Friday, May 18, 2007

Al Gore in Bio Fuel Row

Al Gore, the man who brought the urgency of global warming to the world’s policymakers is now caught in a bio fuel controversy.

By: Vanessa Uy

Anti global warming crusader Al Gore has angered the environmental activists in Argentina last May 13, 2007 due to his relatively culturally insensitive introduction of bio fuel industry in Argentina and the rest of Latin America. Gore’s program of promoting bio fuel production to the rest of South America. Has the intent of lessening their dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Unfortunately caused an- uproar on Argentina’s environmental groups that sparked a series of loud demonstrations, burning of the US flag and chanting of anti- US imperialism slogans. The concerns of the Argentina’s environmentalist were warranted though.

Ever since the Argentina’s government started a program of producing ethanol from locally grown sugarcane. Even though the quantities of ethanol produced is for Argentina’s own domestic use, local sugar prices soared and the mono- culture created by the hundreds of hectares of sugarcane fields are a crop failure disaster waiting to happen. This can get much worse though if most Americans just substitute bio fuel like they waste petroleum based fuels. Energy conservation should be an integral part of every program if the industrialized world wants to reduce their “carbon footprint.”

Poorly conceived bio fuel production methods not only create mono -culture problems, this also increases the retail prices of staple foods in most of South America. If the US Government plans to use the whole of South America to grow the bio fuel quota needed to run their wasteful lifestyle, this could be seen as another form of US imperialism in the region. More importantly, the deeply held pre-Columbian beliefs and culture that recently began to assert despite of more than five centuries of European Christian hegemony failed to quell about the Native Latin American peoples reverence to their food crops. This is the main reason why they oppose the large- scale production of bio fuels using staple food crops. Even Venezuelan President Hugo Chaves and Cuban President Fidel Castro are now up in arms in opposition to this latest incarnation of US imperialism. Looks like Al Gore should have consulted Body Shop’s Anita Roddick first before launching such a venture.