Thursday, August 04, 2005

The dead zone--in the Gulf of Mexico or in America's brain?

Thanks to the recent hurricanes and tropical storms, Louisiana's dead zone was a bit smaller--4,564 square miles--than usual (last year's zone was 5,800 square miles). This large area of low oxygen in the Gulf of Mexico kills fish, shrimp, and bottom-dwelling organisms. It occurs when nitrogen runoff from America's farming heartland enters the Gulf and creates a huge crop of algae. When the algae decompose, the trouble starts.

Farmers have tried to "prove" that nitrogen isn't the problem, but it clearly is, according to the EPA. The recommended solution is for farmers to reduce fertilization, and this "solution" has angered me for several years. The obvious solution is for farmers to change to organic fertilizer, which feeds crops on an "as needed" basis, so there is little to no runoff. In addition, the crops would be much healthier for us to eat, and the farmers would have significantly fewer pests.

Using organic fertilizer would eventually reduce illness in America, remove dangerous toxins from the environment, and eliminate the dead zone. It makes so much sense that it isn't even discussed as an option.


An even more obvious solution: Stop growing tons and tons of grain just to feed one cow.

I know there are statistics somewhere on how much plant food it takes to equal one pound of protein of beef, chicken etc vs. protein from potatoes (yes, they have protein) and other plants. It's a huge difference.

And we won't even talk about how you could take a shower for a year with the water it takes to produce one pound of beef.

By Anonymous KathyF, at 1:09 PM  

Isn't that the truth? I know that farmers are supposed to be the backbone of America, and those who tend small farms generally do so with the general welfare in mind, but they get forced out by Big Farms. Big Farms torture animals, poison crops, and pollute the atmosphere. Say hello to America.

By Blogger Diane, at 7:03 PM  

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