Why Campus Sourcing Matters

Every cup of coffee, sheet of paper and piece of furniture at your school started life on a forest or farm...

  • Farmland used for crops and grazing already covers more than one-third of the Earth’s surface. Land used for coffee, tea, and cocoa cultivation represent more than 55 million acres of farmland worldwide (an area half the size of California). Without sustainable management, growing consumption of these products leads to increased destruction of wildlife habitat and perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
  • More than 400 million cups of coffee are consumed each day in the United States alone, often without a thought to where (or how) the beans that make up those brews were grown. Over 25 million people in the tropics depend on the coffee trade for their livelihood, and most farms are in high-priority conservation areas. College students and other young people ages 18 to 24 are the fastest growing segment of coffee drinkers in the US.
  • Because more than six billion people rely on trees and plants to build houses, produce paper, make furniture and stay warm, the pressure on the world's forests is staggering. Destruction of these lands most immediately affects the 1.4 billion of the world's poor who depend on forests to feed, clothe and shelter their families.
  • Paper use isn’t slowing down anytime soon. According one survey, 75 percent of college students say that print is their preferred format.
  • We’re currently losing the Earth’s forests at a rate of 32 million acres each year -- a land area the size of Nicaragua or the state of Louisiana. Annually, global forest loss contributes to 12 to 15 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. To put that into perspective: trains, planes and automobiles combined contribute to roughly 13.5 percent of annual emissions. Sustainable management of forests can prevent further destruction, protects biodiversity, ensure the protection of workers’ rights and fight climate change.
  • With more than 900 million people traveling each year, how we travel has incredible economic and environmental importance. Unless tourism is practiced responsibly and in harmony with the environment, it can lead to unchecked development, cultural exploitation, habitat destruction, waste and pollution. Student and youth travel is on the rise (up 76 percent since such measurements began), and the number of US students who study abroad has more than tripled in the last two decades. During the 2009 – 2010 academic year, some 270,600 US students studied abroad for academic credit, according to the Institute of International Education. Your choices matter.

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