Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Food Down the Petrol Tank

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As more and more starchy foods are used to manufacture bio-fuels, food supply will decrease and food prices will go up. As there can only so much land available for agriculture, the continual destruction of forests to pave the way for more agricultural resources would contribute to increased global warming that harms our Earth's environment. Hydrogen, solar, and wind-borne energy would thus be better alternative sources of energy.

It's one thing to refine palm oil into bio-diesel, but it's something completely different to use traditional staple food crops to produce such fuel. An enormous amount of food crops and fresh water are required to produce a very small amount of bio-fuel; about 232 kilograms of corn and 13,500 liters of fresh water produces only 50 liters of bio-ethanol. Such incredulous amounts of food and water have resulted in shortages of food which have in turn caused food prices to sky-rocket out of control.

Soaring food prices don't only affect people in poor countries. Many developed countries are seeing a rise in a new class of "working poor individuals" in their communities. Such people used to form the "lower middle class" but can no longer afford to support their families because of exorbitant inflationary rates. For the people in this category, food subsidies do not shelter them from making painful decisions in their everyday lives.

It's one thing to choose to walk to work in order to save money. But choosing to eat less so that one can afford to keep the house warm during the winter should never be an option. Governments across the globe need to understand and address the issues and plight that accost the poor.

Children are always the ones to suffer the most. Too young to fend for themselves, they are usually at the mercy of their surroundings when both their parents are busy eking out a living. The problem of unaffordable food essentials usually results in malnutrition and poor health. Eating less is not a viable long term solution.

The increased demand for any commodity drives up its price. If more companies are going to turn food into fuel, how much food will be left for domestic consumption? And though bio-fuels are undoubtably a cleaner type of fuel, it is not the only type of fuel. The world community has to look into better alternatives to satisfying its energy needs.

Everyday, people die of starvation by the tens of thousands. Poverty that leads to malnutrition and death remains a reality that needs to be addressed and resolved. How can we turn a blind eye to all the suffering and death in this world? How can we estrange ourselves from the atrocities that have resulted from negligence and a lack of planning?

Read more about the the problem of Rising Food Prices and find out why food costs so much today.

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