24 May '11, 1am

How industrial agriculture makes us vulnerable to climate change, Mississippi floods edition

How industrial agriculture makes us vulnerable to climate change, Mississippi floods edition

An "ephemeral gulley" that carried soil and agrichemicals from an Iowa farm toward the Gulf of Mexico during a 2010 storm. Photo: Environmental Working Group Nancy Rabalais, marine scientist and executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, is probably our foremost authority on the vast, oxygen-depleted "dead zone" that rears up annually in the Gulf of Mexico, fed by fertilizer runoff from large Corn Belt farms. (I interviewed her for my podcast last year.) In a report on the PBS Newshour blog , Rabelais delivers some bad news: Floods in the Mississippi River watershed this spring are washing tremendous amounts of fertilizer into Gulf, promising to generate the largest dead zone on record. In addition to carrying in fertilizer runoff, the floods threaten to worsen the dead-zone problem by flushing in much more fresh water than normally makes it into t...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/industrial-agriculture/2011-05-23-in...

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