A Solution to California’s Drought

Kathleen Esfahany, Staff Writer

A vegan, by definition, is someone who abstains from consuming any part of an animal: not the flesh (known as meat), nor the secretions (which are made into products such as milk, cheese, etc.). To people uneducated about veganism, it seems like vegans are sensitive, picky people. Why would anyone want to give up meat, or cheese? And how does veganism affect California?

For sophomore Antonella Jones, practicing veganism is a way of conserving our planet for the next generation. “Everyone says they want to save the environment, but they only focus on shortening their showers or recycling. If they really want to make an impact, going vegan is the best option.”

What seems like a small personal choice actually has a massive global impact: on average, per day, a vegan uses 600 gallons less water than a non-vegan, according to National Geographic. In one year, a vegan uses 219,000 gallons less than a non-vegan, and over the course of a decade this amounts to over 2 million gallons. This massive difference in water consumption occurs in the amount of resources required to produce a plant product as compared to a meat or dairy product.

Think about it: When you eat a plant, you indirectly consume all the water it takes to produce that plant. This includes the water used to grow, wash, and cook the plant. When you eat an animal, you indirectly consume all the water it took to produce several months’ worth of plants that are made into animal feed, the water the animal drank, and the water required to wash the animal. It takes much less water to grow plants it does to grow animals.

California is undergoing a severe drought. In the face of this crisis, many politicians have called for Californians to stop watering their lawns, to take shorter showers, and to use public pools to prevent wasting water on personal swimming pools. However, according to the Pacific Institute (an independent research institute), direct domestic water use (which includes water used by showers, sprinklers, and pools) is 4% of the total statewide water usage.

Meat and dairy products are responsible for 47% of the total statewide water usage. If every Californian went vegan, they would cut their statewide water usage in half. In contrast, if every Californian stopped taking showers, they would reduce their statewide water usage by less than 4%.

NASA states that if water use continues at its current rates, California has one year of water left. If Californians want to survive this drought, they should go vegan. With the vast number of vegan products available, this change is attainable for everyone. It’s less painful to give up a burger than it is to give up your home.

For now, and in the next few decades, Earth is our home. For anyone concerned about our planet’s health, veganism is the effective way to help.