Walk down most streets on Manhattan’s Upper East Side on a weekday morning and you’ll find yourself dodging the watery spray kicked up by dozens of hose-wielding doormen cleansing the pavement for the daily parade of designer shoes and custom running sneakers.
(Stick close, this is gonna be a meandering path)
Men hired for the primary purpose of holding open doors for the affluent spend each daybreak dousing the sidewalks with gallons and gallons of H2O to clear cigarette butts from prime real estate.
I wonder how many of them realize that only 3 percent of the Earth’s total water is freshwater. Of that, a mere 1 percent is available for human consumption. Do the math and you’ve got a grand total of 0.01 percent of the Earth’s total water being usable.
Still, if utilized more judiciously, this amount is enough to support the world’s human population three times over.
According to the United Nations, each of us requires of 20-50 liters of safe freshwater a day for basic needs like drinking, cooking, and cleaning. However, 894 million people—more than one in six people, worldwide—don’t have access to it.
The impact of this reality is not hard to measure. For example…
- The planet’s leading cause of human death and illness is diarrhea and 88 percent of these deaths are directly linked to a lack of access to safe water.
- 2.5 billion people, including almost one billion children, live without even basic sanitation.
- Every 20 seconds, a child dies as a result of poor sanitation = 1.5 million preventable deaths each year.
Choose a “Planet-Based” Diet
Since so much water (50 percent of all water consumed in the U.S.) is used to grow, feed, and hydrate cattle and other doomed earthlings, one personal water-related choice we can all immediately embrace is a plant-based/planet-based diet.
Let’s breakdown the menu by water usage:
Beef, Sausage, Pork
- 1,857 gallons of water are used to produce one pound of beef
- 1,382 gallons for one pound of sausage
- 756 gallons for one pound of pork
Cheese and Eggs
- 589 gallons of water are used to produce one pound of processed cheese
- 400 gallons for one pound of eggs
- 371 gallons for one pound of fresh cheese
The Life of a Doomed Cow
- 808,400 gallons of water for 18,700 pounds of pasture, feed, and hay
- 6,300 gallons for drinking
- 1,900 gallons for cleaning stables and farmyards
- 103 gallons to produce one pound of bananas
- 84 gallons for one pound of apples
- 55 gallons for one pound of oranges
- 43 gallons for one pound of beans
- 25 gallons for one pound of eggplants
- 9 gallons of water for one cup of tea
As I’ve said many times before, it’s not nearly enough to rise above the latest man-made conflicts and/or differences and proudly declare oneself a “humanist.” In the name of holistic justice and planetary rebellion, we must go deeper and stand—fists raised—in solidarity with all of our fellow earthlings.
Challenge Corporate Power
Of course, personal choices and lifestyle changes are just baby steps and these alone will not create the major changes the planet needs…now. However, they can help inspire awareness and momentum to get us busy with the phase two: taking down the corporations.
When you realize that only about 8 percent of the planet’s freshwater goes for domestic use, it’s easy to recognize that global industry is the primary criminal and thus, the primary target for change.
We live in a corporate-dominated culture and how we choose to deal with corporate power will ultimately decide how long such institutions will maintain their power.
Ralph Nader sez: “We grow up looking at the world the way the corporations want us to perceive it. Style in cars, instead of safety. Junk food instead of nutrition. Look at the ads to the kids on kiddie-TV: Junk food. Junk drinks. We grow up thinking, ‘Well, that’s the way things are’ … Growing up corporate means we curtail our imagination. We don’t even dream of what is possible, never mind impossible.”
Okay, so we know that the corporate culture greedily consumes water, brutally exploits animals, and cleverly manipulates our minds…so what are we gonna do about it?
A few ways to challenge corporations:
Stop treating them like people: Thanks to a late 19th century Supreme Court decision, corporations are currently—and legally—treated as “persons.”
Recognize them as the polluters they are: Corporations pollute on a scale that far surpasses we individuals. If every person in the U.S. did everything An Inconvenient Truth suggested, carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Meanwhile, Exxon-Mobil, a company with sales (more than $400 billion) that exceed the gross domestic product of 120 countries, emits 138 million tons of CO2 every year.
Recognize them as the exploiters they are: Click here to meet the people who make your clothes.
Recognize them as temporary: If we acknowledge how profoundly corporations have assaulted the eco-system and deleteriously shaped our daily life, all that’s left is to do is rid the planet of their toxic presence—once and for all.
The time is perfect—right here, right now—for us to:
- Fight to save the children dying as a result of poor sanitation
- Reject an animal-based diet that’s threatening all life on the planet
- Unite to bring down the dominant corporate culture
- Occupy our inner doorperson and break open the gates to a more compassionate, equitable, and sustainable future