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A Socio-Ecological Analysis of Bio-fuel Production
Green Theory and Praxis: The Journal of Ecopedagogy (2010)
  • Sean Peterson, University of California, Santa Barbara

The need for abundant and affordable energy has increased steadily over the past ten years as developing countries have amplified their economic output. As part of the solution to this energy crisis, bio-fuel production has become promoted as a viable solution. Farms have thus been overtaken and forests destroyed to further the production of bio-fuels, and this has resulted in an overall increase in the price of food. Backed by government subsidies and the misleading claims of large corporations, bio-fuels largely maintain a positive image with the general public.

World leaders such as former US President George W. Bush claim that the reason for the recent increase in food prices is an increase in food demand in Third World countries. The real reason for the increases in food price is the heightened demand for energy that has lead to an increase in the production of bio-fuels, thereby mutilating myriad acres of farmland which used to be used strictly for food needs. Supporters of bio-fuels do not acknowledge the fact that biofuels have contributed to the growing numbers of undernourished people around the world—a number that the World Bank estimates will increase by 100 million in upcoming years.

Contrary to popular belief, bio-fuels are equally as damaging to the environment as fossil fuels. The raw material needed to produce 10 gallons of ethanol requires the energy equivalent of around 7 gallons of gasoline, making the comparative gain in overall greenhouse reductions extremely small. Yet, bio-fuels are increasingly prodigal and their production needs to be curtailed until technology allows for more efficient production.

Publication Date
Winter January 10, 2010
Citation Information
Sean Peterson. "A Socio-Ecological Analysis of Bio-fuel Production" Green Theory and Praxis: The Journal of Ecopedagogy Vol. 5(1) (2010)
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