Remember the Hollywood movie Waterworld with Kevin Costner, in which the only dry land was atop Mount Everest? Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. Today, from Colorado to Cape Town, water supplies are evaporating and wars over water – already reality in the Middle East and Africa – are teatime conversation among climate scientists.
Last year, while visiting PETA India and the handsome bullocks at Animal Rahat’s sanctuaries, I decided to take a shower in the center of Mumbai, a city of over 27 million people. India is in ever-worsening trouble over water, with farmers routinely dying by suicide when drought leaves them unable to support their families.
My message wasn’t limited to India, although that country is obsessed with milky sweets and curds. In Krishna’s time, cows wandered freely, part of village life, and the milk they made for their calves was shared with humans. That myth endures, although now cows are mostly raised on dairy factory farms as in the US, all to feed the desire for pizza toppings and cheesecake.
Here are some amazing stats: One mother cow requires as many as 50 or even 100 gallons of water per day! It takes 683 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of milk. What?! And as much as 90% of land cleared in the Amazon rainforest is used for grazing cattle who are mostly shipped overseas.
Most people aren’t experiencing water shortages, so they shrug all this off. However, by opting never to support the dairy trade, we save a cow and her calves, preserve our own heart health, and help stave off future water depletion. That’s worth committing to.