Analiese’s Reading 3/3

A special ecological edition: the costs and requirements of large-scale agriculture, tracking the endangered, eco-friendly design and a step forward in reducing mercury pollution.

Changes in the Dairy Industry

The growth of these large dairies depends on very cheap rates for water used to irrigate agricultural land. Those dairies have to grow lots of alfalfa and other feed crops to feed so many cows, since they certainly can’t afford enough land to have thousands of cows on pasture. And big dairies produce enormous amounts of manure that have to be carted off somewhere each day, meaning they often have big manure lagoons where they store it (as well as spraying as much as possible on fields). The lagoons are lovely, if you haven’t ever been really close to one, or perhaps nearly fallen into one while conducting research for your thesis. Not that I know anyone who has had such an experience.

Sociological Images

The Hidden Link Between Factory Farms and Human Illness

You may be familiar with many of the problems associated with concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. These “factory farm” operations are often criticized for the smell and water pollution caused by all that concentrated manure; the unnatural, grain-heavy diets the animals consume; and the stressful, unhealthy conditions in which the animals live. You may not be aware, however, of the threat such facilities hold for you and your family’s health — even if you never buy any of the meat produced in this manner.

Mother Earth News

California farms lose main water source to drought

California’s main source of irrigation water is expected to go dry this year for most of its growers due to drought, idling at least 60,000 workers and up to 1 million acres of farmland, federal officials and experts said on Friday.

Reuters

Rare cheetah caught on camera trap in Sahara

There are thought to be less than 250 adult Northwest African or Saharan cheetahs, making the subspecies critically endangered, but very little is known about the cat.

The first camera-trap photographs of the cheetah, taken as part of a systematic survey of 1,750 square miles of the central Sahara, are providing scientists with information on population numbers, movement and how it interacts with its environment.

Telegraph

Reclaiming Oil Rigs as Oceanic Eco-Resorts

Morris Architects, a Houston-based architecture and design firm, recently took top honors for two of their submissions in the Radical Innovation in Hospitality design competition. The grand prize winner, the Oil Rig Platform Resort and Spa makes use of one of 4,000 oil rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico and transforms it into a luxurious eco-resort and spa. We love how the inspired renovation takes an iconic source of dirty energy and converts it to an eco-haven that generates all of its power from renewable sources.

Inhabitat

SunCat: Solar Batteries Powered by Sunshine

Designer and inventor extraordinaire Knut Karlsen recently unveiled an inspired approach to portable power that can’t be beat for its elegant simplicity: a prototype battery capable of charging itself when exposed to sunshine. His slick set of SunCat C-cells are wrapped in flexible photovoltaic panels and will slowly recharge when left to bask in the sun – just like a cat.

Inhabitat

UN Reaches Landmark Agreement to Reduce Global Mercury Pollution

Representatives from more than 140 countries today committed to reduce global mercury pollution, which will help protect the world’s citizens from the dangerous neurotoxin. This agreement was propelled by the United States’ reversal in policy, which also influenced policy reversals of other countries, including China and India. The announcement is a historic step forward in the fight against mercury pollution, according to scientists and policy experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Environmental News Network

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