Look, I understand people’s love of coffee. Whether you’re on an inner city commute, or in the midst of exam season, that dose of caffeine can get you through. Getting a little extra boost like that is a great way to keep you going, but there’s definitely times when that extra boost just isn’t necessary.
Do you know what one of those times is? When you’re in a national park. When you’ve gone out of your way to get away from the trapping of modern society and be amongst a part of the world untouched by human hands, you don’t need Starbucks coffee. You need a lot of water and maybe a guide, but you don’t need Starbucks coffee.
Starbucks doesn’t care. Starbucks doesn’t want you to forget about the daily grind, or let you be engrossed in the beauty of the environment around you. Starbucks wants to be around every last corner, so that no matter where you are it can shove overrated coffee into your face while it pickpockets you and doesn’t declare it on its taxes. With that in mind, the company has decided it wants to set up shop in Yosemite National Park.
It’s a disappointment, but it’s no great shock. There’s not a single cultural landmark on this planet that huge corporations won’t try and slap their ugly logos on. There’s a McDonalds in Guantanamo Bay, for crying out loud. This feels different though. It feels more insulting. Do you know what modern convenience it would be nice for National Parks to have? None of them. That’s the point.
Protected natural areas, like U.S. National Parks, are some of the only places on the planet we haven’t ruined yet. There’s a certain charm to some of the major cities of the world, and it’s hard to deny the stellar achievement this creations of man are. But we haven’t done any of that to Yosemite: it’s one of the few places on this planet we decided was perfect as it is. Not only that, but that it was so important that we went out of our way to stop people from toying with it! Starbucks wants to steamroll all over that, and carve its logo into the oldest tree it can find.
It’s not that it’s going to be a particularly egregious outlet: the planned outlet is going to sit itself nice and quietly into a log cabin that’s already in the park. But it feels like a defeat. At a time where we need to be doing everything we can to take care of our planet, it feels like a slap in the face that a multinational corporation (who, by and large, are pretty lassez faire about the planet) is being given carte blanche to sell their wears on government protected land.
Maybe I’m getting a little too upset about this. Maybe it’s just a popular coffee shop setting up somewhere it wasn’t before. Maybe I’m just grumpy because I never liked coffee in the first place. But I’d also be upset if Burrito Boyz were moving into Yosemite. There’s just no need. This is one of those times where the conveniences of modern living become a crutch, and it saddens me that corporate greed is being chosen over natural beauty.