Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Is Starvation The Price Of Sustainability?...


Is starvation the price of sustainability?... because the current devotion to corn-based ethanol and other bio-mass based fuels is quickly driving up the price of groceries. From the Dallas News,

Grocery prices getting fat on ethanol demand, weak dollar

Escalating food costs could present a greater problem than soaring oil prices for the national economy because the average household spends three times as much for food as for gasoline. Food accounts for about 13 percent of household spending, compared with about 4 percent for gas.

And consumers spending more on food have less disposable income to spend on items that keep retailers happy – from electronics to dining out. Food prices are rising while home values fall and the stock market falters – all of which can shake consumer confidence.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics:
  • Chicken prices are up 10 percent
  • Whole milk was up at least 20 percent
  • Tomatoes are up 25 percent
  • Bread was up 5.4 percent
  • Eggs gained more than 30 percent.
The story goes on,
Corn, a key foodstuff for farm animals, has shot up as ethanol demand increases. Corn prices have more than doubled in commodity markets over two years, and soybeans nearly tripled, according to DTN, a commodities-analysis firm in Omaha, Neb.

Soybean farmers, lured by higher margins, are growing more corn, causing soybean supplies to shrink and prices to increase, said Ephraim Leibtag, an economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's economic research service.

To make matters worse, the rising price of corn means higher beef prices. This all translates into an artificial inflation of overall food prices coming at a time, when American's are already facing a number of looming economic challenges. Not all ideas are good ones. Why for instance, should one grow fuel - consuming enormous amounts of water, fertilizers, soil, and external energy - to create a product that oozes freely from the bowels of the Earth?

Some facets of sustainability, it seems, are quite unsustainable. Starvation being one of them. Unless eugenics is one of the sublime goals of the modern Green movement...

...the darker spectrum, perhaps.

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