The United Nations “gets it” when it comes to water.
Did you know that the amount of water in the world has been constant for billions of years? And all generations of of humans and other creatures have drunk the very same water—for hundreds of millions of years. I learned those factoids—and a great many others—from the movie HOME in February of 2012, the same month that I launched this blog.
After hearing about World Water Day, I found a United Nations website dedicated to the cause of saving our finite supply of water. Expecting to find the same old “penny-wise, pound-foolish” advice that we’ve heard for years, I was surprised—and delighted to see that the U.N. is focusing on the best bang for your buck when it comes to saving our most precious natural resource. The opening paragraph subtly points out that beef requires ten times as much water to produce as wheat:
There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. Statistics say that each of us drinks from 2 to 4 litres of water every day, however most of the water we ‘drink’ is embedded in the food we eat: producing 1 kilo of beef for example consumes 15,000 litres of water while 1 kilo of wheat ’drinks up’ 1,500 litres.
The reason they’re focusing on food is because this special “World Water Day” is coordinated by the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, an organization that has been advocating the global adoption of plant-based eating for a long time. The front page continued with even more emphasis on food:
When a billion people in the world already live in chronic hunger and water resources are under pressure we cannot pretend the problem is ‘elsewhere’. Coping with population growth and ensuring access to nutritious food to everyone call for a series of actions we can all help with:
- follow a healthier, sustainable diet;
- consume less water-intensive products;
- reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!
- produce more food, of better quality, with
With an overall theme of “The world is thirsty because we are hungry,” their message gets right to the point that the best place to save water is by changing what we eat.
They even have a little game (in three languages) where you can place items on your dinner plate one at a time and watch the amount of water required continue to grow. Click here to visit the U.N.’s World Water Day page—one that you may wish to share with your children.
The Bottom Line. The only way we’re going to solve many of the world’s most urgent problems is by moving aggressively in the direction of a plant-based diet for humans. The number to remember is TEN. Our wildly popular meat & dairy Western diet requires ten times as much land, energy and WATER when compared to the same number of plant-based calories. And, as a bonus for saving all those natural resources, we get to avoid heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and a host of other health maladies.
I would say that’s a pretty good deal.
A few of my other posts on the subject of saving our water—and keeping it clean…
One more thing, if you haven’t seen it yet, take some time this weekend and watch the great 2009 movie, HOME. It’s narrated by Glenn Close and is magnificent. Warning: It will leave you feeling differently about your responsibility as a human resident of our precious planet.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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