11 Facts about Sustainable Agriculture
- In the U.S., approximately 40% of all chemical fertilizers used eventually break down into ammonia and are released into the atmosphere.
- As a result of fertilizer runoff in the agricultural upper regions of the Mississippi River, the average size of the dead zone (where the oxygen levels are too low to support life) in the Gulf of Mexico was over 8,000 square miles in the summer of 2007. That’s roughly the size of New Jersey.
- Agricultural activities were responsible for 6% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2008, where the livestock are major contributors.
- Animal agricultural operations produce 73% of all ammonia air pollution in the US.
- Lower meat consumption is an effective environmental choice because of the land and water use and pollution of the meat industry.
- Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1,500 miles before being sold.
- Despite tenfold increase in insecticide use since 1945, crop losses due to insect damage have nearly doubled.
- On unsustainable factory farms, thousands of animals excrete tons of waste every week. Millions of gallons of this untreated waste are often held in open-air lagoons where they pollute the surrounding air, land, and water.
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hog, chicken, and cattle waste polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states during the 1990s.
- An estimated 700,000 people in the US work in animal confinement operations where they risk exposure to a variety of documented human health hazards including work-related lung diseases and certain cancers associated with chemical use and prolonged sun exposure.
- Approximately 23% of the energy used in our food production system is allocated to processing and packaging food. Another 23% is burned in home refrigeration and cooking.
seen at http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-sustainable-agriculture