7 Reasons Drinking Coffee Isn't as Bad as You Might Think
By Andrew McMaster
There's nothing quite like a cup of coffee in the morning. Whether it's from your local shop, brewed at home or snagged from a tiny cart somewhere, people all over the world start and their days with the centuries-old psychoactive beverage.
And aside from being a the only thing that can drag some of us out of bed on tough mornings, there are actually some more significant reasons—including health, economic and more—why it's a good way to start your day.
Check out the list below to see why you should definitely be drinking more coffee.
1. It has a variety of health benefits.
For starters, coffee is probably, more than likely, almost definitely, great for you. Years ago, research led to the understanding that coffee was unhealthy to drink regularly, raising alarm bells for pretty much everyone everywhere.
But recently, studies have revealed that the opposite is true: Those who drank coffee regularly were found to have lower instances of liver disease, neurological disorders, heart disease and diabetes.
Less scientific studies conducted in my apartment also showed that drinking coffee significantly increases your chances of not putting on your shirt inside out.
2. It's helping in the economic empowerment of women.
All around the world, women provide up to 70 percent of the manual labor for coffee cultivation, though they own only 15 percent of coffee farms and traded beans. However, efforts are underway to shift this power imbalance so that women receive more of the profits from coffee production.
The International Women's Coffee Alliance is one organization trying to help women in the coffee industry. Their mission is to help women get higher paying jobs and decision-making powers in trade groups. They currently have chapters in 22 countries around the world. The organization also advocates to change laws that prevent women from economic independence all over the world.
You can find International Women's Coffee Alliance-approved beans beans from brands like Blue Bottle Coffee in the U.S.
3. It's also empowering indigenous communities.
In Alaska, one company is moving forward with a plan to help empower indigenous cultures through coffee. Global Citizen spoke with the owners of Cafe Vasquez, a coffee shop that buys beans from indigenous farmers in the north of Peru. The shop is operated by the Kitikmeot Heritage Society, an Alaskan indigenous group dedicated to preserving indigenous cultures.
The collaboration is meant to put money in the hands of farmers and families in indigenous cultures in two very different places across the globe and it provides a model that could be followed elsewhere.
4. Third-wave small batch coffee is putting power in the hands of small-scale farmers.
The rise of Fair Trade coffee certification means that the small-scale farmers at the heart of coffee production are ensured a fair wage for their labor. This is important because up to 80 percent of all coffee is produced by only 25 million small farmers across the world. Ensuring that the money you pay for beans directly supports the people that grow them is a form of global consumer ethics.
Now, there seems to be renewed interest in the more delicious and unique varieties of heritage beans that can only be grown in specialized parts of the world. This is good news for farmers in Africa and South America, who are beginning to find new markets for their artisanal beans in the U.S. and Europe especially. When you buy fair-trade beans, or even better direct trade beans, you can be sure that the profits are fairly distributed among farmers.
Try new blends each time you buy beans, and support a different group of farmers somewhere in the world!
5. Its waste can fuel buses.
Yes, you read that right. At this point, you might be wondering what can't coffee do?
A partnership between a biotech startup and a major power company in London has resulted in the first ever fleet of public buses that can run on a mix of diesel and new biofuel made from oil extracted from coffee waste.
Used grounds are collected from shops and restaurants, converted into efficient and clean fuel, then pumped into buses that take busy Londoners from one end of town to another.
On mornings when you miss you morning cup, you should hope that these buses got theirs.
6. In fact, coffee waste can be used for a lot of things.
Coffee waste can actually be repurposed for a ton of really cool uses. Maybe you've seen coffee flour, made from the unused husks of coffee beans?
We hear it can make a great batch of cookies.
Your used coffee grounds can also be used as fantastic fertilizer in the garden, an odor neutralizer in your fridge, a skin exfoliant and caffeinated soap. Considering that coffee grounds release methane into the atmosphere when degrading in landfills, finding ways to repurpose them can make you feel a lot better.
You're hopped up on caffeine anyway, might as well do something productive, right? *Watches 3 hours of cat fails*
7. Climate change could eliminate it soon.
This is the saddest reason you should be drinking coffee. Scientists have reported that by 2050, climate change will have reduced farmers' ability to grow coffee by half. Half. Imagine getting only half of your daily coffee fix. Not good.
But what's way more serious is the fact that more than 120 million people in low-income countries earn their livelihoods from the coffee industry. Climate change will seriously affect the way millions of people live and work every day.
The good news is that you can support these farmers by continuing to purchase ethically produced and sustainable varieties of beans. As the effects of climate change become more pronounced, the future of the coffee industry might just come down to the ingenuity and expertise of small farmers all over the world. Continue to support them, and take steps to reduce your own contributions to climate change however you can.
So now you have no excuses not to take advantage of everything coffee has to offer. Check out our guide to the best ethically sourced coffees here and get sipping as soon as possible.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.
Many people shop online for everything from clothes to appliances. If they do not like the product, they simply return it. But there's an environmental cost to returns.
