Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day - Water Edition

According to Debt Ninja, today is Blog Action Day, and this year the theme is water.  Debt Ninja has a nice post up about clean drinking water, and the opportunity to donate to charity: water and make his friends' 27th birthday extra awsomesauce at the same time.  I'll admit it - I was touched.  I'm also cheap; that measly anonymous donation is totally me.  But if everyone who likes Ninja chips in a measly few bucks each, his friends will reach their goal in no time flat.

In my neck of the woods, the biggest issue with water is the Gulf of Mexico dead zone.  Basically, the Mississippi River takes all the fertilizer runoff from the middle of the United States (with a side of animal waste from large processing plants and human sewage) and spews it into the Gulf of Mexico.  This nutrient-dense stuff causes lots of algae to grow.  Algae sucks all the oxygen out of the water.  Marine life in the area either dies or migrates. Currently, the dead zone is the size of New Jersey and growing.  (For a more complex explanation, see this website or just Google Gulf of Mexico dead zone)  For extra special fun, it looks like higher water levels on the Mississippi and possibly the BP oil spill are creating mini dead zones closer to the Louisiana coastline.This is terrible for the enviroment and terrible for all the people who rely on the marine life in the gulf for their livelihood and their tradtional way of life. 

There's no easy solution here.  We'll have to fundamentally change the methodology of food production in this country to make a significant impact.  But the dead zone, along with other feedlot-associated problems like antibiotic-resistant bacteria, makes me think that Mother Nature may not give us any choice.  If you're interested, a good place to start educating yourself about the industrial food production system, its consequences, and alternatives is by watching either Food, Inc.or a local screening of FRESH.  If you're more of a book person, I recommend Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front.


  1. Every dollar counts. You're not cheap. YOU ARE AWESOME! Thanks a ton

  2. opened my eyes to factory farming practices. I couldn't bring myself to watch it completely to the end. It's not just about the horrendous treatment of animals, but also about the huge environmental impact. Fishing from the ocean creates a biohazard rating higher than AIDS. You are so right ~ it's time for change before we reach the point of no return.