Bad Biofuel?

Is soy powering more than your workout? The eco-implications of biofuel are questionable.

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Good green citizens are demanding cleaner fuels for their vehicles, but using soybeans might not be the seemingly obvious solution. Biodiesel made from soybeans is one possible solution, right? Well, not so fast. Soybeans used for fuel are grown throughout South America. Rainforests and savannas are being converted to farmland, which means that wildlife habitats are being destroyed at an alarming rate. In addition, soybeans grown for biofuels are not produced using organic methods. The repercussions of thousands of tons of pesticides and petroleum-based fertilizers impacts the ground water, soil, and health of local communities. Most of our cars in the United States are gas or ethanol powered, but soy biodiesel is popular in Europe. The demand places a huge pressure on farmers to increase soybean acreage and squeeze out other crops. “Biodiesel only makes sense on cultivated land. If you are ripping up rainforest, you are contributing to global warming. You erase any global warning benefits of biofuel by converting forest to farmland,” says Bill Freese, a science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety. As we run out of fossil fuels, the issue of biofuel will need to be closely examined. What we can do now is monitor our own consumption habits. Take public transportation. Ride our bikes. Convert our cars to recycled veggie oil. Continue to be skeptical and informed about your choices. As consumers, we can protest corporate greed by purchasing non-genetically engineered foods.

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