The Tragic Abuse of Corn
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Wednesday 20 July 2005
Old life remembers, and welcomes the grain.
For the corn and the seed are one and the same,
That which has been, will be again.
-- from Demeter's Hymn by Lyn Hubert
They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all others, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.
-- Job 24:6
It was one of those things that you can't quite believe is real. I was flipping through a magazine and saw an ad for a stove that burns corn kernels. For heat. Corn is food, not fuel, I thought, but the ad assured me that "Corn is replenished annually. It is a never-ending energy source, and thus is the new alternative fuel of choice."
Something about it felt very wrong to me. Burning food does not seem respectful. Especially when there are two billion people in the world who don’t get enough to eat.
But it is more than that. Corn production uses tremendous amounts of fossil fuel for mechanized labor, irrigation, drying, transport and fertilizer. I sincerely doubted that corn as a fuel could be renewable on a sustainable basis.