Dairy has been lauded as the “nature’s perfect food” for decades now. It has been projected as the most essential part of every human being’s diet; so much so that the association of strong bones and calcium with dairy had become inevitable. With endless advertisements continuously telling people why milk does a body good, dairy became the be-all and end-all of calcium. Regardless of the questionable ethics with which these actions were carried out, the promotion of dairy has had other serious consequences. While it is clear that the proliferation of the dairy is great for the corporates’ turnover, it turns out that it is not so great for the planet.
Dairy and Water Use:
- Numerous researches show that the average dairy cow uses somewhere around 5,000 gallons of water per day. If you put that number into perspective, a dairy farm with 1000 cows uses somewhere around 5 million gallons of water every single day. Find below some facts and figures about how water-intensive it is to produce your everyday foods.
- 1 cup of yogurt requires somewhere around 35 gallons of water
- 1 scoop of ice cream requires somewhere around 42 gallons of water
- 1 slice of cheese requires somewhere around 25 gallons of water
- 1 stick of butter requires somewhere around 109 gallons of water
- 1 glass of milk requires somewhere around 68 gallons of water
Dairy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
Cutting the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional fresh milk is no mean feat. Studies have estimated that the global dairy sector contributes to over 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, 52% of which is methane. It is also estimated that cows produce between 200 and 500 litres of methane a day. What’s troubling about that number is that the methane cows emit remains in the atmosphere almost 20 to 23 times more effectively than CO2.
Our dairy consumption has been rising exponentially. Limiting or completely eliminating our consumption is the only way to drastically reduce our impact. With almost 70% of the population being lactose-intolerant, there has never been a time to switch to a healthier soy-based nutrition.