Thursday, April 7, 2011
Sewage biosolids are nutrient-rich materials that result from the treatment of municipal wastewater. They contain nitrogen, phosphorus and organic matter as well as essential micro-nutrients such as copper, iron, molybdenum and zinc, all of which are important for plant growth and soil fertility. The use of sewage biosolids has risen many concerns for people even though Ontario alone has successfully controlled land application of sewage biosolids as a crop fertilizer since the early 1970's (1). There is a very strict process which all biosolids must undergo prior to being apart of your crops. Sewage biosolids applied to agricultural land must be treated by an approved process and they must be tested to determine nutrient content and to ensure they meet provincial quality standards. The land application site and receiving soils also must meet specified requirements and quality standards. From all of these restrictions it is clear that the concerns many people carry are unnecessary.
If we didn't use the biosolids as a fertilizer, it would wastefully be dumped onto landfills, or into our oceans. (2) It would pollute our world, and cause many devastating health concerns since it would be untreated and left for people to reside around.
The Pros and Cons of using biosolids as fertilizer:
Potential health hazard
It is a cost effective method of disposal
Recycles versus filling landfills
Contamination resulting from accumulation of industrial waste
Its true composition is unknown
Reduces emissions from transportation to landfills
May contain hazardous chemicals
Good free fertilizer
Possibly transferable to crops
Decreases property value
Even though there is some concern, I believe that using waste, which would normally be disposed of, is a great way in conserving our resources. Canada, as well as many other countries want to be 'green', and by recycling sewage biosolids to land is an environmentally desirable alternative to landfill disposal as it promotes waste diversion, and saves many farmers money.
Sewage biosolids are a valuable nutrient source for growing field crops such as corn, soybeans, canola and cereals. They are also highly suitable for growing forage crops and for improving pasture. Using sewage biosolids as a nutrient source for field or forage crops or for improved pasture:
- Reduces the need for commercial fertilizers;
- Reduces production costs;
- Improves soil fertility;
- Enhances soil structure, moisture retention and soil permeability;
- Adds organic matter that helps to maintain good soil tilth and reduce the potential for soil erosion and runoff.
Recycling this valuable resource benefits farmers and society. Farmers receive a substantial economic benefit because sewage biosolids provide nitrogen, phosphorus and other micro-nutrients that farmers would otherwise have to purchase to grow their crops.
I think that we are definitely not influenced by the western view of human waste especially since, at such a time, the world is trying its best to be so environmental friendly. The other parts of the world are going to think that we are trying our best to take care of the Earth and prevent it from any disasters. Yes, it may smell a little and yes, it may be a just a tad unsanitary. But if the right precautions are taken, this idea should be a really good way to improve the western world's image in the trying to prevent global warming.
In the end, I support using biosolids as fertilizer, I think it is such a creative idea, and amazing how something that we would think would be so useless is able to be used for so many agricultural products.
1- "Sewage Biosolids: A Valuable Nutrient Source." Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs / Ministère De L'Agriculture, De L'Alimentation Et Des Affaires Rurales De L'Ontario. Web. 07 Apr. 2011. <http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/nm/nasm/sewbiobroch.htm>.
2- "Biosolids - Water, Effects, Environmental, Pollutants, United States, EPA, Soil, Industrial, Toxic, World, Human, Sources, Disposal, Use, Health." Pollution Issues. Web. 07 Apr. 2011. <http://www.pollutionissues.com/A-Bo/Biosolids.html>.
3- Janssen, Don. "Fertilizing with Biosolids." University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County. Web. 07 Apr. 2011. <http://lancaster.unl.edu/enviro/biosolids/fertil.shtml>.
4- "CWWA - FAQ - Biosolids." CWWA/ACEPU. Web. 07 Apr. 2011. <http://www.cwwa.ca/faqbiosolids_e.asp>.
5- News, Cbc. "Biosolids Fertilizer Is Safe: HRM Staff - Nova Scotia - CBC News." CBC.ca - Canadian News Sports Entertainment Kids Docs Radio TV. Web. 07 Apr. 2011. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/09/28/ns-biosolids-fuel-report.html>.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Technology Technology, What Would We Do Without You?
Many people become concerned when it comes to our dependance on technology, although I don't think we need to be concerned at all. Look at what technology has done for us! Every day technology is used in hospitals to help doctors diagnose patients, to assist in surgeries, and even to help a patient in the hospital have a comfortable stay while still being a patient. Technology in hospitals has grown so widely known, we often take advantage of the things we have.
Just over the past 50 years, look where we have come! Inventions have grown so widely popular, it feels like there is something new on the market every day! We are able to find sphygmomanometer's in Shoppers Drug Mart's and use them whenever we want, stethoscopes around almost all doctor's necks no matter what hospital you are at, and blood glucose meters in patients with diabetes homes. It is amazing what we can find now that we wouldn't have been able to find 50 years ago.
For personal experience, when my father was born about 50 years ago, there wasn't much that a doctor could help him with. He was sent away from the hospital and my grandmother was told that he wouldn't even survive the drive home. He has an extremely complex heart condition and wasn't able to get the help he needed at the time, but because of technology, my father is still alive. He is able to live a normal active life, while having a pace maker inside of him.
