Fall is supposed to be the time when the weather starts getting nippy. The leaves are turning and falling, pumpkin spice is in every product known to man, and Halloween is fast approaching to the delight of many a school children who love candy and adults (such as me and my friends) who are obsessed with horror and mystery.
But with climate change consistently on the rise, perhaps to an irreparable extent, tea farmers in Kenya are starting to suffer.
Farmers around the world are facing the issues and feeling the impact of severe droughts. According to Steve Baragona, writer for Voice of America (VOA) News, in Kenya, tea farmers are being told not to rely on tea alone for their livelihoods. Imagine that distressing news, to know that you cannot rely on your original livelihood that you might have fallen in love with, because the planet is starting to suffer from the effects of pollution? I could only imagine the anger those farmers must feel. both tea farmers and farmers of other products.
Kenya is the world’s third-largest tea producer, exporting $1.3 billion worth in 2013. It’s the country’s largest export industry. But they’re already starting to see effects from climate change. The sun is getting so hot for the plants, that the tea is getting damaged. The rain falls are harder to predict due to the changes. Frost bite is becoming common for the plants. Plus, the effects from bugs and insects (I know you have faced the fury of mosquitoes that seems to be getting worse as time goes on).
So, tea farmers are not sitting down and accepting this. They are changing to meet the challenge. Fields not only contain tea – they also contain vegetables and livestock. Lemonade from lemons I suppose.
All that being said, I feel like we need to do more as a planet to fight climate change. It’s here. We are facing the issues at hand. There’s only so many times that we can use Ecosia (which I do advocate), or recycle so many products, before we realize we really need to amp up our game. Keep doing those things. Reduce, reuse, then recycle. Invest in sustainable products which will be good for the environment and, in the long run, your pocket as well. Don’t litter, even cigarette butts (though tiny, they have a huge impact).
Farmers are already starting to alter their methods to accommodate. Let’s work to keep everything – tea included – safe from the long-lasting harm of climate change.