This month at the Green Phone Booth we're taking aim at water. I live in Vancouver, a city that gets more than its fair share of rainfall. When your plants are all drowning in your garden in early spring, it's really easy to take water for granted. Because water is so abundant here, I used to groan inside when I had to write about it. What difference does it make to my friends half a continent away who are experiencing drought if I turn the water off while I'm brushing my teeth?
However, earlier this year I participated in World Water Day on my personal blog, and I learned some surprising statistics about water and food. Here's the bottom line:
- Much of the food we eat travels a thousand miles or more from the farm to our table.
- A lot of that food is grown in places that don't get a lot of rainfall. For example, over 90% of all leafy vegetables grown in the US from November to March come from Yuma County, Arizona.
- 70% of the water we remove from rivers, lakes and aquifers at a global level goes to irrigate food crops.
- Animal products also require a lot of water, because we must first grow the feed crops for the animals, and then provide them with drinking water as well.
- 30% of the food we grow goes to waste, which literally means water down the drain.
What this means is that even if you live in a place that sees a lot of rainfall, as I do, your actions can have a direct impact on the water supply someplace else. You don't even have to live in the same state or same country - here in Canada most of our winter veggies come from Arizona, as well.
Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the amount of water you're consuming through the food you eat:
- Eat less meat, eggs and dairy and more plants.
- Grow your own food, and preserve local food in season.
- Reduce your food waste by planning your meals before you go grocery shopping, and eating leftovers.
Do you have any other tips for reducing how much water you waste? Please share them!