Its been a while since I have written on here, and want to get back into the habit!
The a recent TIME Magazine issue really got me thinking. Titled “The Clean Energy Myth”, the main article talks about how biofuels have their own set of moral and environmental issues to deal with. I think it is very important we examine this evidence now before it gets so far down the road that to really revert it would be extremely difficult.
Ethanol and biofuels have been labeled as the “next generation of alternate fuels”. They are said to be clean an renewable, friendly to the environment and totally independent from OPEC who we buy our oil from. Sure, it is a renewable source of energy. But lets examine how this affects the world in a bigger picture.
Ethanol can be made from plant matter, usually soybeans or corn. The problem is.. these are sources of food. As more and more automakers are slowly making the conversion to ethanol, the demand for it will increase. This means more farmers diverting a third (or a certain allotment) of their harvest to sell to refineries. They realize they can make more money by selling it for ethanol than they can selling it to supermarkets or food processing plants. How does this affect us? True, it may lower the price of gas, but we will end up paying for it in the long run as food prices skyrocket.
And then think of the impact it has on third world countries. I think that THIS is the biggest issue and consequence of using ethanol. Farmers in other countries will realize, they too can make a significant profit by selling their corn or soybeans to the US. Because of our countries mammoth energy consumption, we will buy it from them and use it to make fuel. This is directly taking the food away from the mouths of those who need it in that country. It will completely decimate the impoverished, making food become even more scarce, and hinder aid organizations in providing food aid. To quote a scentence from the article by Michael Grunwald of TIME magazine,
“The U.N.’s World Food Program says it needs $500 million in additional funding and supplies, calling the rising costs for food nothing less than a global emergency.”
And an even more powerful quote from the same article:
“The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year.”
I think that people need to take a stand on this issue, weather it be boycotting ethanol, or raising awareness about this issue. Do we really care about driving our cars more than we are feeding the poor? Have we become so nearsighted that we cannot see the consequences of our actions? Jesus calls us to compassion; can we really achieve that when the fuel we use as a convenience condemns another life to hunger? I hope all who read this were challenged, to really think before we act. To think in the long term, rather than to act on what is easy at the time. We need to help each other as humans, and to do that means being aware of how are actions affect others.