Monday, October 26, 2009

No Impact Experiment- Friday, Water

Water is the final lifestyle change that the No Impact Experiment tackles. You are asked to look at the footprint of your water and then see how you can make changes. After calculating my water footprint, I was surprised to see the majority of the water I use yearly comes from food production. While I don't eat a lot of meat, it was interesting to see that meat production used the most water of any other food item I consumed, coffee was the second highest. The water footprint asks for food volume in kilograms but I found a handy calculator that makes the conversion from pounds to kilograms.

There are many suggestions on how to reduce water consumption in the water section of the how-to manual of the No Impact Experiement and most of them I already practice. Run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher, reduce shower lengths, don't run the water when you brush your teeth etc... but nothing I could change in this area would make the kind of difference reducing meat consumption would make. Amazing! Based on these findings, I am going to reduce my meat consumption and work on cooking more plant based meals.

This week's No Impact Experiment has opened my eyes to the fact that the biggest changes I need to make are those centered around food. Changing how I eat will reduce my impact in every area of the challenge we covered this week- trash, transportation, energy, and water. That by changing my diet, I will be making the most profound impact possible for me at this time. I can see how the packaging of my food items contributes to trash, how its delivery from distant corners of this country contributes to transportation costs and energy, how its production uses up energy and water. Now I just need to do the work to figure out how to make the changes.

With making changes in mind, I spent Saturday reading a book called, "On Good Land, the Autobiography of an Urban Farm" by Michael Ableman. The title pretty much tells you what the book is about, but it is also something more. A gentle reminder of the importance of maintaining a connection to the food we consume and the rewards that will come as a result.

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