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Message in a Bottle: How Climate Change Impacts Our Favorite Drinks

Photo credit: flickr user Andrew Hart  

Photo credit: flickr user Andrew Hart  

Most people agree that climate change is a real problem. But not everyone thinks it’s a problem that affects our lives right now.

But it isn’t just about future generations or places far from home. It impacts us today in our everyday lives. To demonstrate this urgency in a way you can relate to, we’ve made this list of some of our common, much-loved beverages already becoming rarer and more expensive on account of climate change.

Coffee: From higher temps to more pests to less rain, your cup of Joe is at risk. Less coffee means more expensive coffee as coffee crops decline as much as 30 percent in some countries.

Tea: Don’t get cocky just because you drink tea for your morning caffeine fix. India’s tea growing season has shortened by a month and lost 35 percent of its production in other months.  That’s not a number we can ignore, not for all the tea in China, which, by the way, is predicted to decline by up to 55 percent in the coming decades.

Wine: Happy hour is affected, too. Drought and disease threaten wine grapes just as they do coffee plants. And similar to tea, the growing season has gotten shorter, causing one expert to note that there are no climate change skeptics in the wine industry.

Beer: Get ready for a pricey barbecue season. Drought threatens America’s beer industry, especially in the Northwest where craft beer is king. Some craft beers have had to increase prices by up to 50 percent to compensate for the lower yield.

Water: In the morning, we might feel as though we can’t live without coffee. On Friday after work, we might look forward to kicking back with a beer. But in reality, we cannot live without water. Yet warmer temperatures increase water evaporation as our demand for water consistently goes up.

These are some serious numbers, but we can still mitigate some serious climate change impacts. If you want to help battle global warming and save our hops, consider starting a community energy program or hooking up to a microgrid.

With so many voices in the conversation on clean energy and climate change, it can be hard to get your head around just what it all means. The EESI blog puts the sometimes complex issues surrounding sustainability and renewable power into simple, plain language. Take part in the discussion–share your opinion in the comments section.