Ethanol Will Not Save Us


I’ve been reading so much lately about the looming energy crisis, and how nearly everyone seems to have their heads in the sand. While I don’t advocate the doom and gloom theory put forth by James Howard Kunstler in “The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century“, I can’t figure out why the mainstream media isn’t constantly attacking our politicians over this. Could it be that their noggins occupy the very same sandbox?

In a rare moment of clarity, published an article discussing the recent claims by agri-giants Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland that corn-produced ethanol can replace our soon-to-fade hydrocarbon economy. With corn prices rising, they have the most to gain in the short term, but surely they know this is not sustainable…or do they even care?

Here are some of the key points from the article:

  • Last year the U.S. produced just under 4 billion gallons of ethanol, serving just 1 percent of U.S. fuel needs.
  • If we used all the corn produced in the United States to produce ethanol, it would provide only 7 percent of our total vehicle fuel use.
  • If every car in America was fully powered by ethanol, it would take 97 percent of U.S. soil to grow enough corn to support it.
  • About 30 percent more fossil energy is required to produce a gallon of ethanol than you actually get out in ethanol.
  • Corn causes more soil erosion in the United States than any other crop.
  • Corn also uses more insecticides and herbicides than any other crop.
  • Each acre of corn drains 500,000 gallons of water over three months.

I know to the militant energy watchdog these bullets are old hat, but it was refreshing to see a corporate news wrangler actually willing to write against the current of complacency and wishful thinking.

Cheers to you Dylan Ratigan.

By Chad Norman

Chad is a marketing and branding strategist, proven leader, speaker, founder, and author. As COO of Catch Talent, he leads day-to-day operations including finance, human resources, marketing, and communications, as well as directs all employer brand client deliverables. Prior to Catch, Chad was VP of Marketing & Communication at SPARC, he served on the senior leadership team and lead marketing and communication strategy across all products and services. At Blackbaud, the leading provider of nonprofit technology solutions, Chad managed digital marketing and online training teams. In 2016, Chad founded DisruptHR Charleston, a bi-annual gathering of HR professionals for a night of networking and Ignite talks. His book, 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits: A Field Guide, was published by Wiley in February 2012. Chad has presented at dozens of industry events including SXSW, SHRM, DisruptHR, IHRIM, NTC, DMA, AFP, and BBCON and has lectured at Wake Forest University, Indiana University, University of Michigan, College of Charleston, and The Citadel.

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