Year 4, Month 2, Day 6: You’ll See No Potato Juice

The Seattle Times addresses the problems facing the coffee growers of the world:

One of the biggest problems facing coffee farmers in India and elsewhere is climate change. Fluctuations in the weather have always happened, but they come more frequently now and are often more extreme, farmers say.

Like many tropical crops, coffee needs predictable dry and wet seasons and cannot tolerate extreme temperature fluctuations.

“Climate change is hitting us hard,” said Jacob Mammen, managing director of India’s Badra Estates. Three times in recent years, Badra has lost a third of its crop because of rains at the wrong times. Some rains come too soon, causing trees to blossom early; others come as the trees bloom or are ready to be harvested, destroying valuable blossoms or dropping ripe coffee cherries; still others ruin coffee left to dry on outdoor patios.

To protect coffee from the latter fate, nearby Balanoor Plantations spent more than $20,000 for a large cylindrical drying drum last year.

The drinks, and the laughs, are on me. Sent January 28:

American coffee drinkers have had a chance to sample a wide variety of the finest coffees the world has to offer, and selecting one’s personal favorite bean from a huge selection is now a perfectly ordinary part of shopping. But the impact of climate change on coffee growers is going to change this equation drastically. What we’re likely to be drinking in coming years won’t necessarily be the coffee that tastes the best, but that which is most resistant to weather extremes and the various epiphenomena of the greenhouse effect. Of course, it isn’t just coffee that’ll be affected, but virtually everything we eat and drink.

Our politicians, terrified of offending their corporate paymasters, continue to dawdle and delay instead of taking immediate steps to protect our agriculture from the consequences of climate change. But with each year that passes, action becomes more expensive — and less effective. The time for excuses and evasions is past. Wake up and smell the coffee.

Warren Senders

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