8 Facts About Water Consumption
This is meant to stimulate thought in people and, perhaps, help encourage wiser choices for our environment — in addition to our health and the treatment of animals.
1. The impact of industrial meat production on our streams and coastal waters, is causing so much nitrogen run off (from fertilizer use) and resultant inhabitable water for aquatic life, including fish, that is is predicted that greater than 1/2 of the streams in the US are unfit for aquatic life.
2. Due to the shift toward industrialization of the meat agriculture and away from local and sustainable farming practices, nearly 37% of the nitrogen in fertilizers directly leaches into our streams.
3. The amount of water needed to produce 1 ton of beef is 4 MILLION GALLONS compared to 85 thousand gallons for 1 ton of vegetables or 102,200 gallons for starchy roots.
4. The use of fresh water consumption is outstripping population growth, in part, due to the increase in meat consumption per capita.
5. A decrease of 50% of animal products in one’s diet could result in a 30% decrease in individual food-related water consumption.*And if you do consume animal products, please choose wisely if possible - like from local farms that practice responsible and sustainable methods of farming.
Contrary to what some people might think, fresh water is a FINITE source. Here some additional facts about that:
6. All of the water on the earth, including the oceans and polar ice caps, when consolidated, would be equal roughly to the size of the American Midwest.
7. All of the liquid fresh ground water would be equal roughly to the size of the state of Rhode Island.
8. The liquid aquifers are being “mined” for water and depleted at an alarming rate. These take thousands of years to regenerate. Some of the biggest contributors to this depletion are California, the Midwest, China and India. At the rate they are being depleted, it is predicted that future generations, in the not too distant future, will have very limited sources of fresh water.
I invite questions, comments, and thoughts anytime!
In good health,
-Bruce Monger, PhD, Researcher in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University
-Study by Mesfin M. Mekonnen and Arjen Y. Hoekstra (Ecosystems 1 5:401-415)
-McWilliams J. Meat makes the planet thirsty. The New York Times. March 7, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/opinion/meat-makes-the-planet-thirsty.html?_r=1.