29 April 2008:
Comments by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
(NaturalNews) It was one of the dumbest "green" ideas ever proposed: Convert millions of acres of
cropland into fields for growing ethanol from corn, then burn fossil fuels to harvest the ethanol, expending more energy to
extract the fuel than you get from the fuel itself! Meanwhile, sit back and proclaim you've achieved a monumental green victory
(President Bush, anyone?) all while unleashing a dangerous spike in global food prices that's causing a ripple effect of food
shortages and rationing around the world.
I think politicians need to spend less time bragging about their latest greenwashing schemes and more time studying The Law of Unintended
Consequences. Because while growing fuel on cropland initially sounds like a great idea, any honest assessment of the
total impact leads you to the inescapable conclusion that biofuels are largely a government-sponsored scam. With a few exceptions (see below), biofuels produce no net increase in energy
output, and they cause food shortages while creating strong economic incentives for the destruction of the very rainforests
we desperately need to stabilize the climate!
And now we're just starting to see the early signs of the economic and
social insanity that has been unleashed by this foolish pursuit of biofuels around the world: Food rationing in Sam's Club
stores in the U.S., rapidly-rising prices on bread, rice and corn, and price spikes at cafeterias and restaurants that depend on these staple ingredients. The price of rice has tripled globally,
unleashing riots in Haiti and Bangladesh, and the United Nations has issued warnings that millions of people around the world
now face starvation because they can't afford to buy food. Americans are even starting to hoard food once again, after years
of avoiding basic preparedness measures. (One benefit to all this, however, is that farmers are actually getting paid decent prices for their crops now, after years of operating on the verge of bankruptcy...)
Most biofuel efforts are a sham
Not all of these price spikes are due to the conversion of croplands to biofuel fields, but much
of it is. As a result, it's suddenly becoming obvious to nearly everyone that the pursuit of biofuels, as currently structured,
is a grand greenwashing hoax. It doesn't produce more fuel than it consumes, and it drives up food prices to boot!
there are biofuels programs that really do work. The growing and harvesting of sugar cane in Brazil, for example, provides an 8-to-1 return on
energy investment. But even that pursuit is tarnished by claims of unsafe work environments and massive environmental pollution
(the sugar cane fields are burned before being harvested, a process that releases massive amounts of CO2 into the environment).
The only truly promising biofuels technology available today is based on microalgae. Feed CO2 to a vat of algae, and you can produce biofuels cheaply and responsibly, without destroying the environment. But these programs are only in
experimental phases. Nobody is producing biofuels on a large scale from algae farms (not yet, anyway).
And that leaves
the great American breadbasket: The corn and wheat fields. It is here that food is now being displaced by crops grown for
biofuel processing. So where a farmer used to grow corn as a food source, he's now growing it to sell to a biofuel processing
facility which turns the corn into ethanol. Obviously, the laws of economics come into play here, meaning that every bushel of corn used for biofuels production means one less bushel of corn available
for food. Factor in the laws of supply and demand, and you can see that the more crops we use for biofuels, the higher the
prices will rise for food.
Politicians, it seems, have no understanding of economics. They need to study the basics
as they are presented in Henry Hazlitt's Book, Economics in One Lesson, which is a Libertarian-oriented guide that
explains basic economics to anyone willing to learn. Economics is focused on the study of human behavior, or more precisely,
consumer choice. Now, it seems, consumers are about to be faced with a choice they never wanted to have to make: Should I
buy fuel, or food?
In other words: Do I want to drive my car, or do I want to eat?
That's what this cartoon
is all about: That desperate choice between food and fuel. Even the engine, as depicted in this cartoon, is impoverished,
holding up a sign that reads, "Will work for food!"
You can have fuel or food, but not both
Under a biofuels-focused agricultural policy, the same limited resources (soil, sunlight and water, essentially) can be used for only one thing at a time. You can't use the corn twice, obviously (you can't eat the corn and
process it for biofuels at the same time), so you've got to make a choice: Will you grow the corn for fuel, or for food?
more you grow for fuel, of course, the less food you have, and that drives up food prices. But if you swing back the other
way and grow more corn for food to ease food prices, the fuel prices go up. Trying to solve both problems at once is a bit
like trying to pick up a wet watermelon seed with your fingers: It keeps slipping to the side.
