A long time ago (must have been during the financial crisis in the beginning of this century) the title of a magazine that we really value was: Crises are good (translated from German). Sounds still strange, but it is true. Because crises give you reason to think, encourage you to change things. That does not only take courage. But also respect. Of other people, other opinions, the nature, the environment.
When you do a little research, you realize one thing: Pretty much everyone – career portals, coaches, columnists, and cultural workers – feel entitled to define “respect”. Why?
For many people, respect has a negative aftertaste: Let’s take for example the fear of being criticized or punished by a “person of respect”. That term contains a lot of hierarchical and autocratical thinking,
The alternative concept to that: You are not respected just like that, you have to earn respect (based very loosely on Leo Tolstoi). But how? Through Performance? Knowledge? Competence?
But originally, respect is derived from Latin – respectus: Regard, consideration. Which brings us to our understanding of respect: Consideration in terms of appreciation, fairness. being at eye level.
A lot. Coffee has always been fuel for societies. As all colonial goods, it was initially only enjoyed by the upper class, but then found its way to the lower classes and was a companion of the rationalism in the Age of Enlightenment, liquid spiritual food for the pioneers and thinkers of the modern age in the coffee houses of Vienna, London, Paris, New York, and Berlin.* (translated from German) Coffeehouses are considered breeding ground of political agitation. ** (translated from German)
So much for the coffee indulgence. But the cultivations alone can change the world: In its conventional form it overexploits all resources. It requires huge amounts of water. The large monocultures, for example in Brazil, leach the soil, which means that artificial fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides must be used. Respectful treatment of nature looks different.
Organic and biodynamic cultivation means, that there are no big plantations, but small, so called, coffee gardens where the coffee cherries grow under shade trees like banana trees, casuarina, and such. That means: The quality of the soil is better, more water can be stored, which means that less water is consumed. The biodiversity of insects and plants is promoted. The farmers are self-sufficient, regarding fruit and vegetables. And these are only a few of the many advantages of, for example, the Demeter cultivation. Recycling of water, closed circuits, better sales prices for the farmers, an improvement of the quality of life…All that can be achieved with respectful production of coffee. It is not like we have reached our goal yet, but we are working on it.
And that is exactly what we want to show you in the upcoming weeks and months. We want to inspire you to be more mindful with your environment and yourself. And to make a difference by doing that. Together. And with respect for one another.
*Heinrich Eduard Jacob, Kaffee. Die Biographie eines weltwirtschaftlichen Stoffes, oekom-Verlag, München 2006
**Jürgen Habermaas, Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit