Water And Food
June to September are the months when South and South East Asia get their monsoon rains. The word “monsoon” comes from the Arabic word, “Mawsin”, meaning weather, which is why we have the word “Mausam” in Hindi for weather. Here, the weather turns to rainy season.
It is the rain that gives us Pushkaram, fertility which is why every temple tank in India is called as Pushkarni, that land which gives us fertility. The purpose of this rain, the harnessing of these waters and creating fertility is to make food for humans, for animals, for plants and for the Earth as a whole. For food is the basis, annamaya kosha, of life for all living beings. Different beings take to different foods based on availability, biological needs, suitability and other such factors. Producing this food also needs water. Foods cannot be grown without enormous quantity of water. When we think of our needs of water, we normally think of the few litres of water that we drink in a day. However, have we ever thought how much water is required to make the fruit that is served in our plate?
We hardly think of the quantum of water that goes behind food production. Over 80 per cent of the water that is used on the surface of Earth is for agriculture and other type of food production. Only about 10 per cent is needed for industry and the balance 10 per cent is for domestic and other uses. In fact domestic usage is a very small quantity.
The average consumption of direct water per person, per day is 3 litres.
The amount of food consumed by an average person during a normal meal requires 700 litres of water to grow on the farm. The chart here gives us the water needed to grow our food.
Thee real consumption of water is in food production, agriculture is bigger than we imagine it to be.
In the case of livestock, meat production, the need of water is manifolds times more because these animals also have to consume water, air, food for all their lives. At, the end of it, they offer only few kilos of meat.
Veg Vs Non Veg
Daily average consumption of water by a vegetarian eater is 2500 litres where as for a non vegetarian eater is 8000 litres per day.
This insight into how much water is needed for a vegetarian meal as opposed to a non vegetarian meal clearly indicates as to which is more eco friendly.
With the world facing increasing water shortage due to the unsustainable practices of man, the only sustainable, prudent and scientific way of sharing the available limited quantum of water is to be a vegetarian by choice. This is the simplest way to reduce our ecological footprint and leave the planet more sustainable for generations to come.
Consumerism to Conservation
Ecological footprint is the strain that we put forth on the resources of Earth. It is what we consume from our environment around us during our brief stay on this planet.
The generation next is talking about ecological footprint as the new buzz word but do their eating habits show their concern for the ecology? For eating is what we do 3-4 times a day, making it by far the largest foot print that we leave on Earth.
If we and our generation next have to survive, then the planet has to survive this phase of consumerism. This is possible only by making a shift from consumerism to conservation. Conservation of Foodprints – saving water, conserving water, minimal usage of water is assured in moving from non- vegetarianism to vegetarianism four times a day, every day of our lives.