Forget Flushing – Use Less


I recently posted a piece taking up Mayor of London Ken Livingstone’s advice to only flush when really necessary.

Thanks to Jon who’s just mail me this piece from The Guardian. It’s pretty shocking. All that lovely coffee you drink? The rice we eat? The water required to produce these goods is astronomical. As a typical meat-eating, milk-guzzling westerner, I consume as much as a hundred times my own weight in water every day.

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“The numbers are mind-boggling: it takes between 2,000 and 5,000l of water to grow one kilo of rice. That is more water than many households use in a week. For just a bag of rice. It takes 1,000l to grow a kilo of wheat, and 500l for a kilo of potatoes. When you feed grain to livestock for animal products such as meat and milk, the figures become yet more startling. It takes 11,000l to grow the feed for enough cow to make a quarter-pound hamburger; and between 2,000 and 4,000l for that cow to fill its udders with a litre of milk. Cheese? A kilo of cheddar or brie takes about 5,000l.”

The solution? We simply have to learn to use less, and buy local. As you might know, we are experimenting with our own allotment this year. It’s a small thing, but hopefully by using rain-water and bath-waste, plus a little from the natural springs that run under the plot, we might be able to let a little more water run in the rivers. The ocean, as Mother Theresa said, is made of drops…


One response to “Forget Flushing – Use Less”

  1. oh my gosh, this is the most depressing thing i’ve ever read. now we have to feel guilty about eating rice, wearing cotton and free trade coffee… sigh. will it ever end?