I can’t say that today was an especially great day at work, though things got done. Without sounding overly New-Age-y, Wednesdays tend to have a strange energy for me in the flow of the week. On a positive note, I noticed more of the staff carpooled or came to work by bike today. At the end of the day, I did remove myself to a nearby forest for a brisk walk characterized by the sound of the wind in the pines and brief encounters with deer and woodpeckers. I walked along the edge of the forest, where the natural landscape meets the human (albeit rural) one. A lot of artists find inspiration in the intersection of these realms, recognizing that human activity is increasingly altering the planet in what is referred to as the Anthropocene epoch. I was thinking about the beauty of both spaces and musing over how we can create amazing technologies, soaring pieces of music, or make tremendous sacrifices for our fellow humans while at the same time being wantonly destructive, murderous, and selfish. I was going to write a blog along these lines.
Then, I came home and sat down to my vegetarian dinner (I am not often this disciplined at my evening meal) and began reading a variety of coffee trade publications. The first article I encountered was about one of the inventors of the K-cup lamenting his invention due to its negative environmental impacts (many cups are not very recyclable and many communities have trouble recycling those that are). Subsequent articles were focused more on the agricultural side of coffee. You are certainly entitled to your opinion about climate change, but if you work in the coffee world, there is little debate about its reality, particularly if you are a coffee farmer in Central or South America (or a resident of Hawaii). We’ve talked about our co-op’s efforts to aid farmers affected by coffee rust (Roya) and nowadays, many scientists and large multinational concerns are actively working to stem the affects of this disease, recognizing that everyone’s future livelihood in this business will likely be touched. And, given that nearly three quarters of Americans are coffee drinkers at least weekly (recent National Coffee Association study), pretty much everyone could end up tasting the difference in the coming decades, especially specialty coffee drinkers (such as those of you drinking DOMA Coffee).
Back in Portland, a respected friend, who I may not always agree with, had an excellent t-shirt that read “Conservation is Conservative.” I thought it was very clever and while there will always be plenty of issues that people will be divided over, it seems that preserving some of this amazing world for our children shouldn’t be one of them. People on both ends of the political spectrum could benefit from broadening their channels of information and taking a step back to examine the true impacts of a project or action, which are often less about “jobs versus the environment” than political perceptions. The key is a willingness to have a dialogue, I guess. That people of every stripe have come together to serve our high quality coffees in their homes and places of business is cause for optimism.
Meanwhile, in the DOMA Coffee Lab, some new residents have appeared inside and outside. Spring flowers adorn the exterior and some succulents dot the retail area surfaces. A new bike rack is under construction, too. Don’t worry, I am not going to catalog the company’s numerous sustainability efforts here. I just like having these elements from nature spilling over into our human constructions. I know I have frequently written about the big impact of seemingly small actions. Even if we are just passing through this world, let us tread carefully, as others will be making this journey after us.