肉肉在星期日的早晨突然決定寫一封信給他的朋友們, 內容如下(有徵得他的同意在此刊登), 如果你也關心食物價格上漲及環境的重要, 那麼可以花些時間看一下, 決定是否可以做一些小事(像是停止購買玉米)來抑止它繼續惡化.

重點是為了響應因為大量耕作玉米拿去做燃料而破壞自然森林, 並造成食物的惡性通貨膨脹; 我們決定不購買玉米, 我們也希望有更多的人響應來減少玉米的需求及產量. 這樣不但貧窮的國家不會因為食物的通貨膨脹而陷入更危險的飢荒, 全世界的環境破壞也能趨緩. 最好是這些用乙醇燃料的國家也能了解這錯誤的政策, 但是在短期之內, 只有我們購買者能夠決定用我們自己小小的作為來影響未來發展.

Times雜誌有詳細的剖析, 現在連環境專家也開始承認這個錯誤, 雖然剛開始用乙醇做燃料似乎是個不錯的主意, 但是最近因為政治和少數的投資者之推動, 讓任何和玉米牽連的生意已經在短期之內氾濫的成了搖錢樹. Times雜誌說到, 一台車可加滿的乙醇燃料所用掉的玉米量足以養活一個人一年. 這種大量的玉米生產因為破壞生態並沒有減少二氧化碳, 對全球暖化也沒有幫助.

如果你也相信並支持此想法, 請把本文轉給你的親朋好友們, 大家一起來響應, 謝謝!
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Sunday, March 30, 2008

This marks the first time that I am writing an email of this nature to my friends, but I have finally decided that it is just too important to tell you ”please stop buying corn in response to the effects of ethanol policy”.

Yesterday, while browsing through magazines at Borders, I came across the following article:
”The Clean Energy Scam” - by Michael Grunwald, Time Magazine, Thursday, March 27, 2008
(http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1725975,00.html)
This is a mere one out of many recent articles that are beginning to address the environmental issues specific to ethanol and corn, and I thought TIME did a fair presentation. The world is becoming more complex at a rapid pace, and all the intertwining issues (war, oil, ethanol, environment, etc) are affecting all of us more and more. So please give yourself a minimum education by reading through this articles or the like, and then more. For one thing, I am sure you are noticing the inflating prices at your local grocery stores.

I will neither bore you with details or try to convince you of a corrupt political and financial system. I can also point out just how stunningly easy it was for the latest energy bill boosting ethanol production to pass through Congress and the Bush veto pen just a few months back. Ironically, it was many environmentalists themselves who originally supported ethanol through many incomplete scientific studies. Although perhaps an originally noble idea, its real consequences are beginning to manifest - from massive deforestation around the world to potentially uncontrollable inflation.

So here is my response:

IF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS HAD BELIEVED ETHANOL AS AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT IN ACHIEVING OIL INDEPENDENCE AND BETTER ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES, THEN WE SHOULD HELP BY REDUCING OUR CONSUMPTION OF THIS SOFT COMMODITY SO THAT IT CAN BE BETTER AND MORE EFFICIENTLY USED.

This is a very logical and responsive ”win-win” approach. Although I am personally against ethanol, this is more about helping to reduce corn farming and corn price. Not only farmers around the world are jumping on the ”get rich from corn frenzy” bandwagon to turn more natural land into farms, many emerging economies are greatly suffering because of the increasing food prices. Last year alone, various soft commodities inflated from 50 to 250% plus - just go ask your local pizza parlor. Unlike it is for an average family in the developed nations, many poverty-strickened families in the emerging economies will suffer even more, almost certain to result in greater human toll.

Yesterday, I come to the realization that I should stop buying corn, and it was not difficult to convince my wife the importance of keeping its price down.

Certainly the environmental issues are far more complex, but I think ”corn” is an excellent place for green-minded individuals to start besides just worrying about gas (personally I am trying to reduce whatever I use or own). Ethanol policy affects farmers’ decisions in seed planting, and consequently burdens just about all aspect of agriculture - it really is one important starting point of a chain of events.

Lastly, maybe I can also appeal to your aesthetic sense and the desire to loose some weight. Many of us have been fortunate to have the luxury to over-eat and put on some extra pounds, and we can afford to exercise more prudence for the sake of our (potentially) nice and slim figure, and save some money too. But at then end, it is about not destroying the environment we cannot replace or salvage.

(This is not intended as a chain email, but please forward to anyone who you think would share similar perspective. Please delete this email if you do not believe in this perspective.)

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