Happy Mother's Day, Mother Earth

It's Mother's Day. How are you treating your mother? I don't mean the woman who gave birth to you or the one who raised you. I'm talking about our Mother, Mother Earth, without whom none of us would be here. As coffee lovers, we should be paying very close attention to how we all treat the world around us. You may have missed this interview about the challenges of ethical business from Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans, though the video is actually here on site on the Dean's Beans profile. This is a little snippet from the clip that I think everyone who loves coffee should hear.

What keeps Dean Cycon up at night isn't something new. I wrote about it first three years ago in a blog post at BlogonSmog, a blog about environmental issues. I suggested that coffee is like the canary in the coal mine in a post titled "Why a Coffee Blogger Is Writing About Climate Change on Earth Day" In the years since, I've only seen more and more evidence that we need to be paying attention.

My Mother's Day gift this morning as this article from the UK's The Guardian about a Peruvian coffee cooperative that is taking on climate change head-on by entering the carbon credit market.  Some of the quotes from the coffee farmers put the subject into stark relief. These coffee farmers whose lives and livelihoods depend upon the right weather are on the front lines in the battle to reverse the damage to the environment -- they have a real stake in the outcome. Let me rephrase that because we all hae a real stake in the outcome. They just have a more immediate stake. From the article:

Peru's vice president, Marisol Espinoza, said: "Climate change is a huge worry for us in Peru and we hope this initiative in Sierra Piura can be rolled out to other regions too. It is so important because Peruvian coffee is special. It protects biodiversity, and it's about development of whole communities. It also has an amazing aroma and taste. That's the taste of social justice."

Among other things, this small village of subsistence coffee farmers is growing pine trees in a nursery to replace the trees lost to deforestation, earning carbon credits and selling them to make improvemeents to their coffee production and for their villages. I know that there is skepticism about climate change, but I've always lived my life according to the philosophy of hedging my bets. I figure that even if it turns out that climate change is not due to manmade reasons, planting more trees and trying to repair some of the damage we've done to Mother Earth isn't going to hurt -- and it sure can help a lot.

So this morning, when you're thinking about your mother and -- hopefully -- sharing a cup of coffee with her, take a few minutes to think about Mother Earth as well. Then grab a shovel and go plant a tree. Or compost your coffee grounds. Or just take your coffee outside and enjoy it with Mother Nature. 

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