SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- So get this, people drink an estimated 2.25 billion cups of coffee each day around the world.

Now, we're waking up to how climate change may affect that morning cup of joe.

Western Mass News caught up with Dean Cycon, owner of Dean's Beans Organic Coffee in Orange.

He describes himself as a social activist/lawyer/development worker/adventurer who has dedicated his life to doing social good.

In the coffee world, he's doing just that.

There may not be a person more dedicated to coffee than Dean Cycon.

"We're sampling coffee...," Cycon said.

Through his company, Cycon has traveled the world, working with coffee farmers in 13 different countries.

Cycon said he is seeing farmers' livelihoods affected by climate change more than ever before.

"Climate change results in rising temperatures, results in changing rainfall patterns, results in changing extreme weather events. Collectively, they are changing the climate or environment for the coffee bean to grow," Cycon explained.

A coffee tree is a fickle plant. Conditions must just right or harvest may be lost.

For example, it needs temperatures between 64° and 70° to flower.

"A change in climate by even 2-3° which is what is happening everywhere, it's impacting the ability of the plant to flower. If the plant can't flower, and the flower falls off prematurely, the berry doesn't evolve," Cycon noted.

Rising temperatures and extreme rainfall have been blamed for severe outbreaks of fungal infections in Central America.

"Climate contributed to the rust explosion "la Roya" this soil fungus that gets into the roots and destroys coffee trees. In Central America, since the millennium, its been a real problem. In Guatemala, 30% of the crop disappeared for about 5-6 years," Cycon said.

According to reports by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, nearly 60% of the world's coffee-producing land will be unsuitable by 2050.

Even with drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, it's estimated that around 40% of the land will be lost.

"Those figures don't tell the human tale. Real farmers suffer. Real farmers have to leave their land. Without massive intervention, not only at the farm level but more importantly at the climate level, we are going to see a radically different coffee industry and a radically different coffee culture on our tables within our lifetimes," Cycon said.

So Cycon, through his company, decided to make a change.

"In each of the villages we work in, the business model requires us to do business development and advocacy work on behalf of the villages. That's simply something that no other coffee company does," Cycon explained.

A few of the projects have been forest restoration and tree planting.

"If we can go in, as we did in northern Sumatra, and create a nursery to plant 11,000 hardwood trees over 6 months, it makes a very big difference both in the shade for the coffee but also the land that species will come in. For habitat management like an orangutan, wild elephants, tigers. Lots of animals live out there. It provides carbon sequestration which is important out there," Cycon said.

Cycon is committed to making a difference both here and afar.

"I believe that the world could be heaven on earth if people were more awake, and people were more involved," Cycon said.

Helping the world one cup at a time.

"And that's why we always say...brew great coffee. Create real change," Cycon explained.

Now you may be surprised to hear, during our conversation with Cycon, he mentioned that one of the biggest contributors to the crisis on our southern border is climate change affecting Guatemalan coffee farmers.

"Tens of thousands of Guatemalan farmers and workers are leaving their land, coming up against the southern border, and the big dialogue is how do we stop that?" Cycon noted.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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