July 30, 2010

Climate change affecting US urban water management

In an Illinois, USA region that is home to the world’s largest wastewater treatment plant and three of the largest in the country, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago serves five million residents and receives visitors from around the world as a model in water management.

However, the increasing frequency and severity of storms due primarily to global warming is presenting costly challenges unlike any seen before. Commissioner Frank Avila of the District’s Board of Commissioners shared his observations with Supreme Master Television about the impact of these weather changes on the city.

Frank Avila – Board of Commissioners, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, USA; vegan (M): The climate change, I have seen a frequency of storms here in the Chicago land area, and the intensity of the rain in a shorter period of time coming down, which inundate our local sewers.

In the month of June here in Cook County, we had three storms within about a week-and-a-half period to two weeks, and this last storm we had winds about 80 miles (129 km) an hour. And after that, we had a large storm come in in a shorter period of time and the systems could not handle it, and a lot of basements got flooded because of it, causing a lot of damage with each homeowner.

VOICE: Commissioner Avila also stated that global warming has heightened the need for conservation of limited water supplies worldwide. According to the US Geological Survey, more than 80% of the consumptive use of fresh water in the country goes to agriculture, with the majority to industrial factory farms.

One cattle farm with 30,000 cows can withdraw nearly one million gallons per day from an underground aquifer, resulting in wells running dry and threatening local vegetable and fruit production. A committed vegan and producer and host of a TV program on environmental protection and public health, Commissioner Avila shared his thoughts on the vegan diet solution to environmental and health protection.

Frank Avila (M): I’m a vegan, and I understand that by going vegan, we would save a lot of water that is scarce. They’re saying, “Well, we have a shortage of water.” Well, the reason why you have a shortage of water is because you’re using that for other resources. You’re using that probably to raise cattle to eat meat. And you’re using more water in that respect. But by going vegan, you use less water, you don’t harm the climate, and also you stay healthier.

VOICE: Our appreciation and admiration Commissioner Frank Avila for your concerned eco-efforts and advocacy of the vegan way to conserve water and halt climate change. Through this simple lifestyle change, may we all act to ease such extreme weather events while protecting our precious natural resources.

In a March 2009 videoconference in the United States, Supreme Master Ching Hai discussed the worrying misuse of water in our increasingly precarious environment while highlighting the most effective area of action.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The experts also calculate that 1 kilogram of beef takes 5,000 to 20,000 liters of water to produce. But 1 kilogram of wheat takes only 500 to 2,000 liters of water. That is 10% of the amount of water for meat.

At a time when we have water shortage and all the reservoirs are dwindling at such an alarming rate, we are truly afraid that even if we don’t take shower at all,it will not do much help because all the human uses and everything together is only 30% of water around the world. Everything else is mostly used for meat industry.

So if we really want to save the water for the world to be able to use for our daily necessity, not to talk about future generations, then we have to change to a vegetarian diet, animal-free diet.

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