Changing crops to grow

by Asako Takahashi

Global warming is one of the most known environmental issues that our planet is facing. We see the news that talks about how ice has started to melt and how it is taking away over the ocean-land for animals living there. For people living in the United States, this story may not sound too urgent kind of issue that makes you start acting on the issue of slower global warming considering how far we live. However, global warming is not about melting ice nor raising the temperature. Instead, it is also affecting foods that farmers around the world produce. Moral Ground, a book published in 2011, talks about different stories that got some kind of impact of the environment. One of the stories talk about the environmental change that impacted agriculture in Southern China and this story shares the experience of one of the local farmers. Fulin Wang is the name of the farmer who was interviewed by the author. He used to make different kinds of food, he says. He used to make oranges, cherries, and tea in his farm land. His cherry trees were the first to get planted since he purchased the land. Cherry trees got bigger and bigger after taking a good care of them. He shares how he talked with his wife what they would do with the money that they earned as his business seemed to be going well. The article describes the approaching threat as “invisible killer”. Wang and his wife did not see its coming but increasing global warmth was slowly affecting the cherry trees that they are growing. Gradually, the gap between the number of his harvested cherries and his neighboring province's harvested cherries started to expand. While his neighbors had a really good harvest, Wang's family harvested only two hundred pounds of cherries out of thousands of trees. The reason was that his farm was located at the lower elevation compared to his neighboring provinces. Which made the environment for cherry trees to be slightly warmer than theirs. Cherry trees require to have few cold seasons in the process of its growing the fruits and the warm temperature did not help them to thrive and to fully grow beautiful trees. This article also explains how environmental change can affect agriculture, the work that feed us. Wang struggled from the shortage in his harvest for a while and storm in 2008 took away the entire cherry trees and the situation with temperature change did not let him grow back cherry trees. It was hard for Wang and his wife to figure out what else they can grow so they can make living.