Tuesday, January 27, 2009

bolivia on biodiesel... oblivious

A news report out this morning exemplified the state of bass-akwards thinking, perpetuated by bureaucratic and political stagnation (fueled most likely by fear of loss of power, money or other "stuff"), that is suppressing both environmental balance and long term global economic sustainability.

Specifically, Bolivia.

It is currently illegal to use oil from soybean crops as a feedstock for biodiesel. The reason? Because it's a food crop.

OK, fair enough. People have to eat. And don't forget soybeans aren't just for feeding people. They feed livestock... which feeds people. And so the food chain continues.

But, the food needs to be planted, grown, harvested, shipped, and ultimately "processed" as food for it to actually become consumable.

At what point does the inability or failure of the afore mentioned to be achieved (harvesting and shipping), do we have a driver for common sense to take over?

Ironically, the reason the crops cannot be harvested or shipped is because of the lack of FUEL available to run the necessary equipment. This fuel, historically and typically petroleum diesel, has been on a roller coaster ride in terms of both price and availability over the last year.

So rather than allowing a portion of the soy beans to be crushed, and the oil to be used as FUEL, the Bolivian authorities are willing to allow the crops to rot in the fields and become completely wasted.

I suppose this is par for the course. This comes from country that 30 years ago began devastating the global ecological balance by deforesting hundreds of thousands of acres of rain forest and jungles in order to clear the way for industrial mega-farms. If the fact that this area is no longer being utilized for its original, natural, and dare I say, "evolved" purpose of carbon scrubbing isn't bad enough, the fact that these renewable crops cannot be used to produce a clean burning renewable fuel is simply criminal.

Soy oil isn't the only thing to make biodiesel out of. But when its available, abundant and inexpensive, it makes darn good fuel.

Using a portion of a crop to sustain the crop is just common sense!

The alternative is simply this: If there is no fuel to power the equipment to harvest and ship the crop, and there is no alternative equipment that can do the job, then the crop stays in the field, rots, and NO ONE get it for food, fuel or any other purpose. BRILLIANT!

In fact, the environmental damage caused by this exercise is truly exponentially multiplied at this point because all of the investment that originally went into planting the crops in the first place (time, energy and money) produces absolutely no return on investment- a down stream effect that is truly immeasurable because we can only estimate:

(1) how much carbon scrubbing the original rain forests would have been naturally occurring,
(2) how much financial loss is realized by not bringing crops to market,
(3) how much petroleum fuel was consumed and exhausted in the clearing of the rain forests,
(4) how much petroleum fuel was consumed and exhausted in the planting of the crops,
(5) how much environmental (land, water, etc) damage is being done by use of pesticides, chemicals, erosion, etc.,
(6) how much ecosystem damage is caused by loss of balance among all the inhabitants (great and small) of the land,
(7) and on and on...

Common sense says this is beyond dumb. It's galactically stupid!

Bolivia, President Evo Morales, Vice Minister of Environmental Affairs Juan Pablo Ramos... open your eyes and get a clue! Arguing that using soy for biodiesel "cuts into food supplies and harms the environment", yet promoting/perpetuating destruction of rain forest/deforestation, land erosion, elimination of natural carbon scrubbers, use of pesticides, chemicals and petroleum based infrastructure is both ignorant, immoral and insane.

Either you're padding your pockets with kickbacks from industry, or you have a serious lack of usable gray matter between your ears.

Do the world a favor... rethink your positions and policy, or get out of the way of reasonable people with better, more sustainable ideas.


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