One of the most common slogans in support of biodiesel
is: "Biodiesel - No War Required." While that may be true in the sense that the US won't need to ship 140,000 troops to the Middle East
to secure the supply of the stuff, there is still plent of conflict over large-scale production of the biofuel
in some places. The BBC
reports on the situation in Columbia, where the local army and paramilitary units are evicting residents from their land in order to make room for massive biodiesel plantations. Jose Caceido, one of the displaced Afro-Colombians the BBC interviewed for the piece, said, "There is no more birdsong because the forests have been cut down. The soil hardens for lack of shade. Rivers dry up. Nothing else grows except palm." He added, "Once palm oil is planted we cannot hunt anymore because the animals have fled." The full story can be found on the BBC's site
and is really worth a read.
Palm oil plantations have a history of controversy. Some stories from the ABG archives: