THE polar ice caps are melting, the temperature is rising, we have been relentlessly rained on since spring – tumultuous, skin bruising rain – and yet it's not enough for some people.
Not enough to prompt a bit of recycling, to switch the TV off stand-by, to think twice about taking the car. We are, essentially, doomed. But it's not enough. Here, then, is some terrifying news that will maybe urge environmental slouches to action: we are doomed... and there won't be any coffee.
The Arabica bean is under threat from rising global temperatures, which could render 99.7% of growing areas unsuitable by 2080. Coffee forests could be wiped out. Unsaveable. The coffee forests will not be resting. They will be dead. Not stunned, not pining for the fjords like Monty Python's parrot, but passed on, expired and gone to meet their maker. A study by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, gives us just shy of 70 more years of Arabica beans before we'll have had our tea, so to speak.
So much good in the world comes in a cup. Tea, tea is one thing. Soothing and inclusive, a pick-me-up and salve, a many-varietied wonder. I love tea. I love it to my bones. But coffee. Coffee is John Mayer to tea's Ryan Gosling. Tea will meet your mother but coffee will run away with your sister. It's adult and enticing and entirely necessary to a civilised existence.
I'll be nearly 100 by the time we run out of Arabica and I'll tell you something; if I'm stuck in a nursing home by then, I'm going to really, really want a coffee keeping me company.
OLYMPIC cycling hero Bradley Wiggins was hit by a van earlier this week; his long-serving coach, Shane Sutton, was also, separately and unfortunately, hit by a car. Predictably, but quite justifiably, the cycling community rode forth to demand better protection for cyclists while out on the road. That's the thing with cyclists: own a bike and you're part of a community, with its accompanying sense of support, protection and self-righteous indignation. Among many voices, the sport body British Cycling said cyclists remained an "afterthought" to transport planners. In England, the Road Safety minister Stephen Hammond said the Government had invested £30million in making junctions safer for cyclists and David Cameron was quick to state his support for cycle safety campaigns.
But the hegemony of the car extends beyond the cyclist: pedestrians are also vulnerable but we are not mobilised into one homogenous body. A quick look at the Scottish Government's road casualty figures for last year shows 824 cyclist casualties, including seven fatalities, and 2,057 pedestrian casualties, including 43 fatalities. There are more pedestrians than cyclists, of course, but it's still a dangerous game, this walking about. Cyclists self-identify as a group in a way pedestrians do not but we all want the same things: safer roads and respect from drivers.
When is there ever an outraged rabble when a pedestrian is hit by a car? Those of us who walk and make a conscious effort to use public transport should be noisier. If transport planners had similar pressure pushed on them to make roads safer for pedestrians then all non-vehicular travel would surely benefit. Road safety should be just as important to people on two feet as on two wheels.
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