Like your average working parent, I can’t look at the media’s alarmist take on the world food crisis (re: increasing prices of basic foodstuff ) and stay unfazed.
Like many upper middle class North American, I probably don’t spend more than 10-15% of our household earnings on food.
That’s why I can afford to spend time on a second virtual job and churn out somewhat entertaining posts on games.
I know that there are many reasons for the increase in basic foodstuff price, oil price and speculation on futures being key drivers beneath it all. I’m not an economist but I know the basics.
I’m also fairly to the right in terms of Canadian economics policies (which is actually to left of America Centre, but this isn’t a comparative political blog). I strongly believe in a free economy with minimal obstacles to trade and ideas.
But for the love of all that is merciful in the universe, be it God or social Darwinism, why the hell are we allowing to create fuel for cars out of fucking FOOD?
Making ethanol out of corn, the food that Latin America depends on to survive and using it for cars is quite possibly the stupidest things humans have done in the last few years. It should be criminal!
That freaks me out way more than climate change (for the moment).
I’m a microbiologist, I (somewhat) know how Ethanol is produced. It’s basically what microorganisms excrete as waste when ‘eating’ plant sugars in the absence of oxygen.
I totally get how important it is to find an alternative fuel source. The developing world, China and India’s at its head, can’t be denied the growth the occidental powers were allowed just because we did it first and now there’s not enough resources to go around.
I’m all for using ethanol as an alternative fuel (I prefer electricity, coming from a fully Hydro-powered region of the world), but come on people! Ethanol can be created from anything that has a sufficient amount of complex sugars, as long as we use the proper tools to unlock them.
Anyone that says that other ethanol producing technology aren’t worth it yet should take a good look at rising Maize price (and everything else getting hit because of oil). Also, look at the food riots that have flared in Haiti and Africa. After all that, one should think about supporting the funding of some serious R&D.
Use cornstalk, Grass, Sawdust… We’ve found bacteria and yeast that thrive on the quasi-useless byproducts of agriculture.
Heck use Maple Syrup, it’s not like the world needs it to survive!
If I’ve discovered a bacteria that can degrade Chrysene into Carbon Monoxide during my Master’s research (which is as ‘unedible’ as rock) there’s a bug out there that will eat up our worst waste and shit fuel.
I can afford to pay 100% more for food in the short term… but a lot of people in North America and Europe can’t, let alone the rest of the world. That alone is good enough to stop using corn ethanol for fuel now.
Do you agree or am I full of it?
(We’ll return to our regular programming soon… that shit really freaks me out and I feel I can’t do anything about it)