Friday, March 30, 2007

Corn, a veritable sea of kernels!

Over at Mulch, Ken Cook has posted about the prediction of a record year of corn growing. The statistics are phenomenal and quite disturbing in the context of biodiversity conservation.

Here's a taste...

Corn growers intend to plant 90.5 million acres of corn for all
purposes in 2007, up 15 percent from 2006 and 11 percent higher
than 2005. If realized this would be the highest acreage since
1944, when 95.5 million acres were planted for all purposes.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Perspectives from around the world...

From the scout report...

Yann Arthus-Bertrand is well-known for his multimedia projects which have taken photographic journeys across the globe, and this latest project continues in that visually rich tradition. His latest project, which is documented on this lovely site, looks at the lives of people from all around the world. Visitors to this site should start by listening to Arthus-Bertrand speak about his inspiration for this project, which came to him while speaking with a villager in Mali. After that, visitors can listen to some of the interviews which have been recorded so far, including conversations with Silvia in Brazil and Gianmaria in Italy. Additionally, the site contains a podcast that is available to download. Such an ambitious project might be the envy of many a journalist or social scientist, and it is a site that warrants several visits.

Are biofuels really the answer?

We should be very concerned about the Bush administration's advocation of ethanol and other biofuels in the absence of an understanding of the environmental and social impacts. The amount of sugar cane or corn that will be needed to help supplement the U.S. desire for energy will be vast. The possible loss of critical habitats, species, and effects on people need to be investigated before we get too far down this road...

This from

Even as Roy Masters was talking about generating energy from gravity, George W. Bush was cutting a deal with President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva of Brazil to use ethanol. It made about as much sense. We've been through this before: Brazil makes ethanol from sugar cane. We grown corn. Corn is food. The diversion of food to fuel, even at today's trivial level, has already inflated the price of corn in Mexico, sending Mexicans north for better paying jobs. Toxic waste from fermentation of sugar cane is dumped in the Amazon. We don't have an Amazon. Because the energy balance is precarious, sugar cane must be harvested in Brazil by hand. That condemns vast numbers of laborers to serfdom. We don't have serfs - yet. What we do have is lots of people who are capable of running the numbers for the President to see if ethanol is any kind of a solution. None of these people seem to be in the White House.

Bank of America and Sustainable?

One of my least favorite institutions has pledge to work towards environmental sustainability. Guess I'll have to rethink how much I dislike them...

from Treehugger

Bank of America has introduced a $20 billion, 10-year initiative that will encourage the development of environmentally sustainable business practices. The bank will push the green agenda through lending, investing, philanthropy, and the creation of new products and services. The company reports that it will provide $18 billion in lending and advice to help commercial clients finance the use and production of sustainable products and services. Furthermore, Bank of America will commit $1.4 billion to achieve LEED certification in all its new offices and banking centers. An additional $50 million will be donated to nonprofit organizations that focus on forest preservation, energy conservation, affordable green housing, and other environmentally conscious activities. Finally, the bank will invest $100 million in internal energy efficiency initiatives. See also ::Bank of America Offering Hybrid Reimbursement and ::Greener Offices in New York

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Oh those conservatives....

Tom Gilroy has written an outrageous article highlighting the ridiculousness of the current conservative candidates for president as well as our wonderful President and his cronies. It's quite an amusing read.