Deforestation & Bio-fuels

By Asrad CG
First published in ORB 209, Summer 2258

In the Autumn 2007 issue of ORB, number 206 we carried a very interesting and informative article by an OR member on climate change and biodiesel.

He set out the issues with Global climate change very well. There are though a great many theories as to the cause of climate change and the part that mankind has played in it. Whether you are from the “mankind is totally to blame,” “this is a natural occurrence” or “I don’t believe in climate change” camp does not really matter too much in my opinion. What matters to me is not that a vast number of scientists are saying mankind is accelerating climate change or a growing number are pouring cold water on the theory. What matters to me is what I can see with my own eyes, what I can feel and sense myself.

I do not need the scientific world to tell me that the weather patterns are changing. I don’t need them to tell me that the air we breathe and the water we drink is polluted.

For many years now, environmental campaign groups have been calling for much greater use of alternative energy sources in an attempt to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. For a long time they were ignored by the big global industries; but over the last few years there has been a massive surge in interest from the multi-nationals and governments towards the use and production of bio-fuels. Why? Have these multinational companies suddenly woken up to the idea that mankind really is having a detrimental affect on the world’s climate? Or is it that they know that the world is running out of oil and they can see the urgent need to find an alternative to crude oil? Could it possibly be that the big multi-nationals have seen a niche in the “green market” and are looking to cash in, exploiting the desire of many ordinary people that honestly believe that bio-fuels can help slow down or even halt the affects of climate change? Sadly the use of bio-fuels on the scale that the world would need to replace crude oil is not going to help the environment. Rather than helping to reduce the affects of the burning of fossil fuels, bio-fuels are exacerbating and speeding up climate change.

How can this be so?

The big multi-nationals realised that there were massive subsidies to be gained from the US and European governments and they made their move. The production (and I use that word deliberately) of crops which can be used to make various different forms of bio-fuel has grown astronomically. The production of crops for fuel as opposed to food is growing all the time. Vast areas of the Amazon, Indonesian and Malaysian forests are being destroyed to make way for the new super crop, palm oil. Across the world, millions of hectors of rain forests, delicate ecosystems in themselves are being lost each year. It is not just the loss of these ancient forests though. It is the effect that deforestation has on the environment and thus the climate that is of great concern.

In Indonesia, deforestation has exposed millions of hectares of ancient peat lands, which are normally covered by water and forest. Once the forest has been cut down, illegally in many cases, and sold as cheap timber in a one off bonus, the land is drained; this then allows the naturally occurring CO2 held within the peat to be emitted into the atmosphere. We are not talking about a few tonnes of CO2 here, we are talking about millions of tonnes of CO2, far more then even the burning of fossil fuels can match. Add to this the burning of woodland and vegetation in the clearing process and then multiply it by the number of locations around the world where this is happening and you can get some idea of just how bad the situation is. So whilst the actual process of burning bio-fuels is in itself a greener alternative to fossil fuels, the process of producing the vast amount of crops required to produce the amount of bio-fuel required is having a devastating effect upon the world’s already fragile climate.

Odinists know the true value of diversity and the importance of our homelands. The systematic destruction of the world’s rain forests also means that the indigenous peoples of these ancient forests are seeing their homes destroyed in front of them. They are displaced without a second thought and in many cases, under the eyes of the corrupt governments. When a forest is cut down, they lose everything.

I am not attempting to make anyone feel guilty, merely pointing out that whilst many multi-national companies and governments around the world are promoting bio-fuels as the saviour of the planet, they are actually harming our fragile world even more than with the use of fossil fuels.

It is not just the deforestation, burning and displacement of native peoples which is a problem. We have all noticed how the cost of food has risen in the past year and how the very basics of bread and meat have escalated in price as the cost of grain has risen! What has the price of food got to do with bio-fuels? Farmers across the world are being encouraged to grow bio-fuels instead of their normal food crops. This leads to a massive drop in the availability of crops for food and so the price of rice, wheat and maize has risen enormously over the past year. A tonne of wheat has risen from $200 to nearly $400 in just over a year! So as crops like grain are turned into ethanol instead of feeding animals, we can expect the cost of basic food to continue to rise.

As if all I have mentioned above was not enough, we have the added factor of GE trees, that is, genetically engineered trees. Many countries around the world, including Canada, USA, China, Chile, Indonesia, Finland and Brazil are planting GE trees. According to a report by the World Resource Institution and the US EPA, native forests store up to four times more carbon than plantations. Genetically engineered trees threaten to contaminate native forests with engineered traits that will disrupt forest ecosystems and damage their ability to store carbon.

The dangers of bio fuels are very real and we must educate ourselves to these dangers, not merely bury our heads in the sand and hope someone else will make a fuss! When the multi-nationals are making massive efforts to grow more crops for bio-fuels, you know there is something wrong! As always, the might and the wealth and the influence over governments by these companies has ensured that the masses do not know the true cost of bio-fuels on our fragile eco system. Instead, they play on the genuine desire of many people around the world who want to do their bit to help the environment and believe that by burning bio- fuels, they are “helping the environment.” This play on the masses vulnerability and belief that as long as industry & governments says it’s good for the environment, then it must be, is a ploy that the multi-nationals have been using for many decades

The world’s ecosystems are fragile and interconnected, just as we are inter-connected. To see nature and mankind as two separate entities is to deny what we as Odinists know is truth, that all of existence is connected. What harms Mother Jorth ultimately harms us!. You cannot separate what is inseparable! As Odinist’s we should care about the future as well as the past and the present. We should care about our future kin as much as we do about our ancestors, more so in my opinion.

I do not pretend or fool myself that the answers to many of the problems I have mentioned in this short article are simple or easily solved; but burying our heads in the sand hoping these problems will just disappear is not going to help either. As Odinists, we need to educate ourselves and make ourselves aware of the many ways in which our great Mother Jorth is being exploited, abused and thus the future for our folk is in real danger!

Hail Mother Jorth
Hail Faith, Folk and Family.

1 reply
  1. Hank says:

    I had never heard of the trees being genetically engineered, though I would not be a disbeliever. They genetically engineer humans, animals, and produce, why not the majestic giant of the forest? I’ve been trying to develop a homemade generator that I can place in dynamic water and use it to produce electrical energy. I learned the basics when I was a kid in middle school, so I guess we’ll see how that goes. Wind and hydroelectric energy is no less damaging. Wind farms destroy migration patterns similar to pipelines, and hydroelectric dams destroy natural ecosystems down-river, such as is happening to the Colorado. They recently had to open the dam an dflood the lower valley in order to prevent the absolute destruction of the ecosystem. Sad. Stupid technologists don’t know when to just leave something alone….*shakes head*

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