Did you know that cutting just one beef hamburger out of your diet can save 1,300 gallons of water? Maybe you did, but a lot of people don’t. Here in California, we’re suffering from a severe drought that will likely change our state forever.
If you’re yawning and dismissing this as unimportant because you’re not from this increasingly arid state, think again. Nearly half the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States come from California. Drought means scarcity and scarcity means higher prices for everyone from Massachusetts to Oklahoma.
Rather than throw our hands up and give up, we Californians are trying to make a difference. We’ve all been asked to cut our personal water use (showers, watering plants) by 25%. This effort has worked throughout most of the state according to recent reports.
This is great news. It means we Californians are ready to do what is necessary to ensure a sustainable future for our state. But there’s just one gigantic problem. Californians don’t know the facts about who’s really using all our water.
Actually, only a measly 4% of our overall water use can be attributed to residential/personal consumption. So if my math is correct, a 25% cut in such use would be an even measlier 1% cut in overall use!
Where is all of our water actually going? The answer is quite shocking, even for a majority of Californians. A whopping 47% of our overall water use is linked to animal agriculture!
No one is addressing this structural problem, and as the drought worsens, California’s farmers are draining groundwater supplies that are irreplaceable and can lead to permanent structural damage to our water system, our ecosystems, and numerous endangered species.
Unfortunately, the system for regulating who can pump this precious resource is based not on modern, progressive laws as we would hope, but rather on old laws, regulatory decisions, judicial actions, and (wait for it) even royal decrees that date back to the era of Spanish and Mexican rule!
With the crisis’s increasing potential to permanently affect California, Governor Jerry Brown not so subtly pointed to a solution. He stated in very simple terms that, “If you ask me, I think we should be eating veggie burgers.”
That was in early June! Where is the action?!
There isn’t any because most Californians didn’t hear what the governor said and there isn’t anyone willing to tell them about the links between our water crisis and animal agriculture. That is where we come in.
Got Drought? is a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to getting this message out to everyday citizens via a billboard campaign that will reach over 1,000,000 people a month. This campaign will (see billboard designs) quantify in simple terms how successful a change in diet can be in combating our current crisis.
We know Californians are willing to make changes in their lives in order to conserve water, but we need to get them the facts so we can put our state onto the real path to a sustainable future!
Please join our campaign by spreading the word and donating to our cause! We want to save California’s water and its beautiful ecosystem. Please go to http://gotdrought.com for more information about our campaign and click on the “Donate” button to help even more! All donations are tax deductible. Together, we can save our state, our economy and the environment.
About the author: Karen Fiorito is a vegan artist, activist and curator living in Santa Monica, CA. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in over 100 exhibitions and featured in major publications such as Art in America, the Huffington Post, the LA Weekly, and URB Magazine.