Climate Change; Our Changing Menu; Where Are Chocolate, Peaches, and Rice Going? by CALVIN SCHWARTZ

Just four climate words. Drought. Fire. Flood. Heat. Now to the foods we love and need. Everybody Eats! Food crosses all political lines. Just the facts now. I chatted with Dr. Michael Hoffmann, Prof. Emeritus, Cornell University who wrote ‘Our Changing Menu.’  The purpose of this brief article. AWARENESS.

As carbon dioxide levels rise, some food becomes less nutritious. Salmon (I love it off a backyard grill) is disappearing. If you love octopus, you lucked out. They love warmer ocean temperatures.

A drought in Mexico (Jalapeno) caused hot sauce prices out west to go from $1 to $30 per bottle. Chickens are dying, so they’re trying to grow it in test tubes. Wines are becoming smoky. Beer’s taste will change as hops encounter new pathogens.

Impacts are felt on natural vanilla which mainly comes from Madagascar, which has been hit by hurricanes. Vanilla plants were damaged so that price went up 350% a few years ago.

Chocolate (comes from West Africa which is experiencing a severe drought). I’m storing chocolate bars in the garage refrigerator. Could I make a fortune one day?

The United States imports $5 Billion in agricultural products from Peru. Many blueberries. Irrigation water for blueberries comes from ice cap meltwater. Those ice caps will be gone in twenty years.

Rice and their Vitamin B will decline drastically by mid-century as CO2 increases. Night-time temperature increases and reduce rice yields. Fruit trees and nut plants require winter dormancy. Back in 2017, Georgia peach production was off 85% because the previous winter was too warm. I love peaches in my morning yogurt.

The acidification of the oceans due to CO2 increasing absorption will affect shellfish, clams, and scallops. Phytoplankton in the ocean accounts for 50% of Earth’s oxygen. Temperature increases keep nutrients for phytoplankton from rising up from deep in the ocean. Ocean microplastics (from discarded plastics and bottles) have entered the food chain. Recently, traces of microplastics have been found in human breast milk.

Before dinner, some like a Scotch. Scotland’s increases in temperature have caused significant evaporation of scotch from their aging vats. Wine grapes are sensitive to high temperatures; vineyards are moving north. Sugar content and aromas will change. I need my Merlot as is.

Olives in Spain are under severe temperature stress. Coffee will decline in mid-century and potatoes need cooler nighttime temperatures. A world without potato chips (salt-free) someday? Tough to chew on that thought.

I’ve said enough. Yes, science, technology, ingenuity, and even AI will help. Awareness is better. Now, I’m calling a Jersey Shore restaurant (ocean view) for Saturday night dinner reservations. Fresh fish of course.

For my YouTube interview chat with Dr. Michael Hoffmann, author of ‘Our Changing Menu,’


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