Accounting for nitrogen in food sustainability - 26 Aug 2010  
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Accounting for nitrogen in food sustainability.
In a recent study, University of Pittsburg environmental scientists Dr. Xue Xiaobo and Professor Amy Landis in Pennsylvania, USA calculated the “nitrogen footprints” of various foods.

They then compared this measure of environmental impact with the same foods’ carbon footprint. Nitrogen pollution is created from nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer runoff as well as nitrogen contained in livestock manure, both of which are washed by rain into rivers and out to bays and the ocean, where they spur the growth of algae, which dies and is then consumed by bacteria.

The oxygen-depriving effects of the bacteria create the often-massive dead zones such as the 8,000-square-mile area near the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.

Of all the foods measured by the scientists, meat and dairy products topped the list as the most nitrogen-damaging to the ecosystem, while plant-based foods had the lowest impact.

Our appreciation, Drs. Landis and Xue for helping us to understand the environmental damage caused by nitrogen and its primary source in animal products.

May such insights motivate us all to adopt the truly eco-friendly plant-based lifestyle. During a November 2009 videoconference in Washington, DC, USA, Supreme Master Ching Hai explained the harms of livestock waste to both the environment and lives while suggesting the simplest way to reverse the problem.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Livestock produces 130 times as much waste as the human population in the US. Can you imagine that? In Virginia State, even the poultry farms are producing 1.5 times polluting nitrogen, more than all the people living in the same area. We are killing ourselves.

One time, an 8-acre large,such pig manure lagoon burst in North Carolina, spilling 25 million gallons of this poisonous waste, twice the volume of the notorious Exxon-Valdez oil spill.

Hundreds of millions of fish in the state’s New River were killed instantly due to the nitrates in the waste, with further harmful effects once the contamination reached the ocean.

Not only that, we have the enormous dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the size of New Jersey, which suffocates all marine life there.  And this is overwhelmingly due to the nitrogen runoff from the Midwest, from the animal wastes and the fertilizers for the animal feed crops. This waste is toxic.
It contains antibiotics, hormones and pesticides, and 10 to 100 times the concentration of deadly pathogens like E. coli and salmonella compared to human waste.

There is a very good reason to abolish meat, fish, eggs and dairy – all the animal products al together. We must stop animal production now and at all cost if we want to keep this planet.