Climate change occurs naturally. It always has, and it always will vary from day to day, week to week, season to season, year to year, decade to decade, and century to century. Possibly humans play a role in that change in some way, but no verifiable evidence supports that. Even if it did, we, as one nation, could do little to nothing about it because our contribution is miniscule compared to what’s happening in China, India, and the rest of the world.
The billions of dollars wasted on this sky-is-falling hysteria could be far better spent on providing food and clean water to the millions who need it.
By contrast, dead zones pose legitimate threats to our fisheries and oceans and could be minimized if we changed our ways.
LiveScience.com reports the following:
“Agricultural practices are the biggest culprit for dead zones in the United States and Europe. Rains wash excess fertilizer from farms into interior waterways, which eventually empty into the ocean. At the mouths of rivers, such as the Mississippi, the glut of phosphorous and nitrogen intended for human crops instead feeds marine phytoplankton.
“A phytoplanktonic surge leads to a boom in bacteria, which feed on the plankton and consume oxygen as part of their respiration. That leaves very little dissolved oxygen in the subsurface waters. Without oxygen, most marine life cannot survive.”
In the United States, the most notorious dead zone occurs each summer in the Gulf of Mexico, spreading out from the mouth of the Mississippi River. This year, it consumes more than 5,000 square miles, slightly smaller than last year. On average, it is estimated to cost $82 million annually in diminished tourism and fishing yield.
More than 150 dead zones have been identified in this country, most of them along the coasts. A few occur inland, notably the Great Lakes.
Some of them have been cleaned up through improved management of agricultural runoff and sewage. But as fertilizer and factory farming both increase, LiveScience.com warns, “the United States is creating dead zones faster than nature can recover.”
More than 400 dead zones have been identified worldwide, covering about 1 percent of the area along continental shelves. But likely many more than that exist, since portions of Africa, South America, and Asia have yet to be studied.