Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coffee and Conservation

A lot of us rely on coffee to get our brains going in the morning. But it's important to think about coffee, not just with it; after all, the coffee-growing regions of the world overlap with many of our planet's key biodiversity hotspots, and our morning cup has implications for the whole world. Tropical forests help control both local weather and global climate, and provide habitat for species ranging from familiar songbirds to species as yet unknown to science. When impoverished coffee growers clear-cut these forests for coffee plantations or overuse pesticides, the damage remains long after the buzz wears off.


Many of these issues are complex, and there are a wide variety of certification criteria. What does it mean to say that coffee is shade-grown? Just how organic is an organic bean? Should you choose a brew from Costa Rica or Nicaragua? The Coffee & Conservation blog at http://www.coffeehabitat.com/ is an in-depth tour through the mysterious plantation of the facts, dedicated to untangling the environmental and social issues surrounding coffee cultivation and guiding caffeine fiends to the most sustainable fix.


Short of time? Check out their Top 5 Indicators of Sustainable Coffee list to help you make a snap judgment. Or read the product reviews to see how your current choices stack up.

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2 comments:

Spooky said...

I'm a Coop member and I recently worked on a project that is related to this so I'd like to mention it here. The Coffeelands Landmine Trust is a microgrant program for helping farmers to get prosthetics or start new businesses in the wake of landmine injuries which are shockingly common in coffee growing areas. You can see more at http://coffeelandstrust.org/ and at the very least it's a great example of responsible action toward growers on the part of coffee sellers. Thanks for addressing some of the questions around our huge coffee industry in your blog post.
kris@silente.com

Maura said...

Thanks for your comment, Kris, and the info on Coffeelands Landmine Trust.