Published on October 17th, 2011 | by Becky Striepe1
Global Warming Threatens Chocolate
Just last week, Rachel talked about new research showing that chocolate lowers stroke risk in women, and that’s just one of the health benefits of chocolate. On top of this, research has shown that chocolate is delicious. Unfortunately, just like coffee crops, global warming is threatening the world’s chocolate supply. According to our sister site, Green Living Ideas:
More than half of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa and apart from bringing us pleasure, it is vital for farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire who rely on growing cocoa to survive – it accounts for 70-100% of household incomes of cocoa farmers in both countries and any climate change will not only affect their incomes, but national economies as well.
According to a recent report by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture between 2030 and 2050 the land suitable for cocoa production will diminish considerably if temperatures continue to rise with the same pace. And the fact that the cocoa in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire is grown using sustainable practices with ecological, biological and economic benefits will not change things for the better.
The Gates Foundation funded the report (pdf alert!), which sounds very similar to the situation with coffee. As temperatures rise, farmers will have to cultivate crops in higher and higher altitudes to accommodate. But there’s only so high up that they can go.
What We Can Do
If we want to save our chocolate (and coffee!), we need to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change. It might feel like there’s not much that we can do as individuals, but I don’t think that’s true. Sure, we need large corporations to change their habits, but we can change ours right now. Agriculture and emissions from transportation and from the coal-fired power that provide the bulk of our electricity are a few huge contributors to climate change. Here are a few ways that we can reduce our own carbon footprints:
- Eat less meat.
- Ride a bike or take public transit instead of driving, whenever possible.
- Turn the thermostat up in summer and down in winter.
- Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, or even better: switch to LEDs.
- Turn off the lights in rooms that you’re not using.
- Eat local food.
Of course, this is just a quick list of small habits that we can change. How else can we save chocolate crops from the effects of global warming?