Thursday, March 22, 2012

World Water Day

Today is World Water Day. The theme of  this year is "The world is thirsty because we are hungry."  That's not the only reason why fresh, safe drinking water is in scant supply for much of the world, but it's certainly one of the causes.

We do have other causes--drought, pollution, and overpopulation, among others.  Even in the U.S., where I live, there are states and regions that are facing water shortages.  And in the Global South, there are a lot of people who have no access to clean, safe drinking water.  The water they drink has either chemical or biological contaminents in it, and that causes all kinds of health issues.

However, this year's theme is on water and food security--70% of the water we use, according to the U.N., is for agriculture, and our population is growing.  We are trying to feed more people with the same finite resources, and more people are living in water-stressed areas. 

I always knew that certain foods required more water than others, but I was gobsmacked to find out how much.  Certain foods have a higher water footprint than others.  Beef uses the most--chicken and lamb and goat use less, and pigs are right up there (though there are so many feral pigs in different regions here in the US, and they wreak so much havoc on the ecosystem, that we could develop a taste for wild pork and solve two problems at once.  Seriously, there is good eating on one of them). 

Now, while I realize that adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is probably going to save the most amount of water, I do like meat and I don't plan on giving it up anytime soon.  I refuse to harrangue people about their personal choices because I'm hardly pure myself.  While I'm not vegetarian, I don't tend to eat a lot of meat.  I treat it more like a side dish or a flavoring when left to my own devices, and when I have it, I use it all up.  If I cook meat that has the bone in (especially a roast), I make stock from the bones.  I use whatever is leftover for sandwiches, burritos, casseroles, skillet meals, stir frys or other meals. 

When I'm cooking just for me, I try not to make too much.  I can't force myself to eat something if I'm no longer hungry, and so I find I save a lot of trouble for myself if I cut down on how much I prepare for lunch or dinner.  Granted, I'm always hungry, but I can get something else if what I've prepared doesn't fill me up.  And yes, a lot of my meals tend to be vegetarian--or at the very least, "less meat" as opposed to "meatless"--but this is more thanks to my laziness in not figuring out what I'll make later and defrosting meat.  No meat ready to cook often means vegetarian meal at the end of the day. 


  1. Sugar is another "thirsty" crop. According to "Unfamiliar Fishes" by Sarah Vowell (about the annexation of Hawaii, which I finished last night, and think you would appreciate) "To produce one pound of sugar takes 4000 pounds or 500 gallons of water."

    Thinking about our diet helps our health, our society, our world.

  2. Even if a person cooks too much meat, it can be frozen in meal-sized packages. Think how much roast you will use for a sandwich. Wrap that much in waxed paper. Put many little waxed-paper packages in one quart or gallon bag.

    My hens use exactly two gallons of water each week to give me enough eggs for my use.

    Thankfully, I mostly eat chicken. I like beef, but I gravitate to chicken as does my daughter and her children. Some days, I eat too much meat with a meal. Then, for about two or three days, I don't eat meat except for maybe a can of tuna one of the days. Then, I will eat meat in small amounts for a few days. I have irregular consumption of meat.

    Eating wild pigs may soon be more popular if food prices go up! I am surprised there is not already a market for it.