Water shortage forces world to become vegetarians, scientists predict

Swedish institute says there won’t be enough water to produce animal-based products by 2050.

Water seems to be everywhere in the news lately. Isaac is slamming the Gulf, while 65% of the country is experiencing drought conditions. Then I came across this article in which the Stockholm International Water Institute predicted the world’s population might be forced to become vegetarian by 2050.

The gist behind the institute’s prediction is that there won’t be enough water to maintain our agriculture needs in the future.

“There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations,” the institute said.

The article continues: "A move towards vegetarian diets could help free up large portions of arable land to human food production," Orion Jones wrote on BigThink.com. "A third of current farmland is used to grow crops that feed animals. Additionally 'animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet.'"

While I doubt this prediction will come true, it brings up a good point about the need to recognize how our actions today affect the world’s environmental health. In our October issue we will share the results of our fourth annual Environmental Study. Sixty-eight percent of respondents in our survey said they conserve water in their personal lives to try to help the environment. Twenty-six percent have installed water-flow restrictors in their operations.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the water/vegetarian prediction and what you’re doing in your operation to conserve water. Send me your thought at bschilling@cspnet.com or respond in the comments section below.

Keywords: 
sustainability

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of New Mexico’s proposed on-campus taproom has officially been approved by the school’s Board of Regents.

Construction on the $650,000 student union taproom will begin this summer and is expected to finish in August when students return to campus. The school’s food vendor, Chartwells, and UNM’s Dining & Food Services department will split the cost of the taproom evenly.

Designed by students in the school’s architecture department, the space will feature a rotating selection of beer and wine, and will also welcome guest brewers. Chartwells will be...

Ideas and Innovation
cafeteria

Three years ago, Colonial School District in New Castle, Del., started a pilot supper program at its high school. The goal: To make sure the district’s students, 57% of whom are on free or reduced-priced meals, would not be hungry when school is done for the day.

Since its inception, the program has expanded to 12 schools and now provides afterschool meals to children participating in YMCA activities. And it's just one of many such programs popping up in districts throughout the country, as operators add supper to the list of daily meals they provide for students.

Building...
Ideas and Innovation
hydroponics

We put our hydroponic gardens in a spot where students can watch them grow, but at the same time it’s safe from being tampered with. At one of our elementary schools, the gardens are in the kitchen, but there’s a window where students can look in as they walk down the hallway. Some even stop to count how many cucumbers they see.

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

FSD Resources