Time to fix that leaking tap, stick a brick in your cistern and cut your shower time in half. Yes, next week is Water Saving Week, your chance to help the planet by wasting less of the wet stuff – and MFM is helping to make it a splash.
Beginning on 29 April, the five-day educational drive is organised by Waterwise, an independent not-for-profit NGO that is focusing on reducing water consumption in the UK. Now in its fifth year, the plan this time round is to dedicate each day of the week to raising awareness about a different area of water use, by posting online videos, visual content and daily challenges, and to help those taking part be more efficient and sustainable with their ablutions and other H2O habits.
That’s where Meat Free Monday comes in, since the first day of Water Saving Week is highlighting the issue of meat and dairy consumption. Waterwise is encouraging everyone taking part to enjoy a diet that is less water-intensive – that is, less meat-focused – because, as MFMers know, raising livestock for meat uses a lot of water, and is a particular problem in parts of the globe where water is scarce.
The stats are stark and highlight the fact that it is impossible for food derived from animals to beat plant-based options when it comes to water. To produce 1kg of pork it takes 5,988 litres of water, while 1 kg of beef – the most environmentally costly meat – requires an astonishing 15,415 litres. Compare that with the water costs of growing 1 kg of vegetables or wheat, which come in at 322 litres and 650 litres respectively.
It takes a lot of water to keep and feed the animals we raise for meat and dairy products. Livestock production accounts for 2,422 cubic gigameters every year, according to Waterwise (a gigameter is 1 billion meters). Nearly a third of farming’s water footprint is down to the creation of animal products. So the rationale for promoting a Meat Free Monday is clear. As Waterwise says: “Even one day a week without meat can make a big difference in our water footprint.”
The campaign has plenty of environmentally friendly ideas for the rest of the week too. Toilet Tuesday focuses on the smallest room in the house (the UK flushes an estimated 2 billion litres of water every day) and recommends fixing that leaking loo; Wash Wednesday is about cutting shower times; Tap Thursday advises sorting out any wasteful drips in your home and brushing teeth without using running water; while Freshwater Friday takes a look at our underappreciated rivers, lakes, wetlands, streams and underground aquifers.