“The appetite for grain to fuel cars is seemingly insatiable. The grain required to fill a 25-gallon fuel tank of a sport utility vehicle with ethanol just once would feed one person for a whole year. The grain turned into ethanol in the United States in 2011 could have fed, at average world consumption levels, some 400 million people. But even if the entire U.S. grain harvest were turned into ethanol, it would only satisfy 18 percent of current gasoline demand.”
This is an except from the fourth chapter of Lester Brown‘s book “Full Planet, Empty Plates” that was just published on Grist. It gives an extremely well-researched and well-written overview of the issue of Food or Fuel, aka the relation between biofuel production and the global food supply. Brown touches on all the issues my classmates and I discussed in my Sustainability Economics class in a succinct and easy to understand way. Plus, I really like that he published all his data sets on the webpage of the organization he founded, the Earth Policy Institute – that is what scientific transparency should look like!
And while exploring his website, I realized there are even more chapters online:
Chapter 1: Food – The Weak Link
Chapter 2: The Ecology of Population Growth
Chapter 5: Eroding Soils Darkening our Future
Have you read “Full Planet, Empty Plates”? What do you think of the chapters that I linked to?