Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Biox: "We didn't know."

Headlines read "Biofuel's a bust" and "Biofuel fails to reduce CO2." A spokesman for the energy company Biox claims they didn't know oil palms were being planted on top of slashed-and-burned peat deposits. Biox buys palm oil from the other side of the world and burns it in Europe, effectively moving their pollution off-shore. Malaysia apparently is smoggy all the time, from poorly managed agricultural techniques.

Those who are anti-biofuel will crow that this debacle proves that human civilization is headed down a one-way path the end of which has God wiping the slate clean and installing Paradise over top of the ashes.

What this really shows is that at the highest levels, it's still business as usual. Businesses have yet to learn to look at entire supply chains and business practices for the goods and services we buy. Biox claims they didn't do this; I find my credulity stretched to its limit. No one ever got invited to the other side of the equator to tour the new palm oil plantations? Puh-lease. If that's true, Biox should be hoisted up the flagpole. They are clearly green-washers, looking for the quick green buck rather than learning how to export sustainability.

I fully realize how much effort has to go in to understanding cradle-to-cradle, full life cycle supply. This is one reason why the greening of our global economy is a growth industry. I'm confronted by the time consumption as I hunt for sustainable solutions as I work on my house. Yesterday, I bought $150 worth of supplies and lumber from Home Depot.

Home Depot!? Home Despot?

Yes: they do offer a few FSC lumber products, which I buy. I also buy some of their cheapest lumber. It's about a mile away, so I use very little fuel getting to the place. Many of the employees are actually having a good time. I make it my last stop when I run errands, too.

As opposed to Biox and their palm oil woes, I do know some of what makes Home Depot one of the ravagers of the land and civilization. The fact that I buy their token sustainable products does grind on my nerves a bit. What I think is different is I have a plan for how to stop shopping at Home Depot (unless they really change). As I get the house up to a minimum level for earning income from it, I'll be able to shop for more sustainable products from other establishments.

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