Friday, September 28, 2007

That's Ecofantastic!!! Day 5...

This whole week I will be honoring ecofantastic items...

Ecofantastic: A product/method/ideology so absurdly priced/developed/formulated that its irrationality transcends any purposeful usage and/or implementation into the present-day green movement, to the point of almost becoming fantasy.

While my clan continues to recover from the glory that is 11 month-old food poisoning, hazmat suits be damned, let's continue with part 5 (actually part 4, but who's counting?) of the Ecofantastic series.

Ecofantastic: Agrciultural fuels are the wave of the future...

Agrofuels have many noble charachteristics but they are not, in fact, going to save the world. Many misconceptions range from the simple notion that agrofuels are clean and green, all the way to the exotic, lofty insinuation that agrofuels can make magic, spurring rural development and boosting economies. Many --if not all-- of the biofuel praises could not be farther from the truth.

This "solution," while founded on good-natured principles, might be (ok, it is) hurting the industry and the planet more than it's helping.

How big is the picture?

Industrialized countries are going biocrazy, but their current vision of the future might be bigger than their stomachs. They hope to provide 5.75% of Europe’s transport fuel by 2010, and 10% by 2020.

As points out, those goals lead to some major problems:

These targets far exceed the agricultural capacities of the industrial North. Europe would need to plant 70% of its farmland to fuel. The U.S.’s entire corn and soy harvest would need to be processed as ethanol and bio-diesel. Northern countries expect the Global South to meet their fuel needs, and southern governments appear eager to oblige.

And oblige they do...

Currently, smaller nations like Indonesia and Malaysia are jumping on the biofuel bandwagon, rapidly cutting down forests to expand palm-oil plantations.

In Brazil, bio-fuel crops already occupy an area the size of Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Great Britain combined. They're also planning to increase sugar cane acreage 500%.

In Columbia, the government is "acquiring" land (see: stealing from indigenous people and minorities) in order to produce biofuels. Paramilitary forces insure that anyone caught resisting will be happily relocated to a more favorable locale below the crops.

And that's just a small glimpse at the "progress" in the other half of the world. Read the rest of the foodfirst article and get a much, much bigger picture of the whole story. It's wonderfully written.

Not surprisingly, chimp whisperer extraordinaire Jane Goodall is especially critical of the deforestation caused by bifouel farming. She's witnessing the production-effects firsthand:

We're cutting down forests now to grow sugarcane and palm oil for biofuels and our forests are being hacked into by so many interests that it makes them more and more important to save now.

Hardest hit? Hard to say.

Here's a small glimpse at Borneo.

The well-intentioned switch to biofuels in the West is destroying Borneo’s rain forests - one of the greenest places on Earth. Environmentalists claim that an area of forest the size of Wales was cleared last year as Indonesia cashes in on the new “green gold” and plants miles of palm oil trees to meet surging demand.

The UN says the entire rain forest will be gone in 15 years, and the native wild orangutan extinct in just 10...

Groups trying to highlight the destruction are being threatened by the developers...

Ninety new biodiesel factories are under construction here - the developers encouraged by far-away countries “going green”.

Doesn't sound very promising, Earth-wise or otherwise. Another one bites the dust.

With all this data against biofuel (insluding the economic predictions), it's amazing to see that it still moving forward: Airplanes, Corporate Alliances, more Airplanes,

As that author noted, the biggest frustration with biofuel is its well-intended beginnings. What was supposed to be the wave of the future is now turning out to be a tsunami of destruction. And while we (now) might be quick to criticise the rush to action, you can't help but look at the ecofantastic trend market and wonder: What's the next biofuel occurring right now? What is its comprehensive effect on the environment? What's green simply for now, and what's green for now AND for later?

We are living and working under the auspicious roof of Web 2.0 - a name give to the intertube with an understanding that the old days of Gen-1 design and structure are over and done with. There are new ways to operate, analyze and function, so much so that the original model has been broken. So my question is this:

At what point do we begin to conserve/develop/implement/function in Green 2.0? Will we ever learn faster than destroy?

Camp out here and wait for some news...