Why is the Colorado River Disappearing?

It’s not what you think

T. J. Brearton
2 min readMay 23


Photo by Tom Gainor on Unsplash

Look! Another massive statistic that will be ignored: 56% of the use of the Colorado River goes to livestock feed.

That’s right, livestock feed. Not residential use, not wheat or grain, but making food for animals to eat so we can kill the animals and eat them.

Go ahead, check the link. I’ll wait.

While people fight over watering their lawns, the irrigation of alfalfa, hay, grasses, and corn silage is sucking up the majority of the water meant for California, Arizona, and Nevada.

This statistic will be ignored — or, at least, it will rehash all the pointless arguments over veganism versus meat-eating, and nothing will get done. (See also: mass shootings and gun control.)

We have many problems in the world, but chief among them is in how we communicate.

We’ve forgotten how to have meaningful conversation. Instead, we cleave to our side and consider anything else hostile enemy propaganda.

It’s not about being vegan, and never eating meat or dairy again. If you choose that, good on you. I’ve done it for a time, and it’s great, but it’s just not for everybody, no matter your moralizing. I hate the fact of suffering animals. When I do eat meat, I get it from local farms. But not always. Sometimes I just have some meat from some anonymous animal I know suffered a horrible existence. Because life is messy.

But it’s not about pigging out on meat 24 hours a day, either. It’s not about making fun of vegans and acting morally and physically superior because you eat dead animals. It’s not about making faces at the idea of lab-grown meat while thinking slaughterhouses are just fine. You’re an idiot. Slaughterhouses and CAFOs are horrors shows.

We simply have to have an honest conversation about how much we’re consuming. And yes, everyone has to play their part in it. It’s not just about “the system” or waiting for governments to get their shit together and…what, even? Parse out how much meat we’re allowed to produce in the US? How much we can import? Keep dreaming. Governments have no power — corporations and billionaires do.

Just stop eating so much fucking meat, okay? Stop justifying your gluttonous meat intake, stop arguing with vegans — and vegans, you’re not helping the cause with your moral absolutism. Let’s reduce the amount we consume. Say it with me, everybody: Reduce the amount we consume.

Of everything, yes. But in the case of the Colorado River drying up and there being no more water left for anything, please reduce the amount of meat and dairy you’re consuming. Can we all do that? Can we just do that little bit, please?

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.



T. J. Brearton

I’m passionate about the environment, plant-based cooking, philosophy, and mental health. I write thriller novels for a living. Top writer in Climate Change