Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The 2007 Detroit Ratha-Yatra

A photographic peek into the 2007 Detroit Ratha-Yatra, held this past Sunday, September 16, complete with The Festival of India, live at Belle Isle.

Sri-Sri Radha Kunjibihari, ISKCON Detroit, always welcoming me home....

The "Motor City Mahajana" Bharata Prabhu, basking in the glow..Sriman Joe "JoeDasa" Swift Prabhu, working the crowds for the pleasure of Lord Jagannath
HG Yugal Kishore Prabhu was the MVP (Most Valuable Prabhu) of the Parade. His dancing lifted all to newer and better heights, way above the ugly industrial landscapes of Metro Detroit. Traveling with him, watching him always preach with such vigor and realization, seeing the way devotees respect and confide in him, I feel very privileged to be his preferred driver, sometimes-humble servant, and very good friend

Shashi, our very good friend from ISKCON Toronto, gets ready to entertain the guests and scare the kids in his role as Kamsa in HH Bhakti-Marg Swami's wonderful bit of theater "Tenth Canto"

Monday, September 17, 2007

Biofuels may cause more harm that good...

Feeling good about biofuels? This so-called alternative to the our lovely national petroleum addiction may not be all it's cracked up to be, despite what Mr. TV may say.

Then again, this is one side of the story about biofuels.

original article linked here

By Sybille de La Hamaide

PARIS (Reuters) - Biofuels, championed for reducing energy reliance, boosting farm revenues and helping fight climate change, may in fact hurt the environment and push up food prices, a study suggested on Tuesday.

In a report on the impact of biofuels, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said biofuels may "offer a cure that is worse than the disease they seek to heal".

"The current push to expand the use of biofuels is creating unsustainable tensions that will disrupt markets without generating significant environmental benefits," the OECD said.

"When acidification, fertilizer use, biodiversity loss and toxicity of agricultural pesticides are taken into account, the overall environmental impacts of ethanol and biodiesel can very easily exceed those of petrol and mineral diesel," it added.

The OECD therefore called on governments to cut their subsidies for the sector and instead encourage research into technologies that would avoid competing for land use with food production.

"Governments should cease to create new mandates for biofuels and investigate ways to phase them out," it said.

The OECD said tax incentives put in place in many regions, including the European Union and the United States, to encourage biofuel output could hide other objectives.

"Biofuel policies may appear to be an easy way to support domestic agriculture against the backdrop of international negotiations to liberalize agricultural trade," it said.


Instead it encouraged members of the World Trade Organization to step efforts to lower barriers to biofuel imports to allow developing countries that have ecological and climate systems more suited to biomass production.

The OECD also encouraged government to work on cutting demand for transport fuel rather than encouraging production of so-called "green" fuels.

"A liter of gasoline or diesel conserved because a person walks, rides a bicycles, carpools or tunes up his or her vehicle's engine more often is a full liter of gasoline or diesel saved at a much lower cost to the economy than subsidizing inefficient new sources of supply," it said.

Biofuels, made mainly from grains, oilseeds and sugar, have been accused of being responsible for a recent surge in farm commodities prices, along with other factors such as lower output and tight stocks.

The OECD, which said in July that it saw biofuels keeping prices at high levels into the next decade, said it would lead to an unavoidable "food-versus-fuel" debate.

"Any diversion of land from food or feed production to production of energy biomass will influence food prices from the start, as both compete for the same input," it said.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.