Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Food vs. Fuels? No. Food vs. Everything!

The food vs. fuels debate is being framed in an artificially constrained manner, quite remote from the realities of both food and fuels.

First of all, things which are commonly considered food are being used for producing much more than just fuels. "Foods" are being used to make plastics, chemicals, automobile tyres, and much, much more.

But much more damning to those who engage in such artificial debates, is the fact that the concept of what constitutes "food" is undergoing a radical change. Synthetic foods and unconventional foods are likely to grow far more common as humans learn to live in a much wider range of habitats, where conventional foods may be harder to come by.

In other words, we are approaching an era when just about anything can be turned into food, and when food can be turned into just about anything.

Such a state of affairs clearly makes mincemeat out of any simplistic arguments such as "food vs. fuels."

Even today, only 15% of worldwide maize is used for human food. Most maize (almost 70%) is used for animal feed. Of all the other uses, the production of fuels must compete with a growing range of other economical industrial uses. Food vs. fuels indeed.

But in the future, the breakdown of uses for feedstocks which are often considered "food" is likely to grow far more complex and more difficult to pin down, from year to year.

In an era of dumbed-down schools, skankstream media, and idiocratic government, the most prominent arguments occupying the public sphere tend to be less than meaningful. But you do not have to allow your brain to decompose on such mental fodder. Try to look beyond the commonplace... try not to fight yesterday's wars or fight battles which were meaningless years ago, let alone today or tomorrow.

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