Pacemaker's are one advance in technology that wasn't an option for my father 50 years ago. Pacemaker's have helped doctors learn much more about the cardiovascular system and about abnormal heart rhythms that no one knew 50 years ago. Without the development of pacemaker's there are many people on our earth who wouldn't be able to survive. They are an important piece of technology that has developed over the years. (1)
Not only are pacemaker's such an amazing invention, but they are Canadian! The Canadian inventor John Hopps created the first cardiac pacemaker. John Hopps was trained as an electrical engineer at the University of Manitoba and joined the National Research Council in 1941, where he conducted research on hypothermia. While experimenting with radio frequency heating to restore body temperature, John Hopps made an unexpected discovery: if a heart stopped beating due to cooling, it could be started again by artificial stimulation using mechanical or electric means. This lead to Hopps' invention of the world's first cardiac pacemaker in 1950. Although His device was far too large to be implanted inside of the human body, it still brought us where we are today with pacemaker's and has helped to keep millions of people alive. (3)
Enough about the heart! But what about the Digestive system! Well, in the past learning about the digestive system was a dread, not only to the doctors but to the patient as well. It was an unkind task, that required a lot of time and patience, possibly even pain to the patient. But now, there is such thing as an electronic pill, which is meant to be ingested by a patient; it then gathers information about the digestive system as it travels through it, transmitting the information to a receiver worn by the patient. (2) This is amazing! All it takes is one simple swallow of a pill, and you can learn so much about your digestive system. Advances like these in the medical field have improved our way of living and helped us become the people we are today. They have helped reduce the amount of pain that patient's must go through, but still get the help they need.
Technology has grown so much over the years and has kept thousands of people alive and able to live an active life. It has helped us all overcome problems that we most likely would never have been able to overcome. It has kept families together, and relationships close. It has helped my family get pass the every day frightening scenario, that no one wants to constantly see. It has kept my father alive, and has allowed him and millions of other people around the world be happy and know they are in good hands.
1- "What Is a Pacemaker?" National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/pace/pace_whatis.html>.
2- Humphries, Courtney. "Swallowable Sensors - Technology Review." Technology Review: The Authority on the Future of Technology. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. <http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/17470/?mod=related&a=f>.
3- Bellis, Mary. "Invention of the Cardiac Pacemaker - Artificial Hearts - Electrocardiography." Inventors. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. <http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blcardiac.htm>.
"Medical Devices - Key Sectors - NRC-CNRC." National Research Council Canada: From Discovery to Innovation / Conseil National De Recherches Canada : De La Découverte à L'innovation. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. <http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/sectors/medical-devices.html>.
"Testing Blood Glucose Levels at Home: Meters, Insulin Pumps, and More." WebMD Diabetes Center: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Tests, and Treatments. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. <http://diabetes.webmd.com/home-blood-glucose-test>.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Biodiversity is the term used by scientists to capture nature’s richness and diversity, but also its biological interdependence. Biodiversity has been most generally defined as the "full variety of life on Earth" (1). All species on earth may to a greater or lesser extent be dependent on one another; each species that disappears may weaken the survival chances of another. Tropical forests, for example, digest carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce oxygen. So without them our future could be seriously jeopardized. And because farming occupies more land than any other human activity in most countries, it is clear that agriculture and biodiversity are interdependent too.
Industrial agriculture would be one new advance in our world. It is a form of modern farming that refers to the industrialized production of livestock, poultry, fish, and crops.The methods of industrial agriculture are techno scientific, economic, and political. They include innovation in agricultural machinery and farming methods, genetic technology, the creation of new markets for consumption, and global trade. Most of the meat, dairy, eggs, fruits, and vegetables available in supermarkets are produced using these methods of industrial agriculture.
But while using this new form of advance, we are affecting our biodiversity. Over the last fifty to eighty years, most of the world's agriculture has been transformed into an "industrial agriculture." In the 1920s machines began to replace human and animal power for preparing soil, planting, weeding, and harvesting crops. Since the 1930s, newly developed, high- yielding crop varieties have been replacing traditional varieties. Most of these new varieties require inputs such as irrigation, pesticides, and fertilizers.
"Industrial agriculture contaminates our vegetables and fruits with pesticides, slips dangerous bacteria into our lettuce, and puts genetically engineered growth hormones into our milk. It is not surprising that cancer, food-borne illnesses, and obesity are at an all-time high." (4) It is a scary thought when placed infront of you, is it not? Look at the photo to the right, it looks disgusting in the simplest way of saying.
As well, seen in the graph below, since the end of World War II, industrial agriculture has increasingly applied synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to their crops. Insecticides and fungicides do not destroy only pests; they also kill their natural enemies. The natural enemies of insect pests include other insects that are parasites and predators, as well as pathogenic fungi. Pest species evolve resistance to pesticides much faster than their enemies, and thus pest populations quickly recover. Loss of natural enemies also leads to outbreaks of "secondary pests" species that are not a problem until pesticides eliminate their natural enemies. As a result of pest resistance and secondary pest outbreaks, increasing amounts of pesticides must be applied, or more toxic chemicals must be developed.
In vitro meat, also known as cultured meat, is an animal flesh product that has never been part of a complete, living animal. Several current research projects are growing in vitro meat experimentally, although no meat has yet been produced for public consumption. The first-generation products will most likely be minced meat, and a long-term goal is to grow fully developed muscle tissue. Potentially, any animal's muscle tissue could be grown through the in vitro process.With the costs of conventional meat farming techniques constantly increasing and the rising world population (reaching 9.2 billion people by the year 2050), in vitro meat may become an unavoidable fact of life for people around the world by the year 2050. (3)
Shown in the picture above is a sea of shoppers and vendors in Lagos, Nigeria. This shows just how large our population is, and represents just how much we have no choice but to increase our food production in order to survive, and keep our planet intact. Our planet is going to experince alot of change over the next few years, and it is important we don't forget that our increase in population will affect the resources available to us.