Summary-AVID Article Format
- Phosphorus: A Looming Crisis
- Nitrogen can be acquired through gas, but phosphorus and potassium must be mined, phosphorus running out
- Reserves are low, countries control phosphorus supply such as Morocco and phosphorus is causing dead zones
- Phosphorus is vital to all life down to the cellular level, but we are breaking the cycle (millions of years)
- Agriculture that uses phosphorus is eroding land and producing toxic runoff; Eutrophication
- Some sources of phosphorus aren't even accessible, only few million tons remain for the world for 90 years
- Only 4 countries hold the majority of the world's phosphorus, most in the U.S. from Florida
- US must now import phosphorus rock due to mine depletion
- Reduce, reuse, recycle
- Reduce fertilizer usage by using efficient farming techniques such as terracing and no-till farming
- Reuse animal waste and inedible plant waste that contains phosphorus
- Treat wastewater to reclaim phosphorus, and phase out toxic metals and chemicals
- All methods can forestall, but not prevent absolute depletion unless the delay is indefinite
Agriculture's reliance on fertilizer will soon become an impossibility if sustainable practices do not replace current ones. Phosphorus is now becoming hard to come by as phosphorus mines are rapidly depleting; the U.S. has now resorted to importing phosphorus rocks from Morocco, which controls 40% of the phosphorus supply. Fortunately, many solutions are available to impede the depletion process and restore supplies. Sustainable farming techniques can be used, such as reducing the amount of fertilizer application and terrace farming. Waste can also be used to reclaim phosphorus, and techniques such as no-till farming decrease the need for fertilizer. Either way, we should adopt these ideas as soon as possible to save future agriculture.
Like always, I believe that these articles are definitely highlighting a troublesome point that should be addressed, and that these sustainable processes should be a high priority for the world in order to pave the way to a more stable future. Many would agree and voluntarily partake in such processes such as biomass reuse and better, more efficient farming techniques; we just need to make this issue more globally known. As the next generation, we should educate the ones before us that haven't had the opportunity to be educated on these problems, unlike us with our APES class.