Can’t Stand the Heat: The Hidden Costs of Climate Change

Words and Images by Sophie Houlden | Twitter @SophieAHoulden


For cherries to flourish properly and have the best chance at development they are best to grow in a cool temperature. However, once again because of the rise in temperature the cherries grow at much quicker rates. So more cherries, at an accelerated rate, what’s the problem in that? Sadly, because of the plant growing much faster, when the cool air does eventually turn up, the plant is helpless and exposed, resulting in fruit unsuitable for consumption.

(Chocolate/peanut butter)

Countries that produce cocoa are facing a rise in temperature but not precipitation. This may  result in the best sunbathing weather for us, but cocao trees need a balanced amount of rainfall to match the increased heat. If not, the water evaporates before the plant can absorb the moisture it needs.

Peanut butter faces a similar fate. This crop is also suffering from an acceleration in temperature, resulting in droughts. As peanuts are a fussy crop, it grows best when it has been visited by 20-40 inches of rain. With abnormal variations of rain this the crop struggles to produce properly because of its specific yield requirements, and can result in either the crops drying out or it producing a toxic mould.


Climate change isn’t only producing vigilantes standing in front of your cars demanding ‘we declare climate emergency’, it is also producing soil fungus, which could be regarded as bananas biggest enemy… well, after man and possibly monkeys. This is because it doesn’t only destroy the crop, making the fruit inedible, but it also rings the dinner bell for insects and critters.


As a child nothing beats the apricot squeezie yoghurt in your packed lunch. However the next generation might not get to experience the same excitement. Once again, this freak weather is changing fruit. These ever increasing warmer winters are resulting in smaller harvests, and one of the fruits that gets tangled in this are apricots. However, studies suggest that they are increasing their natural fructose levels, becoming sweeter than current plants, and ultimately being quite toxic.


Peaches fall under the same umbrella as apricots. Hot weather is affecting their size and general taste. As a result it is likely that the location of where they are grown will change to ensure that the same taste is still able to be produced. More human interference, more selective agriculture, and consequently more wastefulness.  


If you are not already aware of the alarming price of coffee at the minute, you obviously are one of the few that doesn’t rely on a caffeine fix to wake you up in the morning. Other than everyday capitalism, the main reason for the escalation in the price of your brew is down to global warming and the results of droughts. Coffee is seeing the effect of higher temperatures which is resulting in its lower yield. The coffee bean is also battling coffee rust, which is produced by the harsh heat followed by the drowned soil, this also increases the ambush of insects that then feed on the sad excuse of a coffee plant.

Sports/ Heat stress

Bad news for all the fitness fanatics who get your best shot of serotonin from achieving a new PB from your latest run. When temperatures score to 90 degrees, sweat is increased by 50%. Effects of heat stress, particular in sports, has already been seen by many, whether that be in the lack of records being broken in the Rio Olympics or the interruptions in Men’s Fifa World Cup where many matches had to take a pause so that players could take cooling breaks. 

Air travel

You’d be lying if you said you didn’t long for a week away somewhere abroad, sunbathing at the all-inclusive resort you found online at a suspicious price. Yet how relaxed would you feel if I told you those flights were going to rise in price, take longer and become more deadly? Air travel has become one of the biggest human generated carbon footprints, due to the increased temperature to the atmosphere caused by pollution. It is resulting in airplanes being damaged by the penetrating winds that can slow down your journey time. “Have you trying to convince yourself you’re not on Flight 180?” 

Maple syrup

Have you noticed that maple syrup is gradually getting darker in colour? Well, if you have it’s all due to (guess what?) the most common offender on the list: climate change. Specifically the bizarre weather that has been stressing out the Maple trees to concentrate on producing more seeds, instead of producing the sweet maple sap that takes up a large percentage of the contents in the production of maple syrup.


Every household in western culture seems to have some sort of assortment of scented candles, whether that be the everyday scents that linger through the house, or the specially overpriced candle that supposedly smells like Christmas itself. Just in case anyone wasn’t aware of the current season… But did you know these same objects don’t leave the same pleasant scent in your lungs or aroma for the rest of the planet?


Unfortunately when the apocalypse arises it’s going to be very unlikely that we’ll be able to have a glass of wine and watch the world burn. The hike in temperature is causing grapes to ripen too early and the vines are being crippled by the heat. These intense weather conditions are even affecting how our last bottles of wine will taste as the vines are going into thermal shock, which can then result in dramatic taste alterations. 


Magazine and website celebrating Nottingham's stories.

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