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Campus News

David Pimentel Speaks on Biofuels for Environmental Leadership Center’s Fall Series

by Maddy Dillon, staff writer

“More than two thirds of the world population are malnourished, this is the largest number of malnourished people in history,” Pimentel said to a crowd of students, faculty, and guests in the Chapel.

Dr. David Pimentel, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, spoke last Wednesday, October 5, in the Chapel as a part of the Environmental Leadership’s Fall speaker series. Pimentel presented on Food, Biofuels, and the Environment.

“What surprised me most about Dr. Pimentel, is his ability to integrate his amazing scientific intellect with his ethics and values and to calmly stand his ground…[Pimentel’s] gaze remains firmly fixed on the future and on creating a more just, sustainable and resilient human society,” professor John Brock said.

Pimentel has a PhD in Entomology and has written 680 scientific articles and 36 books. His research includes the fields of sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, environmental policy, and basic population ecology among others.

Pimentel’s presentation focused on biofuels with emphasis on energy, politics, economics, and environment.

“More than two thirds of the world population are malnourished, this is the largest number of malnourished people in history,” Pimentel said to a crowd of students, faculty, and guests in the Chapel.

Pimentel pointed out that malnutrition is the number one cause of death in the world, and biofuels are contributing to it since all biofuels produced are from food. Biofuels have also increased food prices around the world.

“Corn and wheat prices in India increased 75%,” Pimentel said.

There are also many environmental impacts related to biofuel production. According to Pimentel, 22lbs of corn is used to make one gallon of ethanol. Corn creates more soil erosion and uses more insecticides and herbicides than any other crop. Corn also uses 1,000 lbs of water to produce 1 lb of corn.

Pimentel concluded his presentation urging for the reduction of energy.

“We shouldn’t be using as much energy as we do, we have lots of opportunities to reduce,” Pimentel said after comparing the United States’ energy consumption to that of European countries.

The last speaker of the Environmental Leadership Center’s fall series, Dr. Peter Raven, leading botanist and advocate of biodiversity conservation, will be speaking on November 3 at the College Chapel at 7:00 pm.

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