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Sci Tech    H1'ed 7/25/17

Biofuel farming is killing our bees

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Message Christopher Calder

bees at work
bees at work
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Biofuel farming is helping mankind kill off the bees at an alarming rate. A third of America's honeybee colonies died last year, and bees are dying in mass numbers all over the world, not just in America. Two new studies, "Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees and wild bees," and "Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids reduces honey bee health near corn crops," were published in the journal Science. The dual studies addressed the alarming worldwide death of bees and found that neonicotinoid pesticides kill bees in mass numbers, and that bees are exposed to more pesticides than previously thought, for longer periods of time than previously thought, and at greater distances from sprayed cropland than previously thought. The global bee population decline was not a news story until the United States and other nations dedicated large amounts of farmland to biofuel production. Bees face many deadly threats, so why are we adding to their death toll with counterproductive energy policies that bring the world nothing but hunger and environmental damage?

The equation is simple and straightforward; more biofuel farming equals more pesticide use, which equals more dead bees. The United States uses massive amounts of pesticides on all of its biofuel crops, from corn, to soybeans, to rapeseed, and so does Brazil and all of the other nations engaged in biofuel farming. With over 50 million acres of land dedicated to biofuel production in the USA, and over 155 million acres of land used for biofuel farming worldwide, and all those acres acting as death traps for bees, the impact on the world bee population is obviously tremendous. Our government does not want to admit to the unnecessary mass slaughter of bees because our politicians want to promote biofuels in order to win the farm belt vote. With so many guilty people responsible for the global biofuel disaster, from politicians and environmentalists, to farmers and distillers, to the news organizations who actively campaigned for biofuels, there are few people interested in exposing the ugly truth.

Bee in flight
Bee in flight
(Image by Noah Kall)
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Global biofuel farming has raised the cost of fertilizer, farmland, and food all over the world. Malnutrition is the world's #1 cause of avoidable premature death, and the #1 cause of avoidable mental retardation in children. Biofuels kill through malnutrition and related illness, not through bullets and bombs. Those deaths are not reported by our media because biofuels are a diffuse crime. The bodies of the poor who died from high food prices are scattered all over the Third World, and their families do not have lawyers.

America currently uses well over 40% of its corn crop to manufacture ethanol for fuel, but that ethanol satisfies just 5% of U.S. transportation energy. Ethanol contains one third less energy per gallon than gasoline, so ethanol mandates lower our miles per gallon while increasing engine repair bills. Biofuel production is eroding away the last remaining half of America's prime Midwest topsoil at an alarming rate. In America, topsoil is being lost ten times faster than it is being replenished. What will our grandchildren eat when all of our topsoil is gone? Biofuel farming is also speeding the depletion of the world's finite supplies of phosphates needed to make fertilizer. Ask yourself, in this overpopulated world with limited agricultural resources, was it a good idea to make cars and trucks our competitors for food? Why is it more "green" to drill the human food supply for energy than Alaska?

Biofuels increase water pollution, aggravate water shortages, accelerate deforestation, and are inherently energy inefficient because their manufacture requires large amounts of fossil fuels to produce. The bottom line is that biofuel production is indefensible by any measure and amounts to an unnecessary war on the human food supply and our own children. Exposure to pesticides has been shown to lower IQ in children while reducing verbal skills and cognition.

There is no significant consumer demand for biofuels, which have always been a government mandated energy scheme. It should be noted that during the 2016 election campaign, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump endorsed continued biofuel mandates. Was their enthusiastic support driven by scientific facts, or by their desire to win the farm belt vote and the Iowa Caucus? Biofuels have become an entrenched big business with a powerful political lobbying organization. Only an intense voter revolt can end the global biofuel disaster.

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Christopher Calder is an advocate for world food supply security with no financial interest in any energy related business.
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