GRACE Communications Foundation consists of a group of activists dedicated to increasing public awareness of the relationships between food, water and energy systems.
Their goal is to educate consumers regarding the development of sustainable food networks. The foundation highlights the connections among food, water and energy in a guide called “Meet The Nexus, How Food, Water and Energy Are Connected” pdf.
To further illustrate their concept, the foundation’s guide uses the ingredients in a slice of pizza.
They explain how water is needed to grow the wheat that’s milled into flour, which is added to the flour and yeast to make the dough, and you need water to produce the mozzarella. Growing the tomatoes that make up the sauce also requires water.
Then there’s the energy that goes directly into baking the pizza pie, but there’s also the hidden energy that goes into farming the crops in the form of tractors, and fossil fuels required to produce fertilizers and pesticides, processing and distributing the ingredients, and the energy required to manufacture the pizza oven.
Thus, the water in that slice of pizza is “virtual water” and there’s a lot of it in the food we eat. We may not see it or drink it, but it makes up the majority of our water footprint.
The food, water and energy nexus is simply where and how these three systems interconnect, because it takes water and energy to produce the food we eat.
When these three systems come into conflict with each other there are consequences. Events like drought, oil spills and rising food prices all emphasize their relationships.
What we all do every day affects the food, water and energy nexus, and the nexus, in turn, affects our everyday life. The guide suggests that by thinking more broadly about these interconnections, we can build a more sustainable future.
The foundation’s guide stresses that we need to better understand the connections between growing enough food, meeting rising energy needs and providing ample clean water for people around the world.
But this isn’t just the responsibility of industry, corporations and governments. We all have an important role to play.
Our everyday food, water and energy choices have a fundamental effect on each other and the environment. The more we take this “nexus thinking” into consideration, the better our chances will be of achieving a sustainable future.
Here’s a few examples of how important it is to take the food, water and energy nexus into consideration, and how nexus thinking can help us make more sustainable choices.
(Click “Next” to see 9 Steps We Can All Take To Achieve a Sustainable Future)