Thursday, April 17, 2008

On Not Getting Discouraged

After I added the most recent post — really just minutes later — I read a New York Times article “Fuel Choices, Food Crises, and Finger Pointing.” Soaring world food prices, a grain shortage, and poor people pushed toward starvation — according to the article, plant-based biofuels may be the culprit. As countries rush to embrace biofuels in response to price-, environment-, and supply-based oil crises, the world’s poor may be paying the real price.

A perfect time to post on new corn-based products, eh? I felt so discouraged all day. After a lot of thought, here’s what I’ve taken way from this — none of it earth-shattering, but a reality check-in for me. First, consumption is a problem. Plant-based fuels (or switching from plastics to corn resin for disposable items) doesn’t address larger problems of too many cars and too much disposable stuff. Second, Newton’s third law of physics: for every action there’s an equal an opposite reaction. If more corn and grain is diverted to non-food uses, that means less grain available to feed people. Beyond Newton — the solutions that look like such a good idea today may (or more likely shall) have unintended consequences tomorrow. Maybe I’m just channeling my inner Pollyanna, but it seems like the response is to acknowledge there will be set-backs and disappointments, yet not stop trying. This is the only planet we get; might as well keep plugging away to take care of it.

Today’s mitzvah: stay hopeful. And for something practical: pop over to The Hunger Site, where sponsors will contribute food as a free thank you for your click.

1 comment:

American Genius said...

I'm a little discouraged right now in everything. All I got is love and hope.