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Melting Icebergs and Disappearing Chocolate: Climate Change Unleashed

06 Mar

As if the loss of the polar ice caps, the change in the level of the seas and wilder weather wasn’t enough, there’s a new reason to fear climate change: there could be less chocolate in the world.

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture released a report several months ago predicting that the cocoa-growing regions of the world will change for the worse by the year 2050 if climate change continues unchecked.

The problem, according to the report, is that cocoa needs very specific temperature and altitude requirements for optimal growth. The increase in air temperatures at lower altitudes will mean farmers will have to compensate by moving to higher and cooler places to grow the same product. Some will be able to do that, but the fear is that many will simply remain where their ancestral roots are and choose to grow other crops.

Peter Gleick, CEO of the Pacific Institute and a MacArthur Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences, wrote a sort-of serious letter addressed to those in climate change denial. He pointed out that no crop can take the place of chocolate, and if all the science presented thus far could not convince them that the world was in for a catastrophic weather shake-upl, then the loss of chocolate should certainly be a cocoa clarion call to action. 

What’s the upshot of all this? Do we stop driving, cease using aerosol spray cans, recycle every bit of plastic, paper and glass and enact a massive shutdown of major manufacturing, all in an effort to save the beans? Even the true choco-fanatics would say none of this is likely. But many millions of us each doing a little more could make a difference in slowing climate change. Check out these sites to learn more about saving the planet and keeping the cocoa: The  , The Nature Conservancy, Reuters Environmental Forum  and The World Wildlife Fund.

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And while you work on saving the environment, here are some of the chocolates I bought on my NYC trip:

  • La Maison du Chocolat Pariguan Noir Fleuri et Acidulé: I stopped in this branch of the fabled chocolate chain on a rainy day during our trip. The store’s chocolate-brown interior is rich, hushed and perfect for coffee and dessert, and the staff is very well-versed in all their products, and quite generous with samples. This is a thick, bitter bar with both the floral and citrus notes of the name, but you don’t get those right away. This is not a bar you can eat more than a bite or two of at a time, but you really don’t need to; a little goes a long way.
  • Dolfin Noir 70%: It’s good to be Belgian, and while I found this bar to be a little on the sugary/grainy side, I admit I still enjoyed it.
  • Chocolat Bonnat Hacienda el Rosario “Venezuela”: Smooth, bitter, tangy and breaks apart into tiny squares; a good thing. This is a bar you could keep eating, if not for the ability to break off a little bit at a time.
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2 responses to “Melting Icebergs and Disappearing Chocolate: Climate Change Unleashed

  1. Concetta

    May 18, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Very energetic article, I loved that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

     
    • nancymn

      May 18, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      I keep looking for new reports on the subject, and when I find new info, I would love to do a Part 2.

       

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