Food and Fuel

15 June 08 | Posted in Food, Social Justice, U.S. Catholic

There is a lot of talk, now, about a food crisis in the world.  Croplands are being used to grow fuel for cars vs. food for people. That’s wrong. But if you also don’t want to support building new refineries, or drilling in wildnerness, the ocean or high risk areas, what do you do? With the price of gas going up, people are going to push for alternatives.

I don’t know what we can do about that, except to stop driving as much, and walk, bike or take mass transit. That works if people are willing to do without, are in good enough physical condition to do so, or don’t mind experiencing a lot of inconvenience. Given that, what kind of success rate can we expect? How many people will turn off their air conditioner in July?

I priced out Lori and I taking the train or bus to our weekend house vs. driving.  It costs us $40 a weekend for gas for our Toyota Coralla. It would cost us $80 to take the bus or a train.

Going from a starch and meat diet to a vegetables and a little chicken or fish diet has also seen our food bills go up.  A lot. Organic is great, but it is also priced a lot higher than vegetables in the bin.  Now, we are paying to put into practice environmental ethics, and we feel the pinch, even in our household.

People that are poor, unemployed, struggling or on a fixed income, can hardly afford to pay for the basics and necessities, much less enviromentally ethical products and services.

What is a Catholic environmentalist to do?  There are so many conflicting issues I don’t know what to think much less what to prioritize for Bill Griffin, CSX,  has researched the global food crisis for the Center of Concern.  His paper is designed to provide a clear overview of the current food crisis and the conflicting economic forces at work behind the scenes. I hope it will help me clarify what steps I can take to help on both the food and fuel fronts.

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