One thing that has become
abundantly clear in all this is that the era of cheap food and cheap fuel is over. I've written about this on NaturalNews,
where I use the term "food bubble" to describe the most recent era of cheap food. As it turns out, cheap food is only made
possible by cheap oil, and with oil now approaching $120 a barrel (a price that virtually no one thought possible just two
years ago), food prices are simultaneously skyrocketing. (Modern farming practices use a lot of fossil fuel. So does transporting
food across the country or around the world. Eat local, folks!)
Add to this the fact that global climate change
is already underway, altering weather patterns and creating floods, droughts and other agricultural calamities, and you start
to get the picture of just how bad things might get. That's not even to mention the very serious problem of collapsing honeybee
populations due to a mysterious condition called colony collapse disorder that's devastating honeybee populations across
North America right this minute. Honeybees, in case you didn't know, pollinate plants that represent about 30% of all the calories consumed
by Americans. That's about one out of every three bites of your dinner, and it all depends on the "free" work performed by
honeybees -- bees who are apparently going on strike by refusing to keep working for us.
Prepare for mass global starvation
So, to repeat, the food bubble is now starting to implode. What does it all mean? It means
that as these economic and climate realities unfold, our world is facing massive starvation and food shortages. The first
place this will be felt is in poor developing nations. It is there that people live on the edge of economic livelihood, where
even a 20% rise in the price of basic food staples can put desperately-needed calories out of reach of tens of millions of
families. If something is not done to rescue these people from their plight, they will starve to death.
like America, Canada, the U.K., and others will be able to absorb the price increases, so you won't see mass starvation in
North America any time soon (unless, of course, all the honeybees die, in which case prepare to start chewing your shoelaces...),
but it will lead to significant increases in the cost of living, annoying consumers and reducing the amount of money available
for other purchases (like vacations, cars, fuel, etc.). That, of course, will put downward pressure on the national economy.
But what we're seeing right now, folks, is just a small foreshadowing of events to come in the next couple of decades.
Think about it: If these minor climate changes and foolish biofuels policies are already unleashing alarming rises in food
prices, just imagine what we'll see when Peak Oil kicks in and global oil supplies really start to dwindle. When gasoline
is $10 a gallon in the U.S., how expensive will food be around the world? The answer, of course, is that it will be triple
or quadruple the current price. And that means many more people will starve.
Fossil fuels, of course, aren't the only
limiting factor threatening future food supplies on our planet: There's also fossil water. That's water from underground
aquifers that's being pumped up to the surface to water crops, then it's lost to evaporation. Countries like India and China are depending heavily on fossil water to
irrigate their crops, and not surprisingly, the water levels in those aquifers is dropping steadily. In a few more years (as
little as five years in some cases), that water will simply run dry, and the crops that were once irrigated to feed a nation
will dry up and turn to dust. Mass starvation will only take a few months to kick in. Think North Korea after a season of floods. Perhaps 95% of
humanity is just one crop season away from mass starvation.
The carrying capacity of planet Earth has reached its apex
The truth about all this, folks, is that the resources on our planet can only support a limited
population, and I think we've over-populated the planet to a point where we're wiping out non-renewable resources at an alarming
rate. This means a population correction is due. When there are too many people consuming too much food, using up too
much water and burning too much oil, you can get away with a rapid expansion for a little while (a few decades, perhaps),
but eventually reality kicks in and there's a global population correction that brings the population size back down to levels
that can be sustained on the planet.
It's not a pretty picture. We're talking about the loss of a billion human lives,
perhaps more. This is what's coming. It's as predictable as the laws of gravity. When you over-populate a planet and use up
all the resources, the population eventually finds itself in a resource panic, and mass death ensues. You can observe the
same thing with colonies of bacteria on a nutrient-rich petri dish: They will expand at an accelerating rate, multiplying their numbers until there's no more
food left in the petri dish, and then they will experience a massive die-off. You might say that human beings are smarter than bacteria, and that's true, but as current events are clearly demonstrating, they're not much wiser!
