Stories tagged nutrients

You know you want to know!

First, check out the Household Flux Calculator, and discover your flux score. With your curiosity piqued, keep going and find out how your household activities influence the cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus.

Although households are known to influence the energy budgets of cities and countries, few studies have looked at their contribution to environmental pollution. The University's Twin Cities Household Ecosystem Project involves a survey of 3,100 urban and suburban households in Ramsey and Anoka counties and their household emissions. The study centers on a range of behaviors, including household energy use, food choices, vehicle use, air travel habits, pet ownership and lawn care practices. University scientists Lawrence Baker, Sarah Hobbie and Kristen Nelson will discuss the surprising results of this groundbreaking research.

And, yes, they'll answer the question, if you ask them nicely.

Households and Urban Pollution
Tuesday, January 18, 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Bryant-Lake Bowl, Minneapolis
Cost: $5-$12. Tickets available at the door and online at Bryant-Lake Bowl.
Call 612-825-8949 for reservations.


The deadly cycle: Farming > River > Dead Zone > SHARKS!
The deadly cycle: Farming > River > Dead Zone > SHARKS!
Did you know that the food we grow up here in the Midwest might cause shark attacks down in the Gulf of Mexico? Okay, I might be getting a little sensational but here is my train of thought.

  • We do a ton of farming up here in the central states. This requires lots of fertilizer which in many cases eventually runs into the Mississippi River.
  • The nutrients in this fertilizer flow down to the Gulf of Mexico where they cause a huge area of low oxygen in the water causing fish who can't swim long distances to die.
  • Other fish that can migrate, like sharks, get the heck outta dodge and end up swimming around in larger numbers in beach areas where people swim.

It gets worse. Just today, the BBC is reporting that scientists think that this year's dead zone could grow to 8,500 sq miles, the biggest ever!

I wonder what the "tipping point" is for this issue? I'm not seriously too worried about the shark attacks. But the environmental impacts of the dead zone are huge. How bad will this have to get before people start talking about the issue of fertilizer run-off around the water cooler? Then again, maybe we can get some positive public action during the upcoming shark week, but I am guessing agricultural practices won't exactly be their focus...alas.

Related link

Dead Zone - Great resource on the science behind the Dead Zone from none other, the Science Museum of Minnesota.