Daria Blagova
Samvel Gevorgyan

Chocolate might disappear because of climate change. How so? Let's figure it out.

It is time to admit that the global climate is rapidly changing. Even now, glaciers are melting, whole species of animals are dying out, more and more people are getting sick from the water, air, and soil pollution. Very soon, each of us will feel the changes. How? We will explain on the example of chocolate.
What is wrong with the climate?

The average global temperature is already one degree higher than in the middle of the XIX century. It seems like a small thing, but no: glaciers melt, and along with it animals die and coastal areas get flooded; plants begin to bloom earlier, and hence suffers the agriculture as well as whole species of crops. In recent decades, the average temperature is rising faster than ever — this is due to the fact that we, humans, recklessly use the benefits of the planet Earth more and more often.

Scientists have estimated that by 2035 the average temperature will rise to such a degree that humanity will reach the point of no return, meaning that the changes occurring on the planet will be impossible to reverse, and even our ability to adapt will lose its significance.
Why is this happening?
First of all, the climate is changing due to the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The emission occurs due to the extensive consumption of oil, gas, and coal. And they burned not just by anyone, but by you and me when we start the car to drive to the next supermarket. There are other harmful gases — methane and ethylene, which are released in large quantities directly from our trash in the garbage dump. It is known that it takes several hundred years for a plastic bottle (or any other product made of this material, including bags and packaging for sweets) to decompose and during this process, it produces these harmful volatile substances. Even a tomato thrown into a landfill will not rot at once but will emit a little methane into the atmosphere.
What does this have to do with chocolate?

Go to the supermarket and look around: you will see dozens of shelves filled with chocolate bars and candies in bright wrappers. Sweets are an affordable and easy way to please children, express gratitude to a colleague or just treat yourself. By the way, for many chocolate is a great (albeit short-term) way to fight stress.

Unfortunately, soon we will have to find a new way to deal with unpleasant information, especially after reading this article, since there will be much less chocolate in the near future, and in the next 40 years, it might completely disappear.

The thing is that chocolate is made from cocoa beans that grow on trees in tropical forests — and only in areas within 20 degrees to the south or to the north of the equator. To survive, they need a constant temperature, the same level of humidity and a certain amount of precipitation. But, unfortunately, the climate is changing.

Experts of the National oceanic and atmospheric administration believe that if the temperature rises by only 2.1 °C within 30 years, the ecosystem will suffer serious losses. The fact is that when the air temperature rises, the soil loses more and more water. At the same time, according to scientists, the amount of precipitation will not be able to increase enough to compensate for the loss of moisture. As a result, plants will die — including cocoa trees, from which our favorite chocolate is obtained.
What do we have to do?

We must admit that we, the citizens of beautiful Armenia, a country with unique natural resources, often look at the mountain peaks and admire the beauty of our valleys, but do not notice what is right under our feet.

In 2018, a large — scale environmental campaign called World Cleanup Day took place in Armenia. During that day 10,000 people left their homes and apartments to clean up the country. There were volunteers who even dived into Sevan — and pulled out a plastic chair from the bottom! It is difficult to guess how it ended up in the lake, but the reason is clear — human recklessness. Do you think that chair was the only 'treasure' at the bottom of Sevan? Of course not! Probably, there are kilograms of plastic, which continues to harm all of us. The organizers of the action thought about it, and this year launched a major environmental platform Climate Uturn designed to preserve the environment through changing people's habits. After all, it is known that by changing your buying habits, you can reduce the amount of waste by 70%!
Everyone can change their daily habits — it's not that hard. It is only necessary to take a cloth bag to the store and leave the plastic bag behind. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Walk or use public transport more often. Buy a bike and use it to get to work. After starting to do all of these things, you will no longer be able to safely look at the garbage that is lying under your feet, and never reach out for a free package in the supermarket.

We can protect our Sevan, our mountains and the future of the whole planet. And, by the way, there is a chance to save chocolate too! But look closely at the store shelves, which are full of a variety of sweets: do we really need all of this packaging?