Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

By: John A. Lanier

What we rarely hear about is how coffee comes with an environmental cost. Now, your mind may immediately go to the billions of single-use coffee cups discarded each year, and that is definitely a problem. But specifically, I want to talk about the carbon footprint of drinking coffee itself.

I turned 10 years old in 1996. That was a good year. Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta meant that I was lucky to experience a local Olympics. That was also the year that Tiger Woods became a professional golfer. The Nintendo 64 launched that year, and any of my friends who got one immediately moved up a rank or two in my book. Braveheart beat out Apollo 13 for the best picture Oscar. And it was also the year in which Starbucks opened its 1,000th store.

By the end of 1997, Starbucks had 1,412 stores. Then 3,501 by the end of 2000. In 2003, they hit 7,225. By the end of 2006, the year in which I turned 20 years old, Starbucks had 12,440 stores globally. So basically, I came of age in the decade in which Starbucks took over the world.

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