- Are We Doomed If We Don't Curb Carbon Emissions by 2030 ... ›
- California Winery Cuts Carbon Emissions With Lighter Bottles ... ›
- Wealthy One Percent Are Producing More Carbon Emissions Than ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
Creating a Global Sustainable Transition<p>How the world recovers from COVID-19's economic damage could help drive a lasting shift in the global energy mix.</p><p>Nearly one-third of Europe's US$2 trillion economic relief package <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-21/eu-approves-biggest-green-stimulus-in-history-with-572-billion-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">involves investments that are also good for the climate</a>. The European Union is also strengthening its 2030 climate targets, though each country's energy and climate plans will be critical for successfully implementing them. The <a href="https://joebiden.com/clean-energy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Biden plan</a> – including a $2 trillion commitment to developing sustainable energy and infrastructure – is aligned with a global energy transition, but its implementation is also uncertain.</p><p>Once Biden takes office, Kerry will be joining ongoing <a href="https://www.un.org/en/conferences/energy2021/about#:%7E:text=The%20overarching%20goal%20of%20the,2030%20Agenda%20for%20Sustainable%20Development.&text=Accelerate%20delivery%20of%20United%20Nations,related%20issues%20at%20all%20levels." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high-level discussions on the energy transition</a> at the U.N. General Assembly and other gatherings of international leaders. With the U.S. no longer obstructing work on climate issues, the G-7 and G-20 have more potential for progress on energy and climate.</p><p>Lots of technical details still need to be worked out, including international trade frameworks and standards that can help countries lower greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming in check. <a href="https://www.carbonpricingleadership.org/what" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Carbon pricing</a> and <a href="https://www.csis.org/analysis/how-can-europe-get-carbon-border-adjustment-right" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">carbon border adjustment taxes</a>, which create incentive for companies to reduce emissions, may be part of it. A consistent and comprehensive set of national energy transition plans will also be needed.</p><p>The global shift to <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2019/Jan/A-New-World-The-Geopolitics-of-the-Energy-Transformation" target="_blank">clean energy will also have geopolitical implications for countries and regions</a>, and this will have a profound impact on wider international relations. Kerry, with his experience as secretary of state in the Obama administration, and Biden's plan to make the climate envoy position part of the National Security Council, may help mend these relations. In doing so, the U.S. may again join the wider community of countries willing to lead.</p>
- 14 States On Track to Meet Paris Targets - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Names John Kerry as First-Ever Climate Envoy - EcoWatch ›
By Maria Caffrey
As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.
We Need More Than Listening<p>By now we have all become sadly accustomed to the current administration sidelining scientists, most prominently Dr. Anthony Fauci, because the facts they provide do not fit with the political rhetoric of the moment.</p><p>I have <a href="https://www.csldf.org/2019/08/22/csldf-helps-climate-scientist-maria-caffrey-fight-for-scientific-integrity/" target="_blank">my own history</a> of filing a scientific integrity complaint with the National Park Service (which falls under the Department of the Interior) after senior ranking employees attempted to censor one of my scientific reports. I know all too well the damage and pain that these actions cause, not just for the individual scientist, but also because these <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">attacks on science</a> over the last few years have undermined sound, evidence-based decision making.</p><p>President-elect Biden has repeatedly said that he will <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/521638-trump-biden-will-listen-to-the-scientists-if-elected" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">listen to the scientists</a>. While this is certainly a welcome change, listening can only take us so far. This past week Lauren Kurtz from the <a href="https://www.csldf.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Science Legal Defense Fund</a> and my colleague <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/about/people/gretchen-goldman" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gretchen Goldman</a> published <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ten-steps-that-can-restore-scientific-integrity-in-government/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an article</a> listing 10 actions the new administration should implement to show their commitment to strengthening government science:</p><ol><li>Clearly prohibit political interference and censorship.</li><li>Protect scientists' communication rights.</li><li>Acknowledge that attempts to violate scientific integrity, even if ultimately not fruitful, are still violations.</li><li>Protect federal scientists' right to provide information to Congress and other lawmakers.</li><li>Commit to incorporating the best science as part of agency decisions.</li><li>Elevate agency scientific integrity policies to have the full force of law.</li><li>Publicly release anonymized information about scientific integrity complaints and their resolutions at every agency.</li><li>Institute an intra-agency workforce, potentially under the White House <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/strengthening-science-and-si-at-ostp.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, to coordinate scientific integrity efforts across agencies, foster discussion of policy improvements, and standardize criteria for policies across agencies.</li><li>Strengthen whistleblower protections.</li><li>Ensure that policies cover all actors who will be dealing with science.</li></ol>
Time for Action<p>I have spoken to many scientists, particularly federal scientists, who are eager to turn the page so they can hurry back to the work they had been doing before this administration, but I urge caution in assuming that things can be "normal" again.</p><p>Before Trump, I naively thought the scientific integrity policies established during the <a href="https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/12/19/scientific-integrity-policies-update" target="_blank">Obama administration</a> would be sufficient. I never imagined that any administration could so willfully ignore and attack expert advice and evidence that is intended to protect us and our public lands.</p><p>I have personally witnessed how hard our federal scientists work. They put in long hours with minimal pay (far less that what they could get if they worked in private industry) to pursue one simple goal: to make things better for the nation.</p><p>We need stronger scientific integrity policies to protect these people and their work. But more than that, we need stronger scientific integrity laws because they also benefit society.</p>
By Andrea Germanos
Environmental campaigners stressed the need for the incoming Biden White House to put in place permanent protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay after the Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine that threatened "lasting harm to this phenomenally productive ecosystem" and death to the area's Indigenous culture.
<div id="da98c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="478a197b7c59c92787c92bec92f1ac39"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1331662923710693376" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Bristol Bay forever, Pebble mine never. #NoPebbleMine #SaveBristolBay https://t.co/CBQ9zuy8A5</div> — Save Bristol Bay (@Save Bristol Bay)<a href="https://twitter.com/SaveBristolBay/statuses/1331662923710693376">1606328156.0</a></blockquote></div>
- Pebble Mine Threatens One of the Last Great Salmon Rivers ... ›
- The Pebble Mine Is Too Toxic Even for the Trump Administration ... ›
- Trump Admin Reverses Obama-Era Restrictions on Pebble Mine ... ›
OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.