World Water Week advocates a meat-free future, for humanity’s survival »
We’ve talked about the ridiculous amount of water needed to sustain our national (and increasingly international) meat-heavy diet, and by “meat-heavy” I mean “20 percent meat-based.” Well, the scientists in charge of World Water Week, happening right now in Stockholm, are now predicting that a meat-heavy diet is an “impossible alternative” to our continued existence.
If you want to read this year’s WWW report, which is really long but also very interesting, here’s a pdf. If you don’t, definitely read the Guardian's analysis (and the internet is full of analyses), which tells you things like “Animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet. One third of the world’s arable land is used to grow crops to feed animals.”
My main question is, why not just advocate a vegan diet? Those dairy cows don’t spring from the foreheads of their mothers, fully formed and ready to make milk.
People hate a smug vegan because people hate smug. So maybe this isn’t a reason to be smug so much as a reason to worry. Will our rich, privileged peers* change their diets to support the future of the planet? I hate selling veganism with the “lose weight, feel great” line, but if that’s what it takes to get people to stop eating so much goddamn meat, then fine. Maybe we should start lying to people. “I used to be 1,000 pounds before going vegan!” “I had a vestigial skull attached to my neck from the twin I absorbed in the womb before going vegan!” “I was a horrible selfish jerk who was almost incapable of empathy, and it showed on my hideous face, before going vegan!”
Because there is no reason to eat animals. Science is on our side. And it’s just disgusting that, in the face of facts like these, people continue to do it.
[Photo: ILRI/Dorine Adhoch via World Water Week]
*By which I mean, people who aren’t starving to death.
Happy World Water Day! Now stop eating cows! »
That’s right guys, it’s World Water Day! The UN’s focus this year is on food security, so they are actually talking about meat and water consumption!:
Statistics say that each of us drinks from 2 to 4 litres of water every day, however most of the water we ‘drink’ is embedded in the food we eat: producing 1 kilo of beef for example consumes 15,000 litres of water while 1 kilo of wheat ’drinks up’ 1,500 litres.
What an interesting twist to the typical absence of food choices in the water conversation. OneDrop.org even has a super fun game we can all play! You get to virtually make up a plate of food and it tells you how much water it would use. SO FUN. No, actually, it is pretty fun. Don’t ask me why. I SAID DON’T ASK ME!
How will you be celebrating World Water Day? I’m going to do my part by eating no meat and no eggs or dairy. And I won’t shower or do my dishes. Basically, it’s Thursday.
It’s World Water Day! God forbid we talk about meat »
It’s World Water Day and almost no one, save a lone sexy twitterer, is talking about the toll meat takes on water conservation! Everyone is more than happy to turn the faucet off when they brush their teeth but no one wants to look at the ginormous pink hamburger in the room: meat consumes a crapload of water. It’s bad with a capital awful. Here we are, telling people to speed up their shampoo routines while conscious choices in eating could reduce individual water usage by hundreds of gallons a day. Reducing meat consumption is a substantial, documented way to reduce water waste and yet, nobody wants to get the word out. Lucky for you! I’m HERE and I’m LOUD.
I’ve been hunting around today and National Geographic has this great interactive comparison guide for water use and different foods. According to this, it requires 1,799* gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. It’s only 216 gallons to produce one pound of soy beans. Say it with me now: JESUS CHRISTMAS! That’s a big difference!
Because reading is boring, I have more pictures for you! I found a super quiz over at H2Oconserve.org that estimates the amount of water you use a day. It’s like a Cosmo quiz with morals! I went ahead and took the quiz two separate times! In the quiz, they ask if you are an omnivore or a vegan; keeping all the other answers exactly the same, I did one go-round for each diet option and here are the results!:
So vegan diet to omnivore diet, that’s 543.9 to 1,149.9. DAMN, SON! Meat-eaters use 606 more gallons of water a day than us vegans? Yowza. I kind of saw that coming but more than twice as much? That’s pretty criminal. Yet we’re harassing people about how often they wash their hands? For real, just how many times will we tell people to turn the faucet off when they brush their teeth? Hey, did you also know you should turn the lights out when you leave your house? YES DUH now let’s talk about how we can make real change!
*This is the most conservative figure I’ve seen all day; other sources calculate that it takes thousands of gallons more.