We have a food system that is adequate to feed everyone on this planet for a price that they can afford -- at least that's the way it works most of the time. You may not know this, but there were food riots in 2008 around the world over the price of bread, which reflected the highest price for wheat that we've seen in many years. There are food riots going on now because of a crop failure in Russia -- the price of wheat again.
I mention this because it's worth noting that our food system, our food supply, is pretty tight. It produces the food we eat, and not much more. When there's even a little bobble (or a big one, like the Russian wheat harvest failing this year) people die. That's one reason that I think that ethanol is such a bad idea. If you take a system that is pretty much meeting the need, and add another 2% consumption to it, suddenly the whole thing goes out of whack -- prices escalate, people speculate, there's hoarding, countries ban exports and the whole thing goes down an ugly path.
What can you do? The next time time that you hear someone diverting food into fuel, tell them why it's such a bad idea. Corn is to be eaten, not to be consumed as fuel. We have other sources of fuel, but little else we can use as food. The same applies for destroying farmland. We have precious few places with the fertility, water and climate to produce food. All of the best land is already cultivated. There is no excuse for destroying farmland.
This blog entry inspired by this article in the NY times, U.N. Raises Concerns on Wheat Harvests
9 hours ago