Thirsty? Want a glass of water? Go get one. Easy, right? Most of us can simply walk to the nearest tap and drink what comes out. Over a BILLION people in the world can’t do that. They have no access to clean drinking water—as a result, 4,500 children die EVERY DAY.
In 1993 the United Nations declared March 22 “World Water Day,” a day to bring awareness to the global water crisis. This year’s theme is “The World is Thirsty Because We Are Hungry.” I thought this was an odd theme before doing some research. I thought I would just write a blog entry about how we all need to take shorter showers and follow the “if it’s yellow let it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down” philosophy.
As with most crises the world faces, the elephant in the room is population growth. There are a lot of people on the planet and only a finite amount of resources. So what can we do? This year the UN isn’t merely asking Westerners to turn off the tap while brushing their teeth—that kind of behavior is helpful, but it’s literally only a drop in the bucket.
Most of us have become aware of the term “Carbon Footprint” in the past few years. What is more surprising is the “Water Footprint” modern life impresses on the environment. The majority of global water consumption isn’t from downing gallons of drinking water. Agriculture is the main drain on the world’s water supply—farming accounts for over 90% of the world’s water consumption. But we all need to eat. In fact, most of our water intake actually comes from the foods we eat. So how can we help mitigate water shortages and still feed the world?
“Sustainable” is the new buzzword in the world of all things “Green” these days, but there’s a good reason for that. We can’t simply siphon off the world’s resources indefinitely and expect that this behavior will “sustain” life as we know it. That’s insane. The principles of “sustainability” are especially applicable to water consumption. One of the best things you can do to save water is going to sound really weird. It’s a little more radical than turning off the faucet when you brush. Brace yourself.
Eat less meat.
Don’t freak out. I didn’t say eat none. Just less. To produce one pound of beef it takes between 2,500 to 5,000 gallons of water. To produce one pound of wheat it only takes 25 gallons. Yep. Grains and vegetables demand MUCH less water.
But take heart. This behavior will not only lessen your individual impact on the environment and save water specifically, it will also help you personally. Your overall health will improve. Modern medicine backs this up—I’m not just some hippie telling you to hug a cow. Google “Meat consumption and cancer” and see the scary stuff that pops up from reputable sources. Yikes!
So eat less meat. Your prostate and colon will thank you. And you’ll lessen your “Water Footprint.”
Happy World Water Day!
For more information on World Water Day visit http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/
Are you now depressed about the world’s water crisis? Need a laugh? Buy Flush This Book and not only will you laugh, but you’ll be donating to two great organizations that help improve sanitation and access to clean water world wide. We will donate a portion of our proceeds to the World Toilet Organization and DefeatDD.