Rachel we did not listen, our ecosystem is threatened

Via on Jun 4, 2011
Silent Spring and related reading
Silent Spring and related reading

Rachel we did not listen to Silent Spring. We use food (corn ethanol) for fuel and fuel (petroleum based plastic) for packaging. Chemicals continue to a harm our ecosystem.

SUBSIDIZING CHEMICAL PRODUCTION
We grow corn for ethanol, rather than food. We even pay farmers to grow corn for ethanol. Why do we subsidize ethanol production as if it was clean energy like wind or solar? Why not subsidize biodynamic or organic farming the same way? Why not subsidize the environmental stewards who are nourishing their soil, rather than depleting their land’s nutrients through chemically grown food substances to power automobiles?

FOOD AS FUEL. NO WARS FOR CORN.
It is wonderful that ADM is the supermarket to the world, yet corn-based ethanol is not very tasty to humans or cattle. With commodity prices on the rise, why do we continue to support corn ethanol as an alternative fuel source? By moving to 15% corn based ethanol mixture in gasoline we have managed to raise the price of food for both human consumption and animal feed. Yet while the commodity price of corn and other inputs has climbed there has not been a subsequent fall in the price of a barrel of oil. What is going on Iowa? If E85 was a play to reduce the amount of foreign petroleum in a tank of gas, why have both corn prices and oil prices continued to rise?

CORN BASED ETHANOL- AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER?
ADM is yet another chemical company, disguising itself as a food company. We apply chemicals to our fields to grow corn for ethanol, with no thought to the environmental consequences. Sorry Rachel Carson, we did not listen.

Lester Brown's Plan B 4.0
Lester Brown's Plan B 4.0

DO WE HAVE A PLAN B FOR THE ENVIRONMENT OR FOR FOOD PRODUCTION?
Lester Brown the author of Plan B 4.0 and President of the Earth Policy Institute describes how ethanol production is crowding out food human (or animal consumption).  According to Lester Brown of the 400 million tons of grain we produced last year in the United States, 126 million tons of grain went for ethanol production.

HOW CLEAN IS ELECTRIC. WE WILL NOT STAND IN ELECTRIC LINES.
When the power station is still running on coal, how clean is your Chevrolet Volt? So instead of using one finite resource, fossil fuel, we are using another, coal? Can’t we find an inexhaustible source of energy to fuel our transportation needs?  (Electric vehicles are a great environmental solution, but the energy source for the charge is often a coal powered electric plant).

FUEL as PACKAGING
We are addicted to plastic. We use petrol to wrap food rather than power automobiles.  We use plastic once and then feel green when we recycle the container at the curb. We then add chemicals to plastic to increase its malleability, but really we have just increased plastics toxicity.

SOLUTIONS- COMBUSTION v ELECTRIC v BICYCLE

Continued subsidies for EV innovation and incentives for biodiesel conversion
While minor domestic accomplishments like flex fuel and electric vehicles are applauded and subsidized, why not subsidize industries whose focus is on cradle-to-cradle energy? Why not subsidize bio-fuel (clean diesel) conversions?

Government tax subsidies for commuters, income tax credits
Why not track miles commuted on a bicycle or by foot, just as we track miles in our car for tax purposes?

Employer incentives
Why not pay employees to leave their E85 ethanol powered vehicles at home? We could offer incentives for purchasing safety gear or membership in a community bicycle program or biking, walking, busing or carpooling to work?

Government taxes
Why not tax gasoline consumption at a higher rate?

Two wheeled incentives
Where is the crack marketing team that devised the ill-conceived marketing program like Cash for Clunkers? Have they left the West Wing? Why not provide rebates for bicycle purchases?  We provide rebates for electric cars, how about a rebate opting to bike, walk or ride the bus? What if we subsidized bicycles for commuting?

What if pavement was green?
If we want our incumbent legislative regime to remain in place, why don’t they fund bike paths and parks? The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act was about infrastructure- roads- why not remove roads and add new bike paths and city parks? Or better yet turn the budget over to our universities urban planners and let them bring our communities back together with green ways, trails, and a burgeoning high street market, where we convert parking spaces into bike racks. Rather than pavement and potholes, let’s fund green space, parks, bike parking and paths.

About Jeffrey Woodruff

Jeffrey is a competitive cross country skier and marathon runner. He has completed sixteen marathons in six countries. Jeffrey is pursuing a Master of Architecture at the University of Colorado.

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