Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wait a minute... does this make sense?

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We are growing corn to make ethanol because we want to be less reliant on foreign oil (no more wars) and more environmentally friendly (fight global warming), right? So when businesses activate a coal burning plant to process ethanol (which is actually an extremely inefficient carbon to burn), isn't that kinda defeating the purpose? When we ignore the fact that some biofuels actually damage the enviroment more, isn't that kinda defeating the purpose? And when the ethanol mega farms begin using too much water from the ancient acquifers in Iowa, isn't that kinda defeating the purpose?

So when we grow so much corn that we flood the rivers with fertilizer and it poisons everything downstream and way out into the Gulf of Mexico, isn't that kinda defeating the purpose?:
JEFFERSON, Iowa - Because of rising demand for ethanol, American farmers are growing more corn than at any time since World War II. And sea life in the Gulf of Mexico is paying the price.

The nation's corn crop is fertilized with millions of pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer. And when that nitrogen runs off fields in Corn Belt states, it makes its way to the Mississippi River and eventually pours into the Gulf, where it contributes to a growing "dead zone" — a 7,900-square-mile patch so depleted of oxygen that fish, crabs and shrimp suffocate.

The dead zone was discovered in 1985 and has grown fairly steadily since then, forcing fishermen to venture farther and farther out to sea to find their catch. For decades, fertilizer has been considered the prime cause of the lifeless spot.

Who is getting rich off this nonsense? You want to take a guess? Maybe Bush's cronies or the Megafarms?

Update 12/19: Carl at Simply Left Behind makes the same points.


Anonymous said...

The Dead Zone off the mouth of the Mississippi River keeps getting larger, and we have larger and more persistent Red Tide blooms along the coast, but no one does anything about it.

If people are making money, they can pay to clean up their mess.

ellroon said...

Steve and you were the people who first brought the Dead Zone to my attention. I had never heard of it before then. It sounds so horrific, like the awful floating pile of plastic out in the Pacific.

But it is nobody's problem, so nobody will do anything about it.