Rivers, Agriculture & Climate Change

David Cassuto

I’ll be a visiting professor at  Williams College this coming semester, teaching climate change law & policy as well as environmental law at the Center for Environmental Studies.  So, climate change has very much been on my mind of late.  This is not a new thing, of course.  I’ve blogged frequently about the relationship between animal law & policy and climate change and written more extensively about it elsewhere as well.  In addition, I’ll be talking about CAFOS and climate change as part of the animal law panel  at the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) meeting this weekend.

However, I recently stumbled on a new (to me) aspect of the pernicious relationship between industrial agriculture and climate change: the denitrification of rivers.  Microbes in rivers convert nitrogen to nitrous oxide (as well as an inert gas called dinitrogen).  That nitrous oxide then makes its way into the atmosphere where it becomes a potent greenhouse gas as well as a destroyer of atmospheric ozone.  Continue reading

Cute Frogs and the Death of Nature (But Certainly Not the Oil Spill…)

David Cassuto

This post is not about the oil spill in the gulf.  It´s not about the hideous and incalculable damage to fragile coastal wetlands, marine life, and shore birds, or the other collateral damage from this petroleum-based nightmare.  It´s not about the lack of a viable disaster plan or the continued national unwillingness to connect this spill with unsustainable consumption levels.  Nor is it about BP´s ongoing denial of the seriousness of the spill or the Obama Administration´s tepid public response coupled with inadequate laws and a dysfunctional system of oversight.   Continue reading