I’m looking at a magazine put out by the Virginia Department of Agriculture. The photo on the cover is of wholesome beautiful food, but the lead story is titled “Big Win: China Imports Virginia Poultry.”
I wonder if the places that produce the food Virginians are eating are generating headlines like “Big Win: Virginia Imports (fill in the blank–California, Mexico, Costa Rica, etc.) Vegetables.”
But leaving that aside (y’all have heard it plenty of times already) I was struck by another little article about a Virginia agricultural export–wood pellets. To my surprise I learned that Virginia exports over $35 million worth of wood pellets to Europe every year and that wood pellet exports have doubled in the last two years.
It seems that in France, Germany and Italy the wood pellets are used for home heating and in the U.K. they’re used for electricity generation. I wonder if the folks who put in pellet-burning stoves, in part because of a desire to generate heat with a renewable resource, are aware of how far those pellets are traveling to get there.
Reminds me of something I learned recently about recycled paper. Like many people these days we’re careful to recycle our paper. But apparently the recycling manufacturing is done primarily in China. When the ships arrive from China loaded with the trinkets they sell us, we fill the empty cargo containers with our trash, which they recycle and sell back to us as “recycled paper.” That doesn’t sound sustainable to me, or as eco-friendly as we probably imagine recycling paper to be.
Just some random thoughts about the crazy world we live in.