I was talking with an importer this week about the weather in various Latin American growing regions. He said one grower consultant in South America told him that all the previous weather data seem irrelevant to current and future conditions. Arid areas are getting rain, and rainy regions are dry, and so on. 

Wacky weather has always been around, right? But is it getting worse?

I asked the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group to rate their concern about climate change relating to the resiliency of produce supply on a 1 to 10 scale (1 low concern, 10 highest concern). 

If you were to rate your concern about climate change relative to sustainable produce supply in future years (1 low, 10 high) what number would it be for you? How can the industry adjust to changing climate conditions?

Here are a few excerpts:

K.M. Not to come across as an alarmist, but the feedback from a range of scientists is rather uncomfortable, in particular when coupled with the absence of concern and preparedness from across the professional spectrum.

Here is an article that seeks to explain why that is: 

What, Me Worry? Humans Are Blind to Imminent Environmental Collapse Accelerating biodiversity loss may turn out to be the sleeper issue of the century.”

Needless to say, I am at a 10.


J.V. I have been following the scientists which have been observing and tracking cycles. What they seem to find is that we are at the very end of a warming cycle and in the very near future we are going to enter a mini ice age just like that one we experienced about 400 years ago. What happened then is that our brothers in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere experienced extremely cold winters and short summers for about 100 years. There were obvious changes in agriculture during that time. I expect similar conditions within the next couple of years. Science and cycles are not always dependable but often consistent.

J.P. 1 as has been pointed out, with ice ages and such, climate has never been stable. Plants and animals can adapt to climate ranges. A Canadian with his pets moves to Miami or Arizona. The climate has changed a lot for him yet what are the negative consequences? A few hundred years ago potatoes were taken from the dry, warm high plains of South America to the damp cold of Ireland....potato survived.

D.D. 8 - yet one upside...the produce industry should take advantage of the plant-based recommendations of many who are looking at climate issues and how the tipping point is fast arriving. 

B.B. 8 The climate is and will change. It has before. Human activity may have contributed but human activity cannot stop it. We must adapt to it as other life on earth has in past climate changes.

TK: Of course, readers are welcome to add to the discussion. We all view the world through the prism of our own experience. I cannot say that my own experience leads me to great alarm about climate change. But there are more voices I hear that lead me to believe the industry will face considerable challenges in future decades. 6 and rising....