Twitter — when it isn’t being used to spread memes, complain about Sonic, the Hedgehog, or reveal the latest stupid thing some person we already know is stupid said — can actually be used to raise awareness in a meaningful way. The platform is relatively egalitarian and when tweets go viral they can quickly wake people up to vital issues. That’s the energy farmers and environmentalists are hoping harness with the #NoPlant19 hashtag, currently chronicling climate change’s effect on America’s Corn Belt.
Food & Wine traces the “NoPlant” movement back to 2011, when the hashtag was first used on Twitter but failed to gain newsworthy traction. Now #NoPlant is trending harder than ever, because of ongoing rain and flooding in the Midwest and American plains region and the profound impact this extreme weather will have on the country’s corn and soybean yields.
Across America’s 18 most productive corn-producing states, only 58% of this year’s corn has been sown — an alarming fact when you compare it to the 90% that had been sown this time last year, which had been in line with the previous five-year average. The unseasonably wet conditions are also having an effect on soybean farming, with only 29% of soybean acres planted compared to last year’s 74%.
All of this is bad news for farmers and consumers. Bloomberg reports that corn prices are already on the rise, with July corn futures in Chicago meeting their biggest three-day advance in seven years (corn is up in price by 4.2% to $4.38 a bushel). A single bushel can sweeten 400 cans of soda and produce 1.5 gallons of corn oil according to estimates by Ohio-based Kenyon College, so expect the price of anything using corn additives — you know, like everything we eat — to also go up.
Hopefully, the #NoPlant19 movement will help illustrate the effects of our changing climate and inspire those who are still on the fence about global warming to start facing the facts first hand. Check out some of the devastation below.