Richard - Virginia Beach, Virginia
Entered on June 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: science
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Over time, humans have strived to create innovative technology and newfangled inventions. Yet as America was flourishing with the benefits of these inventions of the future, many overlooked the harmful effects it would later have on the environment, and ultimately, society. With the multiple ecological problems now looming over the world, many are noticing the potential of the continuance of society’s actions. The quick surge of eco-awareness forced humans to once again, innovate and create biofuels. But is this truthfully the solution to our problems?

Biofuels are mainly derived from grain products, such as corn, or glucose products, such as sugar cane. An example of a biofuel is ethanol, a highly used source of energy in the United States. Ethanol has drained a considerable amount of American corn. According to the National Corn Growers Association, in 2004, corn farmers produced 11.8 billion bushels of the flamboyant yellow gold, 1.4 billion of which was used for ethanol production, about thirteen percent. Ethanol’s main purpose is to considerably cut poisonous gas emissions, yet it is actually creating many more problems.

The United States has quickly jumped to using ethanol in its fuels, and the rising need for it has increased farming production. Brazil supplies about 70% of the world’s ethanol, and in order to keep up with the demand, farmers have devastated the Amazon Rainforest. Devon Cohen of the Johns Hopkins Newsletter informs us that this enormous habitat has suffered a total of approximately 700,000 kilometers of destruction since 1970. It is estimated that in two decades, forty percent of the forest will be gone. Biofuels are the reason for the increasing rate of deforestation, as many farmers are using the land to cultivate sugar cane, soy beans, and corn. The Amazon Rainforest is a massive storehouse of carbon, and deforestation accounts for 20% of the world’s carbon emissions. Due to increasing actions by farmers, Brazil now ranks fourth in the world for carbon emissions. In actuality, utilizing ethanol in our country releases twice as much carbon in the air as gasoline.

Another problem posed by using domestic grown starch products to create ethanol is the inflation of corn based food. The U.S. Census Bureau states that in 2006, about fourteen million households in the United States had an annual income of less than ten thousand dollars. With the rapidly increasing food prices, how many more families will be struggling to support themselves?

Additionally, when ethanol was identified as an effective “green” fuel, many companies and politicians quickly endorsed it. Ethanol has predominantly been a tool for politicians seeking the satisfaction of the eco-aware population. When ethanol is used as corporate propaganda, it attracts many unaware consumers. The politicians, corporate executives, as well as society, have hastily accepted ethanol. The current problem ethanol has presented is a standing example of society’s negligence. Society yearns for any inkling of a new product that is proclaimed green. Utilizing these new products without consideration simply satisfies the wants that society strives to quench, yet their inattention is shown through the current ethanol crisis. Proclaiming one’s self green is a dominating trend that many seek to accomplish; however, they truly are not green at all.

Society contradicts itself when it complains about environmental destruction and rising food prices. American always seek to please all of their wants, and by wishing to save the environment, as well as their stomachs, only again exemplifies its negligence and hypocrisy. There is utmost essential importance in educating the populace on being truly green. If there is no proper education on the rising problem of global destruction, how long will the human race exist?

Biofuels were created with positive intentions, yet it has been destroyed by the various thoughtless actions and circumstances. If humanity continues to attempt to satisfy all of its selfish needs, there will be an assured destruction of both the environment and ourselves. I’m not asking our country to quickly switch to good energy sources, but for our country to fully consider future decisions. The American population is highly dependent on current trends, such as easy transportation and fossil fuels, and it will take serious, noticeable damage for real change to occur. America truthfully enjoys the highest luxury in the world, and to continue to take it for granted and seek more and more and more, will inevitably end in the eradication of society and the environment. America chooses to feed their cars instead of themselves, and continuing to epitomize negligence and hypocrisy will utterly lead to certain demise.