water and why it matters

water splashIt takes a while for some things to circulate on FB but then everything has it’s time. A link to an address made by Peter Wollen at a debate in 2012 was an impassioned, graphic plea for animals to be removed from restaurant menus that I am glad I have heard these years later. Wollen is an ex-corporate high-flyer who at 40 decided to give away everything he owned and channel his energy into social justice, education and animal rights projects, establishing the Winsome Kindness Trust.

Among the many facts he delivered in his 10 minutes at the podium was that to produce one kilo of meat, that is animal body for the table, it takes around 15,000 litres of water (one kilo of chocolate actually takes more) while to produce one kilo of wheat takes around 4,000 litres (ref IME* report quoted in The Guardian).  In 2013 more than 308 million tons of animals were bred and slaughtered, that’s about 43 kilos per person worldwide. Now, I don’t know how many kilos there are in a ton so I can’t even begin to do the maths with regard to water consumption, but it is going to be an astonishing figure. (see report from Worldwatch Institute). And I don’t know how many individual animals make up that total either but it will be jaw-dropping number as well.

To top this lot of crazy statistics, it also turns out that about 70% of the world’s fresh water is used by BigAg’s animal industry, a third of which is used to grow grains for feed (ironic?). Given that a water crises was rated the number one risk facing the entire world  by 900 experts canvased for the the World Economic Forum’s “Global Risks 2015” report, I don’t think I should worry so much about whether I take a shower instead of a bath, when an enormous amount of responsibility must be set at the doors of those corporations perpetuating the myth that eating animals is what humans are born to do.


IME = Institute for Mechanical Engineers


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