Before It's Gone explores the impact of climate change on coffee with Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans. We talk about environmental and economic issues, and the problems farmers face when their coffee crops fail.
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When you take climate change down to its impact on families and environments on a local level, it's profound and it's here right now. The statistic I’ve read is about fifty percent. Of all coffee land will disappear by 2050 - and that's a profound impact on people, on the environment, and on economics. Coffee is a profitable marketplace. And everybody involved in coffee can be doing a lot more to ensure that climate change doesn't destroy not only the planet, but coffee farmers’ lives that we depend on.
What will happen is the destruction of coffee crops leads to the loss of livelihood for farmers, that leads to environmental refugees of several million people worldwide, will happen in a very short time.
It’s this cascading effect of climate change can change the environment, and then you have a choice - you can try to make the environment better, or try to increase coffee production. If you make environment better your yields may be lower for a couple of years, but you're creating a healthy environment and long-term sustainability for your coffee farm. If you go for the short-term fix of just planting more coffee trees, cutting down trees, in the short amount of a couple of years you may have some more coffee. But in the long run, you’re only exacerbating the problems of climate change.
These are the two-paths forward. On one hand we have the Fairtrade and organic movement that is trying to assist farmers towards healthier plants. And on the other hand we've got the movement towards more coffee, let's get more coffee out there.
There's a tension in the industry, is it going to be high-quality, small producer, environmentally sensitive coffee, or is it gonna be mass-produced, get it out there so we can keep the big companies in business coffee?
It's up to the consumers, roasters, the farmers to work together to address these issues on a micro level. Such as, learning dry land techniques. Such as, alternative income for coffee farmers.
Every cup of coffee you buy, you can be either helping a coffee family for driving them deeper into poverty.
For me, I think that the word sustainable should be banned. Just like all natural. It has no legal meaning. Anybody can say it, and every coffee company I know is saying that their coffee is sustainable. Well, that's really interesting. Considering coffee is not sustainable right now given climate change.
Before it's Gone is produced by Video4Good and hosted by Gretchen Siegchrist
- Climate Change