Whether it’s because of their overwhelming schedules or the media’s romanticized portrayal of coffee drinking, millennials have become obsessed with coffee. However, with the changing climate throughout the world, the main ingredient of coffee is in jeopardy. Growing coffee beans is getting more difficult in the warmer temperatures and unpredictable rainfall, meaning your go-to morning coffee might not be around much longer.
Millennials Addiction to Coffee
Millennials love their morning (and afternoon, and nighttime) coffee run. They say it keeps them going throughout the day and gives them the energy to do everything they have to do — but they likely didn’t arrive at this conclusion on their own.
Social media and other forms of media are pushing coffee drinking at millennials. Society has framed coffee to be an important part of a social and productive life, and it represents a certain lifestyle. Millennials constantly see social coffee drinking in TV shows and advertisements. Just like everything else that is advertised, they believe they need it to survive and to be happy individuals. This sells the idea of being an avid coffee drinker to millennials, leading to rising numbers of coffee shops and more and more people drinking coffee. However, this trend might be brought to a halt soon, much to the dismay of these millennials.
Coffee Bean Crisis
Coffee beans are grown in what is known as the Bean Belt, which is a strip made up of 70 countries around the globe. These nations include Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Cuba. This area makes the best coffee beans because it has the perfect climate: a tropical climate with rainy and dry seasons. Coffee beans are very particular when it comes to the conditions in which they will grow. The slightest change in temperature can change the entire taste and quality of the coffee bean.
Global warming, however, is bringing warmer and wetter weather overall throughout the entire globe. This change is affecting a lot of areas, including coffee farming. The rising temperatures often cause infestation in areas that were not affected prior to the climate change. Also, extremely hot or extremely cold weather can kill entire batches of crops. Because of these difficult conditions for coffee farming, some countries that are currently some of the largest suppliers of coffee beans will eventually become less suitable for production, as soon as the 2050s.
The reasonable solution to these coffee farms becoming unusable would be to make more coffee bean farms in other areas of the world. However, this would create more deforestation, and the farmers would still have to combat tricky and unpredictable weather.
There are about 25 million coffee farmers throughout the world. Many of these farmers live in low socioeconomic societies and receive very little education. This means they do not receive information about best practices and efficient ways to grow their coffee beans and adjust their farming to better suit climate change. If they do receive this information, they often do not have the time or means necessary to make the adjustments.
They are put in a position of fragility, and their entire livelihood is constantly at risk. In developing countries, coffee is the second most valuable product they export. A decrease in this trade would be economically devastating for these countries. The decrease of coffee bean production puts a lot of these people’s jobs at risk and might make it difficult for them to even survive.
How to Help
Overall, the decrease in coffee bean production doesn’t seem like it will be good for anybody. So if you’re someone who loves coffee and can’t imagine a world without it, now is the time to take action! Spend time learning about exactly how coffee farming is being threatened and how citizens and the government may be able to help. Also, when you purchase coffee, choose coffee that has the fair trade mark. This ensures the workers who produced the coffee are receiving fair compensation for their hard work. These workers are the ones who will receive the information needed to keep their coffee farms going through the trials of climate change.
With climate change and global warming still being a national debate, it is also important to spread the word that climate change is real and that it is affecting many areas of our culture, whether we realize it (or admit it) or not. Inform yourself about the causes and effects of climate change so you can be part of the movement to spread the true information and lead the march on getting the world back to a healthy spot.
Climate change is jeopardizing one of the world’s favorite beverages, and it might put the coffee and caffeine addiction at a standstill. Without coffee beans, there is no coffee and no coffee shop — which is a nightmare for some people, especially millennials.