The Sometimes Catastrophic Nature of ‘Renewability’
Posted by Mike O on March 1, 2008
The drive for being ‘green’, especially for using renewable resources, often forgets that nothing operates in a vacuum. Low-energy fluorescent lightbulbs contain mercury and become a toxic waste nightmare. Wind farms slaughter birds by the thousands. The batteries used in that Prius assure that the supposed ‘green’ car is actually more environmentally damaging than a Hummer. Biolfuels result in more greenhouse gas production, not less. But the latest issue, that of ethanol and the federal government’s financial incentives for ethanol production, is likely to be the most costly.
Thanks to major government subsidy programs, more and more farm country in the U.S. is being converted to corn production and more of the existing corn is being used for ethanol production. The highly predictable result: Cereal grains of all forms have spiked 41% in price in just 6 months. This is not only starting to show up on grocery store shelves, but is heading us for a humanitarian nightmare as food agencies around the world are having to significantly scale back.
How real is this? To me, very real. The charity I support in Uganda has lost the support from the World Food Program; a combination of the increased costs and flooding in Northeast Uganda resulted in WFP shutting down their aid everywhere except the flooded regions. The organization was highly dependent on that food; kids I personally know stand a very real chance of starving over this. Graves may be ecologically friendly, but I doubt that was the intent of the ‘renewable resource’ gang and their government enablers.
If you’d personally like to help fill in the gap (and I’ve personally done all I can, in that regard), you can be a real help to these kids.