Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Real World Wednesday/Delurking

Fossil Fuel.

At the risk of sounding even more ignorant that previous Real World Wednesdays have already made me sound, I have to say that until I started reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, I had no idea how all we use this rapidly depleting resource.

Whenever I heard someone on the news talk about American's addiction to fossil fuel, I really thought it had to do entirely with our gasoline consumption, with how large our cars have gotten, with the large number of nearly empty SUVs being driven around by soccer moms who simply like the safety of a vastly large automobile surrounding them as they cruise down the highway. I prided myself on the notion that now, and whenever I'm a soccer mom, myself, I will drive an environmentally friendly, or at least environmentally friendlier car, like my little Civic.

I was mistaken.

Here is what the Department of Energy has to say about fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas -- currently provide more than 85% of all the energy consumed in the United States, nearly two-thirds of our electricity, and virtually all of our transportation fuels. Moreover, it is likely that the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels to power an expanding economy will actually increase over at least the next two decades even with aggressive development and deployment of new renewable and nuclear technologies.

Did you know that it takes fossil fuel to grow corn? That's right. Corn. The fertilizer, whose use is highly encouraged by the US Government, consists almost entirely of fossil fuels. And, at least according to Michael Pollan, farmers tend to overuse the fertilizer, "just in case."

Then fossil fuels are used to produce the item that scientists are trying to turn into a fossil fuel replacement.

I'll say that again.

Americans are using fossil fuel, in mass quantities, to develop ethanol (i.e., corn alcohol that can be used to power automobiles), a source of "alternative" energy.

Now, I understand that there has to be some of that going on, and pardon my ignornace, but couldn't researchers use solar power to generate the electricity they need to turn corn into ethanol. Would that result in something environmentally friendlier?

This is no longer simply about going green, about bringing my handy-dandy pink water bottle to work each day, instead of an endless train of bottles of the disposable variety. This is about encouraging the US government (and other world powers) to fund and otherwise support the research that will allow us to ease our addiction to fossil fuels, without using more fossil fuels in the process (or at least using less!).

I don't entirely know what to do about this growing problem, other than share my concerns with my government, learn more about the topic and otherwise educate myself before I go mouthing off to someone in a position to institute change.

Do you have any ideas?

...and if you are delurking today (and if you already have THANK YOU and WELCOME :p), here are a few comment starters...just pick one and run with it:
1) Just say how you found the blog.
2) What's one thing you can do, will do or are doing to help the environment?
3) What's your favorite 1980's cartoon?
4) What's your favorite comfort food?
5) Cupcakes - icing or no? Sprinkles or no? Or the works? What makes a good cupcake?


Trish Ryan said...

De-lurking :)
1. I saw your comment on another blog
2. I'm weaning myself off of bottled water and learning to love my Brita. Not earth-shaking, but it's a start.
3. I love any version of the Super Friends Superheroes meeting in the Hall of Justice
4. Mac & Cheese
5. Extra icing.

Mommy of two in small town USA said...

1) InCircle
2) I recycle and teach my students at school how to recycle
3) Snoopy - what that the 80's?
4) This corn cassarole thing my mom always made. She gave me the recipie and now my family loves it too!
5) Yes - its just a muffin without the icing! I can take or leave the sprinkles, they get messy if not done right. A good cupcake is one that leaves you wanting to eat another one.

OC said...

I'm delurking!
1. I found you from a link elsewhere... don't even remember where...
2. I recycle. Reuse (like water bottles and those canvas bags for groceries. I know, not a lot, but it is something.
3. Remember Gumby & Pokey?! Or the Jetsons.
4. Peanut butter.
5. What makes a good cupcake? When there's not only frosting on top, but in the middle!

Sarah said...

Trish - welcome! Ooh, extra icing, or do you just eat the leftover icing out of the bowl?

Mommy of Two - Hey look, an AOII! Mmmm, icing seems to be a popular answer!

OC - I just found a recipe for chocolate mousse cupcakes. Chocolate icing on top, mousse in the middle. I think that would be just up your alley!

Anonymous said...


1. I came across this post a few weeks late from another blog (It's Like I'm...Mmmmmagic)
2. I take the train and walk to work, rather than driving my car. Oh, and I am much more conscious of saving water (I live in Georgia and there is a serious drought going on.)
3. I love Jem.
4. Mac & Cheese. Cheese sandwiches.
5. I'm not a big cake probably chocolate with no icing.

Ally said...

It would never in a million years occur to me to make a cupcake without frosting. That is practically a tragedy. A good cupcake has moist cake and sweet, delicious icing. Sprinkles are only necessary if children are involved.

And I found your blog via Mmmmagic--such a fantastic blog.