If you could not be there in person to hear Otto Doering talk about the environmental and human health problems caused by excess human-made nitrogen, you can still see and hear his lecture on video.
Doering, who led an Environmental Protection Agency committee that last year wrote an important report on reactive nitrogen in the environment, spoke to an audience of about 140 people on Oct. 4 at the University of Minnesota.
He was the ninth lecturer in the Moos Family Speaker Series on Water Resources, co-sponsored by the Freshwater Society and the university’s College of Biological Sciences.
Doering, a Purdue University agricultural economist, spoke on what he called the “wicked problem” of excess nitrogen leaked into the environment by farm fertilizer and the burning of fossil fuels.
|Otto Doering, during the panel discussion|
The nitrogen causes both air and water pollution. But there are no easy answers, he said, to reducing that waste and leakage of nitrogen while retaining its benefits, particularly the enormous boost the fertilizer provides to worldwide food production at a time of soaring population growth.
The EPA committee he chaired concluded that, through a variety of measures, the U.S. could reduce that nitrogen loss by 25 percent with current technology and without imposing undue costs on farmers or consumers.
A panel of Minnesota experts joined Doering in taking questions from the audience. Panelists were: Gyles Randall, professor emeritus and soil scientist at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca; Dan Stoddard, assistant director of the pesticide and fertilizer division of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture; and Deborah Swackhamer, a university professor of public policy and of environmental health sciences.
Download a PDF of the EPA committee’s report, “Reactive Nitrogen in the United States: An Analysis of Inputs, Flow, Consequences and Management Options.” Read a Freshwater q-and-a interview with Doering before his lecture.View slides from his lecture.
View archived video from past lecture in the series and learn about the next lecturer, Sandra Postel, author, advocate and National Geographic Freshwater Fellow.
View video of a primer on the U.S. Farm Bill – from the 1930s to the present – that Doering delivered in a seminar sponsored by the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center.