Veggies vs. meat: Water footprint showdown!
OK, dedicated readers of my “monthly” blog…even though the month is almost halfway over. I put monthly in quotes because it was (is) my intent to provide you with a delectable, literary delicacy, baked with the care and love of artistic and informative mental nutrition I can warm in the oven of democracy we all embrace as freedom of the press...or is it freedom of the blog? Too much? Probably. But my editor-in-chief (spouse, said in a whisper) will most likely save me from looking stupid and take it out....
Well, maybe not. Often, she lets me sink so I learn to swim. She is my “firewall” and probably—well, she is—the most important person in my personal, political, water/wastewater (yes, wastewater) loving and environmental life...
But unfortunately, maybe not in my culinary life…. At least not yet. Which leads me to this month’s topic, “FOOD AND WATER.” Or better yet, “WATER and how much it takes to grow FOOD.” Did you know, for example, that it takes nearly1,000 gallons (850.2 exactly) of water to provide you with an 8-ounce steak? But only 175 gallons of water to “grow” a soy burger?
I bring my wife into this month’s blog as we live on two different culinary paths: she is a life-long vegetarian and I am—yes—a Neanderthalic carnivore. But, to her credit, she doesn't preach to me the error of my meat-eating ways, like some vegetarians, who may have taken it up as a temporary fad. But now that I am in a more prominent role representing water in my community, she has felt an obligation to educate me on really how much water we carnivores waste pursuing our knuckle-dragging lifestyle.
Trust me, I am not on a campaign to convert society to a horde of pitchfork and torch-carrying vegetarians, but there are some honest-to-goodness facts we should consider in our effort to be responsible stewards of our water resources and the environment. I confess, this morning I had a big piece of meat (honestly, just saying that and visualizing it makes me a bit squeamish), and tonight I have visions of doing the same. But after reading these articles, I just could have a few more vegetables and a little less…well you-know-what. And as a card-carrying Water Professional whose motto is “Water Is Life, Water Is My Life,” I’d better walk a little more of “the walk” and … well, I’ll keep talking the talk.
So, here you go. Check out these articles and tell me it hasn’t given you something to think about. Well, that’s just a saying. Tell me it HAS given you something to think about! And think of me tonight when I have to look at my plate at dinner time. But across from me will be a smile, no condemnation but the satisfaction that again, I used my pulpit for something that is good for everyone.
An organization called "FoodPrint®" has done a lot of research on the topic of food and how much it impacts the water supply. I think we all could agree that it helps everybody if we can eat more sustainably. This article explains what your "water footprint" is:
Another article from FoodPrint® gets into the nitty-gritty of how much water it takes for specific foods to get to your table.
And if you really want to have some interactive fun, set yourself a place at the table, and plan your meal, selecting a protein, a starch, a fruit/vegetable, and a drink for your meal and see how much water you'll need to make it happen.