This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A History Of Syntehtic Fertilizers: From Europe To Guatemala

2773 words - 12 pages

Randi Rogers
Environmental History - Professor Shedden
November 4, 2013

A History of Synthetic Fertilizers: From Europe to Guatemala
The day is April 19, 2013 in West, Texas. As newspapers flood the streets and reports flood airwaves saying the death toll has raised to fourteen, sixty town residents are still unaccounted for. Two days ago an explosion at the West Fertilizer Company production plant caused what would eventually total to fifteen deaths, over 160 injured residents, and the damage and destruction of over 150 buildings and 50 homes. Ten of these deaths were volunteers who were the first to arrive on the scene of a fire at the plant who were soon consumed by the explosion that preceded the initial flames. Federal law requires that the Department of Homeland Security be notified if anyone has over one ton of ammonium nitrate, yet what began as a fire lead to a devastating explosion after the ignition of a reported 540,000 pounds (270 tons) of ammonium nitrate and 110,000 pounds (55 tons) of anhydrous ammonia on site at the plant. Both of these chemical compounds have been essential components of synthetic fertilizer since the beginning of its commercial production roughly one hundred years before this disaster occurred. The West Fertilizer Company paid off $5,250 in fines to the United States Pipeline and Hazardous Material Administration the previous year for unsafe business practices, but was still allowed to stay in production after regulators observed farmers driving away with gallons of fertilizer held in unmarked tanks in the back of their trucks from the site. There are around 12,000 chemical facilities, water treatment plants and oil refineries near communities like West, Texas in the United States. An additional 400 high-risk chemical plants operating in the United States pose threat to populations greater than 100,000 people.
Synthetic fertilizer usage is industry standard in agriculture throughout the world. While this was not the case sixty years ago, government incentives and claims of increased crop yield encouraged farmers to use fertilizer internationally. However the long term effects were not known or advertised along with the product that so many governments approved and distributed. The effects on human health and surrounding environments are still largely unknown and unfolding through long-term environmental shifts throughout the globe.
The use of synthetic fertilizers emerged as mid nineteenth century European farmers found themselves scrambling to produce enough food to feed growing populations. Overworking arable soil for generations exhausted lands and led to a decline in agricultural production in England during the 1840s. Nitrogen is naturally present in the Earth’s soils, but as the world population rose and farmers planted more seeds, crops took available nitrates from the ground faster than bacteria could naturally fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil where they exist as nitrates. Nitrate...

Find Another Essay On A History of Syntehtic Fertilizers: From Europe to Guatemala

The art of Italy and Northern Europe from 1300 to

1674 words - 7 pages The Art of Italy and Northern Europe from 1300 to 1520 The years between 1300 to 1520, commonly known as the Renaissance, was an era of extraordinarily advanced achievements made in the art world. Techniques that began to be utilized at this period of time made the artworks surpass those of any other preceding movement."A word of caution is necessary when speaking of a 'rebirth' of the spirit of antiquity. In Italy, much more so than in northern

Guatemala - Without a Trace of Bitterness in Her Voice

1539 words - 6 pages Page 1Guatemala is the land of Eternal Springs and the home of the richly cultured and historic Mayan people. It it also the country of Rigoberta Menchu, an illeterite farm worker, turned voice of oppressed people everywhere. Guatemala also has the sad distinction of being home to Latin America's oldest civil war. 'For more than three decades, left-wing guerrillas have fought a series of rightist governments in Guatemala. The war has killed an

Genocide from the Jews in the Holocaust to the Mayans in Guatemala

1136 words - 5 pages was a horrific event that occurred from 1933 to 1945. This atrocity was initiated by Adolf Hitler, who tortured and murdered over eleven million Jewish people in extermination camps. Today, the Holocaust is considered “genocide,” a word that was first coined in 1944 by a lawyer by the name of Raphael Lemkin. Genocide is “the deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political, or cultural group” (“Genocide”). Genocide is

Imperialism: From Europe to The West

1502 words - 6 pages civilization experienced a period of extraordinary rapid expansion worldwide during the nineteenth century and the twentieth century. European nation-states had become very powerful because of industrialization. Imperialist projects will unite European industrial power with smaller nation-states. The main causes of imperialism in Europe were to search for new markets, raw material, cheap and profitable labor and land, and goods demanded by a mass

Change and Continuities of Religion from 600 CE to 1450 CE in Europe

942 words - 4 pages forgiven for their sins and were allowed to live. However, death continued to be a punishment, but only for the unyielding heretics who refused to confess to their sins. After a while, the persecutions by the church stopped as the church diminished in importance to the people. The Church was the center of life for the people of Europe. It was a complete way of life. You could only receive salvation through the Church and could not get it from

