Why the California Drought is Your Problem Too

Lately, I’ve heard more and more people commenting on the drought in california and expressing concern about the people in the area. The grass is brown, people are rationing water, wells are running dry, animals are becoming endangered, and people are reverting to trucked in bottled water to stay hydrated and meet their needs. This is terrifying—but to so many people, it is terrifying FOR THE PEOPLE OF CALIFORNIA. Here are 3 reasons why the California droughts are everyone’s problem.
  1. It’s Where Much of Your Food Come’s From
    • California’s drought affects the production of many of the nation’s fruits, vegetables, and nuts. California produces 99% of the country’s almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, 95% of broccoli, 92% of strawberries, 91% of grapes, 90% of tomatoes, and 74% of lettuce. All of these foods need irrigation- some requiring more than 5 gallons of water per one serving. The scarcity of water has and will continue to affect the prices of these foods across the nation.
  2. Wildlife is steadily decreasing and becoming endangered
    • Since many of the rivers and streams have dried out, much of the regional wildlife is dying out and as a result becoming endangered. Fish housed in factory hatcheries had to be released in anticipation of water shortages. Salmon have been captured and transported to another area so that they do not travel down dry rivers and streams. In addition, there have been over 3,000 wildfires resulting in the death of thousands of animals.
  3. The Water Domino
    • California is a major water supplier to even drier areas such as Las Vegas and Arizona. These areas depend on Lake Mead as a primary source of water for agriculture, human consumption, and manufacturing. However, Lake Mead has now reached it’s lowest point since the 1930s and shows no signs of recouping. The area is now a ghost town and although some sources state that Arizona may be out of water in 6 years, Las Vegas is doubling down on its’ water consumption and sucking the remaining life out of Lake Mead. This forces the surrounding areas  to get water elsewhere and many places are now trucking in fresh and bottled water from across the country in order to meet the needs of the people and industries in the area.
     In addition to shorter showers, rationing irrigation, and turning the faucet off when you brush your teeth, It will come as no surprise that my recommendation is for people to stop eating animal products. Many people will tilt their heads at that recommendation thinking that there is no correlation between the two. However, the research shows that animal agriculture is not only a correlation but is one of the causes of such environmental decline.
     First, it takes significantly more water to produce meat than it does fruit and vegetables. For example, 1 hamburger patty requires 660 gallons of water while 1 head of broccoli requires only 5.4 gallons. This is because in addition to giving the animal adequate amounts of water to drink throughout it’s life, water is also required to grow the feed, and process the meat once the animal has been killed. By the time the patty has made it into a bun and onto your plate, you have used 654.6 more gallons of water than if you had chosen a broccoli stir fry.
     The meat and dairy industry use about 1/3 of the nations fresh water supply. Only 2.5% of the world’s water is freshwater safe for consumption. This amount of water is not sustainable or renewable within our lifetime. Many deep groundwater aquifers that have taken thousands of years to form are being drawn down to the point that they will be completely dry within the next 20 years. Agricultural irrigation accounts for about 75% of all water consumption with animal agricultural claiming a hefty 29% of that usage.
    While many people will find the elimination of animal products and reducing unnecessary water consumption to be insignificant, remember that although you are but one person, the choices you make influence and inspire compassion to all those around you.
Where I learned this stuff:

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