By Shannon Frost Greenstein
Horrible, horrible news, people, in this, the winter of our discontent and only the fourth day of 2018. No, I’m not talking about Winter Storm Grayson (Bomb Cyclone, anyone?), or cholera in Yemen, or the outlandish cost of Hamilton tickets, though all those things are happening. This news is far worse.
According to scientists, the cacao plant…from which all chocolate is made…is on track to be extinct by 2050.
I know. I’m really upset, too.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now saying that the very specific conditions required to grow the cacao plant…uniform temperature, plenty of rain, high humidity, and wind protection…are going to be diminishing as the climate shifts. The temperature in chocolate-growing regions is expected to rise by 4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, which would essentially eliminate any possible climate for growing cacao.
There is hope, and it’s coming in the form of CRISPR. CRISPR is a gene editing technique which allows geneticists to modify the very structure of organisms. They are currently hard at work developing a cacao plant which can withstand a warmer climate and variable weather conditions. Additionally, there is a push to end deforestation and preserve the tree cover, increasing shade and decreasing temperature.
So, friends, it’s bad news, but there IS hope. We’re here to help you cope with this situation in whichever way is necessary. Something like this takes some time to process, and maybe even preemptively grieve, but let’s also focus on the wonders of eugenics and modification that is CRISPR, and hope science, yet again, finds a way.