As you’re sitting in the Tim Horton’s lineup in Leduc Common or on Wetaskiwin’s main drag belching carbon into the atmosphere, you may want to consider new findings presented in the esteemed science journal “Nature”. According to the publication, climate warming caused by greenhouse gasses, such as those emanating from the lineups of tailpipes at the average drive-through, is causing severe enough environmental damage to destroy the habitat of the wild Arabica coffee bean.
The Arabica bean is one of the most popular strains of coffee plant in the world. It is reputed to be the first variety of coffee bean ever cultivated; having been grown in southwest Arabia for over a millennium. According to Wikipedia, legend has it that human’s interest in growing Arabica beans came as a result of goats being observed becoming rather “frisky” after consuming the plant.
The behavior of libido-enhanced goats aside, in the study, which was presented by the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the researchers used computer-generated global warming models to show that within as soon as twenty years, the changing weather patterns “showed a profoundly negative influence on the number and extent of wild Arabica populations”.
This is not to say there will no longer be the immensely popular Arabica bean available anywhere. There will still be massive fields of the domesticated variety of the coffee bean across their growing range in Ethiopia. Their wild kin, however, are vital for contributing to the genetic diversity in the domesticated strains to prevent too much “inbreeding” within the species. If the wild Arabica bean growing areas are lost, eventually the domesticated variety will face greater exposure to disease and unwanted mutations.
The study’s authors warn that the effect of the change in the planet’s average temperature will, obviously, not be confined to just Ethiopia and that all coffee-growing climates on the globe may be impacted. The Kew researchers suggest that, “Optimum cultivation conditions are likely to become increasingly difficult to achieve in many pre-existing coffee growing areas, leading to a reduction in productivity, increased and intensified management (such as the use of irrigation) and crop failure (some areas becoming unsuitable for Arabica cultivation).”
It’s certainly something to consider when we’re sitting in the Timmy’s line up gunning our motors. Perhaps shutting off our vehicles to go inside to order, like in the old days, might not be a bad idea. The coffee we save may be our own.