And you thought gas was high, what about the food?

What’s up fam,

The price of gas is comfortably over $4 and is not expected to come down soon. We are at the point where you need to buy gas cap locks to keep people from siphoning off your gas. People are breaking even just to go to work and this is even more pressing for places like Metro-Detroit where you don’t have a reliable and efficient mass transit infrastructure. However, the MS M focus on the price of gas ignores a more sinister problem; hunger. The price of gas is probably more important than Obama getting the nomination as Fred Pearce from the Yale Environment reports,

food prices have been soaring this year, causing more misery for the world’s poor than any credit crunch. The geopolitical shockwaves have spread round the world, with food riots in Haiti, strikes over rice shortages in Bangladesh, tortilla wars in Mexico, and protests over bread prices in Egypt.”

And it will only be a matter of time before these shockwaves hit America in a way that most people didn’t think possible given America’s economic prowess. At the rate we are going, it won’t be long before pictures like this won’t be relegated to late night television infomercials in nation’s can’t find on the map.

So when we talk about the need to wean ourselves off of foreign oil, there are a number of approaches possible. The Bush approach is to open up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, more popularly known as ANWR. (Brilliant framing by the way because using the term ANWR makes it seem so remote. It’s tantamount to drilling for oil in the famous Yosemite National Park, but calling it YNP). The other approach reported by the Christian Science Monitor is to “shift tax incentives away from corn-based to cellulose-based ethanol in the nearly completed farm bill.” (Cellulose is nonfood plant material like grasses and crop residues) Congress seems to be headed in the direction of trying to tame food prices and deal with dependence on foreign oil via cellulosic ethanol, even though it “has not even been commercialized. It has big backers. ‘The solution to the issue of corn-fed ethanol is cellulosic ethanol,” President Bush told reporters Tuesday.'” In the end, the inefficiency of cellulosic ethanol could be just as bad as corn based ethanol but who knows. The last approach would require a massive campaign to get Americans to drive less, but the political fall out of such a strategy would be too much for any President or Congress to pull off.

What is also troubling is the need for water that results for more crops for more fuel. As Pearce explains, We are also pumping out underground water reserves almost everywhere in the world. With two-thirds of the water abstracted from nature going to irrigate crops — a figure that rises above 90 percent in many arid countries — water shortages equal food shortages.” I have wrote about the need for us to focus on water before.

The connections between food, fuel, and water are complex and political leaders need to start making quick fixes and think long term. Right now, the push for decreased demand on oil makes sense enough; invest in mass transit, take less vacations, carpool, etc. However, these fixes are by and large getting Americans to not live so lavishly compared to most of the world.

My fear is that we are headed towards a world where the drive for war will become justified not because of the obsession with oil, but because of food and/or water. (Garlin has touched on this issue before of how to save gas money by not being fat) You can see it happening now because most, if not all of the blame for rising gas and food prices are being placed at the feet of China and India, two fast growing countries with a lot of mouths to feed and an increasing desire to drive cars. So while these countries are blamed (as if the US is blameless), the quick fix will be clear; start war and ask questions later. Moral purity gets murky when you are trying to feed your family.

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

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One response to “And you thought gas was high, what about the food?”

  1. Garlin II says :

    B,

    This is indeed frightening. What this is indicative of is the larger trend of militarization, meaning that we are now being led to think of all international political issues in terms of war and military intimidation.

    This mode of thinking, tragically, has permeated our political discourse in ways that will only be remedied by conscientious, genuine, progressive politicians not accepting conservative talking points with regards to war, “victory,” and “strength.” Now is not the time to strike middle-ground-ish compromises with respect to how we deal with international crises.

    Huey Newton said “Politics is war without bloodshed. War is politics with bloodshed.” Truer words have never been spoken.

    One Love. One II.

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