But can I trade my morning coffee for a dinner glass of wine?

I find this visualization of how the choices we make can reduce water consumption odd, if not downright problematic in places. The graphic seems to be an odd mix of “here are some things that you might do” with a tinge of “here is your complete usage in a day” – if it was the former, why would they include flushing the toilet and washing your hands twice. But if it is the later, well, they are suggesting you need only do those things twice in an entire day – this seems improbable and/or unhygienic. But it is the assessment of food that seems really bizarre. At breakfast, you are urged to have cereal instead of eggs, but at dinner, you are encouraged to not eat the bread (requiring the same amount of water as the cereal) and replace it with a potato. Even more bizarre, you are recommended to replace your apple with an orange that required five gallons less water. This seems to reflect a lack of perspective on the scale of some of these numbers. Based on the chart, the single largest impact thing you can do to save water is to stop eating meat, particularly beef. The impact of this is large enough that if the way you motivate yourself to do this is that you can eat whatever fruits/veggies/grains you like, it is still a significant gain. On the other hand, if you intend to still eat beef, while some of the other choices they show may be worth pursuing, you probably shouldn’t bother worrying about whether you are eating an apple or an orange. Particularly if you start taking into account that water consumption isn’t the only environmental factor people worry about – my apple may require more water, but it may also be grown a couple of miles down the road from me and require significantly less transportation.

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