Intensive? Or sustainably grown?
Yes it’s that time in the school year where student’s caffeine and sleep deprivation levels spike preparing for their final exams. Coffee is needed now more than ever. Students drink whatever they can to get their ‘feine fix but do they even realize the impact their choice may make on the environment?
Global coffee production has been shifting towards a more intensive, unsustainable style of growing causing negative effects on the environment, communities, and individual farmers.
This intensive style is characterized by clearing forests or pasture for cultivation, increasing the density of plantings and switching to a variety of coffee called Robusta that tolerates full sun, and produces a high crop yield. This style of farming has been stressed by a dramatic drop in global coffee prices in order to produce the higher demand of cheap coffee made by the consumers. Shalene Jha, assistant professor in The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences, says that: “intensive coffee production is not sustainable, you exhaust the soil and after a couple of decades, it can no longer grow coffee.” Intensive coffee plantations often result in deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and soil depletion leaving communities more vulnerable to flooding and landslides.
Growing traditional or shade grown coffee is defined as cultivating under a diverse canopy of native forest trees in dense to moderate shade. As a result, shade grown coffee plantations provide shelter for migrating birds, attracts and supports valuable pollinators such as bees and bats, and provides ecosystem services such as filtering water and air, stabilizing soil during heavy rains, storing carbon, and replenishing soil nutrients. These plantations can last for centuries because they able to replenish and maintain themselves!
Track your beans! Because you know what they say- environmentally and socially conscious coffees taste so much better!
Go Skyhawks beat finals.
Information from: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416125428.htm
Post written by: Celine Hickey