Give Californians the #1 water-saving tip!
This petition had 2,455 supporters
California's statewide water-saving program Save Our Water isn't addressing the #1 way residents can actually save the most water – by far. This crucial information is desperately needed during our severe ongoing drought.
Despite their hashtag #EveryDropCounts, their water-saving tips focus only on household use, which accounts for 4% of California's water footprint. But a whopping 47% of drought-stricken California’s water footprint is associated with meat and dairy products, per Pacific Institute's 2012 report California's Water Footprint. "Almost half of the average Californian’s water footprint is associated with the consumption of meat and dairy products." Their report also clearly shows that animal feed has the greatest water requirement of any crop in California, far more than almonds and avocados, as well as any other human use.
On March 12, a senior water scientist as NASA announced that California has one year of water left in our reservoirs, after which point we will be relying on rapidly depleting groundwater, and there is "no contingency plan." This LA Times infographic shows "just how thirsty California has become."
Tips like these are completely missing from Save Our Water's campaign:
- "Eating lower on the food chain could allow the same volume of water to feed two Americans instead of one, with no loss in overall nutrition." – Scientific American's “Growing More Food With Less Water" (auto download)
- Making a meal with lentils instead of beef can save a family of four the equivalent of 17 bathtubs full of water, per Oxfam International. They add: "Choosing beans instead of meat can help relieve the immense strain our water resources are already under, and help secure safe food supplies for everyone’s future."
Skipping one single hamburger saves 660 gallons of water (LA Times). (Comparatively, the popular tip of shaving a minute off your shower saves about 2 gallons of water.) This means that 6 hamburgers equal an entire year of showers!
- A water-secure future requires drastically reducing our current consumption of meat products, as concluded by international water scientists at Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in their report "Feeding a Thirsty World." Their director told the BBC that this applies to meat products from grain-fed as well as pastured animals.
- "On average, a vegan, a person who doesn't eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet." – National Geographic, Water Conservation Tips
- "In the case of agriculture and drought, there’s a clear and accessible action most citizens can take: reducing or, ideally, eliminating the consumption of animal products." – New York Times
State water districts and public utilities companies are finally addressing this. The Municipal Water District of Orange County has posted a graphic on their Facebook page showing that meat products are the top water wasters, as well as a tip to adopt Meatless Mondays to save water. San Francisco Water Power Sewer created a lesson plan specifically about the need to reduce meat product consumption to save water: "The lower we eat on the food chain (i.e. the more plant-based foods we eat versus animal-based foods) the less water, energy, and other natural resources we use."
If local water districts and public utilities companies can say it – along with countless academic, scientific, NGO, and other reputable sources and publications, including leading international water scientists – why can't our own statewide water-saving agency say it?
When documentary filmmakers interviewed representatives from Save Our Water about their silence regarding food choices, they visibly squirmed before one of them admitted, "I think that the water footprint of animal husbandry is greater than other activities. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it." Yet he said they don't include eating less meat and animal products in their water-saving tips "because of the way that government is set up here" and because it would require "behavior change" (as do all their tips). In other words, profit and convention are being put before planet and progress. The moments leading up to that dumfounding moment in the film are here and the interview scene can be viewed by downloading the documentary Cowspiracy.
They've already publicly acknowledged it. This petition simply asks Save Our Water to begin encouraging (not forcing) residents to make more plant-based food choices while reducing or eliminating animal-based food choices, just as they encourage other means of saving much smaller amounts of water, on their website, social media channels, and elsewhere. Californians can't afford to waste another day without having the information they need to make truly water-wise choices.
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