What is your favorite brunch? Avocado toast? Banana smoothie bowl? Fries and burgers? Well, in a few years we might have to say goodbye to all these delicious brunch foods because they no longer exist on earth.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of threatened plants and animals, crops such as vanilla, avocado and potatoes are considered threatened with extinction.
Three in five avocado species are at risk, while 23% of wild potato species are facing extinction and 35% of all species studied are threatened with extinction, largely due to agriculture, climate change and pesticide use.
With our increasing human population, the dangers of decreasing food resources are threatening food security. Let us look at what are the crops that are in risk of extinction and the reason behind their drop.
Extinction of Avocado and Vanilla and Potatoes
According to a study done by Plants People Planet shows that 224 wild relatives of some of the world’s most important crops are at the risk of extinction.
List of Crops at Risk
- Chilli Pepper
- Common Bean
- Husk Tomatoes
Climate and Crops Extinction
Countries that produce large amounts of our food such as Madagascar is now facing Climate Change caused Famine due to its worst drought in 40 years, with more than 60% of the population suffering from food insecurity due to lack of rain destroying their crops.
Dr Bárbara Goettsch, lead author of the study done by Plants People Planet, with the increase in temperature around the world, pests and disease can easily adapt to the changes while the crops are unable to do so due to the salinity of the soil. Climate change affects the salinity of the soil, salt level in the soil as high temperatures such as droughts evaporate water, leaving high levels of salt behind in the soil.
This means that there will be massive food shortages in the near future, as most of our important crops are not grown sustainably.
However, there are also some crops that have been able to adapt to the changes. While this may sound like a positive outcome, however, they are invasive species. Invasive species often contain contamination from genetically modified crops, unsustainable harvesting and logging pose further threats to the wild species as they can take away the nutrients needed or grow in large amounts preventing necessary crops to grow.
Food for Future Generations
Can you imagine a day without your favorite vanilla ice cream or your morning cup of coffee? It is important for us to understand that food we rely on is being affected by the environmental changes around the world. Moreover, to leave a sustainable agriculture for the future generations we need to increase knowledge and research around different aspects of wild crop relatives and come up with ways to conserve our food resources as well as secure our food security. Let us leave a good avocado toast for breakfast, a bowl of vanilla ice cream after lunch and a cup of coffee, for our kind in the future!