The Evolution of Music in Europe from 5th to 18th Centuries

2032 words - 8 pages Ömer Faruk SarıSummer 2014Music 200 Midterm 1 The Evolution of Music in Europe from 5th to 18th CenturiesThe Roman Empire by the 5th century was the main unifying power influencing not only Western Europe but also the East Asia and North Africa, but the empire was weakened and the lands were too large to control so The Roman Empire splintered into fragments that could not regroup in centuries.As The Roman Empire vanished, the Church

History of The Motor Car in Europe

2195 words - 9 pages over time has been reduced which gives a firm less opportunities to cover their development costs. This is a significant challenge for car manufacturers. Regionalisation In 1970 91% of all car production came from America, Western Europe and Japan. The US and Western Europe were large exporters while Japan was steadily increasing its production and exports. By 2004 this had all changed, only 70% of production had come from the three well

Me or My Family? My Decision to Leave Guatemala in Search of Better Opportunities

1448 words - 6 pages My biggest fear was the decision of whether to stay in Guatemala with my mother and sister, or move to the US with my father to seek better opportunities. One decision meant keeping the usual deposits from my father, while the other involved a cut in half of this child support. The harsh choice to leave my mother with a living spend of 500$ a month or stay in Guatemala and somehow convince my father to keep on sending 1000$. Both of these

From Front Porch to Backseat: The History of Dating

1386 words - 6 pages high school, dating becomes even more of the thing to do. As a young teenager, I wanted to date, but my parents were against it. Many parents have a negative outlook about dating because of the consequences it may lead to, mainly sexual activity. Some believe that dating has changed drastically for the worse, but Beth Bailey believes differently. In Bailey’s article entitled “From Front Porch to Backseat: A History of the Date,” she analyzes the

From 1945 to 1968 east and west Europe

1010 words - 4 pages economic revival in Western Europe. Since communism was firmly rebuffed in Western Europe, and the Soviet Union was a communist country, the United States' aid was accepted to help Western Europe and this began its long period of economic revival. Through the Marshall Plan, Europe began to rebuild its factories, farms and transport systems, which had been destroyed by the war. Although Western Europe from 1945-1968 was relatively effective, many

History of the Electric Drill- From Corded to Cordless

566 words - 2 pages growth. This poses a hazard when disposing of such NiCd batteries. It was for this reason and others that there was a move from NiCd batteries to Lithium ion batteries at the beginning of the 21st Century. The main advantage of using Lithium ion batteries is the dramatically shorter charging time and the longer lifespan. Lithium ion batteries also make the drill much more versatile because; unlike NiCd batteries, Lithium ion batteries have a

Similar Essays

From Medieval Europe To Modern History

3433 words - 14 pages The Middle Ages served as a necessary bridge to bring the world from the ancient times in history to what we now consider modern history. It is considered to be more of a period of growth than decline. Without the Middle Ages the world would not have developed and made the grand leap into the Renaissance and the future. After the fall of Rome, in 476 AD, the world was thrown into a period of chaos and disunity that came to be known as the Dark

A Journey From The Congo River To Europe In Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad

696 words - 3 pages Heart of Darkness is a 146 page, adventure tale novella written by Joseph Conrad. This book can be found in our school library and many other libraries in the area. The novella is about a British sailor named Marlow, who recounts his journey from the Congo River to Europe. On his journey, Marlow meets a man named Kurtz and attempts to bring him back to Europe. Many complications such as attacks from the natives, sickness, and a boat repair set

Guatemala: A Reflection Of United States Intervention

1700 words - 7 pages execute the invasion, distributing arms to his small band of roughly 400 men (De Leon, 1). On June 18th, 1954, Armas' forces invaded Guatemala from Honduras. Though the small group hardly rivaled that of Arbenz's military and had difficulty making inroads within the country, Arbenz reacted unsurely and slowly, ultimately costing him his presidency. The band was permitted to move deeper within the state, and little more than a week later, the

A Brief History Of Clocks: From Thales To Ptolemy

2909 words - 12 pages of Posidonios created a device to compute the positions of the sun and the moon-what we now call "The Antikythera Mechanism." Challenged by the same, mechanical difficulty Archimedes faced in representing the synodic month, these scientists developed the first differential gear to solve the problem. Archaeological evidence suggests that after the Antikythera Mechanism was lost in a shipwreck, the differential gear essentially disappeared from