When you think of climate change, you might think of polar bears and ice caps. But, did you ever think that this phenomenon would affect your morning cup of coffee?
by Vivega Saravana Prabhu
Just like how the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, coffee has become the powerhouse of the working class, especially in the United States. Many people can’t start their day without a morning cup of coffee. Yet, no one stops to think of the possible struggles that might be going on to get that coffee to your table. Around 20 million families around the globe make a living off of harvesting coffee, but, now, the coffee industry is entering an imminent coffee crisis that could affect these coffee harvesters and average people like us.
What is this coffee crisis?
In an article by Mashed, a food-related news company, for nearly 3 decades the world of coffee has been entering and reviving from many kinds of crises. One of these, involve the low prices of coffee, and its effects on small scale coffee farmers in places like Mexico, South America, Africa, India, and Vietnam.
Recently, our precious coffee has been affected by climate change.
According to Vox, farmlands that can sustain coffee will be cut in half by the year 2050, because of climate change. Even though right now we may be enjoying surplus amounts of coffee, climate change will alter these circumstances and future coffee farmers won’t be able to keep up with the high demand (inconsistent climate results in inconsistent crop yield).
So here is where the Trilemma is presented, should we be concerned about this so-called Coffee Crisis? Should we continue as it is for the sake of all coffee lovers around the world? Or is there a solution to satisfy both?
For Coffee Lovers:
According to the NCA USA (National Coffee Association USA), in 2015 the total economic impact of the coffee industry was $225.2 billion. Consumers had spent nearly $74 billion on coffee just in the year of 2015. The demand for coffee is high and many people value it so much since it is an inexpensive drink that boosts energy and productivity. A study from UC Davis confirms that the caffeine from coffee enhances the drinkers’ performers. This proves the importance and necessity of coffee needed around the world.
Furthermore, reported by NCA USA, in 2015 the coffee industry was responsible for 1,694,710 jobs in the US. If you limit coffee production, many people’s jobs will be lost and the unemployment rates will increase even more in nations worldwide.
Beware of the coffee crisis:
Even though it may seem like this crisis is a long way away, you should realize that this problem is just part of many other issues resulting from climate change. When this crisis finally comes to greet us at our doorsteps, many lives will be negatively impacted.
Many farmers will struggle to make ends meet because of the high demands and low coffee production. Many careers depend on coffee production, and countless jobs will be lost.
Moreover, a report by the Addiction Center explains that even though drinking coffee is relatively safe, a high level of consumption is going to make caffeine an addiction. By drinking more and more, you will start to become dependent on coffee and will have plenty of withdrawal symptoms without it, such as headache, anxiety, and low energy.
If the coffee crisis does decide to make an appearance, it is better to slowly start controlling your addiction now, by gradually lowering the consumption, rather than being forced to lower it all at once when farmers are no longer able to keep up.
So, what’s the Solution?
The coffee crisis is another sub-issue branching from the long-standing problem of climate change. So, what if, instead of changing the amount of caffeine we drink, we change a different habit of ours, like driving less, taking public transportation more often, and decreasing our carbon footprint. We should handle this coffee crisis just like every other climate change-related issue.
Lowering carbon emissions is a possible solution to consider. Despite the fact that carbon emissions and coffee might seem completely different, the solution being provided to you is to conquer a larger matter.
So, now you have another thing motivating you to make environmental change.
Remember what is at stake. Your “powerhouse”. Your morning cup of coffee.