Eating Water

 

The facts of the world water crisis are staggering. More than half of the global population today live 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, incomprehensibly, nearly a billion people on the planet live without guaranteed access to any water.

Unless global action is taken climate change will likely worsen the situation dramatically. 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.

One bright spot in the darkness still flickers. 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 climate change and water consumption.

Not only do factory-farmed animals destroy the ozone layer with the methane they emit as waste, they are also eating huge amounts of water in the form of grain. The average corn-fed steer, for example, eats roughly one ton of grain during its life. 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. Eating the equivalent amount of vegetable-based protein directly would consume but a small fraction of water by comparison.