Image created using photos from Unsplash by David Greenwood-Haigh and Raphaël Menesclou
Nina: Nana, you know why no one really cares about the environment?
Nana: Do you know why I don’t really care about your theories?
Nina: No. You should care. But that’s not important, the environment is. The reason people don’t care about the environment, is it’s neither a sufficiently immediate problem, nor personal.
Nana: Like I know I’m going to be dead before any major environmental crisis kicks in, especially if you bore me to death.
Nina: Exactly, Nana. Not the me boring you part, but it’s very difficult to get people to give up comforts, or get off their lazy butts and make an effort to avert a crisis that will occur beyond their lifetime. Yet, environmental processes are so gradual, that if we defer making drastic lifestyle changes, until the time of the generation which will be critically affected, it will be too late .
Nana: Now there’s a conundrum. Did you just waste five minutes of the precious little of my remaining life, to tell me something so useless?
Nina: Bear with me Nana. It’s true the crisis is not going to be sufficiently immediate, for the people who need to work towards averting it. But perhaps we can make it sufficiently personal for them.
Nana: How so?
Nina: Almost everyone simply loves chocolate, and many go so far as to call themselves chocoholics.
Nana: You mean, like you?
Nina: Yes. We can motivate such people to fight for the preservation of rain-forests, by spreading awareness that the destruction of these not only trigger ecological crises and extinction of obscure species like snakes and exotic birds, but that the destruction of rain-forests could also pose a serious threat to the chocolate industry.
Nana: You can’t just make up stuff. No one will believe you.
Nina: Actually Nana, sadly people will believe loads of nonsense, lies and crap on social media, but as it happens, I am not making this up.
Nana: Oh, then how does deforestation affect chocolate production?
Nina: You see Nana, the unique pollination process of cacao blossoms requires a rain-forest environment. The dust-speck sized chocolate midge; the only type of insect that can pollinate cacao blossoms, are found only in rain-forests, and they cannot be bred or trained up like bees to do human bidding. So cacao trees can only be grown in existing rain-forests. Even the midge successfully pollinates less than one in twenty cacao blossoms. So for loads of cacao beans, there need to be lots of undamaged rain-forest.
Nana: If it matters so much, this multi-billion dollar industry will find a way around the problem.
Nina: Well, they haven’t so far, and it’s not like they haven’t tried. Besides, did you know that if cacao beans were not first fermented, the chocolate would be gray and sour.
Nana: Yew, gross! But what has this to do with rain-forests?
Nina: Proper fermentation of the beans can only happen in the rain-forests which have the proper combination of microbes. People don’t really understand the process enough to make it work elsewhere. So what do you think, Nana? Can chocolate lovers save our rain-forests?
Nana: No idea, but perhaps it’s worth a try. Go find some chocoholics and bug them.
Nina: I will. I am launching a website and a social media campaign, but you always say one has to make this happen in the real world, and social media is not enough. So I made these badges. I’m giving them to all the kids in the neighborhood. Since you love chocolate so much, I made you one too.
Nana: Nonsense, I don't touch chocolate. I'm too old for all that sugar and fat.
Nina: Now Nana, I know you have been having midnight cravings and stealing my chocolates from the fridge. I was keeping an eye on the fridge last night, and took a video. I could tell Mama about it, or I could keep quiet. It depends on whether you will wear this ‘Chocoholics Protect Rainforests’ badge and help me spread the word about saving our rain-forests. I got the idea from Hermione's SPEW. Mine is CPR for short. The environment needs resuscitation, you see.
Nana: Fine, but this is blackmail, you know! It’s blackmail and it’s illegal, you brat!
The information for this article was obtained from this article. Please read the article for more fascinating facts about chocolate manufacturing.
This post is a part of the #NinaAndNana series I co-host with Lavanya Srinivasan. Her posts can be found here.