Ethanol & factory farming

| Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Re. the letter “Ethanol's benefits” (Dec. 7): While I do not know much about using ethanol as vehicle fuel, I know what monocrop agriculture of wheat, corn and soy does to our environment.

Growing vast swaths of these crops is one of today's most environmentally destructive practices. Huge tracts of land have been turned into sterile zones filled with these crops, destroying entire ecosystems.

These crops destroy multiple layers of soil and can create a condition called “peak soil” — soil deprived of richness that will take hundreds of years to replenish. Depleted soil requires more fertilizer and the use of more fossil fuels to produce them.

This vicious cycle gives us a grain-based, substandard diet of genetically modified crops that we feed to our children. A diet based on these grains perpetuates the sickening cycle of factory farming — the animals we eat that should live on grass or insects are fed this unnatural food and then put on our grocery shelves.

These crops are really an industrial product, patented and owned by a few huge agricultural giants operating under the guise of being “farmers.” They receive billions of tax dollars in subsidies. They contribute heavily to organizations that tell us what is “healthy” to eat, yet our society becomes sicker and fatter.

The nuclear power and the natural gas fracking industries have been demonized, but neither has come close to the destruction caused by genetically modified farming practices.

Being a vegetarian or driving a car using ethanol might feel good or “green,” but doesn't solve the problem of how we can feed ourselves while destroying our topsoil.

Vicki Kleber

West Deer

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