Chefs may run out of certain foods, and it's not because they're 86'd. Climate change among a number of other influences may ultimately lead to endangerment and extinction of select plants if no action is taken. Just how serious is it?
Species dying faster
The New York Times reported that a study published in the journal of Science explained the world's losing species 1,000 times faster than it usually takes them to become extinct. The news provider is calling this phenomena "the Anthropocene," or the sixth massive extinction recorded on this planet.
Scientists are especially concerned with what may happen to animals that live along the coast in areas like Florida. Predictions of rising sea levels may actually come true. There are only 20 Florida panthers left, and predictions say that a quarter or more of the species will be under water by 2100, and plenty of other animals – ones we consume – are in harm's way as well. As the Times stated, the ever-rising sea level can potentially wipe out certain species, which has led researchers on a mission to build a reserve for animals.
Climate changes kill Arabica crops
Prior to this finding, countless studies have been published that exemplify just how worrisome food supply issues may become. Back in 2011, The Guardian interviewed Starbucks' sustainability chief Jim Hanna who noted that his company's supply of beans was at stake.
"What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean," Jim Hanna told The Guardian in a phone interview.
The problems that Hanna noticed during that time were multi-faceted. The climate changes were creating severe hurricanes, which can destroy plants. At the same time, he found repelling bugs from the beans challenging because the insects are becoming increasingly resistant to repellents.
Recently, the drought in Brazil has raised some eyebrows, as many feared it may wipe out Arabica crops and ultimately jack up the price of coffee in the United States. The Washington Post summarized that caffeine-lovers may eventually have to shell out a little more money for their favorite beverages in months to come.
"Coffee prices in Brazil have increased more than 50 percent this year."
Coffee prices in Brazil have increased more than 50 percent this year. Although many roasters have had enough supplies to cover their demand thus far, they may need to hike up prices in months to come, as Jack Scoville, a futures market analyst specializing in grains and coffee explained to the publication.
The 'Doomsday Vault'
Even veggies are sparse in today's world. Perhaps one of the biggest indicators that something terrible could happen to more than just Arabica crops is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which was created to store seeds of more than 825,000 crop plants, reported BBC.
The facility, located in a remote part of Norway, close to the North Pole, is also referred to as the "Doomsday Vault," as its purpose is to protect the world from certain plants' extinction. According to BBC, because of the frigid temperatures around the vault, it would take ages for the seeds to go bad – a strategic choice in location.
Can this phenomena be stopped?
These studies and measures beg the question, "What can be done about climate change on an individual scale?" The answer is both simple and difficult. Our Climate summarized how fossil fuel is a major contributor to the changes in our environment and food supply. Many solutions have been proposed in an effort to prevent climate change.
While putting programs in place and determining the barometer of success in terms of climate change and animal and crop extinction, mostly everyone can agree on one thing: No one truly wants to run out of foods. It could be bad news for businesses, families and the country as a whole.
It may take every trick in the book to solve climate change. On a larger scale, these issues may need some government regulation that includes more renewable energy solutions and carbon sequestration. The responsibility of the matter also falls on the individual, and people who wish to play their part should consume foods and burn energy in a more frugal matter.
To learn more about the topic, and for a list of ways that you can do your part – whether it be on behalf of your business or just for your own sake – visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website.
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