It's becoming harder and harder to grow.The last time I wrote directly about the connections among climate, food and farming, I described how farming was exacerbating climate change in Hot Mess explains the problems with making our food system more sustainable and climate-friendly. This video explains how climate is already making farming worse, although one of the videos I embedded in Climate change has made Michigan warmer and wetter showed how the "wetter" part affected farmers in Michigan.* As a coffee lover and officer of Coffee Party USA, I'm concerned that it will be harder to drink my favorite hot beverage. As an educator, it works as another example for two of Commoner's Laws: Everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch. In this case, I mean the latter literally.
Coffee is one of the most popular commodities on Earth. It's grown by nearly 125 million farmers, from Latin America to Africa to Asia. But as man-made climate change warms the atmosphere, the notoriously particular coffee plant is struggling. Places like Colombia, which once had the perfect climate to grow Arabica coffee, are changing. Now, experts estimate the amount of land that can sustain coffee will fall 50 percent by 2050. It's not just a crisis for consumers but for the millions who have made a livelihood out of growing coffee.
*During last summer's geology field trip, I looked out at fields that would normally be full of corn and soybeans and saw nothing but dirt and weeds. I had never seen so many fallow fields since I started taking this field trip in 2001. That's how bad the flooding and waterlogged soil were.