The Agricultural Disasters In Your Thanksgiving Dinner

The insane weather and changing elements are making food production more difficult. A look at what you’ll be eating this week is a tour of flood, famine, and drought.

While you’re sitting at the Thanksgiving table, take a moment to be thankful for the food in front of you. Not just because there are so many who don’t have easy access to food, but because it’s getting harder and harder to grow any food at all.


In this infographic from Resource Media (click on it to enlarge and zoom), we can see just a few of the many ways that weird weather is ravaging the Thanksgiving plate. Heavy rain is stymieing crop production of vegetables and wheat, drought is causing pumpkin prices to skyrocket, heat waves are killing turkeys (over 4,000 this past summer), cold spring weather in California forced wine grape production down, and Hurricane Irene ravaged the vegetable harvest in parts of the Northeast.

This isn’t going to stop. According to the World Meteorological Organization’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the concentration of harmful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is at a record high–so high that it surpasses the worst case scenario put forth by the UN’s expert climate panel in 2001. Even if the entire planet starts dramatically cutting emissions today (and we probably won’t), greenhouse gases will linger in the atmosphere, causing ever-more extreme weather events.

It’s depressing news, to be sure. But on Thankgiving, at least, it’s important to put it in perspective: In spite of everything, we still have tasty food on our plates.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.