Wednesday, April 2, 2008

How our food is critically dependent on fossil fuel

The article Why Our Food is So Dependent on Oil, written in 2005, is a very thorough summary of my own ideas about how the American food supply is critically dependent on the cheap, uninterrupted flow of fossil fuels into this country.

Cut fossil fuel supplies and watch spot food shortages occur. Keep supplies up while prices go up and watch food prices increase beyond the reach of the poor. Do both? The system will seize and lots of people will starve.

I believe that renewable fuel sources like ethanol and biodiesel are important alternatives that can potentially provide additional resilience for our food supply. Unfortunately, significant acreage of arable land is being diverted to produce these biofuels. Since these biofuels, and especially ethanol from corn, provide only small energy gains while eliminating land used for food, our food supply is now even more vulnerable to disruption.

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