When my hometown of Vero Beach, Florida finally got its first Starbucks in 2007, it happened to be perfectly placed on the way to my high school. Like any other middle-aged working woman, my mom is not functional in the morning until she has her cup of coffee, and since she was my ride to school, a caffeine detour became part of my early morning routine. Within days, this habit grew to addiction.
When I came across CBS’s report that climate change might be pushing coffee to extinction, Jon and I thought this would be perfect for our final multimedia project. You can follow the progress of our project and that of our classmates’ projects on twitter @thinkfwd.
According to Todd Sanford, a climate scientist from the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Coffee likes a pretty narrow range of temperatures, and one of the hallmarks, really, of climate change, will be increased extremes in temperatures.” Since coffee plans have adapted to specific climate zones, a temperature increase of even half a degree can make a big different.
The director of sustainability for Starbucks, Jim Hanna, said climate change is threatening the world’s coffee supply. He told the Guardian newspaper, “What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road — if conditions continue as they are — is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a 1-pound can of ground coffee sold for an average of $5.10 in the U.S. in April, up from $3.64 the year before
As for the people who support your caffeine fix for a living, such as Luis Garzon, genetically modified coffee may be in the future.
Coffee extinction might be brewing…who wants to be around coffee drinks who can’t get their fix in the morning? I don’t.