Word to Your Mother E

helping family relations since 2008

Water you doing? October 24, 2008

Filed under: Food — Katie @ 12:16 am
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Only 3% of the Earth's water is fresh, usable for drinking and agriculture.

Only 3% of the Earth

We’ve all been told we need to watch our carbon footprint in order to save the world, right? How many of us have considered our water footprint?  

Your water footprint is basically the amount of water it took to produce the items or goods you consume per year.  This includes each drop of water it takes to grow the banana plant your fruit came from, to water the cotton it takes to produce your T-shirt, to the amount of water it takes to make the paper you write on every day. 

Only 3 percent of water on Earth is available in the form of freshwater, and our impact on these systems “can ultimately be linked to our consumption,” says Waterfootprint.org.  The site says that watching our water footprint can help ease issues like our pollution impact and worldwide water shortages (Discover Magazine reports that 1.1 billion people don’t have access to freshwater at all!). 

We’ve grown up learning that it’s environmental to take shorter showers or to turn the water off when we’re brushing our teeth.  While these are definitely good habits to promote, it ignores the fact that it takes 6,340 gallons of “virtual water,” as Discover Magazine calls it, to produce a leather bag from beginning to end.

The point is, we use water more water for agriculture.. growing the plants it takes to feed people and produce consumer goods.. not for drinking or bathing. 

Check out the water footprint on a few items, according to Waterfootprint.org: 

250 mL cup of beer: 75 L of water, mostly to produce the barley 

1 100 g apple: 70 L of water 

1 cup of apple juice: 190 L of water

1 kg chicken meat: 3900 L of water

1 kg beef: 15500 L of water

.. just a few numbers to keep in mind.  You can calculate your own water footprint by clicking here. 

 

Meat.. not so neat September 11, 2008

Filed under: Food — Katie @ 8:22 am
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One of my favorite events of the year is the Rodeo Cook-off in Houston.   I go back home whenever I can to attend in order to fill up on as much pork, beef, unmentionable meat products as possible – I am the last person who’ll advocate vegetarianism.  But there is something you should know about your meat products –  in 2006, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization published a report called Livestock’s Long Shadow that dubbed cattle as the second or third most significant contributor to serious environmental issues.

 

In addition to polluting water supplies and wreaking havoc on biodiversity, livestock are responsible for 18% of global emissions, almost 5% more than the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from worldwide transportation (13.5%).   Demand expected to double by 2050 as our population grows with lightening speed.

 

What can you do about this?  Easy.  Cut meat out of your current diet one more day a week.  If you eat meat in one of your meals five times a week, cutting that down to four is the best way to start to make an impact.  Feel free to reduce that number too, if you like.  I read somewhere the cow that you eat 1 lb. of beef from emitted the same amount of greenhouse gases as driving an SUV 40 miles!