MINDFUL EATING #12:
UNITED NATIONS WORLD WATER DAY 22 MARCH 2015
Sunday March 22, was World Water Day, a United Nations-sponsored effort to spread the word about how we use water and waste it, and what we can do to ensure water remains a sustainable resource.
Water, a source of life, is a limited resource. Although it is the basis of all human activities, from drinking to washing, its presence and availability is often taken for granted by most people but for many people around the world — especially in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia — a lack of access to clean water is a fact of everyday life.
According to the United Nations, despite impressive gains made over the last decade, an estimated 768 million people were using drinking water sources that weren’t adequately protected from outside contamination, particularly from fecal matter, and 185 million used surface water (from lakes, rivers, streams or oceans) for daily drinking. Statistics from the UN say 40 billion working hours are spent carrying water each year in Africa and that equals to a year’s labor for the entire work force of France. This is 40 billion hours that they could have spent raising their families, working, or recreating.
Children, particularly, bear the brunt of water scarcity in every community; 1.5 million children die from water related diseases every year. That is a rate of 1 kindergarten class of 30 children every 10 minutes. Diarrhea is the 2nd leading cause of death in children under 5 years old, it kills more than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.
Global water scarcity and water pollution are expected to increase. Forty-seven percent of the global population could be living under severe water stress by 2050, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Many scientists argue that the problem of water will form the basis of future world conflicts.
In the total water consumption of human beings there is a factor that stands out: the water consumption related to food. This means that if we intend to reduce the world’s water footprint, we should carefully reconsider agricultural methods and diet.
Globally, large volumes of water are also consumed and polluted at the industrial and domestic levels but most of the water is used for activities related to agriculture. (WWAP, 2009). The UN, Food & Agriculture Organisation sources say that agriculture is by far the largest user of water world-wide, at around 70% of total supplies. The FAO also predicts that the agricultural sector will increasingly need to compete with the world’s growing cities for water. As a result, it is unlikely that water will remain a ‘free’ commodity in the future. This view is shared by International Water Management Institute (IWMI), which has predicted that demand for land will progressively increase, both for food production and linked to the urbanisation and energy trends.
The current growth rates of agricultural demands on the world’s freshwater resources are unsustainable. Inefficient use of water for crop production depletes aquifers, reduces river flows, degrades wildlife habitats, and has caused salinization of 20% of the global irrigated land area. To increase efficiency in the use of water, agriculture can reduce water losses and, most importantly, increase crop productivity with respect to water. With increased intensive agriculture, water pollution may worsen. Experience from high income countries shows that a combination of incentives, including more stringent regulation, enforcement and well-targeted subsidies, can help reduce water pollution.
Using soil conservation techniques, including no-till farming, can make some of the biggest differences when it comes water use. According to the FAO, no-till farming techniques increase the amount of water that land can hold, and improve crops’ ability to use water resources efficiently. Soil health is also critical to water conservation. 2015 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Soils. Practices like incorporating cover crops, planting trees on farms, and intercropping, or planting complementary crops in the same field, can help keep nutrients and water in the soil. These practices can protect plants from drought and make sure that every drop of water from rain or irrigation can be used.
This should also make you think about food wastage. When consumers waste food, they are also wasting huge amounts of water.
Remember, every time you shop for groceries you are exercising your political power. What choices have you been making, and what are the consequences?
MINDFUL RECIPE #12:
CAULIFLOWER AND ROASTED GARBANZO “RICE + PEAS”
note: If you don’t have a food processor, some milling with a knife will get the cauliflower florets small enough, as long as you have the patience.
1 1/2 cups fully cooked chickpeas, towel dried
zest & juice of 2 limes, divided
chili powder (chipotle, whatever you like)
salt & pepper to taste
1 medium head of cauliflower, core removed
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1/2 tbsp raw honey/agave nectar
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup flat parsley leaves
2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 crisp apple (fuji or pink lady), sliced thin
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the chickpeas out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with a bit of lime zest, chili powder, salt, pepper, and about a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the chickpeas to coat and slide the tray into the oven. Roast until lightly crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.
Start turning the cauliflower into rice in batches. Place a few handfuls of the florets into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse the florets until you have small, rice-ish bits of cauliflower. Scrape the “riced” cauliflower into a large bowl. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
Whisk together the remaining lime zest, lime juice, a little splash of water, some salt and pepper, the grainy mustard, maple syrup, and 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Pour it over the cauliflower rice and toss to coat.
In a large bowl, add the radishes, parsley leaves, mint, scallions, chives, sliced apple, and roasted chickpeas. Toss it all lightly to combine. Top it all of with the diced avocado, sunflower seeds, and some more salt and pepper.
Wrap up the mix in radicchio leaves and if you feel like adding a zing then chop some pickled jalapeños or even fresh (with the seeds removed), if you have them around.
Vegetarian / Banting Friendly