The scope of the world water crisis is difficult to conceive. More than half of the global population today lives in areas where there is no readily-available access to clean water. More than two billion people live without safe drinking water at home, and nearly a billion people on the planet live without guaranteed access to any water.
Unless global action is taken the effects of climate change will worsen the situation dramatically in the years to come. According to a Food Security report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council, by 2025, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population may lack sufficient drinking water.
Global water use could be quickly reduced by a simple shift in our diet. Today, commercial agriculture accounts for 70% of water use worldwide. The majority of that water goes to growing commercial grain, and the majority of that commercial grain is used to feed the animals we eat. If human beings could shift to a predominantly plant-based diet it would have a profound effect on both global pollution and water consumption.
Not only do factory-farmed animals destroy the ozone layer with the methane they emit as waste, they also consume huge amounts of water in the form of grain. The average corn-fed steer, for example, eats roughly one ton of grain during its lifetime. Since it takes roughly 1,000 tons of water to grow each ton of commercial grain, by consuming that animal as meat we are also consuming roughly 1,000 tons of water. Cultivating the equivalent amount of vegetable-based protein only requires a fraction of water by comparison.