Driven By Industrial Mono-culture Agriculture, The Deployment of Chemical Fertilizer Is Destructive At Every Phase
|Beginning with the ecological decimation of phosphate mines in Central Florida to the creation of dead zones in the oceans and seas, the price of intensive nitrogen based (inorganic) farming is far higher than most people understand (Watch Lake Erie this summer for a toxic demonstration.) When we run out of phosphate, what will replace this unsustainable agricultural model?1) Mining and production:The destructive chain of industrial fertilizer-based agriculture beings at phosphate mines, located primarily in Central Florida and New Mexico. These mines cause immeasurable damage, but not in places anyone cares about. They drain huge quantities of water from local ecosystems, destroy vegetation, discharge large quantities of greenhouse gases and leave toxic slag heaps that no one regulates.Phosphate rock contains radioactive materials that won’t hurt anyone while they’re in the ground, but the uranium and thorium is concentrated during manufacturing. as mined phosphate rock contains naturally occurring radioactive materials (uranium and thorium).One of the waste products is Phosphogypsum, which is widely used as fertilizer to boost levels of calcium and sulfur in soils. The regulatory scenario is typical: the EPA does not permit the use of phosphogypsum above a certain radioactivity level, but farmers are left on their own to monitor their application levels.”Hey Jed, kin I borrow yer Geiger counter”.Farmers may apply phosphogypsum without limitation, and need not keep records of their application rates.Then there is phosphate slag. This less radioactive slag is reused for construction purposes – primarily roads, bridges, railways, and other non-habitable infrastructure, but the stuff that is too radioactive is stored in giant piles near the production sites where they emit carcinogenic radon gas into the air and acidic water into the ground.
2) On the Fields: No one questions that crops need the nutrients contained in these inorganic nutrients. The problem is that they are now used in staggering quantities around the globe. This problem is related directly to the GMO crops that dominate modern industrial farming and the scale upon which it is conducted. By 2015, world fertilizer consumption is estimated to reach nearly 190 million tons, with some experts estimating that 1% of energy expended is due to nitrogen application. But because the 7 billion humans on the planet have been committed without their knowledge to factory farming, their tushes are hanging out their unprotected if the whole thing fails. For example, it could fail if the world ran out of phosphates, and the world is indeed running out of phosphates, along with everything else. Know why? Too many god damn people, Mapsters, and every one of the them insists on eating.
3) Runoff, Algae, Pollution, Dead Zones: This is where the situation is already at a crisis stage, because this stuff doesn’t stay in the soil, but runs off into waterways and lakes. In aquatic systems, they boost the growth of algae, which bloom en masse and deprive the surrounding water of oxygen. This process is called eutrophication, and areas of severe eutrophication – waters that do not have enough oxygen to support life – are known as dead zones. The leaching nitrates can also impact drinking water supplies if located near wells, and nitrate-contaminated water has been linked to gastric problems in adults.