the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Hannah Small ’25
Ever wonder what would happen if your favorite food was no longer available? What if you could no longer enjoy a savory sandwich or a colorful, juicy fruit? Well, this might be more of a reality than a dream. With today’s drastic climate changes, food sources are rapidly decreasing. The chances of your favorite food becoming a rare commodity is not far from the future.
Think about January of 2023. Farmers in the south worried that the weather was too warm, while those in New England stressed over some of the coldest wind chills recorded in U.S. history. CNN noted that “dangerous wind chills as cold as 50 degrees Fahrenheit below zero are set to blast the Northeast.” Not only are freezing temperatures an issue for crops, but warm winters can also “wreak havoc on farms, allowing parasites to persist and trees to bud prematurely,” as noted in The Washington Post.
The United States is suffering major changes in its climate. Food, as humans do, suffers from this change. If you can’t think of an example of a favorite food, let me offer an option: peaches, Georgia’s state food. It is a delicious and refreshing snack to enjoy on sun-kissed afternoons. Hopefully, you have not gotten too attached to the simple and sweet fruit. In a recent Washington Post article, a peach agent from the University of Georgia expressed concerns about the summery winter weather. He explained that peaches need a certain number of “chill hours” to grow healthily. With warm winters, peaches tend to be smaller and less juicy.
Not only are peaches affected by this moderate winter weather, but so are every crop. With warm weather comes pests. Of course, pests are something every farmer deals with, but not at the rate of today. A study by John Hopkins University finds that “certain species of weeds, insects, and other pests benefit from higher temperatures and elevated CO2, increasing their potential to damage crops.” This leaves farmers with fewer crops, less food, and financial struggles. There are a number of examples to back up the effect climate change has on our food sources but this article would be way too long to enjoy. Pope Francis once said “the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots concern and affect us all.” So next time you believe this is just a small issue, look around and notice how much has changed. And maybe try and enjoy a perfect peach, before they go out of season forever.