I just read an article on why chocolate is good for me. Correction. I just read another article on why chocolate is good for me. Because you don’t have to try very hard to find commentary on chocolate’s antioxidant powers and its ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and improve memory and stave off cancer and all the other countless things that make chocolate a serious superfood.
Google will always offer up articles with titles like “14 Reasons to Eat More Chocolate,” “7 Proven Health Benefits of the Cacao,” and “One Square a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.” It’s the same reason studies will continue to prove that a glass of red wine will make you healthier and heartier and, let’s face it, a better person to be around. We like it when research works in our favor. And we will always need our chocolate fix.
It’s why there was a Golden Ticket. It’s the bribe that trains kids to use the potty. It’s the wooer of women and king of Valentine’s Day. It’s why we look for the Reese’s tree at Christmas and egg at Easter and pumpkin at Halloween. Milk, white, dark, salted, nutty, creamy, bitter, spicy – it is the universal meeting of the minds.
What is the world, really without chocolate?
We are about to find out.
According to a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, by 2050 our climate will no longer be conducive to the growing of cacao trees. It’s not the heat, scientists say, it’s the lack of moisture. The temperatures will continue to increase, but the rainfall necessary to keep the status quo for vegetation will not. Inevitably, the air is going to get drier and the cacao trees, which need humidity to thrive, will not be able to keep up.
But we won’t let our chocolate go down without a fight.
Scientists are working on “selectively bred seeds” with “superior drought resistance” to make a tougher species to live in a tougher world. They aim to make the cacao trees a little less temperamental. Mars, the candy company, is jumping on the bandwagon too, pledging a billion dollars towards minimizing its carbon footprint and to help fund a study at UC Berkley which uses CRISPR-Cas9 to genetically modify the DNA of our favorite tree.
In addition to these genetically altered trees, environmentalists are working to protect the current crops by preserving rain forests where the taller trees provide the cacao with vital shade, cooler the temps, and more moisture.
We are fighting the battle on all fronts, because no one wants chocolate to become vintage. But just in case, you might want to replenish that supply of Godiva in the back of the pantry. You know, for posterity’s sake.