Monday, August 4, 2014

Green IS Good

Green is good. Water IS green - and not just because of the Toledo algae bloom, either. The Great Lakes might be cash in the bank in the near future. Toledoans' water was on trial yesterday when it turned green - literally. The water ban (which was just lifted) due to algae bloom, made national headlines. I'm sure Holy Toledo was used more than once in a story, so we'll just get it out of the way right now.

So the ban is lifted. Let's think about what got us to this point in the first place. Runoff/contaminants from farms, chemicals, pesticides and, natural manure.

This problem has been building over the years; the Associated Press reports (with my bold-faced emphasis inserted):

Water plant operators along western Lake Erie have long been worried about this very scenario as a growing number of algae blooms have turned the water into a pea soup color in recent summers, leaving behind toxins that can sicken people and kill pets.
In fact, the problems on the shallowest of the five Great Lakes brought on by farm runoff and sludge from sewage treatment plants have been building for more than a decade.
Our Great Lakes Region is home to what might soon be one/is of the greatest natural resources on the planet - H20. Beyond whetting our whistles, it could bode well for drought-weary southwestern states, and California. Jed Clampett listen up: water, pure (we hope), clean water. All that could translate to green/money for sagging economies in these here places. (Note to young whippersnappers: Mr. Clampett was a character in old TV sitcome, "The Beverly Hillbillies" check it out; don't worry, it's a talkie - oops, that means the actors talk vs. silent films -----)
But I digress. 
Let's get back to green gunk of the algae variety. What can I and you do to make a difference? 
  • Eating less beef and other meat perhaps? Manure is one of the culprits here - especially that slathered, like frosting, over the snow and frozen soil during winter months. Yum. I'm not suggesting we eat no beef, but how about limiting it? (Meat consumption is expected to increase in years and it's been linked to everything from deforestation to a dwindling water supply - and that's before the algae bloom noted above.) 
  • Eat more fruits and veggies - BUT support local farmers who grow pesticide-free products. 
  • Grow your Own veggies - again, pesticide free. 
Just a few ways to make a difference. (And, yes, I know all the above is probably an oversimplification of the problem/s and the solution/s. It's a start, perhaps. 

Of course, I say all this after having eaten a hamburger last night. I plead guilty. And the more I think about it, the more complex the problem becomes. Fine, I like cheese - cows and goats produce milk for cheese, which means they need hay to eat, water and then there is still the manure problem. Check.
Peanut butter - again, it's a plant that - probably - too often requires pesticides. Check.
Beans. A plant and more pesticides.  
Rice - ditto.
This leaves bread (wheat, rye, grains, grains, grains and - unless something changes = pesticides).
Check. Check and Check.
And, that leaves water.
And we're right back to where we started. 

I'll sign off with a quote from one of the greats, Albert Einstein, physicist and Nobel Prize winner:
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival on of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

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