Just Add Water

After living all over the country, I’ve settled in southern Arizona. The rugged beauty, bohemian vibe and quality of life are incredible.

But we’re running dry.

This week may be the hottest on record. It’s heartbreaking to see pictures of depleted reservoirs and dire drought predictions. While it’s noble to conserve and collect rainwater, I live in the desert. Most of our rain falls in the summer, if at all. To paraphrase Sam Kinison, ‘Nothing grows here. Move where the water is!’

Scientists say that where there’s water, there’s life….and we’re running dry!

Thankfully, our state legislators are on the ball. They’ve proposed a plan to pump ocean water through a pipeline from Mexico. There’s also an effort to generate more hydroelectric power from our rivers (that are running dry).

C’mon people, you’re better than that.

If Americans are willing to make one lifestyle change, we can save a tremendous amount of water. But it means sacrificing something we crave: Beef.

Here’s my take. Americans are the top beef consumers in the world. We eat an average of 220 pounds per person, per year.

Meanwhile, the cost of raising cattle is staggering. Producing enough food for 30 million cows requites a massive support system – and lots of water. I was stunned to learn that 70% of Arizona’s water is diverted for agriculture, mostly to grow alfalfa, hay and other bovine delicacies. And growers get a deep discount.

Someday, everyone will eat a plant-based diet of steak and burgers. You can snicker. But the business of raising cattle isn’t sustainable. In fact, ranchers are selling cattle at a loss. Meanwhile, plants can be grown quickly at a fraction of the cost.

Will Americans make the sacrifice and embrace meatless burgers? We will if we hope to survive.

So what’s it going to be…beef or water?

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347   

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