Will we kill the ocean before the atmosphere kills us?

The race is on. We humans are trashing large patches of the ocean, says an American researcher.

The race is on. We humans are trashing large patches of the ocean, says an American researcher. Our cast-off, washed-away chemicals are creating oceanic dead zones. Latest dead zone discoveries have been in the more oceanic, less populated Southern Hemisphere.

America's own prize dead zone is at the mouth of the Mississippi, where effluent from ever-more-profitable grain farms in the Midwest send their nitrates and other field run-off. The higher the corn price, the more fertilizer it pays to pump onto those fields, the more nitrates into the ocean, the larger the dead zone. One federal scientist says it's not just that we're growing more corn and using more fertilizer, the gradual warming of coastal waters just accelerates the oxygen depletion, killing oceanic organisms faster. Enjoy that shrimp cocktail, it could be getting even more expensive.

So we have the race of the eons: dying oceans v. global warming. Will mankind outlive shrimpkind? Your grandchildren will know that answer. Meanwhile the cleantech companies working on water purification could be the next hot sector...if we manage to wrestle the enrergy problems into submission.

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