Archive for March 9, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere

I the past twenty years, a global water shortage has appeared. The shortage is caused by a combination of Global Warming, Population Increase, and an Increase in Water Consumption by the richest 10-15% of the global population (this includes almost every American). Currently, there is not enough fresh water in the world to keep up with demand, and the global poor are loosing out. Water systems are being privatized (sold to corporations), causing prices to go up so much that the same amount of water used by a typical family in a month before now costs as much as the family makes in a month. In other places the water is being bought to make products like soda for export, leaving very little water for the people that live in the area.

So what does the global water shortage have to do with factory farming? According to Waterfootprint.org  the two are closely linked.

  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) of factory farmed beef takes 15500 liters of water to produce and process
  • 1 kg of chicken meat requires 3900 liters of water
  • 1 kg cheese uses 5000 liters of water in its production
  • Just one egg needs 200 liters of water
  • It takes 2400 liters of water to make one hamburger (most of the water goes into making the beef)
  • 1000 liters of water go into making just 1 liter of milk
  • 1 kg of pork uses up 4800 liters of water in its production

Contrast this with just 1300 liters of water per kilogram of barley or wheat, 900 liters per kilogram of potato flakes, 185 liters per 200 gram bag of potato chips, 70 liters per apple, 40 liters per slice of wheat bread, or 1800 liters per kilogram of soybeans, and it’s apparent that meat and other animal products use much more water than any other food type. Simply by cutting back on our meat consumption, especially beef, would greatly reduce the amount of water we use, and if enough people did this, it would significantly decrease the global water shortage.

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