Climate Change Affects Foods
So The Pope’s visit was exciting and moving. His concern for Global Warming is very real. It’s hard to believe that there are some people who think Global Warming is a hoax. That this isn’t real.Some of these people are sitting in our Senate and Congress, many of which have never seen a report or study on how consistently high levels of Methane and CO2 gasses are being released into the atmosphere destroying the ozone and allowing abnormal temperature changes which affect us in so many ways we don’t even realize.
What does climate change taste like?
It’s an odd question, after all, as temperatures rise and extreme weather becomes the norm, many food production systems are becoming threatened.
As that trend increases, it’s worth asking which foods consumers will have to cut back on – or abandon entirely.
According to David Lobell, deputy director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University
, “The general story is that agriculture is sensitive. It’s not the end of the world; but it will be a big enough deal to be worth our concern.”
One major issue is carbon dioxide, or CO2. Plants use the gas to fuel photosynthesis.Lobell has already noticed the effect of climate change on some crops. For example, he says, yield data from corn and wheat production suggests that these two staples are already being negatively affected by the changing climate. Similarly, fruit and nuts are also showing the impact of climate change. Fruit trees require “chilling hours
”, or time in cold, wintry environments, for optimum production. If they don’t hit their required number of cold, wintery days, their production – and quality – drop. These reduced yields, Lobell explains, lead to more frequent price spikes in many foods.
Here’s a list of the foods to enjoy now – while they’re comparatively plentiful.Corn (and the animals that eat it)Water shortages and warmer temperatures are bad news for corn
: in fact, a global rise in temperatures of just 1C (1.8F) would slow the rate of growth by 7%. The impact of a disruption in corn production would extend far beyond the produce section at the supermarket
. A great deal of US corn goes to feed livestock, so lower corn yields could mean higher meat prices, and fewer servings of meat per capita.CoffeeHigher-than-average temperatures and shifting weather patterns in the tropics have made “coffee rust” fungus and invasive species the new norm on coffee plantations.
And, to make things worse, a severe drought in Brazil this spring caused prices to skyrocket. Some analysts are predicting that, if the current trends continue, Latin American coffee production could relocate to Asia.
Latin America isn’t the only coffee-producing region facing the impacts of shifting weather patterns. In Africa, the number of regions suitable for growing coffee is predicted to fall anywhere from 65% to 100%
as the climate warms. In this case, higher temperatures would produce lower yields and plant.
Can’t wait to pay $10 for some coffee at Starbucks.
According to a widely cited 2011 study
(pdf) from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture
(CIAT), cacao beans – the raw ingredient in chocolate – will become much less plentiful over the next few decades.
The main problem is rising temperatures and falling water supplies: in the African nations of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, temperatures are predicted to rise by at least 2C by 2050. This, in turn, will increase “evapotranspiration” in the cocoa trees, causing them to lose more water to the air and reducing their yield.
Andrew Jarvis, Leader of the Decision and Policy Analysis Program at CIAT, says that, while chocolate and coffee are not crucial to our survival, studying the impact of climate change on them makes sense, because they can help raise awareness about climate change by “hitting people’s soft spots.”“Imagine waking up and not having coffee to get you through the morning, or not having a bar of chocolate readily available when you get a craving. It’s not that there won’t be any, but the prices will likely be much higher. Both these crops are very sensitive to climate change, and increases in demand are outstripping our capacity to supply.”Seafood
In addition to its impacts on land, climate change can also contribute to rising levels of CO2 in the ocean. This, in turn, leads to ocean acidification, which could threaten a whole range of edible ocean creatures.
For example, the shells of young oysters and other calcifying
organisms are likely to grow less and less sturdy over time, as the oceans’ acidity increases. The UK’s chief scientist, Sir Mark Waldport, recently announced that, thanks to man-made CO2, the acidity of the oceans has increased by about 25% since the start of the industrial revolution.
Another problem is that, according to a recent study
, most fish are slow to adapt to acidification, leading to a risk of species collapse. Some animals, like tropical fish
, are moving north in search of cooler habitats, but this migration causes other problems. Tropical fish, for example, are more susceptible to parasites in warmer water, further weakening their species. Meanwhile, lobsters tend to eat everything in sight, so their move puts the native habitats of a host of other species at risk.Maple syrup
Wetter winters and drier summers are putting more stress on sugar maples, the trees whose sap is needed to produce maple syrup. In the winter, the trees need freezing temperatures to fuel the expansion and contraction process that they use to produce the necessary sap. Rising temperatures are already causing sap to flow earlier: according to some estimates, this may push up maple production by up to a month by the end of the next century.
