Climate change has crossed the line. It's ruining beer now.

Beer. Glorious beer.

GIF from "Blue Mountain State."


Cold and refreshing and full of flowers. Flowers?

GIF from the Golden Globe Awards.

Yes, flowers. Flowers are responsible for making your beer delicious.

Hops are one of the four main ingredients in beer (and one of only four ingredients allowed in beer, if you ask the Germans). Beer gets its bitterness and aroma — really, all the good stuff, IMHO — from the female flowers of the vine-like hops plant. Hops are also one of the only crops in the world that's used almost exclusively for alcohol (occasionally tea, and sometimes novelty deodorants and soaps and stuff, but mostly beer).

They also may or may not be responsible for "man boobs," but that's a topic for another time.

Mmmmm, future beer. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

The most popular craft beer style in the world is the hop-heavy India Pale Ale, or IPA.

Among their many amazing and wonderful qualities, hops are a fantastic preservative. Back in the 1700s, British breweries began to load their beer with lots of extra hops in order to keep it fresh for the six-month journey to India. So it's pretty much the best accidental byproduct of British colonialism (again, IMHO).

More recently, as the craft beer craze has gained traction in America, breweries have started experimenting more and more with hops, resulting in the deliciously bitter, tastebud-obliterating, piney-citrus liquid beauties of today.

GIF from "Dexter."

But now our beer is in danger of disappearing, and it's all climate change's fault.

In case you haven't heard, there's been a pretty major drought lately on the West Coast. Nearly 3/4 of America's hop production comes from the Yakima Basin in Washington State. But with water in such short supply and each hop plant requiring up to three gallons of water per day, this year's harvest isn't looking so pretty.

"Most growers in the Yakima Valley have incurred significant extra expenses trying to deal with the situation," hops grower Eric Desmarais told CNBC. "Every grower is going to have crop loss. I am not saying it is catastrophic or disastrous, but there will be some crop loss associated with it."

GIF from "In Bruges."

Droughts and rising temperatures have led to the third major hops shortage in less than a decade.

Sure, every farmer deals with a bad harvest every now and then. But the hops industry faced a major shortage in 2008 and again in 2012. Meanwhile, the number of hops farms in the country has doubled, along with the price-per-pound of the harvested flower. On a purely economic level, this increases the costs for the brewery, which then passes that on to the beer drinker.

That means beer becomes more expensive. That means you won't be able to drink as much. And that will make you very, very sad.

GIF from "Girls."

So if you weren't already concerned about our future, let me give you a reason: If we don't protect the planet, we won't have any beer.

All jokes about delicious booze consumption aside, beer is a multibillion-dollar industry in America. If the effects of climate change are allowed to continue at this rate, that industry will be headed toward disaster, which will have a serious impact on our entire economy.

Some of you might be thinking, "Well, good thing I'm not a beer drinker!" in which case (a) I seriously question your definition of "good thing," and (b) you're forgetting that hops are not the only crop affected by climate change (the beer thing is just my sneaky way of getting you to read this). Climate change affects the entire agriculture industry, which affects our food supply, which affects our economy and our livelihoods. How will we be able to enjoy our beer — or anything else for that matter — if we're no longer alive?!

The conclusion is simple:

SAVE OUR ENVIRONMENT. SAVE OUR BEER.

GIF from "Captain Planet."

Heroes
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular