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Archive for November, 2013

I happened to see this article today. Just to warn you, it’s pretty fucking scary and depressing. However, it’s not surprising. We already know that the government makes decisions on a purely financial basis, without regard for long-term consequences. And this just proves it.

I wrote about this three years ago. Did I not say that finding another reason to harvest more corn would cause problems? Now this: “Five million acres of land set aside for conservation — more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined — have vanished on Obama’s watch.”

Our landscape is being destroyed for the sake of commerce and capitalism. And the government knew this would be a problem:

“As a way to reduce global warming, [the EPA] knew corn ethanol was a dubious proposition. Corn demands fertilizer, which is made using natural gas. What’s worse, ethanol factories typically burn coal or gas, both of which release carbon dioxide.” 

I’ll admit that given where we are with discovering and harnessing alternative fuels, ethanol is probably a better solution than something like fracking. However, it’s likely that any environmental benefits to be had from adding ethanol to gasoline are canceled out by the agricultural process itself. Good in theory, perhaps, but not in practice.

This is not only hurting our environment, but it’s hurting farmers for whom keeping their grasslands in tact (and actually having self-sufficient farms) once made financial sense. As with industrial farming in general, the government (USDA) has ensured that there’s a greater financial benefit to farmers if they just bite the bullet and convert all of their crops and fields to corn and/or soy.

Oh, and by the way, they should probably use GMO corn and soy so that the crops are pest-resistant and yield more per dollar! Guess who benefits from that? You got it: companies like Monsanto and DuPont.

And this is somewhat alarming:

“Historically, the overwhelmingly majority of corn in the United States has been turned into livestock feed. But in 2010, for the first time, fuel was the No. 1 use for corn in America. That was true in 2011 and 2012. Newly released Department of Agriculture data show that, this year, 43 percent of corn went to fuel and 45 percent went to livestock feed.” 

I don’t condone industrial agriculture for feedlots. But if more and more of the corn is being used to create ethanol for gasoline, what becomes of the corn used for feedlot farms? Where will they get the extra food? Chances are we’ll need to replace even more of our sacred land with fields and fields of corn.

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