By Paige Arden
It is a known fact that a vegan diet requires less water during the food production process. According to statistics given by the UN, the consumption of animal products, meat in particular, plays a heavy role in the depletion of the world’s natural resources. Farming alone makes up for 70% of the world’s water usage. Usage from freshwater sources has tripled in the last 5 decades, meaning that our resources are being withdrawn from at a rate that the earth cannot keep up with.
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry related this issue to a swimming pool. The average US swimming pool contains roughly 22,500 gallons of water. It would take 49 of them to produce the 610 lbs of beef that a single 1000 lbs steer would hold. If a person were to choose a vegetarian meal option over even a single pound of beef, they would save enough water to better power things like agricultural fields which could, in turn, provide enough food to feed dozens. Imagine using the same amount of water to create a single burger patty than an entire family’s meal.
Vegan diets may not save the world, but they certainly help. It is estimated that by a single person changing their eating habits and cutting out meat and dairy products, they save 219’000 gallons (just over 829’000 L) per year. The excuse that many give when they are on the fence about whether or not their journey to veganism would be worth it is “well, how much of a difference can a single person really make by not purchasing animal products.” The realistic-seeming approach that one person cannot possibly make a difference is an unfounded statement. An individual has so much power to save the environment in their own way.
It was mentioned that it takes more water to make meat products than it does crops, but the actual numbers are both telling and alarming. To produce one pound of beef, it takes 100 to 200 times more water than it would for a farmer to grow a pound of agricultural food. The UN has also stated that the largest source of water pollution more likely than not stems directly from the livestock sector.
Out of all the reasons to decide to take the step to become vegan and abandon any omnivorous instincts, doing it for the environment is one of the most widely-understood, even among meat-eaters. The estimated date where we will no longer have the resources to support our current water intake is 2030, which is just over a decade away. It is not some far-off date that only our grandchildren will have to deal with. Not having enough water affects everyone on this planet directly, meaning that today’s inhabitants have a responsibility- a duty- to restore the earth to what it was and what it could be.
There may be many ways to conserve water, but many would require battling big companies or industries, which would result in a loss of time, money, and resources only for the efforts to fall on deaf ears as the water crisis continues. Veganism is the solution to the water issues that can be done by anyone- it puts the power in the hands of the people.
Everyone can choose to make a difference and reverse our water footprint. By choosing to go vegan and support industries that take up far less water for food that is just as nutritional and tasty, each individual can choose to stand up for what it is they believe in while making a difference in the current water crisis along the way.