Tasty things that are worth saving

food and drinks affected by climate change

Climate change is changing ecosystems, raising sea water and causing geopolitical tensions. But climate change is also distrusting the food on our table(or picnic if you like), by putting many of our favorite foods at risk.

We took a look at 6 foods and drinks that are feeling the heat — and the recipe to help prevent them from disappearing.

Wine

Yup, you read right. Whether you love a sparkling rosé, a deep red, or a fruity white, wine is a large part of our global food culture. Unfortunately, wine production is coming under pressure.

Wine yard worth protecting

As classical wine regions are warming, it’s becoming increasingly hard to grow grapes, and with changing weather patterns resulting in surprise rain showers farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to predict where to grow them.

According to The Guardian, more than half the world’s vineyards could be wiped out with only a 2C warming. That is not a fun outlook, so cheers to keeping our playground cool!

Chocolate

White, dark, bitter, or salted caramel? Chocolate is an everlasting necessary.

In fact, using cocoa beans for food is such an old idea, we have recordings of chocolate being used as a fermented beverage as far back as 450 BC. It's been used for medicinal purposes and is so good Johnny Depp needed to star in two chocolate-themed movies.

cocoa beans are coming under pressure due to climate change


But cocoa beans are coming under pressure due to climate change. Combined with unsustainable farming techniques, climate change, have caused a crisis in cocoa production. Already, some areas that once had plentiful cocoa yields are unsuitable for this tasty crop. Longer dry seasons and less rainfall, as well as new pests and diseases, have reduced both the yields and the quality of the cocoa beans.

With rising temperatures this trend will get worse, meaning the quality of chocolate will fall, and prices will increase. We might even be looking at chocolate scarcity. Gasp!

Luckily, by curbing climate change, we can preserve the sacred bean and ensure chocolate for all — even the licorice-flavored kind.

Honey
It’s true. And while the oldest honey we’ve found is about 5,500 years old, humans have been foraging honey at least 8,000 years!

But honey is also coming under pressure from climate change. You may have heard about CCD, colony collapse disorder, where colonies of honey bees disappear or die. While CCD is believed to be caused by a number of different factors, including habitat loss, pesticides, fungicides, and nicotinoids, climate change brings an added challenge. Because of the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, levels of protein in pollen are decreasing. Pollen is the main food source for bees, so when bees eat the lower protein pollen, it’s the equivalent of eating junk food instead of a nutritious meal.

That’s why giving bees (and other pollinators) the best conditions possible is so important.

Coffeeeeeeeee
With over 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed in the world every day,

our cup of morning Joe's might get roasted by climate change.

Rising temperatures have caused the fungus roya (leaf rust), to spread far and far, especially in Latin America.

A future without coffee?

One study suggests that between 55–62% of current areas for coffee production will no longer be suitable by 2050 if climate change is not halted according to Inter-American Development Bank.

Not only would rampant climate change mean saying goodbye to pumpkin spice latte every fall, but it would also mean losing the 83 billion dollar industry that currently revolves around it, including the more than 125 million people it employs.

Sushi

Another tasty treat that could disappear from our plates is sushi. This is a double whammy as both rice and seafood are at risk because of climate change. Here's why.

As our planet heats up, so do our oceans. Heating oceans means many fish species will simply struggle to survive, causing their population to drop below numbers where industrial fishing is possible. As well, warming causes ocean acidification, meaning that the added CO2 in the water makes it more acidic. This doesn’t mean that beach day will taste salty and sour at the same time. Instead, it means that shellfish like crab and shrimp struggle to build their calcium carbonate shells.

Photo by Marta Filipczyk

Even if we used a non-seafood substitute, we would still be struggling to make sushi, because rice is also under pressure from climate change. Rice is grown in flooded fields, known as rice paddies, but increased temperatures mean more frequent, and more intense droughts. This means many regions no longer have enough water to flood fields to the needed level.

So let’s make sure the California roll doesn’t become a climate roll.

Wheat

With a newfound love for sourdough, it would suck for wheat to become a scarce resource due to climate change. Unfortunately, wheat is actually more under pressure than we realize.

A study from Kansas State University finds that at least one-quarter of the world's wheat production could be lost to extreme weather and water stress.

With an increase in climate change and stress on irrigation systems, it won't just be the sourdough rising. It will be prices of wheat, logistical issues, and possibly even scarcity.

With a newfound love for sourdough, it would suck for wheat to become a scarce resource due to climate change.

What can we do?

In addition to halting climate change, cutting down on food waste is also a good general practice. The less food we waste, the less we need to produce, and the less strain we put on the different food production systems. However, climate change should still be the number thing to address, as it has the most impact. There are many other foods and beverages out there that can be affected by climate change, and it’s up to all of us to make sure that we, and future generations, have a chance to enjoy it.

If you want to join us in curbing climate change, check out how you can become a climate hero every month here!

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