A news story written by Chloe Hatzitolios on CTV’s website “The Loop” reported on, “How global warming is actually making our food less nutritious” based on several studies from Nature, eLife, and Harvard. This brief news story first discussed how rising carbon dioxide levels are linked to less nutritious food, in a very casual tone. They discussed how an abundance of carbon dioxide is causing the plants to increase photosynthesis producing more sugars and starch rather than other proteins and minerals, such as zinc, deeming them, “less healthy”. This background provided enough information for the reader to generally understand how plants are producing more starch and sugar at higher levels of carbon dioxide, but it would have been more effective to add some more information to possibly fill in some missing information, such as briefly discussing the mechanism of how they choose sugar production over nutrient production or explain why plants do this.
Linking and briefly describing several articles that back up the news story was effective and increases the credibility of the news story, especially with the use of recent studies. The news story then links back to global warming and how that could be affecting the nutrition of plants in different parts of the world more so than others, highlighting the importance of these studies. A quote from Ikrali Loladze, one of the researchers from one of the studies that was mentioned, helped to support the importance of the effects of global warming on plant nutrition as well and how, “there isn’t much to be done other than stop the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere”. The news story finishes off with, “Talk about an inconvenient truth”. The quote from the researcher, combined with the ending of the article, leaves the reader likely feeling hopeless, whereas finishing off the article by discussing ways the reader could help prevent increasing CO2 levels would have been more effective.
Overall, the article was brief but effective at conveying the main importance and findings of the studies (which were easily accessible) that back up the claim of how global warming is making food less nutritious. Other credible opinions were used, including a researcher from one of the studies described, but the article did include the opinion of the news story writer by finishing off the article with, “Talk about an inconvenient truth”. In addition, although there was a link to other articles that Chloe Hatzitolios wrote, there was no other information, such as an email, available which could have been useful if the reader had questions regarding the article.
This article, written by Chloe Hatzitolios of “The Loop”, discusses a recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The study considered the effects of climate change and rising greenhouse gas emissions on food nutrient production. Researchers at Harvard University modelled future carbon emissions and the resulting loss in nutrient value of four common crops grown around the world.
The results of the study are summarized well in the article; however, it refrains from describing the process with which the study came to these results. Hatzitolios does a good job of providing context for these findings. The article makes use of two other research articles that support the overall argument.
Hatzitolios clearly outlines the scientific subject of the article with informal jargon that makes it easy for the reader to comprehend. Although it may seem too colloquial and informal, it balances perfectly the call to action required of climate change studies. Some of this diction could downplay the importance of such findings as it may just sound like another negative climate change headline amidst a news storm of negative headlines.
The article does not bring in any quotes or perspectives from researchers not associated with the original article. This addition would greatly improve the quality of reporting presented since different inputs are necessary to develop a coherent opinion.
Loladze I. Hidden shift of the ionome of plants exposed to elevated CO2 depletes minerals at the base of human nutrition. Elife. 2014;3:02245. doi: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02245
Medek DE, Schwartz J, Myers SS. Estimated effects of future atmospheric CO2 concentrations on protein intake and the risk of protein deficiency by country and region. Environ. Health Perspect. 2017;125(8):087002. doi: https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP41
Myers SS, Zanobetti A, Kloog I, et al. Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition. Nature. 2014;510:139–142. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13179
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