Corn Aggression

Christmas Day Eve: On our drive back from Murray’s brother’s house on the south shore, we were listening to NPR, which for some reason we can do in Montreal because we’re so close to Vermont. Anyhow, the radio hosts were discussing how the price of commodities like corn and soy are rising because they are using these crops to create ethanol. And as a result our food prices will rise, too.

WTF? The frustration boiled inside me. Apparently this is not new news, it’s been debated for a while now, and consumers in Canada have already felt its effects: Rising Corn Prices Hit Grocery Shoppers’ Pocketbooks

Thinking back to my reading of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, makes this discussion of the corn industry especially vexing. The government (US and probably Canada, too) gives huge subsidies to farmers who grow corn and quite frankly it’s just as bad for the environment as oil. Chemical fertilisers literally burn out the soil. Ranchers are force-feeding cows corn because it sustains the industry. But cows can’t digest corn, so they are fed foreign chemicals and antibiotics (sustaining the pharmecutical industry) to help them digest it. It’s unnatural. The “regular” everyday beef most people eat is made from cows that are kept sick thier entire lives. And all in the name of progress. Because we produce too much corn and have to get rid of it somehow. So now it’s fuel. And this world is so fanatical about its fuel that we’ll burn anything to see if it will work. What’s cheap and that we have too much of? Corn. Let’s burn some corn. But sadly our entire food industry is based on corn, so burning it for fuel is forcing up our food prices. It’s maddening. What can we do? Buy and eat local, natural and unprocessed foods.

Like the music industry, it’s a total mess that needs to be dismantled and destroyed before it will properly work again. The ecosystem we are running is done: smothered and covered. We can’t keep mending it with band-aid patches, fixing leaks with duct tape and misleading subsidies. It’s an environmental dictatorship where money is the controlling power.

Check out the Biofuel Bind for more.

While the following story is moderately outrageous, it may solve two problems: obesity and the fuel crisis: Around the World in a Boat Fueled by Human Fat.

3 Replies to “Corn Aggression”

  1. Biofuel is not a serious long term solution to anything anyway. It is highly debatable whether biofuel produces a positive energy balance: Much of the research suggests that it actually takes more fuel to produce than you get back

    It is also true (not much debate) that if you were going to replace fossil fuels with biofuel in the United States, for example, and you were going to do it all internally (so that you didn’t have to import fuel) – every single square inch of the U.S. – including all of the houses, roads, mountaintops etc. would have to be covered with growing corn. Of course, at that point you wouldn’t need as much fuel (no room for people).

    Personally I think of Biofuel as just another corn subsidy. There isn’t much value there as a alt. fuel.

  2. How tragic that western nations continue to be so wasteful and insular…never thinking globally enough to pool or SHARE [un]natural resources!!!!!

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