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Eat less meat

These days, everyone seems to be concerned about water conservation, so I’d like to offer an important water-saving tip: Eat less meat. It takes 2,500 gallons of water (“Diet for a New America,” p. 367 of the paperback edition) – about as much as a Bay Area family’s total weekly water usage (according to City of Palo Alto Utilities) – to produce one pound of beef. Thus, assuming one pound of beef uses 2,500 gallons and assuming an eight-minute shower uses 2.5 gallons per minute (a typical low-flow showerhead) every time you skip a quarter-pound beef patty, you save enough water to shower daily for a month.

Our dietary choices have a huge impact on water consumption. Producing a day’s food for a meat-eater takes more than 4,000 gallons of water (“Diet for a New America,” p. 367 of the paperback edition), but a pure vegetarian needs just 300 gallons. You can take shorter showers and stop watering your lawn, or you can have a much bigger impact by cutting back on meat.

Lisa Towell



Los Altos


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