Record Dead Zone Predicted in Gulf of Mexico (USA Today)
Almost every day there is a news story about some global problem that is related to our choice in the western world to consume meat and dairy three meals a day. Earlier this month it was E. coli and salmonella, yesterday it was a “record dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. (See USA Today link below my signature)
What you almost never see in any of these stories is the root cause of so many of the problems. To shed a little light on the “dead zone” issue, I want to provide you with an excerpt from Chapter 4 of our book. That chapter deals with a plethora of environmental problems that are driven by our livestock agriculture and is entitled — Running Roughshod.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN estimates that nearly two-thirds of ocean fisheries are exploited at or beyond capacity. At the same time, our agricultural practices on land are beginning to foul the oceans as well.
Dr. Bruce Monger, who teaches Oceanography at Cornell University, has uncovered some alarming facts on that topic. After plotting the explosive growth of human population, CO2 increase in the atmosphere, deforestation and the increase in the use of industrial nitrogen fertilizer—all on the same graph (1980 to present), he was “blown away” by what he saw. In a 2009 online lecture, he exclaimed, “Boy, I’ve got to get interested in what’s going on with nitrogen, because it’s by far the most rapidly increasing item of this group.” That stems from the rapid increase of chemical fertilizer; some estimate that we’ve put more nitrogen-based fertilizer on the ground in the last 20 years than we’ve put on the ground since fertilizer was invented. Remember all that livestock manure mentioned earlier? That unprecedented increase in the use of chemical fertilizer has been driven in large part by the feed crops that were grown for those billions of animals.
So, just as the manure pollutes our rivers and streams, the fertilizer to grow the livestock feed is beginning to do a number on our oceans….this whole process leads to what oceanographers call dead zones, areas of very low or zero oxygen where nothing that uses oxygen for growth can live. Dr. Monger goes on to explain that this is not just a problem for the Mississippi River, or for the U.S., but for the entire world. The same blights we see along the gulf and east coasts of the U.S., we are also seeing in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia. As he said, “They’re not just ours—they’re a global problem.”
The “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico – a region of oxygen-depleted water off the Louisiana and Texas coasts that is harmful to sea life and the commercial fishing industry – is predicted to be the largest ever recorded this year, federal scientists announced Tuesday.
Scientists say the area could measure between 8,500 and 9,421 square miles, or an area about the size of New Hampshire. If it does reach those levels, it would be the largest since mapping of the Gulf Dead Zone began in 1985.
Unfortunately, the most important causative facts behind the headlines are rarely shared with the public. Just as the raising of livestock is fouling are oceans, it is also threatening biodiversity on both land and sea, it is a primary driver of global warming and is also the principal cause of land degradation and deforestation. In the 2009 movie HOME, they reported that humankind has inflicted more damage on the fragile harmony of nature on this planet in just the last fifty years — than all previous generations of humans for the past 200,000 years.
When does this madness end? When enough people learn about it? But how can we learn about it when our government and our media is not telling us exactly what is causing all these problems? By sharing books and blogs on this topic with everyone that you care about. Our current way of life is grossly unsustainable — please join this blog or periodic mailing list and help us spread the word… planting the seeds of change around the world.
If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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