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Growing Crops for Cars: The absurdity of Green Capitalism

May 31, 2012

In the most recent issue of MiBiz, there is a story about how some car parts producers are investing in research to develop agricultural replacements for plastics. That’s right, they are calling it car farming.

“A March report from the Center for Automotive Research found the automotive supply chain is increasingly looking to bio-based materials as an alternative to petroleum-based or non-renewable components.

The report singled out the Great Lakes region for its “significant potential for the expansion of bio-based automotive parts and components manufacturing,” partially because a base of suppliers in the area have been working on this new technology for many years and because many of the favorable feedstock materials are grown in the region.

Think of it as a convergence of the automobile industry and agriculture.”

Yeah, this is what we need…… use more land for the benefit of the private automobile. Have we not learned from the disaster that is bio-fuels?

Beginning around 2005 there was a massive push for bio-fuels in the US. Farmers were getting new subsidies to grow corn and soy for bio-fuels, which sparked a new market for genetically modified plants from Monsanto.

One of the initial consequences of the bio-fuels rush was that the shift from food to fuel resulted in massive price increases in basic food staples globally, which led to food riots in dozens of countries in 2007-2008.

An additional consequence of the shift from food production for people to fuel has resulted in new global financing projects in poor countries that has kicked people off of traditional land and caused massive environmental problems because of deforestation and increased mono-cropping. In fact, bio-fuels are particularly devastating for rainforests around the world, according to an article by Heather Rogers, author of the book Green Gone Wrong: How Our Economy is Undermining the Environmental Revolution.

So, if crops for fuel for cars has been disastrous, wouldn’t the push to use more land and crop production for car parts have the same result? It would seem to follow, since the electric car push affirms the fact that the auto industry isn’t interested in real environmental sustainability. Instead, the auto industry realizes that the whole green marketing approach is very profitable.

The continued manufacturing of cars, even electronic cars or cars with soy-based seats is not a real solution to pollution, the proliferation of roads, traffic congestion and global warming, all of which the auto industry contributes to on a massive scale.

The idea of car farming is not only an insult to food farming, it is just the most recent manifestation of the absurdity of Green Capitalism.

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