If you’ve ever told your children “You’d better finish that; there are starving kids in China/Africa!” then you’ve probably also received the classic, petulant response, “So? It’s not like we’re going to mail them my leftovers.”
If this dinnertime debate leaves you speechless and (internally) cursing the unfailing logic of your children, don’t worry- the UN has your back.
March 22 is International World Water Day, an annual celebration instituted by the United Nations General Assembly as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. Each year the organization highlights a different aspect of freshwater; 2012 is focused on water and food security.
Because it’s not just kids in Africa or China that are starving. It’s 1 billion people worldwide. Even if they’re not in your neighborhood, they’re in your city. You may not be able to mail them your leftover casserole and cold peas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference.
90% of the world’s total water consumption goes to produce food but 30% of the food produced globally is never eaten and the water used to produce it is lost! Wasting food means wasting water and wasting water means farmers have less water to produce food and lots of people go hungry. So what can you and your kids do about this? The folks at UN Water have a few suggestions:
- follow a healthier, sustainable diet
- consume less water-intensive products
- reduce food wastage to reduce water lost
- take the BLUE LUNCHBOX challenge
UN Water has some excellent resources to help you teach those ornery kids the importance of not wasting food (don’t miss the videos and animations). They’ve also partnered with OneDrop to create a pretty cool game that calculates the water footprint of your meal as you drag food items onto your plate. (I used the game to plan out a balanced, low-water-demand dinner for tonight. Win-win!)
Small changes can definitely add up, but maybe one big change is the way to go, for you? Personally, I’m working on becoming a better cook so my family isn’t constantly throwing away leftovers or eating out.
What changes are you willing to make to reduce your water footprint and create a more secure future? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @MarGoH2O