Friday, March 22, 2013

Celebrate World Water Week - Go Meatless!

This week is World Water Week!  To celebrate, IC's student organization, Take Back the Tap, sponsored several events, including the Campus-Wide World Water Celebration.  Ithaca Dining Services tabled at this event and had a very informative and fun water demonstration.

In order to represent both Ithaca Dining Services and World Water Week, we decided to table about IC Dining's Meatless Monday campaign and relate going meatless to water savings. For instance, did you know that going meatless one day per week will save 84,000 gallons of water in one year? (Source:

We wanted to show students exactly how much water it takes to produce certain kinds of foods. To do this we used M&M's to represent gallons of water.  We had to narrow our scale to 1 M&M=3 gallons of water so that we wouldn't run out of M&M's. (This alone shows how much water really goes into producing these foods!)

We felt that this demonstration was effective in showing students the intensity of water usage in these food productions. By eating Meatless on Monday's you are not only benefiting your personal health, but you are benefiting the world water crisis by saving thousands of gallons of water!

Can you guess how many gallons of water are used in producing 1 lb. of Beef?

In our demonstration, we listed several food items with the amount of water it takes to produce those kinds of food.  For instance, one potato takes 39 gallons of water to produce, one pound of corn or wheat take between 100-140 gallons of water to produce, and 1 cup of rice takes 200 gallons of water to produce.  One pound of tofu or soybeans both take around 220 gallons of water to produce.  However, when measuring meat products, the amount of water significantly increase.  Chicken takes 468 gallons of water and produce. And the answer to our trivia challenge question: How many gallons of water are used in producing 1 lb of beef is.... 2,000 gallons!
(Source: National Geographic)

If you're interested in seeing how much water is used to produce other types of foods, or even other types of products such as leather, oil, or paper, check out this really fun National Geographic website: .  Just click on that product you are interested in, and see how much water it takes to produce one pound of that item!

Right now, the average American lifestyle demands 1,800 gallons of water per day, and 70% of that goes solely to our diet! (Source: National Geographic) We can save so much water just be changing our diets in small ways. One easy way to do so is going Meatless on Monday!  On other days of the week, be conscious of the food choices you are making.  If you do eat meat, try to choose less water intensive meat products like chicken or goat as opposed to beef.  With these small changes, you could make a big difference in your water footprint.

Happy World Water Week!

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National Geographic "The Hidden Water we Use"

National Geographic "What You Can Do"

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