Friday, September 23, 2022

Sustainability of phosphorus, an essential plant nutrient

We need phosphorus for food, and it's being wasted, so we might run out, but it is also a pollutant according to globalist researchers. I noticed in the recent LAS publication, The Quadrangle, that a professor of sociology and law at the University of Illinois, Anna-Maria Marshal, is a co-principal investigator with the National Science Foundation in STEPS which received a $25 million grant for research in phosphorous sustainability. That's a lot of money but STEPS involves 9 universities. Her part--study how people can be encouraged to adopt innovative technologies. So when I looked up her bio, which wasn't included in the article--guess what? She's also an associate professor of gender and women's studies, and associate professor of global studies. Her research interests are environmental justice movement and the LGBTQ movement. For background on this phosphorus sustainability movement I looked up one of the references.

The Story of Phosphorus Sustainability implications of global phosphorus scarcity for food security, by Dana Cordell, PhD thesis, published January 2010, abstract,

"In a world which will be home to nine billion people by the middle of this century, producing enough food and other vital resources is likely to be a substantial challenge for humanity. Phosphorus, together with nitrogen and potassium, is an essential plant nutrient. It is applied to agricultural soils in fertilizers to maintain high crop yields. Phosphorus has no substitute in food production. Therefore, securing the long-term availability and accessibility of phosphorus is crucial to global food security. However the major source of phosphorus today, phosphate rock, is a non-renewable resource and high quality reserves are becoming increasingly scarce. This thesis estimates peak phosphorus to occur before 2035, after which demand will exceed supply. Phosphorus scarcity is defined by more than just physical scarcity of phosphate rock and this thesis develops five important dimensions. For example, there is a scarcity of management of phosphorus throughout the entire food production and consumption system: the global phosphorus flows analysis found that only 20% of phosphorus in phosphate rock mined for food production actually reaches the food consumed by the global population due to substantial inefficiencies and losses from mine to field to fork. There is also an economic scarcity, where for example, while all the world’s farmers need access to sufficient fertilizers, only those with sufficient purchasing power can access fertilizer markets. Institutional scarcity, such as the lack of governance structures at the international level that explicitly aim to ensure long-term availability of and access to global phosphorus resources for food production that has led to ineffective and fragmented governance of phosphorus, including a lack of: overall coordination, monitoring and feedback, clear roles and responsibilities, long-term planning and equitable distribution. Finally, geopolitical scarcity arising from 90% of the world’s remaining high-grade phosphate rock reserves being controlled by just five countries (a majority of which are subject to geopolitical tensions) can limit the availability of phosphorus on the market and raises serious ethical questions."

What if you've been told for two decades that phosphorus is dangerous What Is The Purpose Of Phosphates In Laundry Detergent : Phosphate Fertilizer ( and now you're told you need it because it's essential so farmers should conserve and limit use, Phosphorus progress in Ohio – Ohio Ag Net | Ohio's Country Journal (

"Phosphorus plays many roles in society today – both desired and undesired. At any moment in time, phosphorus fulfils numerous different functions – on vastly different temporal and geographical scales: transporting split-second signals to the brain in the chemical ATP*, or immobile as a Ca3(PO4)2 molecule in apatite-rich phosphate rock that took tens of millions of years to form, awaiting extraction, or gradually being drawn up from soil solution by plant roots via chemical diffusion, or discharging from our bodies in a momentary drop of urine before being diluted by a flood of flush water to join other household and industry wastewater at a distant treatment plant, polluting water bodies as cyanobacteria, or simply cycling naturally between land, biota and water without being noticed by most of society. Because of its multiple roles and manifestations, phosphorus is perceived quite differently by different sectors. Table 5-1 identifies 12 different forms of phosphorus, each with different perceived societal functions and each relating to different societal sectors.62" p. 80 of title cited above, followed by excellent graphics, tables, etc.

On p. 102 of this 2010 paper the problem of Morocco and Western Sahara which is phosphate rich was noted. In President Trump's backed Abraham Accord The United States recognized Morocco’s claim to sovereignty over Western Sahara. "By the end of November 2021, the government of Morocco announced that it had earned $6.45 billion from the export of phosphate from the kingdom and from the occupied territory of Western Sahara. If you add up the phosphate reserves in this entire region, it amounts to 72 percent of the entire phosphate reserves in the world (the second-highest percentage of these reserves is in China, which has around 6 percent). Phosphate, along with nitrogen, makes synthetic fertilizer, a key element in modern food production. While nitrogen is recoverable from the air, phosphates, found in the soil, are a finite reserve. This gives Morocco a tight grip over world food production." Morocco drives a war in Western Sahara for its phosphates : Peoples Dispatch

*Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a complex organic chemical that is found in every cell of the human body.

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