Green Corner: Climate change is bad news for coffee drinkers

As summer is winding down, and the daily grind of school is coming back in full force, what is the first thing you do when you hear your alarm buzzing? Many students, faculty and staff get out of bed and head toward the coffee pot.
“About 83 percent of adults drink coffee in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer of the beverage,” according to USA Today. “That’s an average of three cups a day per person, or 587 million cups.”
When walking around Rider, you will spot endless Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts caffeinated beverages. On a larger scale, we can observe this coffee craze all around the country. Our nation’s economy has a large investment in coffee beans.
Now imagine that a cup of coffee was an expensive luxury. Climate change is starting to affect our favorite beverage. Scientists are finding that increasing temperatures, rainfall and humidity are causing fungus to grow on coffee beans, in turn diminishing the supply of this product that is in such high demand.
According to National Geographic, a fungus infection known as rust has reduced coffee yields throughout Central America. Not having coffee readily available may be a tough reality for some to face.
The article explains that coffee is a particularly sensitive crop. Too much water creates fungus while a shortage dries out the tree. This makes it hard to produce the”world’s third most popular drink (behind water and tea)”
Pesticides, and even genetically modified coffee beans have not been shown to help repopulate the coffee plants.
I am not a coffee drinker myself, but I understand how much effect this drink has on Rider, and this country. For centuries, coffee has been a part of our culture.
And the impact is also economical. Java City, Starbucks, and other places of the coffee nature have such a large impact on the economy. If coffee beans become scarce, the effect on these companies could be noticeable.
Who would have thought that a changing climate would affect the yielding of coffee for the world? It is important more than ever to think about your impact regarding climate change — especially if you are a passionate coffee drinker. If we do not embrace sustainability, who knows what cash crop will be affected next because of the changing climate.

-Stephen Schwartz
Lawrenceville Eco-Rep

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