29 September 2007

We spent three days up in the mountains picking coffee with a couple from our community. Thinking a lot about environmental philosophy. The coffee farm we were working on is the furthest into the mountains of any of the coffee farms in our community: the closest to the National Park. The owner of the farm was talking to us with pride about his coffee trees, the amount of area he had deforested to expand his farm. To get to the coffee trees we first walked through a cool, spongy, forested area that dumped us out into his hot, dry coffee farm. I was upset. Mac asked me what was wrong as I angrily started picking coffee. I pointed to the giant white skelton of a tree that two people wouldn´t have been able to fit their arms around. "Look at that tree," I said and burst into tears.

But what could I do, standing there on parched soil, miles away from my environmental ethics notes, coffee trees bending over with the weight of their fruit? Coffee is the only cash crop the owner has, the only money he´ll make all year.

I picked perfect, red coffee berries until my fingers were raw.