Worldlog Week 42 – 2010

22 Οκτωβρίου 2010

On 15 October I took part in Blog Action Day. This year’s theme was water. People from all over the world wrote blogs on the subject of water.

Everyone has a right to clean drinking water. And yet there are millions of people that have to do without. Average consumption in the Netherlands is 2.3 million litres per person. The United Nations expects that in 2017 around seventy percent of the world population will not have access to what Dutch people consider the most natural thing in the world: clean drinking water! It would appear that water is the new gold. If nowadays countries go to war over oil, in the near future wars will be fought over access to water supplies.

What many people don’t know is that your knife and fork can be powerful weapons in the fight against water shortages. Water is needed to produce food. Now you could feed twenty to thirty billion people with the current area of land used for agriculture across the world. However, nearly half of the world’s grain harvest presently goes to the cattle-raising industry. This cattle feed is grown in warmer and often drier regions, which means guaranteeing good harvests means using a lot of water for irrigation. And a whole lot, because some ninety percent (!) of that water is lost through evaporation.

So you need an average of seven kilos of grain to produce one kilo of meat, the production of a single kilo of meat costs in total between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water according to conservative estimates! The production of meat is extremely inefficient and has resulted in enormous food and fresh water crises. Producing meat therefore costs a huge amount of cattle feed (and consequently huge quantities of water) and – what is more – these grains cannot be used to feed people. In a world where one billion people suffer from hunger (and just as many people on the other side of the world suffer from obesity), it is irresponsible to maintain a system of meat production that wastes so much water.

The question is how can we maintain our fresh water supplies and how we will be able to feed nine billion people in 2050, given that current meat consumption rates are also rising all over the world. We will have to produce and consume fewer animals proteins. The Netherlands will have to accept its responsibility in this regard as the Netherlands is the most cattle-dense country in the world and is one of the largest consumers of cattle feed from countries such as Brazil. We already have an opportunity now to make a difference by choosing not to eat meat every day and making more conscious food choices.

And now some other news in brief. The organisation ‘World Animal Day’ informed the Party for the Animals that it was collecting information about activities held on World Animal Day on 4 October. If you were involved in fun, interesting or special activities on 4 October, share it by sending an e-mail with your story and pictures. World Animal Day is a great initiative in which more than 80 countries already participate to highlight all the activities that focus on animals!

On 9 November 2010 the three-day conference The International Companion Animal Welfare Conference starts in Prague. The objective of this conference is to stimulate more cooperation between organisations in order to create a world in which as few pets as possible are forced to live lives as strays. There will be multiple speakers, workshops and possibilities to network. You can still register to attend the congress, so if you are interested be sure to sign up!

Until next week!