Water Footprint


Biggify here: http://awesome.goodmagazine.com/transparency/web/trans0309walkthisway.html

Forget carbon footprint. Long before the Earth will suffer from a climate catastrophe due to global warming, humanity may perish from another environmental disaster: the diminishing supply of fresh water (Don't believe it? Why, humans have been fighting wars over water for centuries)

In collaboration with Fogelson-Lubliner, GOOD Magazine has an eye-opening infographic of "water footprints", the amount of water an individual uses in the course of a day, as well as ways to save water by making simple changes in your habits.

I, for one, am surprised at the amount of water it takes to yield a pound of beef: Link - via swissmiss


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Wow, I just read the comments, and can't help but wonder about people who pretend to understand the topic but actually don't have a clue.

Yes, we know there is rain, but to produce so much beef requires more than rain. Do some reading about the Ogallala Aquifer, think about it a while, then come back here and admit that everyone who eats meat needs to cut back a lot, at least, or deal with the guilt of trading our children's food security for your meat addiction.
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This was one of the reasons I quit eating meat as an Environmental Studies major in college 15 years ago. Since then I've conserved about 400,000 gallons per year, for a total of about 6 million gallons so far. This is serious. The Ogallala (sp?) Aquifer is goung to be virtually empty in 20 to 30 years, and then we're going to be in trouble. It's not cool to leave your kids without enough water to grow food because you wanted to eat meat every day. Eating vegetarian foods is the easiest and most effective way to conserve many other resources as well, and also to reduce greenhouse gas production.
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I suspect that many of these figures vary so widely that its impossible to show on a chart like this.

Since my wife and I haul our water to our rural cabin (with composting toilet), I can tell you that our direct use of water is FAR lower than one would expect from this chart. We work at home, and spend most of our time here, and its still FAR lower. Like our dishes take less than a gallon a day and showers only take about 3 gallons each, this is sometimes rainwater or melted snow too.

Likewise, we prefer free range or free grazing meat or better yet wild game when we can get some. Grass fed pastured cattle would take a lot less water than the corn fed ones.
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>How are they going to grow all of those vegetables without the fertilizer that the cattle give them?

You've got the wrong century. Cow dung is not used on a wide scale in this country.

>Also, isn’t that the water footprint for the WHOLE COW

No. It is for a pound of beef just like it says though that estimate is, in fact, arguably low. It is well established that meat takes far, far more water to produce per pound than do vegetables. The beef industries estimates of what it takes are predictable lower than an environmentalist but even those put the figure at least 500 gallons per pound. At least the beef industry admits it takes more water, it is funny that beef eaters appear to be upset about it.

One of the reasons beef takes so much water is because most of the cattle are grain fed in this country so they get fat quick. That means that most of the farm acreage in the country is used to produce feed for cows. Something around 3-5 pounds per pound of meat. So by the time you've grown that the water consumption is already close to that of many vegetables, including, let's say, lettuce. This is before the cow has even been slaughtered. (Let alone that 5 pounds of grain can create a lot less resource intensive food than beef.)
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