Next time, breathe in the aroma and sip on your morning coffee for a little longer. Coffee lovers, your favourite relaxant is on the path to extinction. If a recent report by The Climate Institute is to be believed, wild coffee is expected to be wiped off the face of earth by 2080. Blame it all on climate change. Rising temperatures and extreme weather conditions in major coffee-producing regions will create supply shortages, and hotter conditions will impair flavour and aroma of the lovely coffee.
The future is bleak not just for the coffee bean. Human-induced environmental changes have affected many of our favourite foods, threatening extinction within a few decades. Here is a look at other yummy things you might be left craving for in the future.
1. Chocolate: Anything is good if it is made of chocolate. Not for long, though. Believe it or not, the world is running out of chocolate. Climate change is affecting the growth of cocoa, chocolate's prime ingredient. More than half of the world's cocoa is produced in African countries of Ghana and Ivory Coast where scientists predict a 2 degree Celsius rise in temperature over the next 40 years. It may not sound like a big deal, but this makes it too hot for cocoa trees to grow. Rising temperatures increase 'evapotranspiration' in cocoa trees which makes them lose more water, thereby reducing yield. So, save up on those Lindt bars and eat up all the mousse you want.
2. Honey: Honey bee colonies are disappearing at an alarming rate, and the ripple effect can be already felt in production of food, and honey of course. Biologists have been warning us about the colony collapse disorder—bees abandoning their hives— for over a decade. Plenty of reasons ranging from pathogens and parasites to electromagnetic radiation, genetically modified crops to insecticides have been blamed for the disappearance of bees. Studies suggest that climate change has restricted the areas where bees can survive, and they may have failed to migrate and adapt, killing large population of bees. While many animals adapt to changes, studies reveal that the humble bee species do not have the ability to easily adapt to these changes.
3. Peanuts: Be prepared to shell out more money for peanuts in future. Heat waves and drought, particularly in the southern states of the US, have brought down peanut production. Peanuts are considered 'fairly fussy' plants which require five months of consistently warm weather, combined with rain. Too little rain and the pods won't germinate. Too much sunshine and the shoots will wither. And here comes the shocker—no peanuts, no peanut butter. Ouch!
4. Maple syrup: What's a stack of pancakes without some real maple syrup topping? Climate change, however, in regions where maple is produced might affect the availability of this sweet, amber-coloured liquid. The maple tree, famous for its spectacular show of flaming colours in autumn, is on the verge of decline, courtesy rising temperatures. The maple, like the peanut, is dependent on precise climate conditions of mild days and freezing nights. Research shows that warmer temperatures are resulting in shorter sapping sessions of the maple tree, and less sugary sap.
5. Fish: At the pace we are headed, 90 per cent of the fish and shellfish species hauled from the oceans may be gone by 2048. Overfishing, pollution and climate change are being blamed for the disappearance of many aquatic species. Destruction of coastal areas, estuaries and reefs by dredging and building destroys nursery habitats for young fish. As the oceans becomes warmer, it changes the ideal habitat temperature required by many species. Rising temperature also directly affect lifestyle and metabolism of aquatic species.