If a future of relentless fires, droughts, superstorms and rising sea levels makes you feel like you need a strong caffeinated beverage, there is some bad news: climate change is coming for the world’s coffee beans.
Greg Meenahan, the partnership director at the non-profit institute World Coffee Research,
puts it this way: “Demand for coffee is expected to double by the year
2050 and, if nothing is done, more than half of the world’s suitable
coffee land will be pushed into unsuitability due to climate change.
Without research and development, the coffee sector will need up to 180m
more bags of coffee in 2050 than we are likely to have.”
To address this, the organisation is undertaking the international
multi-location variety trial, testing 35 coffee types across 23
countries to measure performance in different climates – including in
regions not typically associated with coffee production, such as
In what could be Australia’s most significant contribution to coffee since the flat white, scientists at Southern Cross University will be testing 20 “climate-resistant” varieties.
Prof Graham King, a leading plant science researcher at SCU, says
that in January up to 900 plants will be planted at the tropical fruit
research station in Alstonville, northern New South Wales. According to
King, climate change is expected to devastate the world’s major
coffee-growing regions through extreme weather and by increasing attacks
by crop pests and diseases.
“Many current mountainous tropical production areas of the world are
likely to become untenable for coffee as climate change progresses,” he
says. “Within Australia we currently have the benefit of no coffee rust
or cherry borer, or other major pests and disease. This is quite unique
compared with most production areas of the world.”
The impact is already being felt. As detailed in a 2016 report by Fairtrade Australia, in 2012 Central America was hit by a wave of coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix)
after unusually high temperatures and high-altitude rains, causing
US$500m in crop damages and putting nearly 350,000 labourers out of
Droughts and frequent storms have led to Costa Rican farmers giving up coffee for orange plantations. Outside Latin America, the coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei)
– which used to only appear at a maximum altitude of 1,500 metres above
sea level – is being found above this limit, thanks to unseasonably hot
conditions and higher rainfall on plantations from Tanzania to
Indonesia. On Mount Kilimanjaro plantations, the beetle is now found 300
metres higher than last century.
Read more about it here:
Monday, January 21, 2019
An Australian man claiming to be a humanitarian worker in war-torn Syria has described the cancellation of his Australian passport in 2016 as a "blessing in disguise", while also revealing he is now married.
In an interview with American journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem on Facebook on Monday morning, Mr Bridgeman said the termination of his passport allowed him to help charities in "other ways", which he believed was "more beneficial".
"It was a blessing in disguise," Mr Bridgeman said in the video.
Mr Bridgeman, who is now married, said he had been reluctant to leave Syria but knew he had to in order to "clear my name" and was considering starting an NGO or charity in Australia, or returning to the Middle East supported by aid or sponsorships.
"But my passport was cancelled — and after that, it caused a bit of issues with the NGOs — the charities I was working with — who didn't have to, but felt if you weren't in front of the camera anymore, we don't want any issues," he said in the video.
"It made me put down my head a bit more and help in other ways, which I believe is more beneficial actually to what I was doing before — I went back to learn new skills."
"I think since then, it's the best thing that's happened to me so far in Syria."Mr Bridgeman, who used to live at Toowoomba, has vehemently denied having joined a terror organisation.
The ABC has previously reported, just prior to the arrest warrant, Mr Bridgeman's parents and their lawyer Alex Jones, had alerted AFP officers to their plan to bring their son back to Australia, where they would offer to bring him in for questioning.
But authorities cancelled Mr Bridgeman's passport, stranding him.
There are media reports that Mr Bridgeman may have been near Idlib in north-western Syria several months ago.
The ABC is seeking comment from the Australian Federal Police and Mr Jones.
Originally seen here:
Friday, January 11, 2019
So you are planning to travel the East Coast of Australia?
Here are the most important tips for travelling the East Coast of Australia
How long does it take driving up the East Coast of Australia:
Whether you’re seeking sun or avoiding sharks, follow this guide to plan a dream trip to the land down under.
AUSTRALIA IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST COUNTRIES, SO WHEN TO GO DEPENDS ENTIRELY ON WHERE YOU’RE GOING. FROM THE WORLD-FAMOUS GREAT BARRIER REEF, TO THE VINEYARDS SCATTERED ACROSS THE COUNTRY, TO SYDNEY’S SPRAWLING BEACHES, AUSTRALIA HAS SOMETHING TO OFFER EVERY TYPE OF TRAVELER.
Here's the best time of year to see all of Australia's greatest sights and attractions.
