The Surprising Uses of Water

We're all concerned about the de-forestation effects on our beloved planet, right? With loss of forests, there is loss of habitat and our carbon-to-oxygen cycle is changed drastically for the worse. And the hopeful idea of "sustainable use of forests" has hidden costs. For instance, the older a tree is, the more carbon it can sequester, and the more it can help younger or struggling trees through the underground network. So a Christmas tree farm just isn't the same as a mature forest.

Forests help create a climate that's livable. Life creates conditions that create life. So, we really need them!

One of the overlaps of water and trees is toilet paper. I bet you didn't see that coming!

While researching whether a bidet is easier on the planet, I found that ONE ROLL of toilet paper requires 37 gallons of water, 1.3 kilowatt/hours (KWh) of electricity and some 1.5 pounds of wood. Wow!

I recently added what looks like a kitchen sink sprayer to my commode, and I love it! I can't really measure whether with the equivalent uses of one roll of TP I will have washed with 37 gallons of water, but I know I won't have used up 1.5 pounds of wood. (OK, mine is classier looking, but the same principle)

Here are some other surprises: do you know how much water goes into making common items?

The Atlantic Magazine offers this list:

One pair of shoes: 2,257 gallons

One pair of jeans: 2,636 gallons

One chocolate bar: 454 gallons

One piece of beef: 4,000 gallons

One hamburger: 632 gallons

One plain-cheese pizza: 321 gallons

One slice of cheese: 40 gallons

One pint of beer: 45 gallons

One cup of coffee: 35 gallons

One apple: 22 gallons

One loaf of bread: 13 gallons

One sheet of paper: 3 gallons

And I'm guessing that those estimates don't include the water it takes to sustain the people who create these things, or transport them or sell them. And guess how much it takes to make the single use plastic bottle we might buy water in? Six to seven times more water to make a bottle than then water that goes in it. Soda is much worse, because of growing the sugar and dyes to sweeten the drinks.

,And did you notice that a piece of beef is the worst offender, at 4000 gallons?

So Love Your Mother Earth, and maybe we all need to think more carefully about what we purchase and consider more re-use, since we ALL need water!

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