Tasmanian Times


Climate change will alter the way we eat …

Livestock devastation due to drought - Pic *ventureafrica.com

Is what’s on your dinner plate hurting the planet? The answer to that is a most likely yes. On average an Australian eats over 90 kilograms of meat per year, and this consumption, beyond being currently unsustainable, will dramatically decrease when climate change renders a significant amount of our agricultural land unproductive.

Given the present climate change trend, then by the middle of this century we will have notably changed both the natural environment and we way we value its necessity. Forget about lucrative crude oil deposits in the future because clean water, available arable land, and food production will be the foremost valuable asset.

Already this century we have witnessed extremes in weather patterns, and unreliable rainfall in Australia will ultimately see a massive decline in rural food production, particularly livestock, as we are one of the countries that is predicted to feel the full impacts of climate change.

Like the topic climate change, the message of sustainablity is not new. Back in 1971 the Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé, was the first major publication to note the environmental impact of meat production as wasteful and a contributor to global food scarcity.

The author advocated a vegetarian lifestyle based on both ethics and long-term sustainability of the environment across the globe, and she claimed that world hunger is not caused by a lack of food but by ineffective food policy.

Commercial livestock production through land clearance being the greatest offender.

Per capita, Australians consume more livestock produced meat than any other country.


It’s not just about meat … What about rice?

Is the world’s most important crop heading for climate change induced collapse?

More than 3 billion people rely on rice and grain to survive, which is about 40% of the world’s population, and a billion of those rely on rice as their source of income.

Rice requires the right amount of water, and an unpredictable rainfall of too much or too little will create an imbalance in growing conditions. By 2100 it is predicted that Asia will receive far less rainy days through an increase of up to 50% more; and intense rainfall overall is likely.

Rising sea levels is already beginning to cause salinization to some production areas now, and with the potential for a further rise of up to 2 metres by the end of this century, a food production disaster looms, which inevitably will create a humanitarian disaster. The present climate change rate is on track to make this happen.

On the current trajectory, global temperature is projected to rise by 3.8C degrees this century.  Every 1C degree increase of night temperature is predicted to produce 10% lower rice yields.

With the increase levels of carbon in the atmosphere and more acidity of water, rice nutritional contents will be less. This means that more will have to be eaten to gain the same required levels of carbohydrates.

Food Demand

By 2030 the global economy could double in size, and China and India will swell to represent about 40% of global middle-class consumption, which is up from the 10% in 2010.

This will significantly alter the composition of world diets.

The chocolate catastrophe

Climate Change could also see chocolate almost gone by 2050.

Yes chocolate could be a thing of the past, so this issue alone could create panic amidst chocoholics!

Seriously, the world’s chocolate decline shouldn’t be an issue of global concern. Yet in the western world it seems that only the loss of such luxuries might jolt action into thinking about the loss of decadence … and the unsustainable lifestyle the developing world leads.

Over half the world’s cocao grows mostly in Cote d’voire and Ghana, and these countries won’t be suitable for growing cocao as the regions will become subject to warmer temperatures and drier conditions due to climate change.

Without chocolate some may consider there’s nothing left to live for!

Ted Mead eats no red meat, and has been a vegetarian for most of his adult life. Ted accepts that his own current diet will probably be refined in the future, though is not looking forward to the day when a good-old chocolate fix isn’t available when needed.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Keith Antonysen

    February 22, 2019 at 7:44 am

    The plight of millions of people is affected by drought and floods thus creating a need for humanitarian aid. The future is looking grim for people in Haiti, Madagascar and Ethiopia with the prospect of worse conditions in the future. The plight of these people has been massively under reported.


    A study in 2015 found the drying of land in the Horn of Africa in 20th Century was more rapid when compared to the last 2,000 year period. Objective data was used to come to this conclusion.


  2. mikestasse

    February 21, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Climate change may well change wgaw we est, but what must ABSOLUTELY change is the way we farm, because even the way fruit and vegetables are grown is unsustainable. 75% of farmland is INCAPABLE of growing anything bur grass, something I only discovered when we bought our farm in the Huon.

    • Russell

      February 22, 2019 at 7:56 am

      Make money out of your problems, Mike.

      Just think about that carefully. Grow what actually belongs there. Do some research into what bush foods are endemic to your area.

      There is much more money, with very little if any input, to be made from native foods .. and you set the price, not some greedy corrupt corporation.

      • mikestasse

        February 23, 2019 at 7:21 am

        I don’t have a problem. At all. I grow lambs at zero cost and get top dollar for the organic meat! Apples and snow peas and garlic do very well here too… Moving to tadnaTas was the best thing I ever did.

        • Russell

          February 28, 2019 at 7:46 am

          Hard hooved animals don’t belong and have destroyed all the land they have been let loose on. Sheep ALWAYS cost you, there is no escaping it. Try farming wallabies at zero cost for a price to sell that you name.

