Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Food Crisis facts:

1/3rd of the US Maize crop is to be converted into Ethanol, 1/4 of the worlds Oil Seed Rape in '07 was converted into Biodiesel, in the UK 2.5% of vehicle fuel is made from Corn crops and this figure is sheduled to increase to 5% in less than 2 years time.

Look at the image on the left, how can anyone really think that this is the answer to the world's energy problem?


barefoot gardener said...

Sure, make me cry first thing in the morning.

Good point, and very well made.

Kati said...

Peter, just thought I'd mention a book I'm currently reading that you might find insightful. The author makes the pint (true or not, I'm not really certain of) that so much of the problem is that we (Americans, Canadians, and other large-ag. countries) are flooding the world market with grain and fiber and other large-ag crops, keeping a good many of these smaller-ag. countries from being able to export their crops due to both OUR expectation of low prices, and our strict import/export laws. So, not only are we sending them OUR surplus, but we're keeping them from sending us THEIR surplus, therefore the food is THERE, but because nobody is buying THEIR stuff, they don't have the money to buy OURS.

The author makes the arguement that it's the governmental farm-subsidies that have caused this conundrum, and not only are we putting small-ag. out of business in OTHER countries with our subsidies, but we're putting small-ag out of business in OUR countries with these subsidies.

Anyway, the book title is _Raising Less Corn, More Hell" by George Pyle. As I said, his assertation is that we can send them as much food as we want, but it's not getting into the hands of those who need it most because the majority of it is sent as for-sale, and until they have the buying power to BUY the food, they'll still starve, even with the food in their country. The minimal amount we send as donations for starving folks is just that, a minimum. The typical "feed a man for a day". But to "teach a man to fish" we need to stop subsidizing our farms, stop growing so much surplus to export (at cheap rates for us) to other countries (who can't buy it because it's too expensive for them), and lighten up on our IMPORT taxes, so that their farmers are making a better deal in THEIR exports and the trade of money is more equitable. Only then will the poor truly be able to afford the food they need to survive.

Just thought I'd throw that out there for a bit of interest. (And, I don't really know whether his assertations are bull, or not. There is definitely some sense made, but I really don't know the academics of whether the statements and theories work out in real life.)

Dr. N said...

Corn based ethanol has been a disaster. We're spending more energy to produce the ethanol than we're getting out of it. There was a good documentary on the topic recently on PBS called King Corn.

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

Thank you for the book recommendation Kati, I have ordered a (used) copy from a US bookseller.

Mrs Green said...

This entire issue makes me cry too, barefoot gardener. It's something I simply cannot get my head around. How we can take people's food and turn it into food.
it just seems to helpless.........

mrs G x