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Planet Earth: Our Loving Home

Water: A Precious Resource for Life on Earth, Part 2 of 2

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Harboring some 600 billion tons of ice, the Himalayan glaciers are crucial for life in numerous parts of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, and China. These immense glaciers are the source for many major rivers, and supply more than 800 million people with water for irrigation, hydropower, and drinking. However, as temperatures increase, the glacial ice is rapidly disappearing.

To address the problem of freshwater shortages, we must first and foremost halt climate change. According to many scientific reports, including several from the United Nations, the primary cause of climate change is raising livestock, which creates more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transportation combined. It is also the leading cause of deforestation, water pollution, and environmental degradation. Interestingly, raising livestock also contributes directly to water scarcity. Globally, approximately 70% of all the fresh water used today is consumed by agriculture. However, many of the crops grown are not being fed to humans but instead to livestock. Almost 40% of the world’s grain and 80% of the world’s soybeans are fed to animals raised for so-called “food.”

The quantity of water required to raise livestock is staggering. Researchers estimate that approximately 20,000 liters of water are needed to produce one kilogram of beef. You can save more water by not eating a pound of hamburger meat than you can by not showering for six months! According to scientists, we can drastically reduce our water footprint by adopting a vegan lifestyle. While a meat diet requires 4,000 gallons (15140L) of water per day, a vegan diet requires only 300 gallons (1135 L). Thus, by choosing a plant-based lifestyle we can reduce our water footprint by more than 90%. Supreme Master Ching Hai frequently warns us about the grave dangers of water scarcity. She reminds us that the fastest, most efficient way to preserve water is through the compassionate, noble, resource-saving organic vegan lifestyle.

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