Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Search

The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

When is Green not a Good Thing?

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, August 4, 2014/Categories: photography, sustainability, environment, Archive Pick of the Week

When is "green" not a good thing? Answer: When it is produced by toxic algae.

N-P-K are essential nutrients for plant growth. The minerals found in all plant foods are used for both your garden plants and to fertilize agricultural crops such as corn, soybeans, or canola as well. Volumes of unabsorbed fertilizer, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, drains off of ag lands into rivers where it becomes a major pollution issue. Externally created ecologically 'dead zones' result from algal blooms in ponds, lakes, and the oceans.

The latest bloom of toxic algae is occurring in Lake Erie and has shut down the drinking water supply of Toledo, Ohio.  Microcystins  from the algae have been detected in the city's water. The EPA says microcystins can "damage the liver if ingested while other symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness as well as irritated skin, eyes, and throat." Harmful Algal Blooms, or HAB's for short, produced Don't Drink the Water warnings. Just the sort of water you don't want to drink or or use to take a shower.


Lake Erie Algae Bloom, 7-31-14 (NOAA)


Toxic Algae Bloom, August 3, 2014  (credit: NOAA)

An ecological ' tipping point ' is reached when an ecosystem receives too much external pressure, like over-fertilization, that tips it beyond an ability to recover. The natural balance rapidly slips into a new status.

The immediate threat from the toxic algae in Lake Erie may dissipate but the external causes remain and will insure future blooms. "Green" pollution can be very ugly on many levels.

WHB
Print

Number of views (9038)/Comments (0)

Please login or register to post comments.

Name:
Email:
Subject:
Message:
x
Risk Independence Sunday, February 3, 20190

Risk Independence

The new frontiers of Sundance storytelling.

Polar Extremes Friday, February 1, 20190

Polar Extremes

Bi-polar disorders.

Nepal Reflections Wednesday, January 30, 20190

Nepal Reflections

Remembrances from Nepal

Visualizing Climate Data Wednesday, January 30, 20190

Visualizing Climate Data

NASA & NOAA use illustration tools.

A Polar Vortex Descends Tuesday, January 29, 20190

A Polar Vortex Descends

Another extreme weather event.

Arctic Greening Monday, January 28, 20190

Arctic Greening

The Arctic is greening, and fast.

Melting Tundra Sunday, January 27, 20190

Melting Tundra

Permafrost can explode.

Launching Rocks, Building Mountains Friday, January 25, 20190

Launching Rocks, Building Mountains

Traveling by bus can be hazardous.

"The Garden of Eden Is No More" Wednesday, January 23, 20190

"The Garden of Eden Is No More"

David Attenborough interviewed at Davos forum.

Look & See Tuesday, January 22, 20190

Look & See

A Portrait of Wendell Berry.

The Power of Empathy Monday, January 21, 20190

The Power of Empathy

Animating empathy.
Archaeology from Space Sunday, January 20, 20190

Archaeology from Space

Rmote-sensing for finding lost cities.

George the Poet on Climate Change Saturday, January 19, 20190

George the Poet on Climate Change

A poet takes on climate change.

Poseidon is Watching Thursday, January 17, 20190

Poseidon is Watching

Poseidon watches his domain.

Interactive Earth Wednesday, January 16, 20190

Interactive Earth

Mapping planetary changes.

Dataset Earth Monday, January 14, 20190

Dataset Earth

The Earth as a dataset.

There Once Was A River Sunday, January 13, 20190

There Once Was A River

A case of 'river piracy'.

On To Mars Friday, January 11, 20190

On To Mars

Buck Rogers back to space.