Smiling Kenyan man picking coffee on a shade-grown coffee plantation

Help the Environment by Drinking Shade-Grown Coffee

Is there anything more satisfying than sitting down with a warm cup of coffee? If you’re interested in living a more eco-friendly life, switching to shade-grown coffee is an easy swap. It can help to protect the environment and save endangered species. And, because it doesn’t require a lot of physical space, shade-grown coffee is a great way for apartment dwellers to do their part to make the world a little greener.

Preserving Natural Habitat

The land-clearing practices used by traditional coffee farmers destroy forests and upset the balance of plant and animal life. Intensive farming depletes soil nutrients and introduces runoff from pesticides into local waterways. It also destabilizes the topsoil, resulting in potentially devastating landslides on the mountains where coffee crops grow.

By switching to shade-grown coffee, you’re helping to save plant life and natural habitats. Here are some of the major perks:

Supporting Bird Conservation

North American bird populations have declined by nearly three billion birds since the 1970s. These numbers include 42 migratory songbird species that spend the winters in the forests of Central and South America. They’ve struggled to survive in their dwindling habitats around southern coffee plantations for the past few decades. Luckily, growing coffee in the shade of native trees gives birds a chance to survive, stay healthy, and maintain their populations.

More birds around shade-grown coffee farms mean that they can help control the population of caterpillars and other bugs that threaten crop production. Farmers can take advantage of this natural pest control practice and skip spraying their plants with toxic insecticides that poison the environment.

Protecting Pollinators

Birds are not the only creatures that thrive in the canopies of shade-grown coffee plantations. Pollinating insects also benefit when their habitat is left untouched and farmers discontinue their use of deadly pesticides. Studies show that when a greater diversity of bees visits coffee plants, the result is better yields of the coffee fruit. Leaving land uncleared helps both farmers and pollinators in the long run.

Fighting Climate Change 

The trees that cover shade-grown coffee plantations combat climate change by capturing carbon from the air, introducing much-needed nitrogen to the soil, and keeping the temperature beneath the canopy a few degrees cooler. By choosing to support coffee growers who’ve abandoned land-clearing growing operations, you’re aiding in vital efforts to fight the catastrophic impacts of global climate change. As you can see, birds, bugs, plants, and the planet all benefit when we abandon traditional coffee farms. 

Switching to shade-grown coffee is one easy way that the average American can live a more eco-friendly life. Another option is choosing to live in an apartment community that supports environmentally conscious lifestyles. Contact us today to learn how!

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