Pestilence Update

Climate change is helping spread a fungus that attacks bananas

Blog note. Jesus indicated that ‘fearful sights’ (various natural disasters) would occur leading up to the time known as the Tribulation and Great Tribulation (a combined seven year period of great destruction on earth). Although these types of things have occurred in the past for centuries and thousands of years, they could be identified as the ‘season of the times’ due to the ferociousness of these events. They would be occurring in greater intensity, severity, frequency, size, duration, scope … just like the pains that a woman experiences in labor the farther along she is in the labor process. We are in the ‘season of the times’ that comes just before the seven (7) year Tribulation/Great Tribulation period
… And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Luke 21:11).
… And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (Luke 21:25)
… Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken; (Luke 21:26)
… This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1)
Jesus is giving a series of prophecies about what to look for as the age of grace comes to a close. These verses are several of many such prophecies from throughout the Bible. 2017 was the worst year in recorded history for the intensity, frequency, severity, duration and occurrence of a large number of severe natural disasters worldwide. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, torrential flooding, unprecedented wildfires in unusual places, devastating droughts, excessive/scorching heat setting records everywhere, record snowfalls in Europe and Russia. Snow in the Arabia. This list can go on. Most studied Eschatologists believe these ‘fearful sights’ and massive natural disasters are all part of the ‘CONVERGENCE’ of signs that this Biblical and prophetic age is closing. Most people who study prophecy are familiar with the routine reference(s) made that these things will be like a woman having labor.

Climate change is helping spread a fungus that attacks bananas

By Susan Scutti, CNN. Updated 10:32 AM ET, Tue May 7, 2019

A fungal plant disease from Asia has been spreading across banana-growing areas of Latin America and the Caribbean since the 1960s. New research suggests that climate change is aiding the spread of this highly destructive plant infection.

Black sigatoka, commonly known as “black leaf streak,” can reduce the fruit produced by infected plants by up to 80%, according to a study published Monday in the biology journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

“The disease is a fungus,” Dan Bebber, study author and a senior lecturer in microbial ecology at the University of Exeter, told CNN. “It attacks the leaves of the banana plant, which means the plant can’t make as many bananas.”

First reported in Honduras in 1972, black sigatoka has since spread throughout the region, arriving in Brazil in 1998 and the Caribbean islands of Martinique, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the late 2000s. In August 2004, black sigatoka made its first appearance in Puerto Rico.

The disease now occurs as far north as Florida, the study indicates.

The fungal disease is virulent against a wide range of banana plants and increases production costs with fungicide necessary to maintain crop yields, according to the US Department of Agriculture. “Currently, the disease is controlled by fungicide sprays. Banana growers in Costa Rica, for example, have to spray 40 to 80 times per year,” said Bebber. “This is very expensive, costing the country around $100 million per year.”

Climate change is known to significantly alter the distribution of species in the wild, yet plant responses to historical climate change are poorly understood. The new study combined experimental data on black sigatoka infections with detailed climate information over the past 60 years to understand how rapidly the spread has occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean.

What did the model show? Infection risk has increased by 44.2% on average across banana-growing areas of Latin America and the Caribbean since the 1960s through the current decade. This was due to greater wetness plus altered temperature conditions favorable to the pathogen.

While increasing banana production and global trade have probably facilitated black sigatoka’s establishment and spread, climate change has made the region increasingly conducive for plant infection, Bebber and his co-authors wrote in the study.

“We don’t know exactly what will happen in future,” Bebber told CNN. In places where the climate gets wetter, the disease will get worse, but in places that get drier over time, the disease won’t be as bad, though there careful water management will be needed since bananas are “thirsty plants.”

In short, bananas and the plethora of foods that make us happy — banana breads, pies, cereals and puddings — will not disappear from the Earth, but they certainly may become more difficult to cultivate and also more expensive for consumers.

“Our main message is that bananas are expensive to produce but cheap for us to buy,” said Bebber. “It’s important that we pay a fair price for bananas, so that growers can invest in sustainable production and research to make sure we can continue to enjoy them in the future.”

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