A government source has revealed that a special operations unit has recently braved the coldest winter in Antarctica and succeeded in separating an iceberg from the continent's most northern tip. The unit then tamed a pod of Humpback whales floating in the debris nearby, and will now attempt to sail the iceberg back to Cape Town within the next four weeks.
Okey, I'll admit, a Green Beret sat grinning on the back of a bewildered whale while an iceberg bobs up and down in the background on the 8 o'clock news, could perhaps cost a writer a few points against their creative license but as for the rest; the truth is not so far from fiction as the United Arab Emirates are also now contemplating a similar solution to their drought problem in the not too distant future.
Nonetheless, speaking of facts, here's another quick one to mull over the next time your stood in the shower, squinting through a bubble of soap that’s popped and dried out in the corner of your eye as you try and keep track of a stopwatch, while collecting the few drops of grey water spattering from your knees - SABMiller, per day produces just under a 100 million litres of our local watering hole favorites.
And to brew only one litre of your favorite beer, they consume a whopping 155 litres of water per brew. Or in other words, the required 100 million litres of water the residents of Cape Town now have to scrimp and save each day, tenfold, to avoid becoming the capital of the Karoo.
But I'm not a beer drinker, I hear you say.
No problem, how about an ice cold glass of Coke?
But before you pour in that cheeky lunchtime tot, thinking you’re about to save the planet all together, consider this; per day, globally, we consume just over 1.7 billion servings of John Pembertonand’s household syrup, which in turn requires almost 2 litres of water for every litre of Coke.
Granted, 2 litres may not sound like a lot but if the other 55 billion servings of all other soft drink types are taken into account, as well as the water needed to produce their packaging…well, I’ll let you do the maths this time while I order us a round of tap waters instead. And while we're at it, why not some lunch?
Waiter, what's the going rate for a burger these days?
A Quarter-pounder from field to plate, just under 2500 litres of water, let alone the extra 80 litres needed for the bun.
Right, I meant the one with chicken?
4325 litres per kilogram -
No wait, I’ll have the chops instead.
5534 litres of water for every farmed kilogram of lamb.
Try 5988 litres for a kilogram of pork -
Okey, rice. Just a plate of rice, please?
2497 litres per kilogram. Or let’s make it 2500 since we’re wasting 3 litres on just the cooking.
Scrambled eggs then, your kitchen can keep the toast?
196 litres –
And before you storm out of the restaurant to your nearest supermarket, scouring the aisles in search of the shelve where they’ve hidden the last remaining Lunch-Bar on earth; you’ll be pleased to know that chocolate tips the scale at 17196 litres of water in order to produce just one kilogram of Bridget Jones’ favorite past-time.
Now as tempting as it may be to suggest that water shortages across the globe could be solved overnight if we all stop drinking beer and soft drinks tomorrow, or stop eating chocolate along with the meat and vegetables and fruit we source from large scale farms; is it rather not this the kind of problem solving that has got us here in the first place? The one size fits all solution to every challenge we face?
Does the responsibility not rather fall upon us?
A responsibility to educate ourselves on the various ways no matter how big or small, we could preserve our water, save energy, become better consumers and in the end, together make the necessary, greater impact.
After all, we have defied the odds since the day we took our first steps and began our journey from within the cradle of humankind. From the day we nourished the water in our rivers, lakes and oceans in order to not only grow and flourish among heaps of granite, sand and ice but to reap the greatest reward of them all; the acquired knowledge that the smallest act has the power to slowly tip the scale in our favor, just like that first big bang did all those millennia ago.
Even if such an act is an image of a Green Beret sat grinning on a bewildered whale, created in hope that we remain inspired to remind each other, each and every single day; to think before we buy the desert that comes with a complimentary, giant cube of ice on the side.
Eat Better - Drink Better
Wian van den Berg
UAE Iceberg Project :
SAB yearly volume :
SAB water usage:
Coca Cola water usage:
Food water usage: