You could say we have a pizza obsession. Read just a few pages into our new guide, Meet the Nexus, How Food, Water and Energy are Connected, and there it is, a full-page photo of a plain slice from one of our favorite local pizza joints. In our defense, we're fixated less on deliciousness and more on all the resources it took to get that slice into our hands. Industrial agriculture, fossil fuels and water (42 gallons per slice, for those counting) all had a big role in making our pizza a reality. The point is that ordinary, everyday decisions (plain or pepperoni?) each have profound effects on how food, water and energy resources interact with each other.
Need more examples? How about the fact that 25 percent of freshwater consumed each year is lost to wasted food? Or that 18 percent of home energy use goes toward water heating? Or that the typical US diet drinks up 1,444 gallons of water per day?
The food, water and energy nexus is simply the intersection of these three systems:
- It takes water and energy to produce the food you eat.
- Energy is used to move water to your home, to heat that water and then to clean up the water that flows down the drain.
- Water is required to run power plants safely and to produce oil, gas and coal.
- Some food crops are turned into fuel for vehicles.
"Meet the Nexus" is the first report written to help the rest of us understand what many corporations, think tanks and governments already know: that the often unseen connections between our food, water and energy systems mean that pressure in one area can have huge implications for the other two. The more we all take these connections into consideration — call it "nexus thinking" — the better our chances will be of achieving a sustainable future.
The guide breaks down the nexus concept into easy-to-digest parts by revealing the hidden connections between food, water and energy in grocery store aisles, at home and in the kitchen. It also provides nine simple tips that illustrate how making even one good decision about food, water or energy resources can have a positive impact on the others. Consider it more bang for the sustainable-behavior buck.
Please check out the guide at gracelinks.org/nexusguide. Once you get on board with nexus thinking, you might never see a slice of pizza the same way again.