Posted by: Danjamin S. Meow | April 7, 2008

Agrofuels: not a cool response to global warming

Skip reading this article and go straight to FoodFirst’s brief and petition to hold a Moratorium on agrofuels

...But I didnae eat any corrrn

‘Sif we don’t have enough problem feeding the world’s people, now they want to feed food to our cars as well. Ethanol-laced petrol is a growing sector of the fuel market, and is made industrially by fermenting the sugars in corn and purifying the resultant alcohol. Replacing a percentage of petrol with cleaner-burning ethanol sounds like a good idea, but wait: we already have a use for corn. Not only do people eat it, but it’s a staple in the diets of domesticated farm animals (read: food source for the unenlightened masses). I for one doubt that when the demand for corn rises, the agricultural industry as a whole is going to look for alternate stock feed crops, but rather clear more land (containing all this useless rainforest and eliminating the animals inhabiting it which can’t be eaten, make milk or lay eggs) and plant more corn. While corn may be a renewable commodity, it seems fairly self-evident that clearing biologically diverse rainforest for monoculture crops is unsustainable, especially since corn is possibly THE worst topsoil-eroding crop. Real smart.

But wait; there’s more. Not a set of steak knives I have no use for, but actual steak. A side effect of the geniuses in charge thinking that the answer to the starving third world children and climate change is “make moar meatz!” and “turn our lights off for an hour!” (instead of “encourage veganism, utilise land efficiently for crops and in the process save water, the environment, the animals and everyone’s health”) is that the livestock industry has all these left-over animal fats, bones and by-products to get rid of (how else could we have invented lard on toast, jelly, or animal-fat moisturisers?).

Cue the buzz word “biofuel” and we have someone go “animals equals bio!” and some other idiot wants to put animal fats into car engines. Great, if you own a slaughterhouse and want to sell some of your surplus by-products. Not great, if you’re veg*n and don’t want to increase profits/decrease waste-elimination costs of an industry built on animal expoitation nor provide the ignorant another “reason” humans have to rely on animal slaughter.

Don’t just take my word on all of this, though:
The Great Agrofuel Swindle
Project makes fuel from animal byproducts

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Responses

  1. well you know, 80% of grain in the US goes to feeding livestock.
    Now, a lot of meat eaters argue that quite a bit of this isnt food grade but if we were to reduce our consumption of meat then we could actually put this to use in the form of biofuel.

    It’d also mean if a large percentage of the population did go vegan, those farmers growing grains and whatnot would still have a demand for their produce.

    However I can see that in the current climate, biofuel just puts more of a strain on our resources.

  2. The proportion of that 80% of US grain fed to livestock which isn’t food grade could probably be used for agrofuels or in compost for veganic farming if there was a sudden decline in meat consumption although unfortunately I don’t see the majority of people going vegan in the near future. Where is a mass-mind-control device when you need one?

    I’m not a farmer but I believe if the land were appraised and tilled for appropriate crops and farmed organically and sustainably instead of with a view only to making profits, eventually more food-grade crops could be produced (or crops better suited to another purpose?).

    Plus I forgot to mention a pretty awesome biofuel which is a mould that can be cultivated in factory outlets to filter/metabolise certain waste gases which would otherwise pollute the air. The report wasn’t too specific about which gases or how cleanly the mould burnt but obviously it’s not viable on a mass scale yet or we’d be hearing more about it.


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