29 of Your Favorite Foods That Are Threatened by Climate Change
Get ready to say goodbye—or pay an arm and a leg—to avocados, coffee, and peaches
The evidence of climate change is everywhere, and though some are doing their best to ignore it altogether, we can’t ignore its short- and long-term effects on the security of crops around the globe.
Could you imagine going to a bar that charged $30 for a basic glass of beer or wine? In the future, you may not have to. Scorching summers and warmer-than-ever winters are making hop and wine-grape cultivation all the more difficult. And as extreme weather—another planetary symptom of climate change—becomes the norm, farmers will have to deal with the regular devastation of their crops from unpredictable rainfall and droughts.
Warmer ocean temperatures are wreaking havoc on global shellfish populations and causing a phenomenon called ‘ocean acidification’— which, according to the NRDC, is a change in ocean chemistry, due to high levels of CO2 emissions, that causes complications in the reproductive cycles of small fish. And rising sea levels are set to significantly reduce the amount of farmable land for a slew of everyday staples, such as rice and cranberries.
But that’s not all. Remember the bar that doesn’t serve beer or wine? Well you’d better hope it’s not in certain parts of Florida, New Jersey, or Louisiana, because as the New York Times reports that many areas in these states could be completely underwater by the end of the century.
It’s all worth thinking about a week after becoming one of only three countries not part of the Paris Agreement (as for the other two: Syria’s been racked by bloody civil war for six years, and Nicaragua didn’t join because they felt the accords weren’t aggressive enough). Here are just a few of the ways we can expect food to change in the future. Enjoy your avocados while you can.
Anchovies: Ocean acidification, an increase in predation, and a shift in population distribution all threaten the availability of this small fish. In other words, anchovy pizza might be a lot more expensive in the coming years.
Apples: Apple trees require an adequate winter chill in order to produce an economically viable yield, and as temperatures rise, so do apple prices.
Avocados: Avocado-toast lovers and guacamole enthusiasts can thank rising temperatures for the versatile fruit’s increasing price and diminishing crop yield—projected to be down 40 percent in California.
Beans: A drought-induced decrease in the bean crop has caused scientists to begin investigating rough-resistant legume varieties.
Blue Crab: Carbon pollution and climate change contribute to more extreme weather, like hurricanes—which isn’t great for our delicious six-legged friend, and even worse for your next order of crab cakes.
Cherries: Record-high temperatures cause cherry trees to develop much faster than they should, making the fruit defenseless against cold weather.
Chicken: Birds can only tolerate a narrow temperature range, which makes poultry farms extremely susceptible to climate change. We probably won’t be saying goodbye to chicken, but we could very well see an upward trend of the price-per-nugget.
Chickpeas: Chickpea plants suffer huge yield losses when exposed to higher heat during their reproductive stage. Hummus just might be the newest hot commodity.
Chocolate: Climate change is causing the areas suitable for growing cocoa beans to shift, resulting in a spike in price and a drop in availability.
Cod: Rapid ocean warming has caused the spawning and survival of Atlantic Cod to dwindle. This staple of New England cuisine is on the brink of disappearing off its coast.
Coffee: In Brazil and parts of Central America, almost 80% of land currently used to grow arabica coffee will become unsuitable by 2050.
Corn: Due to global warming, corn yields in the U.S. are predicted to decrease by 30 to 46 percent—and that’s calculated using the slowest possible warming rate. Faster warming rates put the yield loss at anywhere from 63 to a whopping 82 percent.
Cranberries: Extreme weather such as hot-streaks can cause blight and rots that threaten to devastate the cranberry crop in the U.S.
Honey (and everything bees pollinate): Save the bees! The best pollinators around are in trouble, and so is their honey. Human development, pesticides, and climate change stand to do some serious damage on the humble bumbler.
Lobsters: A difference of just a few degrees causes baby lobsters to die off in warmer water. There’s no tail-ing what could happen if we lose the lobster.
Maple Syrup: Climate change may shift production or interrupt the flow of maple sap—the main ingredient in maple syrup—by disrupting the cycle of freeze and thaw during late winter.
Oysters: Ocean acidification and an increase in predation might result in a disappearing act for the popular bivalve.
Peaches: Hey Georgia—the area where peach trees are produce might shift due to climate change. The New York Times reports that this year might be an especially bad year for the fruit due to unusually warm winter weather.
Peanuts: Drought and warmer growing areas could make JIF a ticker on the stock exchange.
Potatoes: Warming temperatures are causing potato farmers to move the areas of production to colder regions with higher altitude. Higher altitude = higher prices for french fries.
Pumpkins: Climate change causes extreme weather patterns that cause rot and premature yields of pumpkin crops. Halloween might be a little different in a few decades.
Rice: Increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels, and precipitation changes could very well negatively impact the world’s rice crop. How are we supposed to eat sushi? Oh wait, there might not be much fish around either.
Sardines: Ocean acidification, an increase in predation, as well as higher ocean temperature (deadly for sardine larvae) all threaten the availability of this small fish. In other words, don’t be surprised when that can of sardines costs a little bite extra in the supermarket.
Scallops: Ocean acidification from higher sea temperatures is poised to poison the scallop population.
Shrimp: High water temperatures are causing serious problems for fisheries, as shrimp yields decline along the Northeast.
Soybeans: Along with corn, soybeans are expected to yield seriously lower percentages due to global warming. We’d tell you to switch from soy milk to almond milk—if almonds weren’t on the decline as well.
Strawberries: Many people’s favorite refreshing berry is feeling the heat too, as raising temperatures cause reductions in the strawberry’s crop cycle duration.
Turkey: A shift in the regions where turkeys will nest might make this Thanksgiving a little nerve-wracking.
Wine: Extreme weather is shaking up famous French vineyards. Hailstorms and periods of drought and heavy rain are wreaking havoc throughout wine country.