What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Fancy a glass of manure tainted water? Lemon with that?

Not only are we loading our atmosphere with greenhouse gases due to our addiction to factory farmed meat, now these farms are poisoning their neighbors water supply. Read more at Scientific American. Here's an excerpt;

"Runoff from agriculture is the biggest polluter of the country's river and stream water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it has been fingered for hypoxic dead zones and toxic red tide algae blooms.

But how much of that runoff makes it into people's drinking water closer to home? In agricultural areas, it can be enough to cause persistent health problems, including diarrhea and other infections, according to a report today in The New York Times.

"Sometimes it smells like a barn coming out of the faucet," Lisa Barnard, a Wisconsin resident told the Times. Barnard's well water tested positive for various contaminants and bacteria, including E. coli—which point not just to any runoff, but that coming from excess manure, according to the Times piece.

Beef and dairy farms often dispose of manure and other waste by shipping it out as fertilizer for crops, but "there just isn't enough land to absorb that much manure," said Bill Hafs, a Wisconsin county official who is angling for more stringent rules and enforcement, in an interview with the Times. When heavy rains or early spring melts come, excess waste can find its way into rivers and streams and also into groundwater—and into wells.

Brown County, where Hafs works, has about a quarter of a million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and about 41,000 dairy cows, which is about six people per cow. And as Hafs noted, "one cow produces as much waste as 18 people." ...

"More than 30 percent of the wells in one town alone violated basic health standards," Hafs told the Times. "It's obvious we've got a problem." But he and others who have raised a stink about the contamination have been met with powerful agricultural lobbies. ... Dairy farms in Brown County create about a million gallons of waste a day, the Times reports. "

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