We Are Facing Lettuce Shortage, Thanks To Climate Change

We Are Facing Lettuce Shortage, Thanks To Climate Change

Do you love lettuce in your burger or salad? If you love to keep having them in your food, then you may want to start promoting green living all around the world because we are facing lettuce shortage as a result of climate change.

Climate change sure has caused a lot of problems to us nowadays, and it doesn’t seem to stop at those problems only. The vegetable shortage that we are going to talk about is also one of the problems telling us the climate change is real.

Is this a serious problem? Well, at least for most of us this is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed. Things may get even worse and, in the future, it might not only affect the plant’s production but other plants too.

How can this happen? What can we do to solve it now or in the future? Here, in this article, we are going to talk about this.

The Stupid Lettuce

watering can

If you are a lettuce lover, you may want to visit THIS web and you may change your mind. If you didn’t change your mind, you may also want to visit The Washington Post article that says the vegetable is the thing that’s ‘wrong’ with salad.

Tamar Haspel, the writer of that article, said that the vegetable is just a waste of resource. The vegetable is part of five lowest-ranking vegetables based on nutrition content along with cucumber, radishes, and celery.

Why? According to Tamar Haspel, it is because the vegetable is just a harder-to-ship Evian with a slight addition of nutrients. The comparation comes from how in fact both of them are 96% water and 4% ‘only packaging’. In that term, of course Evian is easier to transport even though it has slightly less nutrition.

This is the reason why the vegetable is usually eaten raw instead of being cooked. Because if it is cooked first before eaten, the vegetable will excerpt all of its water content and shrink significantly. All that’s left would be just small amount of withered green.

Furthermore, Haspel also said, “Lettuce is a vehicle to transport refrigerated water from farm to table.” Seem too harsh for you, lettuce lovers? Then we should talk about the next thing that make this plant seem even more stupid like the website we mentioned above said.

Lettuce Shortage

lettuce in the water

Don’t you know that there are a lot of varieties of lettuce? We can mention bunching lettuce, butterhead, Batavian, celtuce, oilseed, and of course iceberg variety. The variety of lettuce that we all know used in both salad and burgers is iceberg lettuce.

The lettuce got its name from how it is transported with crushed ice, making the head looks like iceberg. This variety contributes for 95% of lettuce consumed by people living in United States, as we know most salad and burgers are using it.

The problem is, 90% of this variety grown only in Arizona, and the state is currently facing water shortage. The only water source for the state coming from Colorado River. Recently, United States Interior Department is cutting the state’s allocation by more than 20% with agriculture takes 72% of that allocation.

Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke said that this decision is unacceptable. Part of it is because the vegetable needs a lot of water to grow, around 15 gallons of water per pound of lettuce.

Let alone how every lettuce needs to be washed three times to fulfill the hygienic standard. Therefore, with even less allocation of water that the state can receive, local government might have to sacrifice some of the produce.

As a result, there is a high chance that most people will not be able to enjoy their beloved lettuce this winter. They have to wait for better season that gives more water, so the farmers can grow lettuce again, such as next spring.

Worsening Drought

Drought in the west part of the country is one example of how climate change can affect us directly. Lettuce shortage is just one small example of how climate change can affect the availability of our food supply.

“The worsening drought crisis impacting the Colorado River Basin is driven by the effects of climate change, including extreme heat and low precipitation. In turn, severe drought conditions exacerbate wildfire risk and ecosystems disruption, increasing the stress on communities and our landscapes,” as Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau told Treehugger.

While water level in the Colorado River Basin is decreasing, the demands for products which need water to produce is not decreasing. Therefore, government needs to address water usage according to its significance.

Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo said, without paying good attention to water usage there might be conflicts or disasters. Therefore, she suggested that water usage needs to be as efficient as possible.

“Every sector in every state has a responsibility to ensure that water is used with maximum efficiency. In order to avoid a catastrophic collapse of the Colorado River System and a future of uncertainty and conflict, water use in the Basin must be reduced,” as stated by Tanya Trujillo.

Converting to Cabbage

Companion Planting
Companion Planting of Cabbage

If the lettuce shortage really happens, what can we do without lettuce? Well, there are a lot of answer to that, and one of the best options is to convert into cabbage. Cabbage is more nutritious if compared to lettuce.

Cabbage contains around 60% of our daily vitamin C intake, while lettuce contains only 4% of it. In addition to that, cabbage contains vitamin B6 whose lack can cause rashes, cracks on lips, swollen lounge, and even anemia.

Cabbage contains also twice the amount of dietary fiber compared to lettuce, in addition to almost twice the calory. Therefore, cabbage can become a good substitute for lettuce if you want to put it into salad.

But if you want to put it into burgers, you might find cabbage a little bit tougher and crunchier than lettuce. You may also find the taste is a little bit stronger, since lettuce contains a lot more water than cabbage.

So, would you convert to cabbage if lettuce shortage really happens?

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