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The Global Disaster of the Future

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posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 08:09 PM
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When most people think of global disasters things such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and drought are often the first things to come to mind. I would like to introduce you to what I think may potentially be one of the largest disasters that we may see in our lifetimes, and if we don't, it's very likely that our children will.

We are all use to hearing about the limited natural resources that have been provided by our earth. Most commonly discussed are things such as fossil fuels like oil, but one of the most overlooked and important resources that we have is Phosphorus.

Phosphorus is vital to food production. Without it our world is faced with famine and starvation. A recent article has once again brought the importance of Phosphorus to my attention.

articles.dailypress.com...


The sun was about to set when Robert L. Shirley drove his beige pickup onto the Pamlico River ferry.

He was joined by fellow Potash Corp. employees who had just finished the day shift mining what scientists say could be the "gravest natural resource shortage you've never heard of."



Often overlooked, phosphorus is one of three elements needed to make fertilizer. The others, nitrogen and potash, are readily available with no shortages projected. But phosphate rock — the primary source of phosphorus in fertilizer — isn't as plentiful.

Scientists have estimated that minable supplies may not be sufficient to meet worldwide demand within decades. The situation could lead to higher food prices, famine and worse.

"There will be wars over water and oil. And right along with that, there will be wars over phosphorus," said Mark Edwards, a marketing professor and co-organizer of Arizona State University's Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative.


The concern over dwindling phosphorus supplies is not a new concern, and was even an issue that President Franklin D Roosevelt spoke before congress about.


What FDR said

Like oil, phosphate rock is a finite, non-renewable natural resource created millions of years of ago beneath Earth's surface.

Intensive mining of the element began last century after President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned that phosphorus content in United States soil, after generations of cultivation, had "greatly diminished," threatening the nation's ability to produce crops.

"I cannot overemphasize the importance of phosphorus not only to agriculture and soil conservation but also to the physical health and economic security of the people of the nation," Roosevelt told Congress in 1938


There is quite a bit of debate over how long our supplies of phosphorus will last. Some believe that with a decade or two phosphorus supplies will be nearly exhausted, and others believe (at best) a few hundred years.


The fertilizer industry did its own analysis and found there to be 300 years worth of phosphate rock worldwide, said Kathy Mathers, a spokeswoman for The Fertilizer Institute, which represents U.S. fertilizer businesses.


Just so you don't miss how important phosphorus is......


The element, which is found in every body cell, is most concentrated in human bones and teeth. It is essential to life and, at the present time, irreplaceable.



Now......let me share this. I have been working in the fertilizer industry for nearly ten years. I work with Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) on a daily basis. While I don't monitor the prices daily, I have seen them go from a couple hundred dollars a ton to over $1,200 a ton in recent years. The prices per ton are now lower, but unlike other fertilizers, (DAP) prices get very unpredictable when there is a shortage, a mine closes, or there is a lack of production. I have seen my bosses in a panic because they were not able to buy because there simply wasn't any available.

According to the Fertilizer industry there is 300 years left of phosphorus......at best. If they are wrong, it won't be long before phosphorus shortages becomes the next big disaster. Shortage of global supplies will lead to serious famines and global wars.....and perhaps someday soon, our extinction......

edit on 25-3-2012 by isyeye because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 08:14 PM
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Just get you a few chickens and don't sweat it.
Just a little chicken poop will grow most anything.
Who needs phosphorus fertilizer when you got Nelly the hen?



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 08:16 PM
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reply to post by TheLieWeLive
 


If it were only that easy.....I forget the actual numbers, but one ton of fertilizer is approx. equal to 25 tons of chicken litter. There's just not enough to equal global demand. And chicken litter comes with it own set of problems.
edit on 25-3-2012 by isyeye because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 08:21 PM
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reply to post by isyeye
 


The only problem with Chicken fertilizer that I know of is that you have to use it sparingly. It's very strong and will burn the roots of the plant up. This, to me, sounds like it would go a long way with just a little.

What did we ever do before store bought fertilizer?

edit on 25-3-2012 by TheLieWeLive because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 08:24 PM
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reply to post by TheLieWeLive
 


Chemical fertilizers are much, much more potent. The problem lies with the amount of food required to feed our present population. There just isn't anything else that equals phosphorus.

And I have seen several farmers attempt to use truckloads of chicken litter when the prices where so high. They were back to buying chemical fertilizers the next season.
edit on 25-3-2012 by isyeye because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 08:34 PM
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What about natural fertilizers like compost from a worm bin they fertilize well with out any phosphorus needed in the process. From food scraps to newspapers and cardboard the food for the worms is plentiful and the waste they produce turns into great fertilizers that added with worm tea and the lechate that drains provide excellent natural fertilizers. One thing we have no shortage of is trash



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 08:39 PM
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reply to post by MrStyx
 


I'll agree that we have no shortage of trash, but I don't know if it could work on a global scale. It's one thing to use compost on a personal garden, but quite different when growing crops for billions of people.



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 08:46 PM
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reply to post by isyeye
 


Not necessarily I think world wide people already use coffee. Used coffee Grinds are a great food source for worms in a compost pile the fuel is already in abundance. Worms will eat about 1 & 1/2 times their own body weight and produce worm castings in 75% of body weight in only 24 hours. Worms also reproduce to their environment if you have enough trash your worms will continue to populate.

