A World Without Coffee?

A tenacious fungus is threatening the global coffee supply. Can genetics save our morning cup?

A World Without Coffee?

I write about biology and nanotechnology. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

If you’re drinking a good cup of coffee as you read this, take a moment to savor it. Hug the cup, if you’re so inclined. After all, coffee may not always be so easy to come by.

Coffee rust is a significant problem in almost every coffee growing region in the world, and in recent years, countries in Central and South America have been hit particularly hard. One of these is Colombia, which cultivates around one million hectares of coffee plants to produce more than 65,000 tons of coffee each year. Consequently, Colombia is one of the biggest coffee producers in the world.

Colombia’s primary coffee crop is the highly valued Coffea arabica. Indeed, Arabica beans are the most popular and widely consumed type of coffee in the world. The combined global production of Arabica accounts for around 70% of the world’s coffee.

Unfortunately, it’s not just coffee drinkers who like it. A particular species of Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) also has an affinity for C. arabica, and with devastating effect.

Coffee producer Adrian Hernandez looks at a plant infested with the coffee-eating fungus roya, at his farm Altamira, in Barva Heredia, Heredia, 17 km north of San Jose, on August 25, 2015. Hernandez does not remember a year as dry as this one and says that only a rigorous management plan has allowed him to stay afloat. Coffee growers in Central America are having to adapt to global warming, including high temperatures and drought, as well as fighting the fungus known as roya, in order to keep in the business. The fungus, hemileia vastatrix, which began to spread in 2012 due to a lack of preventive measures and the effects of climate change, discolors and dries up coffee leaves, an effect that also gives roya the name of ‘leaf rust.’ AFP PHOTO / EZEQUIEL BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

 What are rust fungi?

They are notorious plant pathogens that disrupt the growth and reproduction of healthy plants. The airborne spores make infection hard to control. Once rust has entered a region, it’s incredibly hard to get rid of.

Read On: A World Without Coffee?






 

Assault Advertisements – a partial remedy

One day I checked how my Word Press sites were looking on my Kindle tablet.

Was I ever surprised to see the ads popping up for foot fungus and a bunch of other creepy stuff next to my food posts. Food, non-food, it didn’t matter. Grotesque stuff. Who would even make an ad like that if they truly wanted to sell a product? I can’t imagine, except by those who didn’t really want to sell a product at all but wanted to hurt some other person’s intellectual material or the person or their company.

When I had one of my own images at the end of the post, which I often do, that flippin’ fungus foot was practically on the plate of my beautifully prepared meal.

When checking around the internet, I found I wasn’t the only one whose material was being assaulted by that rotted foot. That fungus was everywhere, and the impression of the sites where I saw it was always the same – disgust. So it worked to turn a person against where it was placed – next to your post. Very, very close to your own lovely image. These ads don’t fall out of the air.

So what I did was make a signature banner that I placed beneath the last photo or text in all my posts.

The two seen above are examples. I placed them on all posts on all sites. It took a long time. Then I realized that my name was being associated with those Assault Advertisements. Now I had to remove them all. I still haven’t completed that task with thousands of posts and pages, but I did devise a simpler way to keep the flippin’ fungus foot off my plate.

I now insert 5 horizontal lines beneath every post and page. That way if somebody hacks into my site dislodges all the images leaving a ? box in their place, I don’t have to go back and reinsert thousands of this particular signature image, and it keeps that flippin’ foot off my meticulously prepared meal.

See if that gives you a wee bit more peace of mind.

Remember, without the bloggers, the ad agencies would not be placing any ads at all. We’re their money, not the other way around. How many bloggers make money off of ads on Word Press? Not many. So considerations need to be given to ‘we the blogger’ whose material gets assaulted by unscrupulous people and other entities warring against our brand.

We need a say in what can and cannot be placed next to our posts.

We need a say in what we find offensive.

If somebody wants the privilege of advertising on my sites and beneath my posts and in my sidebar for free, interrupting the flow of my presentation, startling the reader with pop-ups that don’t belong to me, or videos that automatically start playing, to make the reader look away from my site, then they need to abide by some rules. They need to show a little respect.

Word Press or the person who owns it does not own me nor my material. Sometimes I get the feel that that’s how WP regards it’s bloggers who don’t pay high prices for their sites. We get the crumbs.

I’m not looking for an advertisement-free site. I believe in advertising. But these Assault Ads go too far.

I am nobody’s slave and nobody owns me nor my work. Although Word Press gives me free usage of some of their themes with which to build my sites, they’re a billion dollar company with very few employees and very little overhead. That’s a lot of money. And all they do is sell advertisement space. That’s their business. The Word Press bloggers are cash cows for Word Press.

‘We the blogger’ deserve a better product and ‘we the blogger’ deserve a say in who hitches their wagon to it.