The Ecological Impact of Almonds

Do you substitute half&half with almond milk? Or do you snack on almonds for a quick stomach fill? Well, I do. Oddly enough, I have never considered the ecological footprint for the production of almonds, have you? Well, according to the well-regarded California Almonds Organization, it takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow a single almond. In a classic serving size, there are 23 almonds. This calculates to 25.3 gallons of water used to make only 1 serving of almonds. The amount of water used per one serving of almonds is more than quadruple the amount of water used for an efficient dishwasher to run or for an efficient toilet to flush according to the in class activity. Also, 99% of the total production of almonds comes from California. California also produces 80% of the world’s production. As California is in a current drought, and the fact that almonds require 10% of California’s total water supply each year, one could say that this statistic is astounding. But, if you were to purchase 1 quart size container of almond milk, and use it for your cereal or in your coffee, you are consuming less than half of a serving of almonds, which is about 12.7 gallons of water, which is comparable to 5 loads of laundry. The effect of the amount of water required for almonds must be relatively compared, like all products. This is exemplified by comparing the amount of water required to produce 1 gram of protein from almonds and beef. For almonds, 1 gram of protein requires 4 gallons of water, while for 1 gram of beef; 27 gallons of water are needed. As for water amount, it takes 6 times less the amount of water to produce protein out of almonds than it is from beef.