You Can Call Me Al!

Congratulations to Vice President Al Gore for winning the Nobel Peace Prize this morning! In the last year, Gore has won an Emmy, an Oscar and now a Nobel Prize! Not bad. Of course he also won the popular vote for President in 2000 in something we like to call an “election” here in the States, but his brother wasn’t the governor of any contested states, so it didn’t count. It’s not like the guy who did take office made any huge mistakes, blunders or started a land war in Asia. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

But this post is not about the past, but the future, because for all of us who make our living in the world of coffee, global climate change is going to affect our future. When I was in Costa Rica this spring for the CoE, one of the things many of the farmers and micro-millers talked about was the effects they were noticing in their microclimates already which may be caused by global warming. Rains didn’t fall when they normally did and the length of the growing season was shifting, they said. I also heard stories like this last year in Nicaragua.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

In some ways, I believe, the coffee industry is ahead of the curve in being able to combat this type of problem, because we, including everyone in the seed-to-cup chain already makes such a concerted effort to turn this into a sustainable industry. Roasters use renewable energy. Cafés have moved away from styrofoam. Farmers are investing more in organic growing methods instead of petroleum-based fertilizers. And yet we still have so far to go. Do any container ships run on biodiesel or wind power?

The costs for unchecked climate change will be devastating for the coffee industry, and we all have to do what we can to mitigate their impacts. We also have to find solutions so that we can continue to work in this field that we love on the only planet that we have. And thanks to the leadership of Al Gore and others, maybe we can get cracking on this before it’s too late!

Way to go, Al!

By the way, if you haven’t seen Al’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, you really should.

About the Author