We have alternatives scalability is totally achievable with what we have today, we just have to change focus to the natural alternatives. Running out may just be the problem we need.



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 08:55 PM
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reply to post by MrStyx
 


I sincerely hope you are right. I've seen many farmers try to use natural fertilizers, and with very little success, and much lower crop yields. I think the only way to make what you are suggesting work is to begin implementation in the near future. My personal opinion is that within the next few years, the phosphorus market is going to jump drasticly as supplies dwindle. Perhaps if they begin working with alternatives now on a large scale to improve the process, they can prevent what will happen with phosphorus runs out.
edit on 25-3-2012 by isyeye because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 09:05 PM
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Originally posted by TheLieWeLive
reply to post by isyeye
 


The only problem with Chicken fertilizer that I know of is that you have to use it sparingly. It's very strong and will burn the roots of the plant up. This, to me, sounds like it would go a long way with just a little.

What did we ever do before store bought fertilizer?

edit on 25-3-2012 by TheLieWeLive because: (no reason given)


Its the Nitrogen and Ammonia that burns the ground if used too heavy, not the Phosphorous in it. This coming from a farmer, although i don't use chicken #.

oh and the automatic software does work on foul words

edit on 25-3-2012 by Pegasus2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 09:20 PM
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reply to post by Pegasus2000
 


Yes, it's the nitrogen and ammonia that can burn the roots, which lead to one of the problems with chicken litter. With chemical fertilizers it's easy to adjust the percentages of products to account for what the soil of a particular farm needs. That's not easily done with natural fertilizers as the percentage often varies, and may not be what the soil requires for the production of a certain crop.



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 09:37 PM
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Shortage of global supplies will lead to serious famines and global wars


Yet another of the many, many reasons to control population.



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 10:07 PM
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If the phosphorous concentrates in bones and teeth, why don't we grind up the dead and recycle the phosphorous?



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 10:13 PM
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reply to post by unityemissions
 


Actually, I do believe it's been discussed in the past. I know that they are working to refine waste water to extract phosphates from it.

www.waterlink-international.com...


Phosphate is a key component in food production and an important element in fertilisers. The expectation is that easily extractable reserves of phosphate will be exhausted within fifty to ninety years due to the growing demand. Grontmij is working on finding a solution and on the more effective use of phosphate. The recovery and reuse of phosphate from waste water plays an important role in this.




Grontmij is working on several projects in the field of phosphate recovery.

the recovery of phosphate from reject water at sewage treatment plants. The intention is the realisation of a large-scale plant linked to the long-term marketing of the struvite produced.

The combination of the recovery of phosphorus of human and animal origin.


edit on 25-3-2012 by isyeye because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 10:19 PM
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reply to post by isyeye
 


Seriously it may come down to it. We will be eating each other if we don't get real and grind grammie up, so might as well get to it



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 10:22 PM
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reply to post by unityemissions
 


Personally, I don't have a problem with them grinding me up and using me as fertilizer when I'm dead. It makes alot more sense than sticking me in a wooden box. At least my body was being used to create new life.



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 10:25 PM
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reply to post by isyeye
 


Me either, buddy. I do think a 24-48 hr window of "rest" should be respectedvif people believe it's best as aligned with their beliefs. I lean towards no afterlife, but if I'm wrong and it takes a while for our soul to get going, best not to start the grinding just yet



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 10:43 PM
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reply to post by unityemissions
 


I did a search, and a human body is about 1% Phosphorus.

chemistry.about.com...

Question: What Are the Elements in the Human Body?

Answer: Most of the human body is made up of water, H2O, with cells consisting of 65-90% water by weight. Therefore, it isn't surprising that most of a human body's mass is oxygen. Carbon, the basic unit for organic molecules, comes in second. 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of just six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.

1.Oxygen (65%)
2.Carbon (18%)
3.Hydrogen (10%)
4.Nitrogen (3%)
5.Calcium (1.5%)
6.Phosphorus (1.0%)


1% would only mean a pound or two on average per person, but if you used animals as well, quite alot of phosphorus could be produced.....not to mention the other useful elements.

I don't know if it would help meet global demand though. I have personally handled over a billion pounds of fertilizer myself in the last decade, and that's only a tiny percent of global demand.

edit on 25-3-2012 by isyeye because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 11:06 PM
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reply to post by isyeye
 


Well, there's over 7 billion currently alive, and estimated to have been 100 billion come and gone. A chunk of those people are buried. I literally meant digging up graves, and grinding up the remains. Plus we got a lot of baby boomers who will be dying off in the coming decades.

You say you've handled a billion lbs of fertilizer in the last decade, but what percentage of that is pure phosphorous? Besides, this is just one part of the solution. I don't think any one source will account for the shortages you're talking about. We pee and poo our phosphorous, too!

I'm just saying, these same elements have been sloshing around for some time now. It's not actually being "depleted". We just have to be more creative and resourceful in how we acquire the raw materials needed for sustainable living

edit on 25-3-2012 by unityemissions because: (no reason given)



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