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Coffee is integral to many Ethiopians, both socially and economically. With that comes a lot of responsibility, often with negative impacts on the environment that happen as part of the coffee production process. To feel passionately for the environment and also for a process that pollutes water is a heavy burden for many Ethiopian coffee farmers and wet mill workers.
Many of us take water for granted, but Ethiopians in the Sidama coffee region have a clearer idea of our impact on the Earth. They see how they directly impact the environment and how it changes their way of life. Many Ethiopians have watched rivers they played in as children, washed themselves in, and used for cooking become polluted as a result of coffee processing. When the rivers are polluted they don’t just lose clean water, they lose an important part of their everyday life. They lose something they could pass down to their children.