lunes, julio 16, 2007

An American colleage recently told me, upon reading Eric
Holt-Gimenez's recent anti-biofuels op-ed that biofuels
can be made sustainable and that we enviros should be
careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Similar arguments have been made in favor of nuclear power,
genetic engineering and nanotech.

Exactly how can biofuels be "sustainable"? I hope that
doesn't mean sustainable monocultures, because
monocultures can never be sustainable. Monocultures will
always be destructive of rural economies because they
mean the extermination of small family farms, they will
always favor corporate transnational agribusiness over
local economies and community food security, and they
will always entail genetic erosion and a mechanized,
publicly subsidized way of production that destroys jobs.

I hope "sustainable biofuels" does not mean importing
them from Third World countries, because Americans
have absolutely no right to keep on seizing land and
other resources from poor countries to maintain their
gluttonous and overindulgent consumption patterns.
Grassroots organizations from the global South have
spoken quite clearly about this, over and over. They
do not want agrofuels for export- anymore than they
want more lands seized to serve as carbon sinks to
attone for the environmental sins of the likes of Al
and Leonardo DiCaprio.

When biofuel advocates say "certification" I hope this
doesn't mean a repeat of the 2005 South American
Sustainable Soy Roundtable, which was roundly
denounced as a hoax by South American civil society.

If all US farmland were devoted to biofuels, it still
would not satisfy the country's ever growing demand
for energy. Social justice and global environmental
sustainability require that the US curtail its
consumption. There is no way around it.


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