Danielle Rennard, Staff Writer
Can you imagine going to McDonald’s and being told that “Big Macs” are no longer being sold? Or that there is no Kentucky fried chicken at KFC? This could become a reality sometime in the future based on research being conducted on water conservation. Although it may be hard for some people to imagine, soon enough we may all have to put down the hot dogs and hamburgers and pick up the fruits and vegetables.
Leading water scientists have stated that within the next forty years, the world’s population may have to convert to an almost completely vegetarian diet in order to avoid a major water shortage throughout the world. Consuming meat requires five to ten times more water than following a vegetarian diet, simply because the animals feed on crops that must be watered. As a result to the overwhelming demand for meat there is from food corporations, one third of the world’s farmable land is used strictly to grow crops to feed animals. Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said: “Nine hundred million people already go hungry and two billion people are malnourished in spite of the fact that per capita food production continues to increase. With 70 percent of all available water being used in agriculture, growing more food to feed an additional two billion people by 2050 will place greater pressure on available water and land.”
In order to change the amount of water that is being used on crops for cattle, our diets would have to change drastically. Falkenmark stated, “There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected nine billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations.” Adding an extra two billion people to our current population creates a lot more stomachs to fill. Because this predicament has become increasingly alarming, Dr. Andres Jägerskog created a report titled: “Feeding a Thirsty World: Challenges and Opportunities for a Water and Food Secure World.” This report will be released at the beginning of the Annual World Water Conference that is held in Stockholm, Sweden. 2,500 politicians, UN bodies, non-governmental groups and researchers from 120 countries will come together in order to address global water supply concerns. According to the report, the only answer to this problem is to severely cut our meat consumption. On behalf of this situation, Dr. Jägerskog believes “we will need a new recipe to feed the world in the future.”
If the world does not attempt to make an effort to lower the amount of meat we are consuming, we may just be setting ourselves up for a meatless future. At this point, it might be too late to fix the damage that has already been created because of the pressure we have put on our water sources. Therefore, we may have to say goodbye to meat products and hello to a vegetarian lifestyle.