We are at risk of running out of coffee on Earth! (September 2019)

Published September 2019

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

We are at risk of running out of coffee on Earth!

Technology up and until now was largely designed to take resources, use them, and prevent them from being shared with other nations.

This statement is true when you really think about it.

One of the greatest changes for Industry 4.0 is the reverse of this practice - in the future Technology needs to be used to recycle and share, not squander.

This is less of a challenge for Tech than it is for humans who are by nature designed for self-preservation.

Recently, a famous South African comedian decided to move away from comedy shows and focus on helping humans help the planet. When a subject becomes so challenging that a comedian can’t joke about it anymore, you better believe it is serious.

It is a fact that we already have several Technologies that can help the planet. Implementation is the problem, and I have highlighted two reasons for this not happening:

  • The first issue is knowledge of available solutions. In general people are oblivious and naive.
  • The other issue is access to the solutions. 1st world countries have more access, but more red tape. 3rd world nations have less red tape and no access. Ask Elon Musk why we don’t have electric cars in South Africa. He blames import taxes. Red tape!

Why is change so slow?

Prioritizing a new way of living on earth is not as important as it should be.

People have problems they believe are bigger, or are simply living for the moment.

A state of panic often leads to a shuffling of priorities and I could think of no better way to instil panic than giving you this example. What would you do if we ran out of coffee?

Perhaps you are a tea drinker and don’t care?

Take a moment to imagine how grumpy and unproductive your colleagues will become who do drink the stuff and miss their morning fix.

Take away coffee and I predict an immediate drop in productivity and an increase in HR dispute matters.

That day is approaching! There are about 130 species of coffee plants on earth, and about 60% are at risk of extinction due to climate change.


The situation is far worse.

Every year research is done and shared on an official international report about what threatens mankind’s existence the most. This is a current summary:

  1. Weapons of mass destruction.
  2. Extreme weather events.
  3. Natural disasters.
  4. Failure of climate-change mitigation and adaption.
  5. Water crisis.
  6. Cyber-attacks.
  7. Food crisis.
  8. Biodiversity loss and collapse of eco-systems.
  9. Large scale involuntary migration.
  10. Spread of infection or disease.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

A reasonable person who understands how the world works might agree that many of these threats are interlinked and if two or more happen it could create a ripple effect and complete the list for us. The end result would be mass extinction.

Perhaps we will listen to a South African comedian after all, and change our ways, but I am not feeling very confident. After all Sir David Attenborough has been trying to change our habits for years, and he is an internationally known icon and activist for the betterment of our planet and animals. I am sure the brilliant films he stars in have changed many people’s minds, but I fear it may be too little too late.

David summarised the severity of the situation so eloquently in an article I recently read, and to paraphrase, he said the problem is humans - everything we use takes up too much space and energy.

This was not always the case, but unfortunately it is now, and with every hour that passes we increase our population by 15 000 humans.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (https://www.wbcsd.org/) has said that we are on track to consume the equivalent of more than twice of what our planet can regenerate.

Regardless of such reports, we dump over 50 million tons of electronic waste into landfills every year, we only recycle 15 to 20 percent of all our waste and one-third of all food is wasted before it is eaten. At the same time, on the other side of the planet, millions starve.

Some research confirms that we are on the brink of a “biological annihilation” of wildlife, and that means a human-driven mass extinction. You need to absorb this fact and not fool yourself into believing that everything is okay.

The risk of knocking ourselves out of the goldilocks Holocene period of predictable warm weather could end soon, and that will kick start number 4 on the list of threats, and that added with threat number 5, we are surely doomed. As far as I can determine, number 5 on the list is already an issue and let me share some numbers to explain.

We use on average 136875 liters of water in our life. That is an average per person. Our consumption average is increasing as humans live longer.

At 9 billion people x 136875 liters of water, you get some unpronounceable number of 1231875000000000.

Go to Google and ask ‘how much water we have on the planet’. You will get a search result that says we have ‘1260000000000000000000 liters’ of the stuff.

That extreme number made me feel much better until I researched a bit more and learnt that only 2.5% of that is drinkable, and only 1 % is easily accessible.

My math could be wrong, but I calculate there is about 14 000 liters for each person, which roughly works out to 9.7% of what one person might need in their life.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

In order to survive, at least 75% of our water needs to be recycled. That might sound like something hard to do, although achievable, until I put a spanner in the works and add the fact my calculations did not take into consideration the needs of all animals and plants on earth.

For those of you who think there is an easy fix to this particular challenge you would be wrong. For example, many people suggest we convert seawater into drinkable water.

Yes, that is possible, but then you have less salty sea water!

