America is Literally Falling Apart

America is literally falling apart. First of all, our infrastructure is worse than it has ever been in history. Many of our roads and bridges are literally falling apart. Engineers rank ALL of our bridges a C. They are desperately in need of repair or replacement. Many of them are over a hundred-years-old. Our main bridge here in St. Louis that crosses the Mississippi River into Illinois was built in the sixties and it’s already obsolete.

Other bridges in the downtown area are in even worse shape. At one point, the McAurther Bridge had gaping holes in the roadway. It was finally closed, but I remember being able to see the river below it through the pavement. About the only bridge in the downtown area that is in decent shape is the oldest: the historic Eads Bridge and it doesn’t carry very much traffic anymore, mostly just rail cars.

A lot of the structures that were built over 50-years-ago could not stand a 6 scale earthquake. In Seattle, the only thing that protects the city from a Tsunami is a hundred-year-old seawall that is made of rotted wood. Termite-like creatures have turned most of the wood into pulp. And right behind it is an old two decker highway that engineers and inspectors have rated an F. If an earthquake or Tsunami happens the whole thing comes crashing down. And scientists think that an earthquake happening in the next 50 years is about one in three.

It’s not only the man-made infrastructures that are falling apart either. We have serious problems with our water and soil as well. With the water, it’s the fact that a lot of it is polluted and the Midwest aquifer, the underground water here in the Midwest where most of our water comes from, is drying up. Some say that we have about 50 years left of it.

The other huge problem is soil erosion. According to the Healthy Planet Magazine: “Last month Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report concluding that Midwest farm states need to increase efforts to curb unchecked soil erosion because the situation in too many farm fields is shockingly severe.”

New data that has been sent from Iowa suggests that the erosion rate may be up to 20 times worse than previously thought. Here in Missouri, we have ranked in the top five states for soil erosion for the past several decades. As a matter of fact, we lose some 4.2 tons per acre per year on cropland (cultivated and uncultivated) to soil erosion.

Sometimes simple measures like building a buffer around streams to protect the soil and keep pesticides and fertilizer from getting into the stream and polluting it can be as effective as more costly measures. You remember what happened the last time there was serious soil erosion in the Midwest: the Dust Bowl. We have to stop losing ground in this matter!

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