather become less predictable farming becomes more difficult.
The rise in global temperatures also means more pests and funguses that threaten the plants and the overall result is lower quality food at a higher price.
So which tasty foods, and drink, might not be around for much longer?
Coffee yields are down in places such as Costa Rice, Ethiopia and India. That’s because of an increase in temperature, dryness and drastic rainfall, according to Brown, a popular online science educator. The unpredictability means it’s hard for coffee farmers to know how their coffee beans are going to grow.
While other parts of the world could become coffee producers, it might be hard to determine where those areas are before it is too late, Brown added.
He added that the most common species of coffee bean, Arabica bean, could be extinct by 2080.
Most of Canada’s avocados come from California, which suffered a severe drought this past summer.
Avocados are weather-sensitive and slow-growing, making them particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change.
Australia, another producer of avocados, also had fewer crop yields.
Mangoes are sensitive to heat. In fact, they burn if it’s too hot.
About half of the world’s mangoes come from India and Brown explained India is becoming extremely hot due to climate change.
There’s also less humidity, making mangoes more challenging to grow.
Hitting close to home, maple syrup, relies on temperatures dropping at night so the tree freezes, and then thaws during the day so the sap flows down the tree. But as winters get warmer, this process is becoming less predictable and the sap isn’t flowing as much.
On top of that, maple syrup is also becoming less sweet, said Brown. This is because there has been a drop in sugar content in the sap.
FISH AND CHIPS
Brown explained that the fish used to make fish and chips are cold-water fish, but as ocean temperatures warm, the fish are migrating further north, making it harder for the British to get their staple meal.
In their place squid, sardines and anchovies have flocked to the warmer waters around the British Isles and could replace cod or haddock in the dish.
Last but not least, climate change is affecting chocolate.
As Brown explained, chocolate is a sensitive plant and the lack of humidity in Ghana, where about 50 per cent the world’s chocolate comes from, is wreaking havoc on the cocoa bean. This means there’s less chocolate and it’s more expensive.
Scientists predict that by 2050 temperatures will be too hot for the cocoa bean to grow in the main regions that produce chocolate, likely turning the sweet into a rare and expensive delicacy.
Although, Brown said that scientists trying to find an alternative that tastes like chocolate and is easier to cultivate but there hasn’t been any luck yet.