From chocolate to coffee, food species on the brink of extinction

Assortment of fine chocolates. Photo: Shutterstock/Shulevskyy Volodymyr

As we celebrate World Earth Day on April 22, recognizing our planet's beauty and biodiversity, it's vital to acknowledge the urgent threats to various species, including those crucial to our food systems. Climate change, habitat destruction, overfishing, and intensive agriculture are just a few factors driving numerous food species towards extinction.
Rising temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, and extreme weather events negatively impact the growth, health, and yield of many crops and plants essential for food production.

Here are some foods that could disappear from our tables sooner than we think:
The cacao tree, which produces cocoa beans, is highly sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. With climate change altering growing conditions, the future of chocolate production is uncertain.

Representational Image. Photo: iStock/ YelenaYemchuk

While not a food in itself, honeybees are essential pollinators for many crops. Their declining populations due to colony collapse disorder threaten the production of fruits, nuts, and vegetables worldwide.

The beloved Cavendish banana, the most commonly exported variety, is facing a deadly fungal disease called Panama disease. Without viable alternatives, the extinction of this banana species could have significant economic and nutritional impacts.

Fresh organic bananas. Photo: iStock/fcafotodigital

Like cacao, coffee plants are susceptible to climate change-induced pests and diseases. Additionally, deforestation and land degradation threaten coffee-growing regions, putting this beloved morning beverage at risk.

Representational image. File photo: Manorama

Overfishing and habitat destruction have led to the decline of numerous fish and shellfish species. Some estimates suggest that if current fishing practices continue, stocks of popular seafood like tuna and cod could collapse within decades.

Seafood. Photo: Athira Madhav/Onmanorama

Almond trees require a significant amount of water to produce nuts, and drought conditions in major almond-growing regions like California are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change. Water scarcity could jeopardize almond production in the future.

Almonds. Photo: Shutterstock/ Krasula

Avocado trees require specific conditions to thrive, and climate change is altering those conditions in many regions. Droughts, heatwaves, and shifting precipitation patterns pose significant challenges to avocado cultivation.

These examples illustrate the interconnectedness of our food systems with the health of the planet. Addressing these issues requires collective efforts to mitigate climate change, protect habitats, promote sustainable farming practices, conserve biodiversity, and ensure responsible consumption and production patterns.

By addressing these root causes, we can work towards preserving biodiversity and ensuring a secure food future for generations to come. This World Earth Day, let's reflect on the importance of protecting our planet's natural resources and take action to safeguard the foods we love.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.