The Best Months to Visit Australia
When You'll Get the Best Weather
Seasons in Australia are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere, with summer from December through February, and winter from June through August. The exact type of weather you'll experience depends largely on the region.
Darwin, in the Northern Territory, sees temperatures in the high seventies during the winter and can have no rainfall at all, but summers are extremely hot, with serious downpours.
In southern Australia, like Adelaide and Melbourne, summer temperatures often hover in the low seventies, and winters are cool. Pack a few sweaters as well as a pieces for warmer weather, no matter the time of year.
The Best Times to Visit the East Coast
Australia’s East Coast is usually considered the stretch from Cairns, in the north, to Melbourne, in the south, and is the most convenient area to get to from the United States. It’s also incredibly vast — travelers could easily spend more than 40 hours driving top to bottom, with no traffic and no stops, so the weather and scenery vary.
The Best Times to Visit the Great Barrier Reef
Up north, the Great Barrier Reef tends to be warm year-round, and in the summer temperatures can rise to nearly 90 degrees, with plenty of tropical rain. Here, wet season comes in the summer and spring, which slows the stream of tourists. While this may not be the ideal time to visit Australia's famous reefs for weather, it's preferable for travelers interested in avoiding crowds.
The Best Times to Visit the Gold Coast
About an hour’s drive from Brisbane is the Gold Coast, and it's known for having beautiful weather most of the year. (A particularly popular Gold Coast beach destination is Surfers Paradise.) More than 500 miles south of the Gold Coast is Sydney, a cultural center famous for beautiful beaches including Coogee, Manly, and Bondi. Temperatures in the winter are slightly chilly, with some rain. If a beach holiday is on your agenda, summer is perfect, as temperatures are warm. But if you prefer a more active vacation, spring and autumn are ideal.
The Best Times to Visit Australia’s Beaches
From Sydney’s Bondi Beach, with its iconic pool set just above the sea, to the bright, white sand and turquoise waters of the Whitsundays Islands, Australian beaches are hard to beat. The best way to decide which to visit? Follow the weather.
It’s important to note that just because there’s a beach doesn’t mean you can go swimming. Some places have saltwater crocodiles, box jellyfish, or other creepy ocean critters. Pay attention to signage and ask locals if you have any doubts.
Still, don’t let a fear of sharks factor into your plans. Rodd Stapley, Shark Expert for Taronga Zoo, told Travel + Leisure the safest season to avoid sharks can vary each year due to changes in the environment. But these risks are small. Taronga Conservation Society Australia has studied shark attack patterns and — over the last 50 years — there’s been fewer than one unprovoked attack annually, an average. To minimize risks, Stapley recommends swimming in ocean pools or netted beaches, and between lifeguard flags.
A bigger risk to swimmers and even waders at Australian beaches are riptides, which are common here. Learn the signs, including dark water and fewer waves breaking. Only swim between the flags on lifeguarded beaches, and if you do get caught in a rip, swim parallel to the shoreline to get out of it.
The Best Months to Visit Australia's Wine Country
From Hunter Valley, in New South Wales, to Swan Valley, slightly north of Perth, there are more than 60 wine regions scattered across the country. It’s easy to find good wine no matter the time of year, but if you’re trying to make Pinots and Sauvignons the main event, many regions hold wine festivals. Late autumn is a popular time for harvest festivals, so plan to visit in April, May, or early June.
The Worst Times to Visit Australia
Generally, it’s best to avoid the south’s chilly winters and the far north’s hot, wet summers.
But crowds are also a consideration. Students get a break from mid-December until late January (or even early February), which means packed beaches and more expensive domestic airfare. Australia is a popular backpacker destination, so tourist favorites tend to be busy anyway, but book your trip in late spring or early autumn to strike a balance between great weather and manageable crowds.
The Cheapest Times to Visit Australia
It has to be said: there’s no truly cheap time to visit the Antipodes. December and January tend to be most expensive, likely due to holiday travel and the prime summer weather. According to data from Skyscanner, the cheapest months to travel to Sydney from New York City and Los Angeles are March and June, respectively. New York City to Melbourne is cheapest in February, while flights from Los Angeles to Melbourne are less expensive August. (Looking at hotel room rates provided by Booking.com, Melbourne is also cheap in January.)
If you have flexibility on timing, plan well in advance to find the best deals. If you have less flexibility on schedule but more on destination, try searching a few cities internally and looking at local budget airlines, like Jetstar, to get around once you’re in Australia.
