Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

2 Dec 2014

A blue and green book

Posted by Michael Keating

Who knew that it takes 10,000 litres (that’s 1 tonne) of water to produce a pair of jeans and a T-shirt? Most of that is to grow the cotton. Even a cup of coffee takes 140 litres of water, mainly to grow the beans. A burger with that? There’s another 2 tonnes of water, mainly to grow feed for the beef.

How about a bottle of water? Ironically, it takes 5 litres of water to make the plastic water bottle.

Facts and figures like that are not just entertaining. They can shape our decisions about what and how to consume. They help us to measure our level of sustainability.

These are just a few of huge number of facts and figures that fellow environment writer Stephen Leahy has collected in his new book, Your Water Footprint, published by Firefly Books.

In water-rich countries like Canada, increasing water consumption puts stress on watersheds. The energy needed to purify, pump and carry away used water pushes up energy demands. For many countries in drier regions, water is scarce, creating problems for food production and development. Their situation will worsen as the world population grows, and as climate change brings warmer temperatures. By 2050, more than half the world is forecast to live in regions of limited water supplies.

Already, there are periodic water shortages in the United States, particularly in the dry southern regions, known as the Sun Belt.

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