Currently, 47% of California’s water footprint is associated with the production of meat and dairy and only 4% is associated with direct household water consumption, yet information about the link between our diet and water has not yet been recommended by the state or federal government.
Agriculture (both plant and animal) consumes 80% of U.S. freshwater resources. In addition, more than half of the fresh water in the U.S. is given to livestock.
Check out this table to see how much water it takes to produce just 1 pound of animal products vs. 1 pound of plant foods.
|Animal Products||Number of Gallons of Water to Produce 1 Pound||Plant Foods||Number of Gallons of Water to Produce 1 Pound|
Source: Water Footprint Network
The average American household uses 50,000 gallons of water per year. The average person eats 210 pounds of meat per year. When you figure that the water usage for all that meat is 315,000 gallons, the average household is not using 50,000 gallons of water per year, but actually 945,000 gallons – nearly 1 million gallons of water per household per year! As you can see from the chart above, we could dramatically drop our water usage in this country and around the world simply by switching from an animal-based diet to a plant-based diet.
There is consensus among leading scientists and health and environmental organizations, including NASA, the United Nations, Oxfam, UNESCO, Water Footprint Network, Center for Science in the Public Interest and the US Environmental Protection Agency that adopting a plant-based vegan diet is the single most significant water-saving effort an individual can make.
“The production of a meat based diet typically consumes twice the amount of water as compared to a vegetarian diet.” -UNESCO: Food, Water, and Energy Security
“The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources.” -United Nations
It takes three times more water to produce milk than vegetables, ten time more water to produce eggs, fourteen times more water to produce chicken meat, nineteen times more water to produce pork, and forty eight times more water to produce beef than vegetables. – The Water Footprint Assessment Manual: Setting the Global Standard
Truth or Drought www.truthordrought.com is a non-profit organization that is making the connection between animal-based diets and the devastating water shortages.
What can you do?
1. Choose plant foods rather than animal products and share delicious vegan food and recipes with friends, family and co-workers. Show those around you that a plant-based diet is no sacrifice. Visit www.truthordrought.com to learn more details about the connection between your food choices and the water shortage.
2. Ask local restaurant owners and managers to offer healthy vegan options which use, on average 1/2 the water of conventional animal-based meals. Then ask them to post a sign in their window indicating they are offering water-saving plant-based options. Signs available at here.
3. Write to the Governor as well as your state and national representatives asking them to pass a bill to:
a) Incentivize animal agriculture producers to shift production away from water-intensive meat, dairy and eggs to less water-intensive organic plant foods by shifting subsidies.
b) Offer only health-promoting, water-saving plant-based (vegan) meals in local, state and federally-funded institutions including K-12 schools, universities, prisons, hospitals and food banks. Offer educational curriculum to help with the transition to these new offerings.
Please go to www.truthordrought.com and donate today.
“By making one meal a week with lentils instead of beef, a family of four can save the equivalent of 17 bathtubs full of water.” -Oxfam
By Emily Honeycutt, 2016. © All Rights Reserved. www.emilyhoneycutt.com