Time to Rethink Our P?

Much of the world's phosphate is in the Western Sahara

Here’s a riddle: What is essential to all life on earth, is thrown away instead of recycled, is quickly running out on a global scale, and yet has no substitute?

If you guessed fresh water, you wouldn’t be wrong. But would you have guessed phosphorus?

Despite growing acceptance in the scientific community of peak oil as a legitimate cause for concern—and perhaps a bit more attention from the media—far less attention has been paid to the phenomenon dubbed “peak phosphorus,” despite increasing evidence that peak phosphorus is expected to occur by 2030, if it hasn’t already. Read More >

Does Ethanol Pollute the Environment … or Does Corn?

Which is the culprit? Ethanol or corn?

This is the third blogpost in the series, “Corn-Fed Cars: On the Road with Ethanol.”

When environmentalists complain about ethanol, they complain about the negative impacts of an ethanol economy: increased levels of nitrate, sediment and pesticide pollution, as well as decreased biodiversity and fewer small farms. Are these valid complaints? Or are they actually complaining about corn? Are we talking about “failed agronomy?”

First, some facts. The amount of land dedicated to corn today is at an all-time high. And so is the land in soybeans. The reason is clear: corn and soybeans are at all-time high prices and returns. The USDA is putting less emphasis on conservation reserve programs, and so farmers with their eyes on the bottom line are putting more land into corn and soybeans. Read More >