Miriam Leitao: A Farewell to Isolation

by Dave

via PostGlobal at washingtonpost.com
there is no longer such a thing as an isolated community. Even our isolated, painted-black-and-red men have no idea of the extent to which they are linked to other human communities.

The world agenda is overloaded with concerns about the supply and price of food. It’s a problem in Brazil, India, China, U.S. Agflation is a new word for this unexpected global urgency. Some world leaders are eagerly looking for a scapegoat, and it’s easy to pin guilt on biofuel. Brazil began producing bioenergy in the 1980s. Since then Brazilian food production and productivity have been increasing annually. Now, more than 40% of car fuel is produced from sugar cane. The production of ethanol is increasing and so are other crops. Over the last 15 years Brazilian grain harvest has increased by 125%, but cultivated land area has grown only 27%. There is no competition, here, between food production and bioenergy. But this concern about the shortage of food has been used as argument to support the idea that we must tolerate some level of deforestation to enlarge food production. In fact, that’s a false choice: Brazil has a lot of land available to harvest. It doesn’t need to invade the forest.