Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

The Epitome of a Catch Twenty-Two

August 1, 2007

Losing Forests to Fuel Cars
Washington Post

This article discusses the clearing of the Brazilian Cerrado, an extremely diverse area of landscape, in order to make room for sugar cane, an important ethanol producer. According to the article, already have the Cerrado has been destroyed to make room for cattle farms and soy beans. Scientists have predicted that if this rate of deforestation continues, by the year 2030, all vegetation in the Cerrado will be gone.

As countries seek to lower their CO2 emissions by achieving greater quotas of ethanol, more and more land must be cleared in order to make room for corn, sugarcane, etc. According to scientists, the Cerrado is home to over 160,000 plant and animal species, and many of them are threatened species. This extreme disruption to the delicate Cerrado ecosystem could mean the extinction of thousands of species.

As the world becomes more conscious of the threat of global warming, ethanol is becoming very alluring to tons of investors and big business leaders. It has a promising future. Thus, the race to produce ethanol is heating up. Everyone wants a piece of land in order to share in the profit of the bio fuel.

Think about it: In order to help the environment, we’re killing the environment. Call it what you will: stuck between a rock and a hard place, a catch twenty-two, damned if we do, damned if we don’t… but this has got to be handled cautiously. Some are suggesting that areas that have already been clear-cut for cattle farming could now be used to produce the sugar cane in order to prevent more forestation from being cut.

The fact is, if the agricultural frontier of Brazil is pushed too far, there will be irreparable damage. What happens when all the agricultural resources in that area have been exhausted? Where will we grow our food? Raise our cows? Produce our ethanol? What happens when there really is nothing left? Although that particular situation may not happen for decades, I know personally that I could not even dream of doing something like that to future generations.

I don’t really know what the answer is, nor do I know how to fix it.
To be crude, the whole situation sucks. It just plain sucks.

How much do we sacrifice and how much to we choose to preserve? What type of decision would cause the least amount of environmental damage while not costing everyone on the planet an arm and a leg? What’s the most effective, positive decision FOR THE LONG-TERM benefit of humanity?

How do we choose…?

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