Sustainability, Coffee, and You: Here & Around the World

Posted by Cesar Murillo on

Sustainability, Coffee, and You: Here & Around the World

            If you’ve followed our brand’s outset since May, you probably already understand a fair amount about our core beliefs systems. Our founder, Cesar Murillo, spent time early in his career working as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Madagascar. While he was certainly a humanitarian at the beginning of his time there, what he’d come to witness would undoubtedly reinforce that belief tenfold, as well as instill in him a furthered belief in the power of clean water to act as an agent of change.

            Things in Madagascar were - to put it extremely lightly - very different than they were in his life back home in California. Cesar had anticipated arriving and being part of a service moment, but what he saw there became the impetus for our business today. The fact of the matter is that countless people in the remote territories where Cesar found himself lacked access to water - the most basic and necessary staple of human life.  

            Indeed, the lack of access to clean and plentiful water was readily apparent in Ambohitrambo, the remote village of Madagascar where Cesar lived. There, locals would often carry buckets, jugs - whatever they could find, to the local well to bring home water to their families each day. But the problem was far worse than that sentence tells; the well itself would sometimes run dry and, even when there was access to water, the well was far from sanitary, and water borne illnesses spread quickly and easily, furthering a cycle of poor health, both economic and financial.

            Partnering with a global organization known as Water Charity, Cesar worked with local leaders to organize the construction of a new well - one that would not only be clean and safe, but that would also be functional all year. Construction began in November of 2015 and was completed successfully, but that was far from the end of Cesar’s work.

            On the contrary - the experience became the motivation for what Mandela Coffee is becoming today, a social venture with exactly two missions: help to increase water access around the world - and provide delicious coffee to good people while we’re at it.

            With all that said, we’d like to welcome you to our newest series of blog content: Sustainability, Water, Coffee, and You: Here & Around the World. Through the lens of Mandela Coffee, we’re going to be exploring a series of topics surrounding the concepts closest to our brand and missions statement, with an emphasis on the small steps we can all take to help further water access (and delicious coffee) around the world.

10 Small Ways to Preserve Water Equality in Your Daily Life

            It’s a busy world out there, and don’t we know it. When we’re not bagging fresh roasts for distribution to our loyal customers, we’re updating our website and building grassroots awareness wherever we can. With that little time left in the day, furthering our mission of water access around the world can seem like a nearly insurmountable task.

            With that said, we here at Mandela Coffee know that even small actions can have an incredible impact when their effects on the global stage are considered. As so many famous songwriters have said before, ‘from small things, big things one day come,’ after all. Keeping this in mind, we’d like to share some of our favorite ways to make a difference in water equality through making small changes to the actions in our daily lives.

Never Let the Water Run

            We’re actually pretty sure there was a song about this in an episode of Barney when we were kids. Can someone send us that Youtube link? Please? But seriously, the amount of water we waste is truly astounding. Now, we want to make this point as clearly as we can; the vast majority of water waste isn’t necessarily even resultant from activities that we’re aware of, like letting the water run when we brush our teeth or waiting for the shower to heat up.

            For example, if you’ve got a leaky faucet in your bathroom or kitchen, it may be doing far more harm than you know. While it seems like a negligible amount of water going down the drain, the truth couldn’t be more to the contrary. For example, The Washington Post estimates that a faucet leaking 10 drips per minute - one every six seconds - wastes upwards of 526 gallons per year. Now imagine the orders of magnitude that number jumps to when you start considering multiple homes, let alone the potential for multiple leaky faucets in one home.

           Needless to say, the less water we waste, the more we can do to further equal access to water across the globe. That said, take a look at our top five tips for simple water waste reduction:

 Tighten Up Your Toilets

            If the amount of water that a leaky sink can waste surprises you, you’d be absolutely shocked to learn the damage that a constantly running toilet can do. In all fairness, you’re more likely to notice this, as a toilet with a constantly running tank can boost your water bill by extremely noticeable amounts - in fact, some estimates go as far as to speculate the billing increase could be hundreds of dollars per month.

            Luckily, there’s an easy way to test if your toilet is running properly. Just drip a couple drops of food dye into your toilet tank. If the coloring ends up in the toilet bowl itself, then you’re wasting water, so it’s time to call a plumber.

 Time Keeps on Tickin…

            Not into the future, necessarily, but into your lawn. No matter where you draw your research from, wastewater scholars always point to sprinkler timers as a huge waste of water. I mean, after all, is there anything more infuriating than driving down the block and seeing someone with their sprinklers on during a rainstorm? Make sure that you’re monitoring local weather and preparing your sprinkler cycles accordingly, and making sure to turn your sprinklers off when you’re leaving home for any extended period.

            As a side note, if you live in an apartment, condo or community with an HOA, broach this at your next community meeting or with your landlord. You may be wasting water that you don’t even know about, which just means another opportunity to prevent it’s waste.

 Reduce Wardrobe Malfunctions

            We may be using that phrase incorrectly, but there’s really something to be said for this. One of the most common ways that people waste water everyday is by being generally inefficient with their laundry.

            We know that there’s pressure to look good everywhere you turn, but doing small loads of laundry simply isn’t worth it. In fact, doing large loads of laundry can make a world of difference on a global scale when it comes to reducing water waste. Too often, we’re dying to throw on a specific outfit, but it’s dirty, so we wash it in isolation. Without getting too scientific about it, this is basically the equivalent of filling a jacuzzi to wash your hair. You’re better than that.

            Let the record show, you don’t necessarily need to be hyper efficient appliances to reduce waste - though it’s great if you can - just be mindful of your usage.

 Pour Over, Pour Over, Pour Over

            It takes way more than 12 ounces of water to brew that perfect cup of Mandela, believe us. In fact, National Geographic estimates that each 12 ounce cup of coffee produced requires roughly 55 gallons of water usage, agriculture and irrigation considered.

            While there may not be a ton you can do to bring that number down, you can control your own consumption habits. We won’t tell you to stop enjoying our product, obviously, but we will encourage the pour over. Far too often, we see people brew a pot of coffee and throw the last cup or two out (philistines…) because it’s gone cold.

            Please, if you can, try to only brew as much as you’re going to actually consume. Not only does it help save the world, but it helps make your latest bag of delicious Mandela Coffee last even longer. Who doesn’t want that?










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