Why is that a problem you might ask?

Let me give you two main reasons:

1. To process drinkable water from seawater costs so much money and it uses huge amounts of energy. This is not a viable option for many nations.

2. Saltwater helps regulate the ocean temperature and with less salt water our global temperatures and even ocean currents will change.

This would result in a mass extinction event. You do not want to mess with the salt water volumes on our planet and each time an iceberg melts because of global warming it takes us one step closer to disaster. It is also worth noting that without an ocean we would have no oxygen to breathe. Most of our breathable air does not come from trees, it comes from the sea.

My belief is:

  • Before I die, life will become harder.
  • Before the children of my generation die, they will need to outlive the ramifications of the decisions we make in the next 5 years, 10 at the most. Their lives are going to be very different.
  • After that, and for the generation that follows, it will be too late to reverse damage and implement a new way of living.


Technology, our redeemer.

I am a promoter of smart solutions and future thinking. Technology and the environment are more closely linked than you think. If we believe just a little of what Peter Diamandis (https://www.diamandis.com/) says, and because of how fast we are advancing technologically, it is a statistical probability that within the next two decades we will have the ability to generate and maintain the basic resources to meet the needs of mankind many times over.

Until then, here is some of my advice on saving your children’s children.

  • Educate the general population on solutions available.

    This was a task I assigned myself to in 2018 and the reason for many of my articles. Just by sharing this article you can help.
    Have you heard of https://seramic.eco/ ?
    Their operation recycles industrial by-products into a value added carbon-free energy source. Brilliant! But you probably never heard of them right?

    We must learn about these types of companies and the products they offer. If you do not know what electrofuel is, or perhaps have never heard of a smart grid, it is time you make some coffee (while there is still some on earth) and Google these things.

    Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

    People think it costs too much to go Green and that is incorrect.
    It will cost more not to.

    Costs for green solutions are less today than they have ever been. The cost of solar panels have decreased 60% since 2011.
  • Repurpose old solutions with new ones.

    One example which must happen in the next 10 years is the shift from fuel cars to electric. Most people cannot fathom the monumental and positive influence this will have on our environment.
    In most cities around the world, the lion’s share of all energy consumed is done through transporting people.

    Did you know that air pollution in China is linked to 4000 deaths a day?

    Adopting this type of Tech solution will reduce energy and pollution world-wide at a conservative 25%.

    Electric cars are made with fewer parts and require fewer repairs. They have far less of a carbon footprint.

    We have to make change a priority. I love the sound of a petrol engine, but I understand it has had its day. Ironically, I wrote this article on the day I sold my sports car. Perhaps I will be spotted soon in an electric car and inspire others to use one.
  • Prioritize reasonable, ethical and sustainable use of resources.

    This is especially important for business owners; we must all make this commitment. Some large corporates have set the example already like LEGO, who have committed itself to manufacturing most of its products and packaging using environmentally friendly materials within the next 10 years.
  • Consumers must support responsible corporates.

    Spend your money on the right things from now on. A simple change from using an international supplier to a local one automatically means reducing carbon footprint as less energy is used to get a product transported.
  • Pressure governments.

    Their objectives are often short term and don’t live much longer than an election term. We must make sure policies are put into place that take into consideration global environmental factors.
    Vote for a green party!
    Patriotism is dangerous. We must become people of the world and switch from a linear to a regenerative circular economy.
    Each country has unique opportunities to embrace change and the use of technology for the betterment of all, for example, drones are used in the Amazon to collect data and keep tabs on the Amazonian Pink Dolphins.
  • Use Smart Technology at home and work.

    Embrace the shared resource era with Tech solutions like shared Uber rides. If you run a larger operation, why not go big like Stockrose, a property management company in Sweden with 250 buildings housing 10000 apartments which use Tech in their operations to create sustainable living spaces.
    Grow vegetables at home. Smart solutions like Vertical gardening are an option. Here is an example of a local business: https://livinggreenwalls.co.za.

    Agriculture uses 70% of global freshwater each year. I personally planted a vegetable garden. Truth be told, I had to do it twice… the first time nothing grew.
  • Most importantly, know what biodiversity is and use the Technology available today to protect it.

    Use satellites to track poachers or design an App that gives discounts to people who recycle.

    This is your planet, and with your imagination, some Tech and action, we can make heaven on earth.

    We have never been in a better position to improve the quality of life for everything on this planet.

    Continue being a Future Thinker.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline
Digital Architect & Scenario Planner.
Everything Trends, Tech, Web, Iot & Strategy.
Author, Consultant & Project Manager.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


Published September 2019

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