Ethics Final part 7

The Cruel Joke Of Ethanol

It’s sad but true that the Bush/Cheney administration felt so compelled to give in to our nation’s oil addiction.  During their time in office they successfully managed to secure enough private American oil to make it appear as though our supply would be limitless.  How did they do this?  The two most obvious ways were to hi-jack the oil supply in Iraq, and to pay-off American farmers (dare I say usurp the land?) to grow corn to be made into ethanol.  Thankfully ethanol burns cleaner than good old fashioned petrol.  However, ethanol is net-energy neutral at best, and often a net-energy loser.  “The problem with using ethanol as fuel in a large-scale way comes down to two primary, related issues:  There’s not nearly as much energy in ethanol as there is in gasoline.  [And] Creating significant amounts of energy from food crops would deplete the amount of land available for growing actual food for people to eat…To sustain an ethanol-based fuel industry, more and more farm land would have to be set aside for corn alone. The ultimate result could be a shortage of domestically grown food and higher prices at the supermarket for all sorts of produce.”  So in the future the average American might be able to fill their car with corn to drive to the grocery store only to discover the shelves barren.  This might sound grim, but it’s plausible.  The rubber hits the road when it comes to logistical complications in manufacturing ethanol:  “Without solving the logistical issues, commercial production of second-generation biofuels will not take place.”

Industrial Agriculture Leads To Loss Of Bio-Diversity

Our planet exists as the only life-bearing planet in our solar system.  Astronomers give our location the quaint title of “The Goldilocks Zone.”  Not too far from the sun.  Not too close – just right!  It then follows that all life on our planet is beyond precious and we can surely assign no monetary value to it.  And when we consider the delicate balance that nature requires to provide us with the possibility of life, we will realize just how dependent on our planet we are for survival. Unfortunately, there is a scientific consensus being reached that we are in an era of mass-extinction.  Recent statistics put out by the United Nations tell us that 55,000 species are becoming extinct from our planet each year. 27,000 species of plants and animals are going extinct in the Amazon rainforesst alone.  Human behavior has polluted these extinct species’ homes and in a brute demonstration of Darwinism, all of the resources that might have been consumed by those dead animals are currently being consumed by humans.  In a most dramatic example of global warming and species decline:  “All of this has had disturbing effects on the plants and animals whose lives are somehow tied to the ice and snow.  Polar bears, for example, need the sea-ice for hunting seals.  That ice is now disappearing…and for possibly the first time, polar bears have begun to eat each other.

In addition to the loss of plant and animal life which is not explicitly tied to agricultural practices but we need to acknowledge the interconnectedness of our eco-system, we also have the explicit agricultural practices of crop consolidations.  This means that farmers are not growing an appropriate amount of plant varieties.  This becomes painfully obvious driving through my home state of Iowa where acre after acre is growing taller and taller genetically engineered corn and nothing else.  As stated before, the environment needs a delicate balance to provide us with the necessities of life and our uniform planting practices are painfully out of balance with nature.

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