Give an example of water consumption by one type of livestock or one type of crop. Water waste: Give an example of water waste (in U.S. or other countries). Make suggestions for reducing water waste and quantify the amount of water that could be saved.

The consumption of meat has a been a human practice since the beginning of times, as it holds many benefits but its also damaging to the water waste rate. The upkeep of livestock is not the issue of water waste but the rising numbers in meat consumption raises a question of finding alternative methods of ranching. The U.S. has a high rate of chicken consumption as the umbers have been steadily since the 1960s, having five times greater production as beef. In the article  American Diet is Shifting, by Richard Waite, the emphasis on meat consumption is enforced as the consumption of poultry is rising in steady numbers. The global average water footprint of chicken meat is about 4330 litre/kg. comparing to the meat of beef cattle (15400 litre/kg), sheep (10400 litre/kg), pig (6000 litre/kg) or goat (5500 litre/kg). Chicken meat’s footprint is smaller compared to the other meats helping cutdown the waste. The high consumption of poultry is having a deeper impact as people are consuming in higher numbers.

The clear solution to the water waste produced from all meats would be everyone switching to a vegetarian diet or limit the consumption of meat. In order for any of these actions to take place to would require the reprograming of a society that has lived in the consumption of meat for thousands of years. Healthy living is also an expensive form a life which a majority of the world would not be able to afford without grave changes. The production of a salad which includes tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers  is 322 litre/kg. In the comparison of poultry and vegetables there is a difference of 4002 litre/kg, showing the high number of consumption that could be removed with this change.


4 thoughts on “Society/Water/Waste

  1. In my post, I also discussed the amount of water used to produce the meat that we eat each day. I agree that in order to conserve water, it is very important to consider a diet that is not as meat focused. Diets that are more plant-based use much less water than needed for meat. Your post proves that a salad is a much more sustainable than that of a dinner consisting of poultry. Even if we reduce the amount of meat we eat by 50% there would be a decrease in an individuals water footprint by 30%.

  2. I think that your suggestion of implementing more vegetarian diets could certainly help the issue with the fact that the livestock industry causes such a strain on our fresh water resources. However, vegan diets may be an even more effective alternative, as vegetarians still consume dairy and the dairy industry of cows and other livestock still causes a massive strain on fresh water resources, moreso than the agricultural industry which can create milk out of foods such as almonds or coconuts. Along with your line of thinking of meat being a large strain on resources, dairy is also incredibly problematic for the environment as well.

  3. I think your comment about ‘reprogramming’ society to no longer eat meat is interesting. This would be something that is near impossible to do on its own, but if there was some sort of crisis or severe event I think it could be a possibility. I think the rise of the world’s population could precipitate an issue with livestock supply, but the question is, how long do we have until this happens?

    • I agree with you that trying to reframe the worlds diet is close to impossible considering that humans are and always have integrated meat into the diet dating back centuries. If a drastic change is to be pursued, vegan is definitely the way to go because like Emily said, vegetarians still consume dairy products.

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