A Single Drop of Water

Water is projected to become the hottest commodity on the planet in the near future, the one that will be most in demand and shortest in supply. More people currently die from lack of clean water than are killed by all forms of violence, including war. In the industrialized world, many people have turned to bottled water as an option, but regulations for the quality and purity of bottled water are less than those of tap water in many areas. And with bottled water comes a continent of disposable plastics that endangers wildlife and contributes to many deaths for marine animals. Sadly, plastic waste has been found in deep waters in remote areas of the ocean. In Africa, women and children walk over 100 million hours daily just to access water — resulting in less hours spent in school and in other productive work. Water, one of the most basic necessities of life, is already scarce for much of the world.

Animal Agriculture is the Thirstiest Industry on Earth

Animal agriculture is the thirstiest industry on the planet, requiring water to feed the grain which will then be fed to the animals. The animals themselves require water, of course, but the run-off of their waste degrades the waterways, which run into the oceans and creates dead zones from the excessive amounts of nitrogen, zones which appear to be growing ever larger. Then there is the water required in animal operations, whether in factory farming or slaughter facilities, used to clean away the considerable amounts of toxic wastes created by this intensive farming method.  One half of all water used in the U.S. goes to animal agriculture and its demands. One kilogram of beef requires 100,000 liters of water, whereas one kilogram of potatoes requires only 500 liters of water. It takes 4,000 glasses of water to yield one single glass of milk, a return on investment of water resources that is unsustainable.

Become the Needed Change Towards Water Conservation

None of us can become an ocean of change by ourselves. Yet, each of us can only contribute a small portion towards the whole. Collectively, we must create the solution for tomorrow’s problems. Together, we can effect a sea of change, one single drop of water at a time.  Here are some ideas of what you can do:

  • Go vegan. By avoiding all animal products, you will contribute greatly towards water and land conservation, as well as diminishing your carbon footprint and decreasing cruelty and suffering for billions of helpless animals each year.
  • Go to Water.org and join Matt Damon in supporting clean water for people who need it.
  • Drink tap water – you can invest in a filtration system which connects to your tap water or purchase filters and filter your own water. You might find your tap water is just fine – try testing it or sending it to a lab to be sure.
  • Avoid all animal products: food, clothing, cleaning supplies, shampoos, lotions, and a variety of other products use animals and their by-products. As the demand for animal-free products grows, so too will businesses that supply these types of products. Choose clean water by buying animal-free.
  • Talk to other people about our water resources and how the horrendous practices of animal agriculture are destroying them.
  • Watch the film Flow or the film Blue Gold to better understand how the lack of water is impacting the world.

Note: This post is part of Blog Action Day 2010!

Livestock Water Usage – Cornell

An Even More Inconvenient Truth