Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15. The object is to unite the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. In 2010, the topic for Blog Action Day is water.
You would think that recognising access to clean water as a basic human right would be a no-brainer, right? But you would be wrong. Recognising the human right to access clean water proved very controversial. Many wealthy nations dragged their heals and fought against the UN resolution on this issue. Finally, on July 28, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly agreed to a resolution declaring the human right to “safe and clean drinking water and sanitation.” The resolution, presented by the Bolivian government, had 122 countries vote in its favour, while 41 countries – including Canada, the UK and the U.S. – abstained.
There are many, many issues relating to water that urgently need addressing. We are blessed, here in Canada, with abundant fresh water, yet even here, clean water can be in short supply. Ninety percent of Canadians live in a narrow band along the southern edge of the country, while 60% of the freshwater supply is found to the north. This concentration of people places high demands on local water supplies and leaves little flexibility for coping with water shortages. In picking a topic for Blog Action Day, I chose an aspect of individual water use, the virtual water we eat as food.
Some of the ways in which we use water are obvious. You use water from the tap when you brush your teeth or make coffee. However, a lot of the water we use is less conspicuous. Eating meat, for example, has a huge cost to water supplies. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
Meatless Monday is an international movement. The goal is to encourage the reduction of meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of the planet. Meatless Monday has a great website where you can obtain more information about the movement. There is also an interesting index of recipes to inspire you.
My favorite vegetarian cookbook is Ontarian Evelyn Raab’s “The Clueless Vegetarian” (Reissued in 2008 as Basic Vegetarian Cooking by Raab). Wherever you find your inspiration, join in the movement. Save water. Improve your health. Give Meatless Monday a try.