April 12, 2024

Toxic Food

The Houston Chronicle recently reported some disturbing environmental news:

For the first time, Texas has generated its own “dead zone” in coastal waters, scientists say.

The 1,750-square-mile area of oxygen-depleted water, stretching from Freeport to Matagorda Bay, is potentially deadly to marine life.

Until this summer’s heavy rainfall, Texas A&M University oceanographer Steve DiMarco said, Texas rivers typically were incapable of carrying enough fresh water into the Gulf to create dead zones.

That changed a month ago, when a National Marine Fisheries Service boat taking fish counts also measured oxygen in the water. Those scientists passed their results to DiMarco.

“I’m looking at this data and I’m astounded,” he said. “We’ve long expected that Texas had the potential for this to occur, but it typically doesn’t rain in Texas enough for this to happen.”

DiMarco said he plans to travel to the area, at the mouth of the Brazos River, as soon as this weekend to take further measurements and gauge the impact of Texas’ dead zone, which extends about 25 miles offshore. So far, he said, he hasn’t had any reports of detrimental effects, such as lower fishing catches or marine animal die-offs.

The rains of June and July have pushed the Brazos beyond all known discharge records, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Texas has been received large amounts of rain, true, but there’s something fundamentally problematic about the news that a 40 mile by 40 mile stretch of the Gulf of Mexico is toxic to plant and fish life.

For years the Mississippi has been doing the same thing off the coast of Louisiana. Compared to the new Texas dead zone:

A larger dead zone, caused by farm fertilizers, soil erosion and discharge from sewage treatment plants carried into the Gulf by the Mississippi River, forms annually off the Louisiana coast.

While there are undoubtedly other causes of the poisoned ocean aside fertilizers there is no denying that our hunger for food and the resulting pressure to grow more and more of it is responsible for polluting the Gulf’s waters.

Population control is not a sexy subject anymore – the green movement has gone on to different issues like the vandalism of Hummers and actresses’ furs – but it is still a fundamental problem in that humans demand a relatively fixed amount of food to keep themselves alive. More people means more food is needed and this necessarily leads to fertilization as farmers try to meet the demand.

It seems obvious that there are either: A) too many people already living on Earth; or B) about to be too many.

Even the esteemed Melanie Phillips doesn’t seem to understand the rather basic fact that we’re demanding too much from the Earth’s environment:

Back in la-la land, the new head of the Science Museum in London, Professor Chris Rapley, turns out to be a global warming zealot. In an interview with the Telegraph, he not only asserts that that there is an ‘unequivocal’ link between mankind’s fossil fuel emissions and the global temperature rise seen over the past few decades, but he turns out to be an advocate of — guess what— population control.

It is Rapley’s view that the ‘jury is still out’ on the prediction by Thomas Malthus, the 19th-century demographer, that the human race would exceed its food supply by having too many children.

Hello?? The jury is not still out on Malthus. It came in a long time ago. Malthus has been proved wrong. Nevertheless, his highly unpleasant and dangerous philosophy – essentially, that mankind is the enemy of the good — which went underground in the wake of the eugenics and Nazi movements to which it contributed, has surfaced again in the apocalyptic green movement and man-made global warming theory. The real target of the global warmers is not carbon dioxide; it is not even the internal combustion engine; it is the human race.

Malthus has hardly been proven wrong. If anything the chronic food shortages in various parts of the world and the environmental damage and chemical-laden production techniques used in agricultural nations like the U.S. are indicators that we’re well on our way to proving him right.


As if to prove the point:

Britain tried to contain an outbreak of highly infectious foot and mouth on Saturday, culling cattle at a farm outside London to prevent a repeat of the ruinous damage caused by the disease six years ago.

The Environment Ministry said the strain of the virus found in infected cattle in the county of Surrey, southwest of London, was one not recently found in animals.

“It is most similar to strains used in international diagnostic laboratories and in vaccine production, including at the Pirbright site shared by the Institute of Animal Health (IAH) and Merial Animal Health Ltd, a pharmaceutical company,” the Ministry said in a statement.

The Pirbright site is a few miles (km) from the infected area and is used to test foot and mouth samples.

This disease is spread by via air and contact.  It seems obvious that animal density is a factor.  Said density is also obviously related to the production of more meat and dairy products on a fixed amount of land.

What would Malthus have to say about this?


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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