By Elizabeth McArthur
Thanks to ThinkProgress for this information:
It’s Keep Australia Beautiful week so now is as good a time as any to think about a few things most Australians love that are at risk because of climate change.
Australians love their coffee but supplying the world’s coffee drinkers with their morning cup is becoming increasingly difficult. Researchers from the UK have warned that the much loved Arabica coffee bean could become scarce or even extinct thanks to climate change. The threat of climate change impacting world coffee supplies has caused Starbucks to buy their own farm specifically to research climate change resistant bean varieties. And a coffee fungus has been so aggravated by climate change that many coffee farmers across Central America will lose money on their harvest this year.
Wine crops are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change because wine varieties are generally only produced by certain regions, some wine varieties have been grown in the same fields for hundreds of years. When those areas become warmer, drier or wetter the wine made from those grapes just isn’t the same. Kofi Annan has said that this should inspire wine lovers all over the world to fight climate change.
A study from 2011 funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation found that even a relatively small rise in temperature could seriously impact cocoa crops. This would effect supply and the price of chocolate would rise but it would also put smaller cocoa producers in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, who make up about half of the world’s chocolate supply, out of business (many of these small producers are fair trade certified too).
The Aussie day at the beach may not be the same in the face of climate change. Surfing relies on healthy oceans, coasts, and tides but as the sea level rises and the ocean warms and becomes more acidic wave patterns will become very different. For surfers this means that waves will break in different places and favourite surf spots may not be so great anymore. Dan Ross says he’s already seeing the impacts of coastal erosion in Australia on surfers.
5. Peanut Butter
It doesn’t matter whether you like crunchy or smooth it’s all under threat from climate change. Peanut crops like specific rain patterns so as droughts and flash floods become more normal peanuts are at risk. Last year a drought effecting peanut farms in the US caused peanut butter prices to spike.
Climate change means all the ingredients that make good beer – clean water, barley, hops – will be more scarce. In 2011 Jen Orgolini from Colorado’s New Belgium Brewery said, “If you drink beer now the issue of climate change is effecting you right now.” So weather events threatening barley and hops crops could make a pint a luxury.
How can we make a difference?
Everything we buy and consume has its own carbon footprint story embedded in producing it and getting it to you. As shoppers and consumers, we have power to drive change in, what we buy, and therefore what gets produced and offered for sale, how we use and maintain things, and what we do with them when we don’t want them anymore, or they’ve reached end-of-life.
Find out more on the 1 Million Women Website
Don’t forget to head over to our website! We are daughters, mothers, sisters and grandmothers getting on with practical climate action to live better for us and the planet. Join the movement at www.1millionwomen.com.au