Global warming: Forecasting breakfast

Lara604. Flickr. January 30, 2011.

Lara604. Flickr. January 30, 2011.

Although the human diet is varied, we all have the same nutritional needs for protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.  Despite concerns about the western consumption of processed foods such as Velveeta Cheese, Twinkies, and soda pop for sustenance, we all must eat animals and/or plants.  That is, we must grow or hunt all of our foods.  Slim Fast and Jell-O aside, the laboratory doesn’t yet have the capacity to synthesize meals for human nourishment.  Global warming, then, has implications for more than the severity of hurricanes, the configuration of coastlines, the existence of islands, the stability of buildings, the functionality of the power grid, and the longevity of neighborhoods.  These consequences of climate change are of great importance to humanity.  Just ask the former residents of New Orleans or the current residents of New York City how they feel about severe storms.

Fortunately, humans have the capacity to rebuild homes, streets, and communications infrastructures. Our inventiveness and technological knowledge will ensure we build them stronger, too.  Like our great grandparents though, we are still dependent on the abundance of the harvest.  Although we can preserve, store, and transport foods in ways unknown them, we must still have supplies of cucumbers, tomatoes, pinto beans, rice, chicken, and fish for pickling, canning, drying, and freezing.  Our sophisticated predictions of severe weather won’t permit us to save our crops like we evacuate our citizens.  Unlike people, fields of corn, wheat, and rice are immobile.  Even more, they can neither adapt to nor be protected from extremes in temperature or precipitation.

If climate changes are inevitable, we will find that our menus must change, too.  Humans can competently predict the weather, farm the land, and develop seeds that will grow to fruition.  Antique grains such as teff, quinoa, emmer, spelt, kamut, or amaranth and the dishes that include them will replace wheat bread, rice and wheat noodles, and corn tortillas.  Sandwich wraps prepared from rich brown teff or pale green spelt may become ubiquitous.  Soups and stews with nutty quinoa or amaranth will grace dinner tables.  Fast food restaurants will serve pancakes and fritters rather than doughnuts and French fries.  Soy hamburgers and hot dogs will be the usual fare, too, due to the increased cost of the care and feeding of cattle, pigs, and chickens.  The increased prices for meats will render most people vegetarian.  Would most of us miss automobiles or meat more?  We’ll learn the answer within our lifetime.

© Laura Rizzardini, Inc., 2013

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