Nature and Environment

Because at 160,000 years, the party is just getting started.

Earth Gauge Tip of the Week — What’s Your Nitrogen Footprint?

4/30/2012 10:55:02 AM

Tags: nitrogen, water quality, pollution, environment, Earth Gauge

EG

What is a nitrogen footprint and why is it so important?  Well, just like a carbon footprint, a nitrogen footprint approximates how much nitrogen your daily activities produce over a period of time.  Nitrogen is important because it builds our DNA, amino acids and proteins that grow the tissues of all living things.  Farmers use nitrogen-based fertilizers to grow their crops and feed the world's population.  However, like most things in life, too much of anything can cause problems - when too much nitrogen enters our waterways, it can actually hurt the very ecosystems that depend on it in the first place.  In water, excess nitrogen often produces harmful algal blooms or "red tides" that degrade water quality, food resources and habitats, produce toxins harmful to humans and wildlife and decrease the Fertilizingoxygen that fish and other aquatic animals need to survive.  Storm water runoff from farms, backyards and city streets all contribute to the problem of excess nutrients, so calculating your own contribution - that is, your nitrogen footprint - is the first step towards solving the problem!

For more weather and environment tips, visit Earth Gauge!

(Sources: Leach, A.M et al. (2012). “A nitrogen footprint model to help consumers understand their role in nitrogen losses to the environment.”  Environmental Development, 1:1, 40-66; Jensen, Lars Stoumann and Jan K. Schjoerring (2011).  “Benefits of nitrogen for food, fiber, and industrial production.” In: The European Nitrogen Assessment: Sources, Effects and Policy Perspectives.  Cambridge University Press, London.)
 



Related Content

Learn About Environmental Toxins in Your County

Visit Scorecard.org to find out what's in the environment for your county.

Fish Gasp for Air

This summer, the Gulf of Mexico's dead zone is estimated to be the largest yet since records began b...

Country Lore: Easy Houseplant Fertilizer

Residue from milk and juice containers, combined with a little water, makes great houseplant fertili...

Ecosystems Are Overloaded With Excess Nitrogen

Excess nitrogen in our ecosystem can result in serious ecological damage. It not only does it pollut...

Content Tools
RSS




Post a comment below.

 










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.