Green.. with envy?
Posted by Exile on August 24, 2006
I’m not much of a greenie. I mean, I do enjoy a walk in the woods as much as the next guy, and I do my fair share of bird watching and fishing, but I’m no fanatic when it comes to saving a whale or some extinction-threatened insect. I tend to look at what there is and enjoy the pretty colours. However, one does worry a bit at times and think, what a pity it would be, if all this was lost. So I do ocasionally drop into the green pages and get an update on the world’s green status, if for no other reason, to see how my future grandchildren will fare in what remains of the forest after we have left it.
Two things worry me about the world. (1) We are running out of oil, and (2) our atmosphere is being threatened. At least, that’s what I’ve been told over the last 20 or so years. I did find some encouragement today. The ozone layer is recovering. At least, that seems to be what is happening.
Two of the scientists whose work helped alert the world to the existence of a hole in the ozone layer in the 1980s told a conference in Washington, they were hopeful that the ozone layer was recovering. “I’m very optimistic that we will have a normal ozone layer sometime, not in my lifetime, but perhaps in yours,” said Dr David Hofman, who works for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as director of the Global Monitoring Division. Dr Susan Solomon, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said she was also optimistic.
But she added: “There’s a lot more to be done from a scientific perspective in terms of what I would call accountability. “I think it’s very important to make sure that we actually measure ozone – not only not getting any worse, but actually starting to improve, to be sure that the actions we have taken internationally have been effective.”
Hooray. We can all breathe a little easier now. There’s no zone like the Ozone.
So what about the oil thing?
Well, I’ve also been hearing a lot lately about biofuel. Ethanol. Alcohol from plants. Now I’m not suggesting that I sacrifice my single malt whisky just to get about, heaven forbid, but if you can’t get enough oil out of the desert, then what else can be done? Simple. One can grow biofuel crops and distill alcohol from the vegetable mass.
Great, I thought, come and mow my lawn, clip my hedge, take all that you want. It ain’t that simple. The solution is, we need to grow more corn. (Or is that maize…?) Terrific, I thought. At last the poor farmers can make a buck. Or get the whole of Africa to plant corn and make the juice. Wipe out poverty at the same time.
My enthusiasm was short lived. Destroyed by… a greenie.
An american environmentalist called Lester Brown.
He believes that if biofuel gets to be attractive, then half the world will die of hunger because food prices will go up. It seems that each american car will use what amounts to the entire production from four and one half acres of farmland a year. And that would feed seven americans with bread for a year, according to a farming expert called David Pimtal of Cornell University.
Oh. Thankyou both very much, Les and Dave. I’ll bet you both ride bicycles.
Let them eat cake…….!