Food by VICE

Ben & Jerry's Warns That Your Favorite Ice Cream Could Soon Be Extinct

Ben and Jerry have a cemetery dedicated to their discontinued flavors and—if we don’t clean up our act—climate change could add another two dozen headstones.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Sep 10 2016, 3:00pm

Foto von Dough Kerr via Flickr

If you're the kind of person who likes to stroll through cemeteries looking for famous graves, you can find everyone from Truman Capote to Ray Bradbury to Marilyn Monroe at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. At Père Lachaise in Paris, you can try to jump past a sheet of protective Plexiglass to leave a lip print for Oscar Wilde. And in Waterbury, Vermont, you can pay your respects to a pint of Ben & Jerry's Holy Cannoli. Ben and Jerry have an honest-to-god cemetery dedicated to their discontinued flavors and—if we don't clean up our collective act—climate change could add another two dozen headstones to that Flavor Graveyard.

In a post on its website, Ben & Jerry's has listed its "Endangered Pints," which are ice cream flavors that could be threatened by rising temperatures and other effects of global warming. "We rely on farmers all over the world for our ingredients," the company wrote. "And when they don't have the predictable weather patterns needed for farming, that can mean no cocoa, no peanuts and no Peanut Butter Cup ice cream."

The key ingredients that Ben & Jerry's have identified as being threatened by climate change are chocolate, coffee and nuts, including almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts and the all-important peanut. Rising global temperatures could affect everything from cocoa production to the number of regions that are acceptable for growing coffee—and that means that someone in Vermont could end up digging graves for Cherry Garcia and Chubby Hubby.

READ MORE: Half the World's Coffee Growing Regions Could Be Gone by 2050

So what do Ben & Jerry want us to do about it? They suggest signing a petition to "demand action," which is almost literally the least you can do. (The petition is presumably to urge dozens of other countries to ratify the Paris Agreement and agree to cut their greenhouse gas emissions). But—to Ben & Jerry's credit—the company isn't just relying on armchair activism to get its message across; in 2015, it hired a consultancy to examine its own greenhouse gas emissions and measure its carbon footprint.

Ben & Jerry learned that almost half (41%) of their carbon footprint came from the descending colons of its dairy cows. Cow farts are a huge source of methane which, according to Triple Pundit, is 21 times worse for the environment than carbon dioxide. They resolved that particular problem by working with a company that turns manure into both a liquid fertilizer and cow bedding, a disgusting-sounding solution that cut its methane emissions by 50%.

READ MORE: Cattle Farmers are Fighting Climate Change with Fart-Collecting Backpacks for Cows

Shortly after completing its product lifecycle assessment, Ben & Jerry's released a special flavor designed to raise awareness about climate change. Save our Swirled is no longer on the company's list of current flavors—but it's not in the Flavor Graveyard yet either. Maybe that means there's still hope.