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Sometimes it smells like a barn coming out of the faucet: overpopulation in America

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The more the United States adds people, the more water we use, the more food we eat, the more land we cultivate, the more fertilizer we spread, the more energy we burn--thus, the more we pollute the air, land and water.

Example: the Mississippi River spews millions of gallons of toxic water into the Gulf of Mexico 24/7 to create a 10,000 square mile dead zone. Toxins include fertilizer runoff, insecticides, herbicides, household wastes, sewage and a host of chemicals. Vertebrates cannot live in it, thus, our poisons created a dead ocean area. As humans' ultimate toilet, worldwide, our oceans suffer horrific consequences to marine life, plankton and fisheries.

Most Americans cannot 'see' overpopulation. And, their leaders fail to address it. Everyone finds it easy to avoid, deny or reject. But day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year--overpopulation impacts every American--and it's growing worse as we add 3.4 million people to the U.S. annually, predominantly by immigration. Ironically, those immigrants stream into America from overpopulated countries that add 77 million people, net gain, annually to the planet. Next destination: 100 million people added to America by 2035. That's 26 years from now.

Even more astounding, most Americans cannot get their emotional or mental arms around what they face with an added 100 million people. Thus, they avoid talking about it and the media ignores it. They may avoid it, but in the end, overpopulation will not avoid anyone.

In an expose' article in the New York Times, Charles Duhigg reported, "WI; Health Ills Abound as Farm Runoff Fouls Wells" September 18, 2009.

MORRISON, Wis. -- "All it took was an early thaw for the drinking water here to become unsafe," Duhigg reported. "There are 41,000 dairy cows in Brown County, which includes Morrison, and they produce more than 260 million gallons of manure each year, much of which is spread on nearby grain fields. Other farmers receive fees to cover their land with slaughterhouse waste and treated sewage. In measured amounts, that waste acts as fertilizer. But if the amounts are excessive, bacteria and chemicals can flow into the ground and contaminate residents' tap water.

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"In Morrison, more than 100 wells were polluted by agricultural runoff within a few months, according to local officials. As parasites and bacteria seeped into drinking water, residents suffered from chronic diarrhea, stomach illnesses and severe ear infections."

"Sometimes it smells like a barn coming out of the faucet," said Lisa Barnard, who lives a few towns over, and just 15 miles from the city of Green Bay.

"Tests of her water showed it contained E. coli, coliform bacteria and other contaminants found in manure," Duhigg said. "Last year, her 5-year-old son developed ear infections that eventually required an operation. Her doctor told her they were most likely caused by bathing in polluted water.

"Agricultural runoff is the single largest source of water pollution in the nation's rivers and streams, according to the E.P.A. An estimated 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from waterborne parasites, viruses or bacteria, including those stemming from human and animal waste, according to a study published last year in the scientific journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology."

As a world traveler, I witnessed what water pollution does to human beings. Waterborne diseases kill millions of people annually. Over 1.5 billion humans cannot obtain a clean glass of drinking water because they live in squalor, near outhouses and human-contaminated water sources.

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"The problem is not limited to Wisconsin," Duhigg said. "In California, up to 15 percent of wells in agricultural areas exceed a federal contaminant threshold, according to studies. Major waterways like the Chesapeake Bay have been seriously damaged by agricultural pollution, according to government reports. In Arkansas and Maryland, residents have accused chicken farm owners of polluting drinking water. In 2005, Oklahoma's attorney general sued 13 poultry companies, claiming they had damaged one of the state's most important watersheds."

"One cow produces as much waste as 18 people," said Bill Hafs, a county official who has lobbied the state Legislature for stricter waste rules. "There just isn't enough land to absorb that much manure, but we don't have laws to force people to stop."

"In Brown County, part of one of the nation's largest milk-producing regions, agriculture brings in $3 billion a year," Duhigg said. "But the dairies collectively also create as much as a million gallons of waste each day. Many cows are fed a high-protein diet, which creates more liquid manure that is easier to spray on fields. In 2006, an unusually early thaw in Brown County melted frozen fields, including some that were covered in manure. Within days, according to a county study, more than 100 wells were contaminated with coliform bacteria, E. coli, or nitrates -- byproducts of manure or other fertilizers."

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www.frostywooldridge.com
Frosty Wooldridge Bio: Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His books (more...)
 

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