Water and Climate Change

A few years ago, I read an article that accused livestock of contributing to climate change because cattle drink so much water.

Fundamental biology dictates that the same amount of water comes back out. After all, cows tank up at the water trough, but they slim down over the course of the day.

And all of that water soaks into the soil when it lands.

So I sent an email to the researcher asking for clarification.

The researcher had not only included all of the water that cows drink in his calculations of water disappearing from the face of the earth, but also included all rainfall on rangelands across the U.S.

I was confused. How are cattle responsible for rainfall on rangelands?

“Cattle graze rangelands,” the researcher responded.

Wait a minute.

Rain falls on rangelands whether cattle are grazing or not.

If my cows are responsible for rain on rangelands, they should have a say in where that rain falls. If they can’t speak, I should be allowed to speak for them. It should rain on my ranch.

Plus, rain grows grass which absorbs carbon, reducing warming, not contributing to it.

The researcher did not recognize the holes in his logic.

I invited him to the ranch to see how the entire system works.

He couldn’t make it from Sweden.

Big surprise.

Last week, I read an article touting the influence of consumer shopping on climate change. The author decided to quit buying the latest fashions because garment manufacturing uses a lot of water.

Have people forgotten the water cycle graph that every fifth grade teacher draws every single year?

The same amount of water remains somewhere within the earth’s atmosphere, as liquid, solid or gas.

In fact, researchers at Arizona State University recently developed a solar-energized panel to convert water in the air to drinking water, even when humidity is as low as 5 percent.

Instead of worrying about the quantity of water used by an industry, we should worry about the quality of water.

Some industries add chemicals and heavy metals to dihydrogen monoxide that are expensive to remove. The water is still there, it just isn’t clean enough to use.

However, I agree with the high style author that we all should quit buying the latest fashions.

Like so many people, I get sucked into the desire for new clothes, especially wool shirts, socks and longjohns.

But my closet is crammed. I don’t need any more clothes.

The high-style author loves to shop so she compromised. She vowed to buy clothes at secondhand shops.

Good idea. They will be less expensive and higher quality -- or they would have already worn out.

I agree we should all quit buying the latest styles -- not because the fashion industry uses water, but because the fashion experts pelt us with mean messages.

Somehow, people have come to believe they need to wear impractical clothes so they look good.

First, looks are not most important. Kindness, generosity and intelligence contribute far more to society.

Second, a rat in high heels and a short skirt still looks like a rat. An emu in shiny loafers and a narrow tie still looks like an emu.

Neither rats nor emus are attractive, no matter their disguise.

Third, the adrenaline high of feeling beautiful that comes with new clothes lasts only a split second in the vast cosmic universe.

I have a solution to reduce water pollution, minimize global warming and enhance universal good vibes.

Your friends and family look great herding cows on the range in secondhand ranch clothes.

Tell them.


Lisa Schmidt