  3. davies

    February 21, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Cocoa production Ivory Coast: 20012/13 1.449 (in 1000 metric tonnes) 20017/18 increased to 2.0 mmt. Same period Ghana 0.835 increased to 0.880. Rest of countries with a cocoa production have remained the same. Indonesia did drop frop 0.410 to 0.260.

    Your chocolate fix is safe.

    Rice production: Worldwide 2000 578 million metric tonnes. Dropped to 532 mmt in 2004 but by 2018 had increased to 735 mmt.

    Looks like your curry is safe too.

    • Russell

      February 22, 2019 at 7:59 am

      Very fudged figures Davies, when you consider how much more was planted and actually failed to achieve your rubbery figures.

      How’s your Australian beef, grain, cotton, Leatherwood honey, bush foods and banana production figures this and last year?

      • davies

        February 22, 2019 at 11:33 am

        How are they fudged? The figures come from Statista and they seem to source their data from reputable organisations, so there’s no reason to lie that I can see. So what are your figures, and where they coming from?

        My figures are over a number of years as there can be a marked difference in output from one year to the next. For example you have picked out Australian grain. They had in the previous year a bumper crop of 35 million tonnes. Last year it was back to the trend at around 24 million tonnes with the reason being a not so good growing season and competition for land from canola, pulses and sheep. This is according to the Aust Government site looking after Agriculture. Mid-term grain production is mildly positive.

        Why were these other options becoming more profitable? Answer: grain prices are low because of abundant global supply from record harvests.

        • Russell

          February 23, 2019 at 8:58 am

          As i asked, how much more was planted to be counted in these figures? In those periods you quote vast tracts of rainforest have been cleared to plant more of these foods. You must count how much more has been planted compared to how much of that total crop was harvested or failed to get realistic figures as a percentage, rather than just to quote the total harvest tonnage. And also the planting trend as you mentioned. Harvest tonnage alone is not a reliable indicator of actual crop failures and is an unreliable indicator of actual crop success.

          But the bottom line is if you don’t have the pollinating insects any more, you starve.

          • davies

            February 26, 2019 at 2:35 pm

            How much was planted is irrelevant. The premise of the article is we are running out of chocolate and rice yet the latest global production figures indicate, quite clearly, that this is not the case.

            Unless you come up with production figures vastly different to those I provided, this article is very misleading.

          • Russell

            February 28, 2019 at 7:49 am

            If you have done any maths at all you would know that you MUST count how much more has been planted compared to how much of that total crop was harvested or failed to get realistic and accurate figures as a percentage.

            Anything else is a lie.

          • davies

            February 28, 2019 at 9:38 am

            And where are your production figures on rice and cocoa?? Not seeing them!

          • Jon Sumby

            March 1, 2019 at 12:35 am

            davies, please learn to read. You write, ‘The premise of the article is we are running out of chocolate and rice yet the latest global production figures indicate, quite clearly, that this is not the case.’

            The article clearly states: ‘Climate Change could also see chocolate almost gone by 2050’, and, ‘ By 2100 it is predicted that Asia will receive far less rainy days through an increase of up to 50% more’, as well as other information about the decline of rice production by 2100.

            So your reliance on ‘the latest global production figures’ is fatuous as the article is writing about projected declines in the coming decades.

            You ask Russell to show you the production figures; how about you do your own research and show us the predicted production figures for cacao bean and rice in 2100?

          • Russell

            March 1, 2019 at 9:16 am

            You’re the one making false quotes, davies, not me. I’m giving you the tools to ensure accurate figures. You do your own research properly including all the relevant factors and stop taking the lazy way out.

            Eg: A 1 tonne yield from a total planting area of 1 hectare is a totally different result to a 1 tonne yield from a total planting area of 1000 hectares, isn’t it? Quoting and including the total planted area into any yield equation has EVERYTHING to do with providing a clear picture of crop success.

          • davies

            March 8, 2019 at 10:13 am

            The vanishing insect within the century got debunked. I presume you are referring to Sanchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys study. Very poor research by them.

            Cries of we are going to starve in the future have been around for ages. They do not come true. I can give you a very accurate production figures for 2100. Production will be enough to satisfy demand whilst ensuring a profit for the grower so they will continue to grow the product.

            Supply and demand. An economic principle forgotten by today’s WOKE crowd.

          • Russell

            March 15, 2019 at 8:14 pm

            Learn and do you maths properly, davies

  4. Russell

    February 21, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Whether it’s drought or flood the result is the same. Wrong animals in the wrong places and too many of them.

    The biggest problem though is that most people don’t realise that with this looming boom or bust weather catastrophe which is becoming exponentially more prevalent, is ALL foods and the insects that pollinate them will be affected…vegetables, grains, fruit, tubers, clean water, you name it.

    Better learn to eat money, coal and oil quickly or perish along with the sacred cows.

    Just consider in the advent of any sudden food shortage occurring, how long your household food supply will last and how long the supermarket shelves would remain stocked?

To Top