Biofuels can power a better future
I have many fond memories of growing up on my family’s farm in southeast Minnesota, most of which took place outdoors: baling hay with the family, long days combining corn, drinking fresh milk straight from the bulk tank, and – on those rare days we had some free time – riding dirt bikes with my brothers or floating in the pool my dad built in our backyard. Looking back now, I realize that as kids we didn’t understand how blessed we were to grow up where we did. There was a lot about that rural setting we probably took for granted, perhaps the most important of which was the crisp, clean air we’d breathe in each morning as we headed out to milk the cows.
Having spent much of my adult life traveling outside the Midwest, I now know that a majority of Americans don’t get to experience the simple pleasure of breathing fresh air; people living in urban areas spend their lives surrounded by clouds of toxins, carcinogens, and hundreds of fossil energy pollutants.
In just a few decades, clean air has become a luxury that few can afford – and human health is paying the price.
Studies show that the particulate matter released by the burning of BTEX – a significant component of gasoline – is linked to a slew of serious health problems, from asthma to cardiovascular disease and even various cancers. And there’s nothing like a global pandemic to prove just how important it is to do all we can to maintain healthy lungs and a healthy immune system.
When shutdowns and stay-at-home orders went into effect earlier this year, Mother Nature breathed a visible sigh of relief. Smog-blanketed cities cleared up drastically, bodies of water surged with marine life, and the environment was noticeably more in sync with its inherent rhythm. This was mostly due to the fact that countries all over the world experienced an abrupt reduction in transportation and industrial output, cutting more than a billion tons of carbon emissions. In a matter of weeks, average daily emissions plunged an unprecedented 17 percent around the globe; in some nations the decline was even greater.
But as everyday life has begun to resume in many areas and drivers are hitting the road once again, carbon emissions are surging back to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, by mid-June global emissions levels had rebounded swiftly to roughly 5% below 2019 levels. And emissions will continue to bounce back.
Unless we make some lasting changes.
This year has been unlike any we’ve experienced before. Our view of the world has been forever altered, and many of our daily habits have changed significantly.
Now it’s time for biofuels and agriculture to come above the radar. It’s time for us to show the world that — for the sake of our planet and our health — we need to make one more simple change moving forward: our fuel.
Let’s not squander all the progress that was made this year toward repairing our air quality and reversing climate change. Let’s keep our skies clear, our Earth clean, and our loved ones healthy. We know that biofuels are the best available solution to do all this and more. It’s time to take our seat at the table and power the world to a better future.