Ever since mankind settled down to grow crops and raise livestock and stopped being hunter gatherers, there has been an overall well-being and the effects on the health of humans are positive. However, as the industrialization grew through 18th and 19th century, the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the air by the burning of coal, oil and petroleum had caused many negative effects to the atmosphere and the climate.
Little warmth does help the plants and crops to grow faster and to increase the production but in many areas the overall effect especially with the release of greenhouse gasses such as methane and CFCs has caused a change in the climate which is overall detrimental to agricultural production.
The major effect which climate change has on crops is that it affects the natural processes of the crops and plants. Many of the food crops are flowering plants and due to climate change, the cycles of flowering process are altered. Even the businesses which deal with the decorative flowers for weddings and funerals are starting to take a hit.
These businesses have been severely affected as the flowers are seasonal and those seasons are also being altered unpredictably.
The use of fertilizers and poisonous pesticides, the failure to keep the water available and maintaining the soil moisture poses many challenges to agriculture. Changing technological advancement also plays a vital role.
Effects of climate change on flowering plants
The crops grown for food are mostly flowering plants. The flowering seasons allow the plants to be pollinated by many insects and bees and even birds such as hummingbirds.
Nature plays a very important part in the flowering process despite the improvements in farming technology to improve the yields.
The increasing temperatures have a great impact on the crops growth period. Some crops might have increased yields but many others suffer negative effects like reduction in quality and amount of yield. One of the reasons for this is that the crops produce the flowers earlier than they naturally do. This would have a major impact on the pollination that takes place on the flowers. This would happen because the pollinating animals and insects won’t be there in adequate quantities on the right time as the flowers would bloom earlier.
One of the other effects of rising temperatures is that the crop reduces its yield if sufficient nutrients are not available in the atmosphere and soil. It has been studied that as the CO2 increases in the environment, it reduces the protein in the harvested crops. This affects the quality of yield. Because of this, the livestock industry is also affected adversely because the animals eat those crops having fewer nutrients. Fewer nutrients means weaker livestock.
Technology can assist but would have limited effect on the crops. However, not all crops can be grown in confined forms such as vertical farms and greenhouses. This also adds up to the costs of growing these food crops (flowering plants) and the raising of livestock, making business unsustainable.
The extreme temperatures would cause floods and prevent the crops from growing. The worst is that the fungi, pests and weeds tend to thrive in warm temperatures. Due to this, many pests and diseases have reactivated and damaged crops.
Solutions to Effects of Climate Change on Flowering Plants
Many scientists all over the world have been warning us about the effects of climate change and the role of methane, CO2 and other pollutants. Many fossil fuels, governments and fossil fuel industries have been denying the evidence. The world is facing many weather events, flooding of coastal cities and many other events which reflect this.
One of the simplest mitigation methods could be to adopt small scale subsistence farming. As the food products travel long distances producing a lot of CO2 (high carbon footprint) and the distribution is also inefficient, therefore, many countries should produce their own crops rather than importing or even exporting.
Having greenhouses, vertical farms and distribution within 300 miles for most of the food would change the world for betterment. The markets are becoming more environmentally friendly as they are being a source for fresh, locally grown food and they tend to have food which is organic.
Without bringing a change in the way we produce, consume and distribute our food; Earth would have a crisis of unprecedented scale since these factors are linked together. Earth is our home and is the only planet with a habitable environment. We should ensure that the coming generations can say the same.