Discover more from The Brockovich Report
One Of The Biggest Ways We Can Create A Future Free of Contamination
Let's Stop Polluting Waterways With This Toxic Practice
Nothing could be more important to our future than our land, water, and air. Contamination of food and water threatens our health, our environment, and our well-being.
Agricultural runoff is the leading cause of water pollution in the U.S, and the picture is bleak.
A 2022 report from the Environmental Integrity Project portrays an agricultural industry that has polluted water and evaded accountability for the better part of half a century. Pollution sources include fertilizer runoff from cropland and manure runoff from factory farms, fouling waterways with pesticides, phosphorus, nitrogen, and fecal bacteria.
The EPA’s Office of Inspector General concluded in a 2021 report that harmful algal blooms are a “major problem throughout the United States… that can sicken people and kill animals; create oxygen-poor zones in rivers and lakes, making them unsuited for aquatic life; raise treatment costs for drinking water; cause economic hardship for industries that depend on clean water; and negatively impact recreational activities,” But the EPA still lacks a strategy for addressing harmful algal blooms.
Industrial agriculture surpassed backyard and small, family farming in the mid-20th century, as a means to feed millions of Americans. The average farm size in 2021 was about 445 acres and we have almost 900 million total acres of farmland nationwide.
You may have heard the notion that in order to feed our growing population (in our country and throughout the world), we need to rely on conventional growing practices, i.e. toxins.
A new documentary debunks that myth and more.
Common Ground is a new film that unveils a dark web of money, power, and politics behind our broken food system. The film reveals the agrochemical industry’s sway on the USDA and land-grant institutions that has made the practice of using toxic chemicals in farming the norm. It highlights lobbying efforts and the amount of money spent in Washington, D.C.
Conventional agriculture relies on large-scale monoculture, meaning farmers grow or produce a single crop or livestock species in one field or farm at a time. While this kind of intensive farming is meant to maximize output, it also involves using tons of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to keep weeds and pests at bay for higher yields. It also does not make for resilient land, especially in the face of climate change.
The U.S. uses more than 1 billion pounds of pesticides each year, according to the U.S. EPA and lags behind countries in Europe, China, and Brazil for banning these harmful chemicals.
About 85 pesticides used throughout the U.S. have been banned or are in the process of getting phased out by these other countries, mostly because of their harmful impact on human health or the environment, according to a 2019 study published in the journal Environmental Health.
In addition, the Clean Water Act contains a loophole for agricultural runoff and other “non-point” sources of pollution, which are by far the largest sources of impairments in waterways across the U.S. Factory-style animal production has become an industry with a massive waste disposal problem and should be regulated like other large industries.
Why Regenerative Farming Matters
The film highlights farmers using a regenerative model of agriculture that could help balance the climate, save our health, and stabilize our economy.
Regenerative agriculture is a sustainable approach to farming that focuses on improving soil health, enhancing biodiversity, and reducing the use of synthetic chemicals.
Unlike conventional agriculture, which relies heavily on pesticides and fertilizers, regenerative practices prioritize natural methods to cultivate healthy and resilient farming systems.
The core principles of regenerative agriculture include minimal soil disturbance, cover cropping, and rotational grazing. By adopting these practices, farmers can cultivate nutrient-rich soils that support healthy plant growth, ultimately leading to contamination-free crops.
Healthy soils have higher microbial activity, which can break down contaminants and prevent them from reaching the food chain. Regenerative practices like cover cropping and crop rotation also help control pests and diseases naturally, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. As a result, regeneratively grown food tends to be healthier, more nutritious, and less likely to contain harmful residues.
One of the standout features of regenerative agriculture is its capacity to build resilience against contamination and other environmental challenges, which is something we need to cultivate.
Healthy and biodiverse ecosystems are more resistant to disease outbreaks, pests, and extreme weather events. By promoting biodiversity and enhancing soil health, regenerative practices create a robust and self-regulating system that can adapt to changes in the environment without resorting to chemical interventions. This resilience ensures a more stable food system, reducing the risks associated with contamination-related disruptions.
Regenerative agriculture also offers economic benefits to farmers. By reducing the reliance on expensive synthetic inputs like chemical fertilizers and pesticides, regenerative farmers can lower production costs. Moreover, diversified and resilient farms are better equipped to withstand market fluctuations, providing farmers with a more stable income. In 2018, researchers from Ecdysis Foundation found that the farms with regenerative practices were 78 percent more profitable than conventional plots.
You can support this movement!
Choose regeneratively grown products and help advocate for sustainable agricultural practices.
Communities can promote regenerative farming by supporting local farmers and engaging in educational initiatives.
Speak up to your policymakers, who play a crucial role in incentivizing regenerative practices and implementing regulations that prioritize soil health and water quality.
Every five years, Congress’s $1 trillion Farm Bill funds the agricultural industry. Learn more about it here.
Together, we can cultivate a future where contamination becomes a thing of the past, and regenerative agriculture thrives as the foundation of sustainable food systems.
Check out the movie: Common Ground
Did you know agriculture has such a big impact on our water supplies? Let us know in the comments below!