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When you think about the holidays you probably imagine scenes filled with mistletoe, snow-dusted sidewalks, decorated windows and of course … a massive holiday feast. But chances are you didn’t think about climate change.
While climate change and the holidays might seem like a complete and total non-sequitur (unless maybe you’ve had a little too much egg nog, in which case, it makes total sense!), there is a reason you might want to think about man-made greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on the world this year. Specifically, because climate change may influence some of the foods you select for your big holiday feast!
Don’t worry, the Who-Hash is safe, but a few of the other holiday staples might be going the way of the polar bear. If you have already started planning your menu, no drastic changes are needed immediately, but you might want to start inventing some new holiday traditions for next year.
Let’s take a look at which holiday foods are threatened by Climate change:
1. Hot Chocolate
Well, really any form of chocolate, hot or cold. Warmer temperatures are predicted to make cacao farmland in West Africa non-arable by 2100.
Ah, the real secret to holiday “cheer” … wine. But, if current climate trends continue, Earth is set to lose 80 percent of the prime regions where wine-grapes are grown by 2100.
Cranberries do not enjoy extreme weather fluctuations. Between flooding and freezing, these holiday garnishes are highly prone to rot … stringing together raspberries instead just seems to wrong!
4. Mashed Potatoes
Higher temperatures and heavy rains are making it a bit difficult for potato farmers to produce high yields. While many are trying to adapt, a variation of potato that can withstand extreme heat does not yet exist.
Peanuts roasting over an open fire just doesn’t have the same ring to it! Sadly, chestnut crops thrive in colder weather, but warming trends are not making this easy for these holiday favorites.
6. Maple Syrup
Sugar maple trees are struggling to produce syrup due to warmer temperatures and wetter seasons. To produce syrup, they need cold temperatures to induce the pumping action in their trunks. Christmas day pancakes are really just snowflake shaped bread without syrup!
7. Apple Pie
As warmer temperatures extend throughout the year, the cold snap needed before spring to jump start apple production will become less drastic. A warmer winter could signal smaller apple harvests and less apples to make pie for the holidays!
What You Can Do!
Wishing to Santa is probably not the way to stave off the disappearance of these foods. You can help protect them from the Climate change Grinch by changing your own habits. If you didn’t know already, you can cut your personal carbon footprint in HALF, just by leaving meat off your plate. Even if you don’t want to hitch yourself all the way on the plant-based sleigh, reducing your consumption a few days a week can make a huge difference. (If Senator Cory Booker can do it, you can too!)
Lead image source: Loren Javier/Flickr