In the past year the climate crisis has arguably not gotten enough coverage on the media, as we’ve all been anxious to stay on top of every twist and turn of the pandemic. Out of sight out of minds, both of these massive issues are ever so present in our everyday life, but only one of them has tangibly changed everything we do and the way we consume, connect and contribute to the greater good. On Earth Day 2021 we might be able to put a pin to the Covid-19 situation for a moment and focus on something much longer, slower, and scarier.
We’re in the business of coffee, but on a deeper, more meaningful level we are in the business of doing good. Doing good in the world is not a nice-to-have, it’s an essential. For the industry that is our bread and butter, the climate crisis is presenting a threat far beyond any it’s ever faced before. A very real and pressing reminder of this was delivered to us just last week in the form of the sad news that our Ugandan partners would be unable to sell us the amount of coffee they had expected to.
For years now the weather patterns have become more and more unpredictable in East Africa, causing the crops and harvests of coffee to become increasingly more unpredictable too. This is especially true in Kenya and Uganda, due to the massive deforestation of these countries.
This issue has now reached a point in which the Ugandan arabica harvest, usually going on from August through to January, was abruptly and without warning finished in November. Adding to this the strict lockdowns of 2020, the Ugandan coffee farmers are in a real struggle to deliver their products. For us it’s a bean we love and have to figure out to replace, but for these people it’s their lives, their safety and their future.
Coffee is an equatorial crop, which means it grows in the most important and the most affected part of the world when it comes to the climate crisis. The snowball effect of climate change is that due to the smaller crop sizes the farmers can be tempted to implement non-sustainable methods to increase their harvest and income, which further perpetuates the harmful effects of the crisis. This is one of the reasons why adequate compensation to the farmers as well as monitoring of the quality of the coffee farm is important to us.
In Finland we have a saying “he’s talking just to keep himself warm”, which means all talk no action, and is an ironically fitting statement in the case of the climate crisis. For a long time there's been talk about the drastic political and socio-economic actions that would need to be taken in order to get us on the right track to save the climate. A lot of talk, but fairly few serious measures taken. But when faced with a very imminent threat to our ways of life, Covid-19, dramatic action was taken relatively swiftly and without much compromise.
What this tells us is that our job in communicating the significance and urgency of the climate crisis and how our actions directly contribute to it is NOT done. Not even close. Fearmongering has a negative sound to it but it seems to be a highly effective tool when it comes to making real change in the world. The effectiveness of that in the case of the Covid-19 came from the imminent threat to the ones we love. Maybe the real fear of losing the things we love, such as coffee, could propel action for the climate.
We wish everyone could meet and shake the hand of the farmer of the coffee in their cup, right now. We wish everyone could see and speak to these people and understand how the climate crisis is affecting real lives. We’ve been willing to change our ways, to stop and listen, to pay a little extra, to do things the hard way in order to keep others and ourselves safe from a very real threat for the past year. If only we could do the same now for the climate, for the future of the planet. Or even just for the sake of coffee!
For your information: Due to the Ugandan situation the bean will be replaced in the following blends: Lempeä Voima, Herra Korppi, Tumma Sumu. We are working hard on replacing the bean with another one that will not affect the overall flavour profile of the blend. More info will come soon.