Nearly 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year, making it easily one of the most popular goods in the world. It’s cultivated in dozens of countries by nearly 25 million farmers who depend on it to make a living.
But coffee is becoming harder to grow. It’s a notoriously picky plant that requires very specific conditions to grow. And as climate change warms the planet, the places that can sustain the plant are shrinking. A recent study estimates that by 2050, the amount of land that can sustain coffee will have fallen by 50 percent.
But while there may be time to save the coffee plant, the crisis has already arrived for coffee farmers. Deteriorating conditions and plummeting prices have made it difficult to make a living growing coffee, not to mention invest in measures to adapt to climate change.