2011 was a rough year, with all kinds of challenges, both political and economic (not to mention natural-disaster related). So it comes as no surprise that climate change is having some unpredicted effects, one of which is a dearth of mistletoe for holiday partygoers to kiss underneath.
Due to extremely dry weather this year in Texas, where most of the country's mistletoe comes from, it's pretty much not available at all. According to the New York Times, about 70 percent of the harvest was "compromised" this year. And what is out there is so low-quality that many people are turning to plastic versions, which, when hung up in a doorway or other spot passersby can't miss, can be hard to distinguish from the real thing.
What do droughts in Texas have to do with climate change?
Temperature and precipitation extremes are all a part of global warming. As the Earth's climate systems work overtime to control warming, that in turn creates floods in some places, droughts in others, and unseasonable weather of all sorts everywhere.
As those of us in the Northeast "enjoy" a practically balmy Christmas Eve and an only slightly less tropical Christmas Day — definitely sans snow — and now without mistletoe too, we can only blame ourselves. And expect years to come to include more devastating tropical storms, floods, droughts and weird weather conditions that affect more than just a plant that we'd like to see once a year.