Today is October 15th and Blog Action Day 2010! Powered by change.org, this year's Blog Action Day will bring together thousands of bloggers from all over the world to help shed more light on water issues around the globe.
Here are some facts that illustrate the severity of the global water problem, and why Blog Action Day 2010 is such an important opportunity to raise awareness about the issue:
* Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Unclean drinking water can incubate some pretty scary diseases, like E. coli, salmonella, cholera and hepatitis A. Given that bouquet of bacteria, it's no surprise that water, or rather lack thereof, causes 42,000 deaths each week.
* More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet. Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets. This means that sewage spills into rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and causing disease.
* Every day, women and children in Africa walk a combined total of 109 million hours to get water. They do this while carrying cisterns weighing around 40 pounds when filled in order to gather water that, in many cases, is still polluted. Aside from putting a great deal of strain on their bodies, walking such long distances keeps children out of school and women away from other endeavors that can help improve the quality of life in their communities.
* The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. From showering and washing our hands to watering our lawns and washing our cars, Americans use a lot of water. To put things into perspective, the average five-minute shower will use about 10 gallons of water. Now imagine using that same amount to bathe, wash your clothes, cook your meals and quench your thirst.
One of the most negative impacts upon the global state of water is animal agriculture and the consumption of meat and other animal-derived foods. Subsequently, transitioning to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is one of the most critical actions you can take to help shift ongoing degradation of the world's water supply (and the environment as a whole). Here are some important reasons to go vegan or vegetarian for water, for the planet, and for and all of its inhabitants:
* It takes 6.3 gallons of water to produce just one hamburger. That 6.3 gallons covers everything from watering the wheat for the bun and providing water for the cow to cooking the patty and baking the bun. And that's just one meal! It would take over 184 billion gallons of water to make just one hamburger for every person in the United States. (Blog Action Day 2010)
* The livestock sector is probably the largest contributor of water pollution, the major sources being animal waste, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for animal feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures. (EcoHearth)
* The largest amount of water the agriculture sector uses for livestock is to provide them with food. The feed production industry uses huge amounts of water to irrigate the land on which food is grown for all these animals, which have been bred to provide people products like meat, dairy and eggs. It has been estimated that the livestock sector may account for about 45 percent of the global budget of water used in food production (source Zimmer and Renault 2003). (Vegan Peace)
* Plant-based diets only require around one-third of the land and water needed to produce a typical Western diet. Farmed animals consume much more protein, water and calories than they produce, so far greater quantities of crops and water are needed to produce animal ‘products’ to feed humans than are needed to feed people direct on a plant-based diet. With water and land becoming scarcer globally, world hunger increasing and the planet’s population rising, it is much more sustainable to eat plant foods direct than use up precious resources feeding farmed animals. (Vegan Society)
* In most of the developing world, untreated manure enters water used by people for drinking, washing and bathing. Along with the manure flow lots of other undesirables including pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and their breakdown products, not to mention the surplus of nitrogen and phosphorus coming from fertilizers placed on the feed crops. All of this livestock-related influx upsets balance in nature. It can lead to fish kills and algal blooms which can deaden lakes. (Vegetarian Resource Group)
* It takes 5,000 gallons (18,900 Litres)of water to produce 1 pound of meat, while growing 1 pound of wheat only requires 25 gallons (94.5 Litres).A totally vegetarian diet requires only 300 gallons (1134 Litres) of water per day, while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons(15,120 Litres) of water per day. You save more water by not eating a pound of beef than you do by not showering for an entire year. (useecofriendlyproducts.com)
While these facts may be grim, there is hope for real solutions as more and more people around the world are waking up to the clean water crisis. It's not too late to join the efforts of Blog Action Day 2010! By registering your blog, sharing something you've written or come across about water, embedding an action widget, signing the petition, fundraising for clean water and spreading the word, you're helping shed light on an often over-looked, yet incredibly important issue.
Be a part of this amazing day of blog activism!