Saturday June 13, 2015

OMG! Save Teh Waterz!

Yesterday via @ThinkProgress:
Skip Showers For Beef, a new grassroots project born of the California drought, acknowledges that giving up beef - a product that uses huge amounts of water - is hard. So the campaign's creators have come up with a creative way for Californians to keep eating meat while reducing their water use: Just stop showering.
Well, actually, no, as it turns out. While California beef production does use a lot of water compared to, say, one adult human taking a shower, it doesn't use much in comparison to a lot of other things. Most other things, if you think in terms of agriculture.

California certainly does have cows. California is #5 in US states for all cattle and calves (2015). However, while California leads the US in dairy production (about an $8 billion business annually), the state only raises two percent of the country's beef.

But...

"We need to create more attention-grabbing campaigns like this to wake people the f*** up" -- MobyWho

Who, exactly, are we trying to "wake up"? And why do we need "attention-grabbing campaigns like this one" to do it? That "campaign" is silly... and it's dishonest.

I keep seeing "awareness" articles and infographics like this coming through.

WaterUseInfographic

OMG, do you know how much WATER is used to raise a cow? Or a sheep? Or (chicken, lentils, mangos, avocados, ...).

OMG. Save Teh Waterz!

(How, exactly? Shall we just stop eating?)

What about Almonds? OMG. Almonds! "A full 10 percent of California's water is used to grow almonds." "One gallon of water to grow a single nut?" (Note: almonds are not on the Infographic above. According to Gizmodo, they'd be somewhere around asparagus).

Let's all stop showering and stop eating almonds. I mean, seriously, who needs almonds?

California needs almonds. We all need almonds.

Did you know:

No other state is feeding the US like California. The state grows about half of the country's fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and nuts, in particular, are pretty much only grown in California: Essentially all the apricots, dates, figs, olives, pistachios, and walnuts grown in the country are produced here. California not only grows essentially all the almonds grown in the US, but about two-thirds of all the almonds grown on the entire planet.

Just because 80 percent of California's water is being used to grow food doesn't mean it's being sloshed all over the Central Valley in some kind of blingy agricultural music video montage. But that's the imagery that starts to churn in our heads when we assign value to a food based on how many gallons of water it takes to produce it.

(c.f. Gizmodo "Seriously, Stop Demonizing Almonds")

How about this?

[California] leads all of the other states in farm income. It's positioned as the agricultural powerhouse of the United States. About 73 percent of the state's Ag revenues are derived from crops while the other 27 percent of revenues are generated by livestock commodities. In terms of revenue generated, California's top five Ag products are dairy products, greenhouse and nursery products, grapes, almonds, and cattle and calves. California agriculture generates roughly $37.5 billion annually, more than any other state.

So a loss of California Ag production would hit hard consumers' wallets and their diets would become less balanced.This is because our state produces a sizable majority of American fruits, vegetables and nuts; 99 percent of walnuts, 97 percent of kiwis, 97 percent of plums, 95 percent of celery, 95 percent of garlic, 89 percent of cauliflower, 71 percent of spinach, and 69 percent of carrots and the list goes on and on. A lot of this is due to our soil and climate. No other state, or even a combination of states, can match California's output per acre.

(c.f. WesternFarmPress.com, "What happens if US loses California food production?")

Yes; there's a drought. (Hint: We've had droughts before).

Yes; that's a problem. (Hint: We should have been working on this problem starting back in what, 1970?)

Yes; many things use water. Some things use a lot more than beef or almonds. (Hint: turf grass, golf courses, alfalfa, ...). Also, you can't just measure by gallons per ounce of product. You need to multiply that by total amount of product produced (otherwise, beef looks a lot bigger than it actually is).

Wait. Go back a bit there... Alfalfa?

By far, the most water used for a single agricultural product in the state of California is used to grow alfalfa. About 15 percent, maybe more....
over a million acres in the state are estimated to be dedicated to growing alfalfa....
In 2011 the Port of LA moved 2,398,113 metric tons of animal feed off our shores. Most of that is California-grown alfalfa.

( Gizmodo)

Convert your lawn to drought-resistant local plants. (Or, as my uncle said when he retired to Arizona: "I didn't have an Arizona lawn when I lived in Illinois; why would I plant an Illinois lawn in Arizona?").

Move feed production and export to another state -- one that gets a more regular and predictable annual rainfall!

Keep showering. Your family and your co-workers will thank you.

And eat your dinner. Beef, chicken, lettuce, avocados, apricots, artichokes, and almonds. It's good for you.

WaterUseCA

OMG! Save Teh Waterz! ( in category Random Thoughts , World of Work ) - posted at Sat, 13 Jun, 11:53 Pacific | «e»


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