Food for Thought

The California Drought

The California drought, it is really caused by lack of rainfall or very poor water use choices.  Lets take a look at the facts.

Californians use approximately1500 gallons of water per day per person, (548,000 gallons per year), an amount that includes all water use, direct, agricultural, etc. 

Only 4%, approximately 60 gallons per day, is direct use, 3% is for industrial products and the remaining 93% is for agricultural use.  

47% of all California water is used by the meat, poultry and dairy industry. So what is this 258,000 gallons of water a day used for, and what does it do to us and the environment.

Here is just a few examples.

Wasted Water use:

One hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers.

477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs;  almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese.

1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.


Environmental destruction:

Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation.

Livestock is responsible for 65% of all emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 296x more destructive than carbon dioxide and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.

A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.

Our Health:

“A diet high in animal-based and highly processed foods makes people sick and overweight. But many of these sicknesses can be prevented, halted, and often reversed by eating a whole-food, plant-based diet. ” Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. “Forks over Knives”

Dairy products—including cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, and yogurt—contribute significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to the diet. Diets high in fat and especially in saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease and can cause other serious health problems.

“When we feed ourselves, we’re feeding our microbes, too,” Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, of the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic says. The more carnitine, (found in red meat), you eat, the more likely you'll have microbes in your gut that will convert it to the compounds that promote hardening and thickening of artery walls, (causing heart disease).


To be realistic, the animal agriculture industry will take much longer to  to dismantle and is much more powerful than individual Californians. Although what is currently being done, asking people to take shorter showers and use less water on their lawns is literally just a drop in a very larger bucket. 

If we, I am a Californian, want to really reduce water use we need to go vegan and eventually, hopefully sooner than latter, water use will be reduced by 47% since we will not longer need an animal agricultural industry. 

And never forget, each year you are vegan you will have saved the life of approximately 200 animals; so besides improving your health, greatly reducing the destruction of our environment, you are saving lives!

Recommended Reading 

The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter