Wednesday, October 27, 2010

water pollution

"We conserve what we love,
We love what we understand,
We understand what we are taught."

    This is my new favorite quote, stolen from a classmate (thanks Sabrina!)  Over the past couple days, I have discovered so many terrible facts about livestock production and slaughterhouses that I have been ignorant of all my life.  In a sense, I know I avoided these truths because I didn't want to give up my beloved bacon, bar-b-q, hamburgers, etc.  I avoided any knowledge of what my choices were causing like a plague, because ignorance is bliss... or so I thought.  Now I've started to unveil the truth: that eating meat is not a sustainable practice.

   This blog entry is going to be dedicated to the mound of information  I've discovered about the pollution caused by livestock production and slaughterhouses.  Although I have just begun on my so called "vision quest", information is just pouring in.

   We all know about the BP oil spill and are outraged by the incident.  The environmental damage was severe and costly, and greatly upset people all over the country.  Yet people are largely unaware of a leak in 1995 that was almost as environmentally damaging to southeastern rivers.  After a large rain in Onslow County, North Carolina, a dike broke on an industrial hog farm- causing 25 million gallons of hog waste to rush into the New River (North Carolina digital history,  The spill caused 364,000 acres of coastal wetlands to be closed to shell fishing, and astronomical numbers of fish deaths, around 10 million (  All from an eight acre hog farm! Just imagine how much waste is produced every year from all the livestock in America alone.  It is disgusting to think about.  Small leaks occur all the time, constantly soaking through the soil and into water sources.  Ammonia, a form of nitrogen found in animal waste, causes algal blooms which deprive the water of dissolved oxygen for the fish to survive.  One of these said "dead zones" exists at the mouth of the Mississippi River that covers an area that fluctuates from 5,000-7,000 square miles. 

Satellite image of the northern Gulf of Mexico/Mississippi Delta showing hypoxic coastal water (light blue). This color change is due to excessive nutrients being washed into the sea. Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC, January 2003. 

    Alright guys, there's my seed of knowledge for the day.  I know it is not much, a bit of a tease, but I wrote this while procrastinating studying for an exam. (yikes!) Alright, I'll drop some more knowledge soon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hello people!  This is the beginning of my "pescetarian project" where I will log the trial and errors of my new eating habits, explore the detrimental effects of the meat industry, and I hope to discover people's viewpoints and opinions on the subject matter (so please, feel free to post any comments!).
    I decided to become a pescetarian (vegetarian except I occasionally eat seafood) the beginning of September.  I've always been very passionate about the environment, and trying to do my part to conserve what we have left.  On the other hand, I really love food (really), so giving up meat has always been on my list of things to do, but I just never seemed to get there.  Every time in the past that I would try to become vegetarian, I would make it usually a day- but then I would get home and discover my mom or my roommate had made some delicious meal with pot roast, baked ziti, etc., and I could never resist. 

   But since I have been in my Historical Ecology class, where we discuss twice a week what can be done to help the environment and raise awareness, my eating habits have been weighing on my mind heavily.  So I decided once and for all that I should become a pescetarian (I figured I would be less likely to cheat if I could still have seafood).  

    This blog is a place I hope to use to discuss how our diets are affecting our environment.  Don't worry guys, my goal is not to brain wash you into becoming a pescetarian/vegetarian/vegan or any of the above.  I just don't think many people realize what is going on around the world, and how our eating choices can help the planet- even if you eat one meatless meal a day, or have one meatless meal a week.   And please, leave any comments you wish- I hope to learn from my readers as much as the other way around.

    Alright,  after this post commences the "nitty gritty" part.  I'll be researching and studying the environmental effects of producing/eating meat and posting my findings here, plus how my personal diet is coming along (and I promise to be honest if I cheat!), and any other interesting tid-bits I come across.  You'll be hearing from me soon!