Pacific Spirit Marine Institute
Thursday, July 17, 2008
NOAA predicted the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will grow to be 8,800 square miles this summer. Forecasters think this summers dead zone will be the largest since 1985.
Nutrients from the fields of the Midwest flow into the Mississippi River which then flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The nutrients are what contribute to hypoxia which is low-oxygen content.
Dead zones are triggered by more than agricultural run-off. Sewage, combustion emissions as well as fertilizers contribute to feeding phyto plankton. River flooding is one natural way dead zones can also be produced.
This year the flooding fields along the Mississippi river are going to contribute to this summer’s anticipated increased dead zone in the Gulf. Sediment records match up with historic flooding.
Slapping myself in the forehead…
“Record corn harvests throughout the Midwest are clearly adding to the problem”, says Eugene Turner. Turner is a scientist with LSU. Turner says there’s “an awful lot of corn and soybeans,” being planted.
Corn and soybeans are both being used in the production of biofuels. Soybean biodiesel has been shown to produce 41% less greenhouse gases. Studies have sown that soybean biodiesel, while having less of an impact on the environment also nets a much higher energy benefit than corn grain ethanol. Soybean biodiesel returns 93% more energy than is used to produce it. Corn; not so much. Corn grain ethanol provides only 25% more energy than is used in its production.
So where does this leave the dead zones?
If farmers stopped planting corn and soybeans yesterday it would take years for to inure any benefits as it relates to the Gulf. Nitrogen leaches from the soil for many years.
soybeans require much less nitrogen fertilizer than does corn.
Global warming may increase the cases of Kidney Stones! Kidney stone formation increases in warm climates. Sweating removes fluid, which increases salt levels in the urine (which goes to the sewer which may flow into the ocean, adding to the problem of dead zones).
It’s almost like playing 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Everything is related.
And, much to my surprise there is a “kidney stone Belt” in America. Roughly the same area is also the “stroke belt” of the United States. One more piece of, that renewable resource, irony these areas also mess into the “bible belt” America…
Holding what may be a world record for kidney stone production could be one man from Ontario, Canada. The kidney stones this organ passed ranged in size from a grain of sand to a dried pea! The kidney had to be removed but at its peak production it was producing 22 stones in 24 hours.
Photo thanks: KMOX St. Louis
Guinness Medical Record Breakers
Labels: Corn, Flood, Global Warming, Kidney Stones, Mid-west, NOAA, SoyBean, biofuels, fertilizer, ocean dead zone
© 2009, Pacific Spirit Marine Institute.
Drought and flooding. Corn, kidney stones and 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
In Toronto on January 3, global portfolio strategist Donald Coxe, dished out some grim “signs” of a coming global food catastrophe. To what does Coxe attribute this looming disaster? Corn of course.
The kernel at the heart of Coxe’s theory is, more to the point, biofuels. Coxe warned the Empire Club; biofuels are expected to eat up about a third of America’s 2007 grain harvest.
Coxe’s is quoted as saying, “Those who have food are going to have a big edge.” This is hardly an intuitive grasp of reality. Anyone who has ever been hungry at mealtime knows food is good and no food is bad.
Coxe suggests reasons for the coming cataclysmic food shortage will be a growing demand for more meat and dairy products by India and China as well as a growing demand from the biofuels industry. Dharmic Law and Karmic Consequences aside in India the very name of cow is Aghnya (‘not to be killed”). Mahabharat Shantiparv 262.47 …Surely, one who kills a cow or a bull commits a heinous crime…
In my mind there would have to be a complete paradigm shift in India if their demand for meat is going to take a sharp rise anytime in the near future. A paradigm shift might take generations, that is unless a good marketing firm can sell the benefits of red meat, arterial disease and many types of cancers to millions of consumers.
The same marketing firms may have an easier time selling the benefits of red meat and dairy products to the Chinese, as long as they keep certain facts out of their advertising. Men in China and Japan have up to 90 percent less prostate cancer than their meat eating, dairy downing American counterparts. Asian women also have up to 90 percent less breast cancer than American women.
Clearly improving the health of the planet isn’t what Mr. Coxe is promoting. There are more holes in his theory than a slice of Swiss cheese.
More cattle equals more methane gas which is responsible for nearly as much as all other CO2 greenhouse gases put together. Methane is a greenhouse gas nearly 21 times more powerful than CO2. The number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture.
Coxe contends the way to combat the crisis he sees coming is by using more fertilizer, genetically modified seeds and producing less biofuels.
So where is the smart money?
Petroleum stocks to insure more greenhouse gas emissions. Pharmaceutical stocks to treat even more diseases caused by increased meat and dairy consumption. Biotech stocks, not for cleaner fuels, but livestock feed. Chemical industry stocks to further pollute our waters with fertilizers…
The signs in the cornfields are easier to understand.
Image Thanks: Google Earth
Labels: CO2, Global Warming, Methane, biofuels
© 2009, Pacific Spirit Marine Institute.
Could M. Knight Shyamalan read the "Signs" BMO’s Donald Coxe is Laying Down in the Corn Field?