They still doom themselves to the same stupid fate by refusing to look at the long-term implications of their actions.
are really good at making babies and eating food, but they're terrible at thinking even ten years ahead about the implications
of their present-day decisions. That's why the global population control masterminds call people "feeders and breeders," by
the way. Those are the two things human beings do extremely well: Fornicate and clean their plate. (Not necessarily in that
The economies of our world have, sadly, been based on economic models that strongly encourage this
kind of consumption and growth. We live in a "throwaway economy," where people are encouraged to consume and expend as much
as possible. No corporation makes money teaching people how to use less. And so we've pushed for aggressive expansion since
about the 1950's: Build more, eat more, consume more. We've turned farm lands into housing tracts, and rainforests into biofuel
fields. We've over-fished the oceans, over-farmed the soils and over-extended ourselves to the point where a population correction is inevitable. We, the human
race, have painted ourselves into a desperate corner, and the simple fact of the matter is that unless we quickly discover
some new energy technology that provides the world with cheap, plentiful energy, we are headed straight towards a global population
implosion that will leave a billion or more people dead.
And biofuels, of course, are no answer for this problem. You
cannot grow enough corn to solve the problems of an expansionist, imperialistic race of beings (that's us humans) who have
taken over the planet like a cancer tumor, wiped out countless species, destroyed huge swaths of natural rainforests, poisoned
the oceans and rivers, polluted the skies and, at every opportunity, betrayed the very Earth that has given us a home in the first place.
Humans can betray Mother Nature for a while, but in the end, we will pay a dear price for our own arrogance, greed and lack
of vision. The human race is being sent back to kindergarten, where it needs to learn some basic lessons about living in harmony
with the planet. Lessons like: Don't use up all the resources in a few generations. Don't think you're smarter than nature. And never forget how much Mother Nature does for us all for free! (Like pollinating the crops, producing oxygen, cleaning
the air, water, etc. Read the book Mycelium Running to learn more...)
In time, we will either learn these lessons,
or we will perish. It's really as simple as that. And all these suddenly-popular "save the planet" efforts we've seen by corporations
recently are just a joke. We can't save the planet. The planet will be fine after we're gone, folks. What we're trying to
save here is human civilization. The very idea that we think we can "save the planet" is arrogant all by itself. All
we can do is respect the planet and find ways to live with it as polite guests living on a generous host.
survive the next hundred years or not, planet Earth certainly will. And frankly, the planet will do much better without us.
With humans gone, the Earth would quickly be restored to a vibrant, pristine state, full of life and abundance. The Earth
doesn't need us, folks. But we, of course, certainly need the Earth. The real question is this: Can we learn to play nice
and treat the Earth with respect? If not, we won't be around much longer to worry about it.
Nature needs to be granted legal standing
One final thought: I am an advocate of the idea that Mother Nature needs to be granted legal standing.
I believe that humans do not automatically "own" nature, and that we cannot simply cut down forests, bulldoze mountainsides, fish the oceans, build dams and engage in other highly disruptive activities without first getting
permission and paying royalties to a global Mother Nature Authority that stands up for the rights of the planet. Nature is
not ours to own or destroy. We, as the guests on this planet, have no right to simply assume ownership over other living systems
on this planet and exploit them for our own financial gain. The "destroy and consume" model of free market enterprise is simply
not sustainable, folks. It does not lead us to a happy future; it leads to our own destruction.
Or, put another way,
over the last hundred years or so, mankind has committed countless acts of violence against nature. It has pursued a policy of committing atrocities against Mother Nature -- a kind of genocide against anything
non-human (animals, plants, fish, etc.). Humans have proven themselves to be, by far, the most violent and destructive life
forms to ever exist on this planet. And yet paired with that violence, humans are an infant species, with little or no foresight,
with virtually no ability to see the future implications of their own actions. We are, in a sense, the dumbest intelligent
creatures ever to walk the face of this Earth.
We can land a man on the moon, but we can't even prevent our own rainforests
from being clear-cut by soybean farmers and cattle ranchers. We can develop high-tech medicines, but we can't even openly
recognize the more powerful medicines found in a simple dandelion plant. We can create amazing computers and televisions and
internet technologies the beam information across the globe at the speed of light, but we pollute those information pathways
with corporate ads for useless stuff and dangerous medicines that only make our fellow humans beings less enlightened. We
are capable of so much, and yet we have accomplished so little. We are, by any honest assessment, a race of little children,
running around the planet with far too much power and not nearly enough maturity. We're like a band of infants with flamethrowers.
we don't deserve this planet, and Mother Nature is about to take it away from us. It's time for us to either grow up, or perish.
And all these people who say "we have to protect the economy, not the environment" should probably just be rounded up and
shipped off to Mars where they can play with the Martian dust all they want until they finally get the picture.
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