Now, we are asking "the land" to provide
biomass for fuel, biomaterials (research and development in biobased
plastics is rapidly expanding), and food.
So, what would be a good deal for Michigan and the
Great Lakes? How and when do we begin to address the whole system--the
biophysical basis of a nutritious and secure food
supply AND fuel AND other material flow and throughput--from the
standpoint of appropriateness, scale, proportionality, etc? How do we
assure the integrity of that biophysical system for Michigan's future
generations while making today's decisions about corn and ethanol and biobased
materials and food, etc.
In "The Logic of Sufficiency", Thomas Princen (Univ
of Michigan) addresses some of these questions. What if modern society put
a priority on the material security of its citizens and the ecological integrity
of its resource base? What if it took ecological constraint as a given,
not a hindrance but a source of long-term economic security? How would it
organize itself, structure its industry, shape its consumption? Princen
offers a fascinating critique of "efficiency" (and its exalted status), enough
work, enough consumption. It's well worth a look.
Science and Environmental Health
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, November 24, 2006 6:22
Subject: Re: E-M:/ RE: / green plants,
fossil fuels, biofuels
Rane and the list,
problem is CORN BASED ETHANOL is not a small step in anything except its small
net energy return.
Right now, Iowa is on the way to planting 21,000,000
acres of corn after corn with huge and growing environmental and pest
And even at that level of production, the state will probably
have to import 150 million bushels of corn to feed all its ethanol
In Michigan, we grow a little over 2,000,000 acres of corn --
about 20 percent of our farmed land.
The problem is Michigan Corn Growers
and others are pushing to build more corn based ethanol plants.
additional damage to water quality from this massive monoculture do we what
for the Great Lakes.
And its waste stream includes Millers Grains -- a
cheap but nutritional inadequate feed that will encourage the spread of CAFOs
in our state.
Small biofuel plants based on methane from small manure
production does make some sense on a farm basis.
But biofuels are really
high subsidized, low net energy return (if at all), carbon fuel replacements
from carbon fuels oil and coal. And thus they do little to address Global
This is not a good deal for anyone in Michigan except for a
hand full of large corn farmers and ethanol investors.