18 Stories

In N. Korea, a 'Battle for Manure' Is Underway

Kim Jong Un wants citizens to meet poop quotas to help fertilize crops

(Newser) - The pandemic has wreaked havoc on North Korea's food supply, the result of a domino effect of sorts: With the nation's borders closed, it can't import the manure it needs for its crops from China. The hunt for that stinky commodity has now reached "crisis level,...

Food Prices May Spike Again, Thanks to a New Shortage

Nitrogen fertilizer is in short supply

(Newser) - Farmers have no shortages of things to worry about, and Reuters reports that a major new concern has joined the list this year: Nitrogen fertilizer is in short supply, and its cost is skyrocketing as a result. This could not only translate into higher prices in everything from bread to...

Amazon Jungle's Nutrient Source: Dead African Fish

Researchers: Powdered bones, scales are feeding Amazon—for now

(Newser) - Researchers have made one of the strangest-sounding discoveries in a while: Long-dead African fish are helping feed the Amazon. How, you ask? Well, millions of tons of dust blow west from the Sahara Desert across the Atlantic Ocean each year. The dust, which acts as a natural fertilizer where it...

Toxic Water Actually 'So Routine' in Ohio

Pollution, invasive species, and climate change have all been blamed

(Newser) - Tap water has been declared safe to drink and bathe in again in Toledo, Ohio, but scientists warn that toxic algae blooms could be here to stay. Fertilizer from farms and cattle feedlots are partly to blame for the thick layer of algae choking Lake Erie, the most developed of...

Beef: Meat Industry's Worst Eco-Offender
Beef: Meat Industry's
Worst Eco-Offender

Beef: Meat Industry's Worst Eco-Offender

Raising cattle takes up 160 times as much land as plants, study finds

(Newser) - Think drive-thru cheeseburgers are cheap? Think again. What may be light on the wallet is heavy on the planet, according to a new study on the environmental costs per calorie of beef, pork, poultry, dairy, and eggs—which, combined, make up 96% of the calories Americans get via animal sources....

Your Pee Could Be Fertilizer of the Future

Team collects 3K gallons of nutrient-rich stuff

(Newser) - Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are among plants' key needs—and your urine contains all of them. That's why Vermont's Rich Earth Institute is studying the use of human urine as fertilizer, Modern Farmer reports. There's already plenty of evidence that it works. Yahoo cites one study, earlier...

Dozens Feared Dead in Texas Plant Blast

Locals evacuated amid concerns of another explosion

(Newser) - At least five to 15 people have died in a fertilizer plant explosion near Waco, Texas, NBC News reports—and the toll could ultimately be in the dozens, notes the Dallas Morning News . The number of people injured has already passed 160 as patients grapple with "blast injuries, orthopedic...

Scores Hurt as Blast Rocks Fertilizer Plant Near Waco

Devastating explosion hits West, Texas

(Newser) - A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco tonight injured dozens of people, left the factory a smoldering ruin, and damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. The blast at the plant in West, a community north of Waco, happened shortly before 8pm and could be heard 45 miles...

Whale Poop Does Oceans of Good

Whale feces replenish carbon and nitrogen in world's oceans

(Newser) - Hope floats, and so, too, does whale poop. In fact, we should be thankful for whale poop's buoyant nature, marine scientists say, as the “flocculent fecal plumes" of the world's largest animals are one of the more important sources of nutrients for the oceans, reports Wired . While...

Miracle-Gro Stoked About Medical Marijuana

Pot farms in 16 states could light up company profits

(Newser) - Don't bogart those profits. That's what Scotts Miracle-Gro execs are thinking now that they're zeroing in on the medical marijuana market. They have high hopes pot could boost sales majorly. "I want to target the pot market," CEO Jim Hagedorn tells the Wall Street Journal ...

Coming: Biggest Ever Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico

Due to chemical runoff from farms along the Mississippi

(Newser) - Chemical runoff from farms along the Mississippi create “dead zones” each year in the Gulf of Mexico—areas where nitrogen, phosphorus, and animal manure settle, feeding the algae that steals the oxygen from all other living things. This year’s record flooding will likely lead to the biggest dead...

Cancer Risk From Chemicals 'Grossly' Understated
Cancer Risk From Chemicals 'Grossly' Understated
President's panel

Cancer Risk From Chemicals 'Grossly' Understated

Carcinogens in food, water systematically ignored

(Newser) - Environmental factors play a much bigger role in causing cancer than currently acknowledged, and President Obama needs to do something about it, the President's Cancer Panel concluded today. “The true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated,” the authors found after two years of testimony and...

Cops Hunt 'Furtive' Man in Times Square Video

Suspect shown changing shirts near car bomb site

(Newser) - Police released a Times Square surveillance video today of a "furtive" white man in his 40s spotted near an SUV car bomb stripping down apparently to change his appearance. A tourist may also have video of the same man "lunging" away from the SUV, reports the New York ...

Fears Mount Over Gulf of Mexico 'Dead Zone'

Only Dolly kept oxygen-free area from becoming largest ever

(Newser) - Scientists are  increasingly concerned about the growing "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, an oxygen-poor mass of water that cannot sustain most sea life, which now covers 8,000 square miles, nearly the largest ever. Created by fertilizer runoff from the Mississippi, the zone would be even bigger...

Soaring Fertilizer Prices Another Cog in Food Crisis

Costs up 65% percent, drawing calls for inquiries by US, UN

(Newser) - Farmers worldwide are fuming over soaring fertilizer prices, the Wall Street Journal reports. Costs are 65% higher in the US than a year ago, making it difficult for farmers to boost production in response to an international food crisis. Meanwhile, fertilizer companies have reaped big profits from a cartel-based system...

Another Key Shortage: Fertilizer
 Another Key Shortage: Fertilizer 

Another Key Shortage: Fertilizer

Prices skyrocket, ingredients scarce as growing population demands more food

(Newser) - One of the less touted factors behind the global food crisis is a shortage in chemical fertilizer, which has helped boost crop yields dramatically and particularly benefited the developing world. But while growing demand is unlikely to be met for many years, the environmental impact of producing and using chemical...

Greenies Bank on Worm Poop
Greenies Bank on Worm Poop

Greenies Bank on Worm Poop

All organic fertilizers changing the marketplace

(Newser) - One company wanting to "make millions while saving the world" is banking on worm poop, using it for eco-friendly fertilizer—though chemical compost still clogs the market, CNN reports. Greenies are boosting the organic fertilizer market by 10% per year, but most homeowners have "failed" the "environmentally...

High Food Prices Hurt World's Poor
High Food Prices Hurt World's Poor

High Food Prices Hurt World's Poor

Relief groups find resources, ability to help stretched thin

(Newser) - For the world's poorest people, the quantity and quality of food are increasingly at risk. Wholesale prices of  basic foods are 21% higher now than in 2005, with grain surging more than 30%. What's more, the total volume of food delivered by US-funded groups has declined 52% in the last...

18 Stories