Does climate change mean fewer almonds?

Published 11:20 am Tuesday, August 24, 2021

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To the Editor:
Almonds are a key ingredient in my favorite granola recipe, and many people love Almond Joy candy bars. I add almond butter to smoothies, celery sticks, bananas, and apples because I am hypoglycemic and have to have as much protein as I can to balance with carbohydrates. Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. These delicious nuts are also a good source of fiber, low in sugar, and promote heart health as well as helping to prevent weight gain. Some nutritionists believe that eating them may help you fight diabetes and Alzheimer’s. This excellent food is used in a variety of ways: almond crusted chicken/fish; streusels/muffins; pesto; salads and green beans to name a few favorites. I regularly use almond flour in a pancake recipe and drink almond milk.
So how are almonds in our local grocery stores and climate change related? A dangerous drought is taking place in the San Joaquin Valley and is threatening one of our favorite and versatile foods and one of California’s most profitable crops. With extremely high temperatures and drought in almond growing areas out West, “deficit irrigation” is taking place. California produces roughly 80% of the world’s almonds. As water becomes scarce expensive orchards will be abandoned, and almond production as well as other similar crops will decline making it difficult to locate and afford these precious foods.
Is there anything we can do to avoid this economic disaster? Please work on helping to slow down extreme weather events by asking our Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty and Representative Harshbarger to pass legislation that puts a price on carbon emissions in order to decrease extreme heat, fire and drought. What do we have to lose if we decrease pollution, improve the air we breathe, help farmers, help the economy, and save the almonds? What do we lose if we fail to take action now?
Thanks to Terence Chea (Associated Press) who brought this problem to my attention.
Norma Morrison
(Morrison is a member of the bipartisan, non-profit Northeast Tennessee Citizens Climate Lobby)

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