Scientists Are Breeding Plants In Secret To Survive Climate Change

climate change

Imagine a world with chocolate, coffee or wine? It could be our future if scientists don’t take action now. That’s because climate change is real and the ecological impact that it might have is undeniable.

No Coffee?

Lucas Foglia

Yes, no coffee. The Union of Concerned Scientists notes that “Climate change is threatening coffee crops in virtually every major coffee producing region of the world.”

Just a half-degree change in temperature makes coffee growing impossible. Between 2011 and 2012, for example, Indian coffee plantations saw a 30% drop in productivity!

Similar threats face the cocoa plant and even the humble grape.

What’s Being Done About This?

In Geneva, New York, some of the world’s foremost experts on crops are working at the Agricultural Experiment Station. Their mission is simple: to develop strains of common crops that are better able to withstand the demands of a climate-changed world.

They use genetic engineering to introduce new traits to existing plant species. This is done by looking for hardy natural species and then determining the gene responsible for hardiness and cutting it out of the wild crop and implanting it in a laboratory species.

Human Nature Documents The Future Of Food

Lucas Foglia

Lucas Foglia is a photographer who has been documenting the work of the Agricultural Experiment Station. His latest book, Human Nature, is the result.

He says, “It’s amazing to me that the future of our food is being developed in these simple greenhouses.” Yet, he acknowledges that without this work, life on earth might become unbearable very quickly.

The project has already delivered some exciting results. There are blight-proof peppers prepared to resist new strains of infection. Grapes that have been built to fight off diseases in warmer temperatures. Even the humble raspberry has been better conditioned not to rot.

It may not sound all that appetizing, but if climate change continues as it has over the last two decades, this may be the work that stops us all from starving.

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