16 September 2006

What's a couple of rainforests?

There's been some discussion in the letters section of the Economist about whether it's 'morally appropriate' to convert food crops into fuel. This week, a correspondent points out that 'clearing rainforests to increase the cultivation of palm oil will bring ecological destruction to Indonesia and Malaysia.' I wish I could believe that pointing out this fact would change anything. But let's face it: our car madness already kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, disables several millions more, helps poison our atmosphere, paves over thousands of hectares of land, and destroys wildlife on a massive scale. We shall need stronger arguments than saving the rainforest if sanity is to prevail. In the same journal we read that a Japanese body supposed to rein in the corrupt alliance of bureaucrats, politicians and the construction industry (and, I interpolate, organised crime) has voted to build another 9000 km of expressways....

(This is an interesting paper describing how road deaths affect the poor more than the rich in the developing countries.)

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