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."

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.