Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

By Jerry Greenfield
The Gulf of Mexico has seen some better days. We all know about the huge oil spill caused by the explosion of the oil drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, on April 20th, 2010. It took them 3 months to finally cap-off the gusher, but by then, the damage was done. This is, to date, the absolute worst oil spill we have ever experienced.
But to add insult to injury, the Gulf of Mexico has had many other "issues" for years. One of the biggest is the fact that there is a "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico...and it is growing. Now, you're probably asking yourself, "What's a dead zone?" A dead zone is any area in water where the oxygen supply has been depleted. When this happens, the water is said to be hypoxic. If there isn't enough oxygen, then plant-life (such as algae) can't grow. If there's no algae in the area, then much of the marine life has nothing to eat. This marine life will either starve and die, or if they can, they will flee the area and try to find a better place to live.
Water becomes depleted of oxygen when there is too much nitrogen and phosphorus in it. The reason the Gulf of Mexico is so susceptible to this problem is because of the Mississippi River. The mouth of the Mississippi opens up into the Gulf-and boy, is it a big mouth!
Beginning in Minnesota, the Mighty Mississippi flows down to the Gulf of Mexico and carries all of the bi-products of farming right along with it. All of the chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides used in the farmland along the Mississippi leach into the ground surrounding the river and begin their journey southward.
Man-made chemicals used in farming are extremely high in nitrogen and phosphorus. In fact, these chemicals have more nitrogen and phosphorus in them than the crops could ever use, so all of the excess is absorbed into the ground and eventually makes its way into streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes...which all end up somehow being connected to the Mississippi River!
Unfortunately, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico has only grown over time and shows no signs of halting its growth any time soon. The men and women who live off of the sea have no control over this problem and just have to deal with it. Obviously the marine life has no say! And now, on top of everything else, there are the devastating effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to deal with as well!
We are killing our planet! That's all there is to it! The blatant misuse and overuse of chemicals in farming is causing dead zones where marine life cannot live. Our thirst for energy lends to unsafe circumstances and over-looked precautions when it comes to oil drilling. We need to be held accountable for our action--all of us--not just the people who make a living off the Gulf of Mexico and the marine life who try to make a home there.
For more information, please click here.
My number one focus is growing my own food. I don't think that really counts as a hobby. For some people it is, but for me, growing my own fruits and vegetables and saving my own seed is the key to survival. The only person you can count on is yourself, if you ask me. The government is trying to "help" us all with GMOs and welfare, but it's all a crock. We need to know how to survive on our own.
Jerry Greenfield - EzineArticles Expert Author