Hey, baby fish…I’ll show you my water footprint if you show me your hot stain. What’s a water footprint? Well, it’s the total amount of water you or I use directly (drinking, washing, gardening) and indirectly (food and other purchases). What’s a hot stain?

That’s just in deserts, right? Nope. Hot stains are in every continent (save for Antarctica). Here in the US, every major metropolitan area in the Southwest is a hot stain. LA, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Antonio…and all the other cities that depend on water sucked from the Sierra Nevada and/or the Colorado River. So…in the US "hot stains" are just a Southwest thing? Nope. Atlanta – along with much of Georgia and Alabama and many cities in Florida – is part of Hot Stain Nation.

You live near Chicago – so with Lake Michigan in the neighborhood, you can’t possibly be in a hot stain, right? Sorry, baby fish – welcome to Hot Stain Nation.

There are bore wells in the Lake Michigan shore that go as deep into the ground as Chicago skyscrapers go into the ground and they are sucking groundwater that should be feeding the lake so hard that they are pulling up lake water now, and they are reversing the flow of water in Lake Michigan for the first time.

[snip]

you face having no water to the Chicago area, where the demand is going to grow hugely, and therefore the demand will be on the Great Lakes, which are already in trouble. There are four trillion liters taken out of the Great Lakes every single day and believe me, nature is not putting a trillion gallons back in.

Just another DFH Earth First! apocalyptic rant? Sorry, although EarthFirst! wrote of this over a decade ago, Canada’s amazing Maude Barlow gives us the bad news on Lake Michigan.

Who’s Maude Barlow? She’s an activist rock star: head of the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization, and founder of the Blue Planet Project. In 2005, Maude Barlow received Sweden’s Right Livelihood Award (aka the "Alternative Nobel"). Earlier this year Amy Goodman had her on to discuss her new book Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

as we have polluted the world’s surface water, we are taking water from the ground, from ground water or from wilderness or from watersheds, and we’re moving it where we want it to be, so to water great big huge cities that then dump it into the ocean, so don’t return it to the watershed, or we pave over what’s called water-retentive lands, so we don’t have the hydrologic cycle able to fulfill its responsibility and bring water back. We’re doing something called virtual water trade, which is where we use our water to grow or produce something that then is exported. In the United States, you export a third of your water, domestic water, every day out of the United States in terms of these exports.

Get that, baby fish? Here in Hot Stain Nation, we’ve got drought from the Golden Gate Bridge to South Florida — and every freaking day we’re exporting one-third of the scarce domestic water we use that day. Are we sending it as bottled water? Nope. We’re sending it as massively subsidized ag exports.

AMY GOODMAN: Who exports it?

MAUDE BARLOW: Mainly large agribusiness. It’s mainly commodities and corporations that are using this water to well, to export massive amounts of commodities.

Gotta love the Corps Of Engineers and the Farm Bill — if you’re Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, or any other blood-and-resource-sucking megacorp.

Or if you’re a DFS: the Dirty Fanatical Suits from the Chicago Cult who sacrificed our economy, our health care, our food security, and our national security as offerings to the Great Ghoul Of Globalization and the megacorps who spawned the Ghoul. The Dirty Fanatical Suits who will sacrifice any community, species, or people just to get bigger quarterly profits — and hence bigger bonuses. The Dirty Fanatical Suits who kill us off with mass poisoning they call "pollution" and kill off our Republic with the corporatist power grab they call "FISA".

The Dirty Fanatical Suits: traitors within our nation, our communities, and our common biosphere.

This week we were all reminded that the Dirty Fanatical Suits own both major party Prez candidates and the majority of the Village "leaders" and media. They won’t help save our water: they’d rather privatize it.

While we work to demolish the Chicago Cult, the Dirty Fanatical Suits, and the Village they’ve mastered, what can we do in our homes and communities to shrink the Hot Stains?

First thing we can do is calculate our water footprints – and compare them to the national average: the average American consumes 2500 cubic meters of water per year.

Then we can figure out how to use less. For some that could mean changing lawns into gardens or drought-resistant plantings. For some that could mean changing their home plumbing to divert the "grey water" (sink and tub and washwater) away from sewers and onto home gardens and plantings.

And — when we play around with the water footprint calculators — we’ll also find that one choice stands out. The choice to eat meat.

You see, every kilogram — that’s 2.2 pounds — of beef we eat requires 16 thousand liters of water. That’s about 4,000 gallons. That works out to nearly 110 gallons per ounce of beef. So every pound of beef we bring home requires over 1,800 gallons of water. Which — for baby fish — can make the difference between surviving and perishing.

Don’t ask me, baby fish. Ask the Sacramento River salmon run or the Delta smelt. While you still can.

Bon Appeitit.

[photo credit: ChrisMRichards]