Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - Earth Day is an annual event celebrated each year on April 22, to promote environmental awareness and protection. The history of Earth Day dates back to 1970 when it was first celebrated. It was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson to promote ecology and the respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution.
Over two-thirds of human water use is for agriculture. Crop and livestock production are the main sources of water pollution by nitrates, phosphates and pesticides. They are also the major anthropogenic source of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide, and contribute on a massive scale to other types of air and water pollution.
The extent and methods of agriculture, forestry and fishing are the leading causes of loss of the world's biodiversity. Agriculture also affects the basis for its own future through land degradation, salinization, the overextraction of water and the reduction of genetic diversity in crops and livestock.
If more sustainable production methods are used, the negative impacts of agriculture on the environment can be attenuated. Indeed, in some cases agriculture can play an important role in reversing them, for example by storing carbon in soils, enhancing the infiltration of water, and preserving rural landscapes and biodiversity.
The good news is there's a viable answer to all of these. As recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the answer hinges on the widespread implementation of regenerative agriculture and biodynamic farming. By affecting change through your shopping habits, there's hope we may avoid a complete breakdown of our ecosystem and food production.
One thing's for sure: We cannot wait for regulations to drive this change. We must push for it ourselves, and we do so by voting with our pocketbooks every time we shop for food.
Emissions from farming far outweigh other sources of particulate matter, and agricultural fertilizer, especially the nitrogen component, is the greatest contributor to air pollution in much of the U.S., China and Russia.
As nitrogen fertilizers break down, ammonia is released into the air. When it reaches industrial areas, it combines with fossil fuel combustion, creating microparticles. Although nitrogen is found naturally in air, water and soil, reactive nitrogen, a primary component in nitrogen-based fertilizers, is processed using large amounts of energy from fossil fuel-burning engines. This also contributes to industrial pollution.
When nitrogen-based fertilizer is added to the soil, it reduces the amount of sequestered carbon and severely disrupts the soil microbiome — both of which affect the soil's ability to support plant growth. The addition of nitrogen-based fertilizer also reduces the soil's pH and decreases bacterial diversity in the soil.
Excess fertilizer runoff is also one of the largest contributors to ocean pollution — creating dead zones where oxygen is eliminated and fish and other marine life can no longer survive — and groundwater pollution, rendering our freshwater supplies unfit to drink.
Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are equally notorious for polluting precious water supplies. According to a report by Environment America, corporate agribusiness is "one of the biggest threats to America's waterways." Tyson Foods Inc. was deemed among the worst, releasing 104.4 million pounds of toxic pollutants into waterways between 2010 and 2014.
Learn More Here