Monday, December 10, 2007

Starve the World to Feed Your SUV

If you've not read it already, read the article in the post below this one.

Done? Ok, lets do this.

The argument that biofuels can cause starvation in third world countries and even in our own is a valid one. So what do we do about it? Find new fuel sources. If you look to the left, you will see a Tesla Roadster. It's an electric car, not a biodiesel car, not an ethanol car, not even a hydrogen car. And Electricity we can get from other places than crops and fossil fuels, but it will take a lot of work. In order to operate this or any other country on electricity, we must have either vast amounts of generation, or we must curb our current usage.

I for one am trying to do both. Curbing usage is the quickest way. Obtaining efficient appliances and extra insulation and better windows is quite a bit cheaper than buying solar panels or wind turbines to make more electricity.

Our next big fixes are two main things, a new refrigerator, and much more insulation in the attic. Our fridge is old, real old, it collects water on the door seals and runs all the time. I don't know how much power exactly it is using, but I would submit that it is a significant amount. A more efficient one would pay for itself in a reasonably short time. As for the insulation, that would pay for itself in a reasonably short time as well. There is only about 6 inches of rock wool insulation in the attic. What I need is according to my calculations, about 14 inches of blown cellulose. That should more than double my current R value in the ceiling, enhancing comfort, allowing temperatures to dwindle slower when the programmable thermostat turns the temperature down ten degrees at night, and most importantly, allowing us to expend smaller amounts of energy.

So what about the real problem of biofuels? As a Jesus Freak, I must be concerned about people first, always people first, and people are gonna die of starvation before they die of most other things. In America, we can stand to eat less food in general, we have plenty of unused land, and we can stand to eat less corn fed chicken and beef, because farming meat wastes resources anyway. But in other countries where an ear of corn can keep you alive another day, I cannot see how it helps anyone to let people die, whether for the cause of energy independence or for simple profit.

People come first, always people first.

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