Lesson eight’s contemplative practice really made me think a lot about my relationship to water and my water foot print. How big is my water footprint and is my water consumption a responsible one? While I understand that my water consumption consists of everyday essentials such as showering, flushing the toilet and washing dishes, what I did not consider is that my water consumption also takes shape in the food that I eat.
Much of California’s exports consists of produce that is shipped out of the state for trade. The drought that California experienced in 2015 meant that much of the water that the state was trying to conserve was actually being exported in the shape of food. Alfalfa for example, consumes a large portion of the state’s irrigated water, which is then shipped across the country for trade. Livestock, particularly cattle, also require large amounts of water to raise. The beef and dairy that is produced by these animals is then used as exports. Other popular crops that California is famous for are almonds and grapes, each of which consume a large amount of water. While I may not consume alfalfa (that I’m aware of), I do consume the latter.
Many products that are exported in trade may require large amounts of water to grow. The soil they grow in may also require many chemicals to keep it from eroding. Now that I’m aware that my water footprint not only consists of tangible household practices, but that it also takes shape in the food that I purchase. While it may be challenging, my hope is that this knowledge will help me be a more responsible grocery shopper; stopping to consider necessary and indulgent water consumption.