Originally seen here:
Thursday, January 10, 2019
BARISTAS expect oat milk to be the next coffee craze after new data suggested Australia is split over whether the latte, cappuccino or flat white is best.
The national data released on Wednesday from payment platform Square says the humble latte made up one in every three orders (33 per cent) in 2018.
But that’s lower than two years ago when it was ordered 43 per cent of the time.
And while the latte, cappuccino and flat white still make up about three-in-four orders, the states and territories are split on the best way to get a caffeine hit.
Lattes remain strong in Victoria (42 per cent) and Tasmania (32 per cent) while flat white tops menus in Queensland (26 per cent), Western Australia (37 per cent), ACT (39 per cent) and Northern Territory (29 per cent).
NSW – often derided by Victoria for having an apparently weaker coffee culture – have a more varied taste with cappuccino the leading coffee at 26 per cent.
But the biggest change in 2019 will be what people put into their coffee rather than the way they have it, Melbourne cafe Proud Mary general manager Tom Gunn says.
“Oat milk will be huge,” he told AAP.
“We have another cafe in America and oat milk has completely dominated the market there – completely destroyed almond milk and soy is now minimal.”
He said compared to other dairy milk alternatives, oat milk tastes better, matches coffee better, froths more easily and importantly has funding behind it from large US companies.
Pippa Ainsworth, the owner of the Darwin cafe The Trader, said she was surprised Australia was behind on the craze on what she sees a yummy, environmentally sustainable option.
“I was just in London and oat milk was in every cafe – no question,” she told AAP.
But Ms Ainsworth says people are fickle about their brew, and often chase the next craze.
“We serve a lot of tradies and Defence personnel and the weirdest thing is the Defence forces all have the same order.
“It may change every few weeks, from cappuccino to hazelnut latte – but they’ll all change together.”
“We tease them about it.”
The Square coffee data is based on millions of orders made through Square point-of-sale devices.
Originally seen here:
Five men stranded in floodwaters in north Queensland have been rescued without injuryafter their ute was washed off the road, but rescue authorities were delayed in getting to them because their helicopter was low on fuel when the men were spotted.
Police said the men were in a ute that was washed off Tondara Road at Bogie, west of Bowen, this morning.
Around 8:00am, the mother of one of the vehicle's occupants called police to say her son had contacted her and informed her that water was rising around the ute he was in.
On Thursday afternoon, police confirmed a nearby farmer had located the men and contacted authorities.
Earlier, a rescue helicopter dispatched from Townsville to search for the men was prevented from landing due to the bad weather.
Another helicopter sent from Mackay landed in a clearing adjacent to Tondara Road at Bogie, near the crossing of Molongle Creek.
That aircraft had to refuel in Proserpine and returned to the area after 3:00pm to extract the men.
A CQ Rescue spokesperson said the men's dogs had to be left behind, but that the men were "in good health and not injured".
PHOTO: Swollen Molongle Creek crossing the road at Bogie, west of Bowen, where the five men were washed away. (Supplied: RACQ CQRescue)
CQ Rescue air crewman Russell James said the men were found "cold, tired and hungry" beside a creek bed near a road.
The helicopter had left the area when two of the missing men emerged and began signalling to a local station owner for help.
"We had actually departed when two of the guys turned up and shouted out to the station owner," Mr James said.
"Luckily, he has our number and called us and we were able to refuel and return and pick all five of them up."
Mr James said the ute the men were travelling in washed away when they tried to cross a flooded creek bed.
"Luckily they all managed to get out of the vehicle. It was quite a walk through the night to where they ended up. They are lucky boys that is for sure," he said.
"If it's flooded, forget it, and they found that out the hard way, bit embarrassed I'm sure."
The group had been in the area on a pig hunt last night but heavy rainfall has blocked the only road in and out of the area.
The Bruce Highway is currently cut between Ayr and Bowen at Gumlu due to flooding.
PHOTO: Steady rain has been falling over Townsville and surrounding areas early on Thursday afternoon. (Supplied: BOM)
Strathbogie, south of Ayr, has received 432 millimetres of rain in the 24 hours to 9:00am, while Eton Vale had falls of 224mm.
At Groper Creek, near Ayr, 184mm was recorded.
Further inland, south of Theodore, Downfall Creek received 153mm while Cracow recorded 139mm.
Moderate to heavy falls were recorded from Ingham north to Mossman late on Thursday afternoon.
The BOM in the hour to 4:00pm, 91mm of rain fell at Menavale, north of Tully.