"The creation of synthetic fertilizers in the early 20th century was a turning point in human history, enabling an increase in crop yields and causing a population boom.
But the overuse of nitrogen and phosphorus from those fertilizers is causing an environmental crisis, as algae blooms and oceanic “dead zones” grow in scale and frequency.
Of the nine “planetary boundaries” that scientists say we must not cross in order to sustain human life, the boundary associated with nitrogen and phosphorus waste has been far surpassed, putting Earth’s operating system at risk.
Global policymakers are beginning to slowly recognize the scale of the problem, as climate change threatens to make it worse. Absent major reforms to agribusiness practices, scientists are aiming to convince the world to reduce waste."