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Originally published June 2 2008

Why It Takes 2,000 Gallons of Fresh Water to Produce One Gallon of Milk (transcript)

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) There are many reasons why informed consumers are avoid consuming cow's milk today, such as the fact that milk increases stagnation and can promote sinusitis and asthma. There are humanitarian and ethical reasons, too; avoiding milk means not condoning the abuse of dairy cows on conventional dairy farms. But one of the most important reasons to consider avoiding the consumption of milk is the waste of water resources that go into its production.

It can take up to 2,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk. The cow needs water to perform basic biological functions from day to day, and only a fraction of the water the cow consumes is actually converted into milk. The fact that it takes so much water to produce cow's milk means that anytime you or any consumer chooses to drink milk, the burden you place on the natural environment is a thousand times greater than if you were to consume water itself. Drinking one gallon of milk is like pouring 1,999 gallons of fresh water down the drain.

With water tables falling all around the world and shortages appearing now in the United States and throughout Asia, it becomes increasingly important for us to practice water conservation as consumers. We, as a species, simply cannot afford to live in an environment where water tables have dropped beyond our ability to pump water out of the ground. If we continue to use our water in wasteful ways, such as supporting animal products like beef, cheese and milk, then we will run out of water. Around the world, farmers and ranchers consume the vast majority of the water supply.

We can save the world by eating plants

When we choose to consume plants rather than animals for our nutrition, we are directly conserving mass quantities of fresh water. By eating plants, we are protecting the environment in addition to experiencing the phenomenal personal nutritional benefits provided by plants, which are considerable in their own right. Plants contain healing medicines, phytonutrients, anthocyanins, and enzymes that protect the nervous system. Animal products contain no such nutrients.

When we consume plants, we not only protect the water supplies of the world; we also help protect animals from the cruel and inhumane treatment they endure on conventional ranches, farms, and food processing facilities around the world. When you drink milk, you are literally consuming blood and pus from an animal that has been abusively milked and pumped up with artificial hormones. These hormones are banned in almost every other country in the world but remain legal in the United States, unless you are getting organic-certified milk from a free-range cow on a small, family farm. (Or raw milk, which I do conditionally support if consciously consumed as a food and not just a thoughtless beverage...)

As consumers, we must think beyond the price we pay at the cash register. We must look at the big picture: What are the sources of these foods and beverages? What is the impact on the environment? What is the experience of the animals from which these foods are derived? Uninformed consumers don't look at the big picture. They only care about how much their shopping list costs at the cash register. They don't look at the impact on the entire planet; the impact on the experience of animals; the dwindling water supplies around the world; or the run-off poisoning of our rivers, streams and oceans from pesticides, herbicides and synthetic drugs pumped into cows.

In not considering these issues, our mass consumption is leading us to an emergency on a global scale. We are looking at an approaching disaster in terms of the loss of fresh water supplies. We are using up water the same way we are using up oil; by draining underground aquifers that can't be replenished on a short-term schedule. Once they are drained, the future of human life on our planet will be significantly more challenging to sustain at current levels (if not impossible).

So we must look at the big picture and begin to make intelligent decisions about our consumption patterns. We must shift to plant-based foods if we are going to be able to sustain current population levels on planet Earth. We have to think in terms of what it costs the environment to produce the foods we consume. Every time you drink a gallon of water instead of a gallon of milk, you save 1,999 of fresh water in the natural environment. This means that you, by making a simple choice, can have a huge and measurable impact, a positive impact, on the world around you.

Drink water. Pure, fresh spring water. Not tap water, not bottled water filled with plastics. Find and drink pure water from the Earth, and you will be doing your part to help sustain the potential for human life on this planet for generations to come. You'll also be saving countless cows from abusive exploitation by commercial dairy ranches, many of which now laughingly claim to be "organic." See the Organic Consumers Association ( to learn more about the false organic cow's milk producers. While there are a few, smaller organic milk operations in North America, nearly all the big names you see in popular retail stores are engaged in organic fraud.

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