I love coffee. Not like Lorelai and Rory love coffee but I still define myself as a Javaphile.
The people who like coffee will know what I’m talking about. The people who don’t like it will probably laugh derisively in my face and mutter “weaklings…” under their breath. But here’s the thing:
it’s only partly the taste, but mostly the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the feeling of having that warm, comforting cup in your hand every morning that is so appealing. That’s at least why I keep coming back to coffee.
But I’m not addicted.
I say: “I don’t have coffee every day. Just most days. That’s fine right?”
Actually, I don’t know anymore.
Here’s another example of me just following what everybody else does without thinking much about the impact my actions might have on the environment.
When you live in Sweden, coffee is basically grown as far away as you could possibly get. Yet, we drink a lot of coffee (most in the world actually) along with other Nordic countries, possibly because we need a pick-me-up in our long, dark winters.
But it can’t be sustainable to consume so much of a product that comes from so far away, right?
Surprisingly (or maybe not?), it’s really hard to find information on the effects coffee production has on the environment, the climate and people, at least from a somewhat reliable source. So, I’ll just speculate here, but I would assume that it at least can’t be good.
It could of course be good for the farmers that grow the coffee, but I am still thinking that in terms of social responsibility, we’re not really doing our best when it comes to supporting the farmers. My cynical mind tells me that there will be something imbalanced in such a big industry and usually, the growers of the original product (in this case the beans) will be the ones most negatively affected.
So now, back to my original question: why can’t I quit coffee?
I am always trying to tell myself that I’m doing my best, but I already know that it’s not the case. If I’m aware of (or at least suspect) that it could be bad both for the environment and the people, I should be avoiding consuming coffee to do my best but I don’t.
Am I addicted?
It’s one possibility, yes, but it’s not the only explanation to why it’s so hard to quit coffee. Like I said, I don’t drink coffee every day so I know I’m fine without it, and I was completely fine without it until I was twenty and first started drinking it. But I think it has to do with sacrifices and what is fair.
Like all of us, I compare myself and my actions to those of other people frequently. So when I – who don’t drive a car, haven’t flown anywhere for two years (which is really not that long if you think about it but in comparison to a lot of people I meet, it is) and am vegan – look at other people who do none of the things that I do for the planet, I feel better about myself.
But it’s also kind of a mind-trap. Feeling better about yourself doesn’t mean that you are only doing good things. I would say that most people in the developed world are aware that they do things that are damaging to the planet, people and animals but justify these by doing good things. Only the good things may not even add up to offset the bad things.
I don’t drive a car and I don’t fly.
But that doesn’t mean that I will never drive a car or never fly again. I also drink coffee and tea, and I take long, hot showers when I want.
But I also shop second-hand!
Mostly. When I can find the things I really need there.
But do I really need a new raincoat when I already have one? Sure, it’s ugly as but it works.
You can see where people will have problems doing good things for themselves, others and the planet because you can always justify bad actions by offsetting this with doing something good.
I also have a very strong sense of righteousness, which I love (almost as much as coffee) to apply to this problem. Because why should I – when I already do so much – quit coffee when there are people close to me who won’t even cut down on their meat consumption and just bought a new car? That’s unfair!
But then again, there are people who are not so fortunate as I am and who may not even have a choice to do any of the things I take for granted because they don’t even have the luxury to have my options.
I can only conclude that my sense of justice is really off as soon as it comes to me, myself and I. Such as me wanting to drink coffee.
I can never be perfect, but I can at least try to be better. Maybe I’ve just had my last cup of coffee…
(Technically, that’s not really true because Partner and I have some coffee left that we’ll use up, but we’ve been thinking about not buying it again after that. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.)