This Map Of 2100 Should Make You Nervous About The Future Of Farming

Illustration for article titled This Map Of 2100 Should Make You Nervous About The Future Of Farming

When we imagine the farms of the next century, the images tend to be cleaner, more clinical, perhaps more akin even to a laboratory than a field. But the future that’s actually on our horizon looks much darker and messier than all that.

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Researchers at the University of Hawaii just published a study in PLOS Biology of what it will be like to farm in the climate of 2100 — and the news is not good: The number of total days when the earth’s environment capable of growing plants is likely to drop by a total of 10% across the board.

The really alarming part of the study, though, is the map above — it shows how the change in growing days will fall in every country in the world.

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Because, while the total number of growing days per year is going to drop by 10%, it’s not as simple as just taking a clean 10% off the top of however many days you had last year. Some parts of the world will actually gain growing days — but the vast majority of the world will be losing, and some areas will be losing hard.

What would a world in which a few countries’ food supply is thriving, while the rest of the world is rapidly losing its ability to feed itself look like? I don’t know — but I do know that it would be a volatile one.

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DISCUSSION

Admittedly, I haven’t read through the entire journal article linked above, but are the authors factoring in expected advancements in GMO crops (I realize that’s almost a dirty word these days, but it is what it is) making some potentially more heat and drought resistant?

Seems like such advances could help offset this projected loss of potential growing days.