Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Letter to the IHT: A hungry world

A hungry world
Your editorial "The Group of 8 and man-made hunger" (July 7) only touches the surface of what is becoming our planet's most dire and dangerous problem: world hunger.
On the top end, we see oil-rich countries, like those in the United Arab Emirates, creating the most beautiful cities and buildings that are the result of increasing oil wealth and very small populations. On the low end, we cry when we hear of mass starvation in many African countries, as well as the result of uncontrollable environmental pollution in countries like China, now one of the world's largest petroleum consumer, like the United States.
How have we reached this situation in which farmers in many countries, including poorer ones like Brazil, are growing crops like corn and sugar cane solely for the production of biofuels, which also pollute the environment and contribute to global warming?
Don't the governments in countries that produce the most biofuels realize that every liter of ethanol takes several kilograms of food crops, and water, out of the mouths of human beings?

And now, to make things worse, intense flooding in America and China (often said to be a result of global warming) is depriving everyone of food supplies as well. The message that comes out of the G-8 summit meeting in Japan should be one of trying to save our environment, which in the long run will help prevent the catastrophes that are causing so much human misery today.
If this message doesn't get out, then we are all facing an even worse time on this good earth. After all, just as you can't eat oil, you can't eat ethanol.
Maurice Picow, Netanya, Israel

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