Coffee & Community

For a lot of people, coffee is a daily ritual. The scale ranges from black coffee to get you through the day to artisan excellence and finding that perfect foam. No matter your coffee habits – addict, enthusiast, dappler – you have something in common with every other coffee drinker.

Coffee grounds.

Our coffee habit produces a lot of coffee grounds which is why I’m so happy to introduce you to Emily and Maiya, two inspiring young women from Vancouver Island who began a non-profit while in high school.

I hope you enjoy learning about their organization, Community Earth and about these incredible, sustainability-minded girls.

What is Community Earth and how does it work?

Community Earth is a non-profit organization which runs on Vancouver Island. Our focus is educating the local community’s youth about ways to live more sustainably. We strive to help people take hold of their potential to create change in the world. Currently, our core project is the Coffee Ground Renewal Program. This is a full-circle program where the coffee grounds produced by local cafés are delivered to farms where they can be used to create nitrogen-rich compost rather than entering the landfill. Through this project, our vision is to help local youth and business owners work together to improve sustainable business practice in Victoria and turn waste into a resource. We have also run one youth workshop about sustainable living and food waste reduction so far with plans to do more in the future that cover other sustainability related topics!

What inspired or motivated you to start Community Earth?

We are really passionate about integrating sustainable thinking into youth culture, providing them with a deeper understanding of their influence and giving them the tools they need to begin making an impact on the world. Specifically with the Coffee Ground Renewal Program, our reason for starting it was to curb the environmental impact of Victoria’s coffee habit. Coffee culture has been on the rise on the West Coast over the past few years and many consumers consider the ethics of coffee sourcing but overlook the way coffee grounds are disposed of. So there was kind of a dual focus when beginning our work with the organization.

What are your future ambitions for Community Earth?

We are currently building a youth-powered volunteer team from local high schools. Our goal is to expand the program city-wide by using the power of collective youth action. The more volunteers we have on board, the more coffee grounds we will be able to prevent from entering the landfill and the more farmers we can support!

What excites you the most about Community Earth or about the sustainability movement as a whole?

The fact that the movement has had such a positive response from the community so far has been really encouraging. Also, the fact that this initiative has given us a platform to talk with business owners and youth about ways they can live more sustainably has been amazing. We are able to have so many valuable conversations, which are hopefully opening people’s eyes to the importance and urgency of environmental protection.

Why do you personally care about sustainability?

We strongly believe in providing each generation with more opportunities than the one before it. Protecting local and global communities from the current and future effects of climate change is extremely important in order to protect the natural world so that it can be enjoyed by people for years to come. We are both strong believers in generational equity and taking climate action in our community is a way for us to contribute to positive change. We hope this will have a ripple effect and that others will take action as well!

How do you make sustainability a part of your daily life?

We use reusable containers, eat a plant-based diet, thrift our clothes as much as possible (or source ethical and sustainable brands), and are trying to reduce our single-use plastics to the bare minimum. There are so many things that can be incorporated into everyday life, which collectively, have a big impact.

This is about getting to know you and you can answer any, all or none of these…what are your hobbies, your favourite things to do, favourite people to be with, favourite places to go, where would you like to adventure, what’s your perfect day, who inspires you…

Maiya and EMily

Emily (on the right): I love reading, skinny dipping, laughing until I ache and I am terrified of caterpillars. My favourite people are Maiya, my little sister Anya (my whole family actually), my boyfriend Jack, and my global solutions class.

My favourite places to go are Dallas Road, Island View Beach, and the forest by my grandparents’ house.

I am inspired by Stacey Toews, one of the founders of Level Ground Trading (which is a business with strong ethical and sustainable morals).

Maiya (on the left): I love reading, thrifting, picking flowers, and going on adventures. My favourite people to be with are my boyfriend Miles, my grandparents, Emily, my little sister Grace, and my other pals 🙂

I’ll be going to Greece, France, and Italy this summer, and I can’t wait to adventure there! I’ve been dreaming of going to Europe for as long as I can remember.

My perfect day would be sleeping in; having brunch (with lots of coffee); either going for a hike or swimming in a lake if it’s warm and sunny; thrifting; and then a picnic and star gazing.

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