Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Everyone knows drought in the West made worse by livestock production"



According to a new Gallup poll: 1) Wyoming 2) Utah 3) Idaho 4) South Dakota 5) Montana are the states where the most earth haters live.
Food production consumes more fresh water than any other activity in the United States. “Within agriculture in the West, the thirstiest commodity is the cow,” says George Wuerthner, an ecologist at the Foundation for Deep Ecology, who has studied the livestock industry. Humans drink about a gallon of water a day; cows, upwards of 23 gallons. In parts of Montana, as much as 90 percent of irrigated land is operated solely for the production of livestock feed; 90 percent of Nevada’s cropland is dedicated to raising hay. Half of Idaho’s three million acres of irrigated farmland grows forage and feed exclusively for cattle, and livestock production represents 60 percent of the state’s water use. One obvious and immediate solution to the western water crisis would be to curtail the waste of the livestock industry. Everyone knows that climate-created drought in the West is made undeniably worse by livestock production. “The capture of the West’s landscape by the cattle industry may be one of the biggest ongoing mistakes of our history,” says Wuerthner. And for what? To protect a mythological hero called the cowboy. Time to smash this idol of the American West and move on. [Christopher Ketcham, The New Republic]
We all know this: unless the West embraces rewilding on portions of the Missouri River basin west of a north/south line at Oacoma, South Dakota water wars will clog the courts leaving violent armed vigilantism to settle disputes.




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