BY MICHAEL REISIG –
The future for this nation is looking more perilous all the time, but the greatest challenge Americans face may not be the expansion of violent religions, or insurrection by burgeoning minorities, but rather something far more insidious and almost impossible to defeat. Water, or the lack of, is the demon in the bedroom closet and that, accompanied by climate change – or more correctly, encouraged by climate change and our steadfast patterns of water gluttony, will bring this nation to its knees more efficiently than any group of wild-eyed Middle-East Visigoths could have ever hoped for.
In the entire world, Americans are by far the most wasteful in their squandering of water. No matter how much we’re warned by credible scientists that “the end” is truly near, and a warming of this planet is in full swing, we keep watering those lawns, flushing our toilets 50 times a day, building those swimming pools, and damming our rivers so we can suck up nature’s resources like greedy children. But all good things come to an end – and I’m talking about an ugly end…
Global temperatures are on the rise and weather patterns are running amok. Anyone with half a brain has to realize that the Southwestern United States and California are sliding into a period of drought that they may not recover from for a century or two. You don’t have to be a wizard or a psychic to gaze back at the geological history of this planet and see that portions of this ball of dirt and water have gone through dramatic periods of flood and drought for thousands of years at a time.
We can’t really stop nature – she is without conscious and undefeatable, but we can recognize the challenge we are presented with. Instead of burying our heads in the sand, we can learn to conserve and preserve, and develop new technologies that will squeeze as much from Mother Nature as we can, without killing her – because when we kill her, we kill ourselves.
I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a naturalist and a conservative (with nature and otherwise), but my eyes were recently opened when I watched a television special called, “Last Call At The Oasis.” It left me embarrassed, saddened, and terrified, and I strongly encourage all of you to find it and watch it – “Last Call At The Oasis.” It will change how you see yourself and your country, and the world…
Here are some simple, shaming facts about water and you.
- Americans today use 127 percent more water than they did in 1950.
- Almost 90 percent of the water going into homes goes down the drain.
- Running tap water while brushing your teeth uses up to four gallons of water.
- The average American toilet uses three gallons of water a flush – more water than is allotted to the average third-world family in a day.
- Americans are the world’s worst caretakers of water – up to 12 gallons each dishwasher cycle, leaky faucets wasting thousands of gallons per home each year, watering our lawns in a senseless, decadent fashion in which half the water is lost to evaporation or runoff.
Of course the great villain is agriculture, and America’s conscienceless consumer base. But few people truly understand how much water it takes to produces those things we love so much. Let me open your eyes:
The following information comes from Water Footprints Network’s website, explaining how many gallons of water it takes to produce certain items in the American consumer landscape.
- It takes 1,847 gallons of water to produce one pound (yes, one pound) of beef.
- 518 gallons per pound of chicken.
- 296 gallons per gallon of beer
- 222 gallons per pound of pasta
- 1,929 gallons per pound of almonds
- 261 gallons per pound of plums
I could go on, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
The greatest worm in this salad, the real problem, is a worldwide population that continues to escalate. In America, not only does our indigenous population continue to increase, but we are increasing our immigration quotas. It’s the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a fire.
The change must start in your heart and your mind. It must become a personal commitment to help save your piece of the world. From there we need to work together to first encourage our officials from a city level, then to state and federal levels, to stop working with the “Big Dollar” people who are building more facilities than we have water to accommodate and passing the water legislatures that are destroying our nation.
But most of this is really about you and me, and what we want to leave our children…
The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ownership and staff of The Polk County Pulse. Michael Reisig is a freelance writer and published author whose works are reproduced throughout the globe.