The US Department of Agriculture also predicts that the industry will move north, as the trees in cooler areas fair better, and maple trees in states such as Pennsylvania are less likely to survive the shift. The USDA Forest Service has developed the Climate Change Tree Atlas
, which shows that sugar maples will likely loose some habitat. “While maple trees won’t necessarily vanish from the landscape,” says the federal agency
, but “there could be fewer trees that are more stressed, further reducing maple syrup availability.”BeansBeans feed the majority of the population in Latin America and much of Africa, but the hearty legumes might be quailing in the face of climate change.
According to a report from CIAT
, higher temperatures affect flowering and seed production in bean vines, reducing yields by as much as 25%. And in bean-growing regions, too much rain – in the form of storms and floods – will likely destroy some crops as well.“Beans are very sensitive to climate,” says CIAT’s Jarvis, noting that their need for low temperatures helps explain why they do well in the mountainous regions of East Africa. “High temperatures, especially at night, can significantly affect the productivity of the crop.”Cherries
Stone fruits, particularly cherries, require chill hours to bear fruit; too few cold nights, and the trees are less likely to achieve successful pollination. On the west coast, where the bulk of sweet cherries are grown, rising temperatures mean that trees might flower later and produce fewer fruits.
Unusually timed cold weather can be just as disastrous. In 2012, the Michigan cherry industry lost 90% of its tart cherry crop
after a late freeze.Wine grapesThanks to warmer temperatures, wine grapes will likely soon be in higher demand – making wine more expensive.
A 2013 study
predicted that “major global geographic shifts” among wine growers – as well as fluctuations in temperature and moisture levels in Europe, Australia, North American, and South Africa – will essentially make the perfect wine grape a moving target. Australia will probably be hit the hardest, as 73% of the land there could be unsuitable for growing grapes by 2050. California’s loss is nearly as high at 70%.Then there’s the question of “terroir”, or flavor based on geographical location. Wine grapes like heat, but not too much. In extreme temperatures, they can even go into a kind of thermal shock that can severely alter flavor. On the bright side, the grapes also retain more sugar in these circumstances, making the final product higher in alcohol, so the casual sipper won’t need to drink as much to feel the effects.We all need to be worried about the planet…it’s not only these foods that are affected.
Most of the soil that grows our fruits and vegetables is worthless. It’s not nutrient rich soil. So what’s grown in this barren soil doesn’t contain the nutrients you think it should. Everyday someone asks me if they can eat some food that contains whatever nutrient I am recommending to them to take in supplement form. I tell my clients if they are willing to eat a truck load of broccoli, maybe they would get some protection from the Indoles, but probably not.
Or eat a barrel full of yogurt to get some good flora for your gut. Most yogurts have so much sugar that it counter acts whatever minuscule effect the good flora might have. The foods you consume don’t provide the benefit you believe they do. Whether its poor soil, pesticides, heavy metals or arsenics, these are the toxins that we are absorbing. These are the toxins causing ill health and cancers. Unfortunately these are the toxins that have seeped into most of the foods we consume
How do we protect ourselves? Well that’s a long answer.The short version is to come into my office and get tested. Have an Aging Analysis done, a painless, noninvasive test.
This test can show deficiencies on a cellular level. Everything from the cell membrane shrinking, which is an Omega 3 loss, to mitochondrial function, which are our stamina and our energy. Antioxidants can help restore endurance. Most importantly the Aging Analysis can show a shift of fluid from inside the cell to outside the cell.This shift reflects toxicity in the body. These toxins must be removed. If you’re toxic you may not know until it’s too late.
Too late means your experiencing symptoms. Symptoms like immune issues, feeling run-down with low energy, unable to focus or concentrate, inflammation, pain and swelling. Symptoms that don’t seem to go away, that are so subtle you don’t pay attention to them. These subtleties can kill you. This simple yet very telling test can save your life.
Please share this information with someone you love and care about. You could literally be saving their life.This work has been adapted from The Guardian
Dr. Loretta Friedman