Cars used to run on one type of fuel, but in the recent years gas stations have come to offer not only unleaded gasoline, but also alternative fuels such as ethanol. Ethanol has been strongly supported as “a solution to U.S. energy security, and recently, reducing carbon emissions.” Ethanol itself is an alcohol fuel that’s distilled from plant materials, such as corn and sugar. And yet in recent studies it has been proven to have a very negative impact upon the environment, farmers, and consumers (like you and me). It does so by driving up the price of food and gas for us all. Sadly by driving up the price of food it limits the amount of money the federal government can put into programs like food stamps and school lunches. So those whom already have trouble getting food will have even more so! Ethanol has also encouraged farmers to plow up natural wetlands and grasslands, causing more carbon to be released as well as taking more water to irrigate crops that allows more fertilizer to wash off farm fields into the surrounding habitats. Furthermore, burning ethanol is gasoline releases more benzene, “a known carcinogen”, and other toxic air pollutants that can lead to asthma, bronchitis and many more respiratory problems.
In short, what we thought was our solution to our problem is worst then the problem itself. And yet we continue to use it now without seeing the harm it does. I understand the good intentions behind the production of ethanol, yet we need to now look past them to a new answer. In design and art we get stuck in round about problem solving cycles, where we keep making the same mistake, the same goes for the world. If we continue along this path we learn nothing, if we see the mistake and stop it before it gets too far we grow.