AMERICAJR NETWORK :: COACH'S CORNER PRO SHOP :: SAND CREEK RECORDS :: LIFE MADE EASY

:: DETROIT, MICHIGAN USA << >> LIVE STOCK TICKER :: MESSAGE BOARDS ::
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

COPYRIGHT

© 2009 AmericaJR.com.
All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.
 

AMERICAJR EMAIL

Email Login
Password
New users
sign up!

Detroit's Only FREE E-mail Provider

 
Find a Job
Keywords:
Location:
Job category:
 

SPONSOR

Banner
 

SPONSOR

Get your NHL hockey tickets such as Detroit Red Wings Tickets, Detroit Pistons tickets if you like NBA, as well as Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Orange Bowl Tickets for exciting college football. 
 

SPONSOR

<< News >>

Environmental News

"EARTH TALK"

From the Editors of E / The Environmental Magazine

THIS WEEK'S COLUMN

Dear EarthTalk: What are the environmental benefits of the hydroponic growing of lettuce and other crops?

--Bruce Keeler, Oakland, Calif.

While organic agriculture is all the rage, growing by leaps and bounds to meet increased consumer demand for healthier food, another option that's less well known but just as healthy is hydroponics, whereby plants are grown in nutrient-fortified water-based solutions without a soil substrate whatsoever. Besides not needing chemical fertilizers or pesticides (most of which are toxic as well as derived from petroleum), hydroponics also take up much less space than traditional agriculture, meaning that even an apartment window can yield impressive amounts of food throughout the calendar year.

In traditional forms of agriculture, soil facilitates the process of providing the mineral nutrients that plants need to grow. Organisms in the soil break down the nutrients into inorganic basic forms that the plants can then take up accordingly and put to use photosynthesizing. Of course, some of the organisms the soil attracts are unwelcome, and not every speck of soil is ideal as a growth medium, so we have come up with ways to kill off unwanted pests (pesticides) and pump up the ground's productivity (fertilizers).

But growing fruits and vegetables hydroponically obviates the need for fertilizers and pesticides — let alone soil — altogether. "Without soil, there is little to no microbial activity, so the plants depend on direct nutrients from nutrient solutions," reports Alexandra Gross in E – The Environmental Magazine. "And because hydroponics occur in a highly controlled space and microbial activity is at minimum, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides are not needed."

In most hydroponic systems, the nutrient solutions include inorganic salt fertilizers and semi-soluble organic materials such as bat guano (manure), bone meal and fish emulsion. Since growing hydroponically does not require chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the method is inherently "organic," although the federal government doesn't recognize it as such officially. Hydroponic farmers are trying to get the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to take soil out of the equation when it comes to defining organic so that their products can bear an organic certification label on store shelves and appeal to a quickly growing segment of green-minded consumers.

Hydroponic methods are becoming especially popular with a new wave of green-minded urban gardeners. When artist Britta Riley began growing her own food hydroponically in the window of her fifth floor Brooklyn apartment in 2009 — and sharing her findings with like-minded folks all over the world via the Internet — the Windowfarms Project was born. In less than two years, some 13,000 people have joined the online community at the windowfarms.org website, where members can download free how-to instructions for homemade hydroponic systems.

Along with the Windowfarms Project website, a couple of good sources of hydroponic growing information, inspiration and supplies include Hydroponics Online and Simply Hydroponics and Organics.

CONTACTS: The Windowfarms Project, www.windowfarms.org; Hydroponics Online, www.hydroponicsonline.com; Simply Hydroponics and Organics, www.simplyhydro.com.

 
 

 

Dear EarthTalk: What is the U.S. military doing to reduce its carbon footprint and generally green its operations?
-- Anthony Gomez, New York, NY

As the world’s largest polluter, the U.S. military has its work cut out for it when it comes to greening its operations. According to the nonprofit watchdog group, Project Censored, American forces generate some 750,000 tons of toxic waste annually—more than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined. Although this pollution occurs globally on U.S. bases in dozens of countries, there are tens of thousands of toxic “hot spots” on some 8,500 military properties right here on America soil.

“Not only is the military emitting toxic material directly into the air and water,” reports Project Censored, “it’s poisoning the land of nearby communities, resulting in increased rates of cancer, kidney disease, increasing birth defects, low birth weight and miscarriage.” The non-profit Military Toxics Project is working with the U.S. government to identify problem sites and educate neighbors about the risks.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military manages 25 million acres of land that provides habitat for some 300 threatened or endangered species. The military has harmed endangered animal populations by bomb tests (and been sued for it), reports Project Censored, and military testing of low-frequency underwater sonar technology has been implicated in the stranding deaths of whales worldwide. Despite being linked to such problems, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has repeatedly sought exemptions from Congress for compliance with federal laws including the Migratory Bird Treaties Act, the Wildlife Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

It’s unclear whether the U.S. military is taking heed of criticisms in regard to pollution and endangered species management, but it is undoubtedly concerned about climate change, as its effects on the environment could lead to unprecedented natural resource wars and mass migrations of people. And reducing our reliance on potentially hostile foreign oil sources is a short term national security imperative as well. A recent Obama administration directive calls for the DoD to draw 20 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. Nikihl Sonnad of the GreenFuelSpot website reports that the Army and Air Force are planning to include solar arrays on several bases in sunny western states. The Air Force is also building the nation’s largest biomass energy plants in Florida and Georgia, and the Navy is building three large geothermal energy plants and funding research into extracting energy from ocean waves.

Some of the military’s R&D into renewables is for battlefield applications. Outfitting troops with the capability to produce their own on-site power from solar and wind sources not only makes sourcing oil less of a necessity but also should serve to reduce casualties from fuel transport operations. Over 1,000 American troops have lost their lives delivering fuel in the past few years alone (in part because enemy combatants often use fuel trucks as attack targets), says Sonnad.
Elisabeth Rosenthal reports in The New York Times that “there is great hope that some of the renewable energy technology being developed for battle will double back and play a role in civilian life.” She adds that the armed forces have enough purchasing power to create genuine markets in the non-military world.

CONTACTS: Project Censored; U.S. DoD; Military Toxics Project; GreenFuelSpot.

A SYNDICATED COLUMN ONLY ON AMERICAJR.COM

 

 

SEND IN YOUR QUESTIONS...

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

 

Find a Job
Keywords:
Location:
Job category:
 

>> Bookmark This Site Now! <<

doteasy.com - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.
 

Google
 
Web AmericaJR.com

 

BACK TO THE AMERICAJR ONLINE HOMEPAGE

Copyright © 2010 AmericaJR.com. All Rights Reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

AMERICAJR NETWORK :: COACH'S CORNER PRO SHOP :: SAND CREEK RECORDS :: LIFE MADE EASY