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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Climate change causes Nutella shortage

    In the past few years, it has been everywhere: on toast, in sandwiches, with bananas and ­— sometimes — just by itself. Nutella, a hazelnut-based product, has become one of the most popular foods in the U.S.

    However, last year in Turkey, the hazelnut harvest was severely damaged by weather and disease. In each average-sized Nutella jar, there are about 94 hazelnuts, and every year, about 250,000 tons of Nutella are sold. The damage to the hazelnut harvest has caused wholesale prices of hazelnuts to increase by more than 60 percent, which may cause the tasty treat to become so expensive that it becomes obsolete.

    This hazelnut shortage could actually raise awareness about climate change among those in the younger demographic that lives on Nutella. It is difficult to see the bigger picture when climate change isn’t directly affecting a person.

    However, it’s ridiculous that so many young people don’t think about our Earth and its climate more often. We are in trouble, and with the mindset that many in our generation hold today, we aren’t going to fix this problem.

    In January, a Pew Research Center poll showed that climate change was “ranked second to last among 20 issues” on the public’s priority list for the government. Political instability in Pakistan and North Korea’s nuclear program were both ranked higher than global climate change. This is an unsettling fact, because we are the next leaders, policy makers and business owners. Our generation needs to step up and work toward a cleaner and healthier future.

    Maybe if Nutella was to disappear from shelves the way that animals, plants and natural resources are disappearing from the planet, people will start to ask questions and look for solutions. First, it’s hazelnuts, and then, it’s sugar or rice that has a bad year. It’ll soon be too late for all of us.

    Our generation cannot afford to only take climate change seriously once something drastic and irreversible has happened. We should be thinking now about the environmental consequences that result from our dangerous habits.

    Nutella officials have released statements saying that nothing about the production, distribution or price will change as a result of the events in Turkey this past year. But even if the college student diet staple does remain the same, that isn’t the point. A shortage scare of a chocolate-like spread shouldn’t be what finally makes young Americans think about climate change.

    —Follow Trey Ross @_patriciaross

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