What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

What's The Water Footprint Of That Sandwich?

September 21, 2012, 8:08 PM
Shutterstock_66977497

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

From now until Sunday, customers entering Leila's Shop, a London cafe, will find a number alongside each menu item. This number represents the item's "virtual water footprint," or the estimated amount of water involved in production as well as transport of the food and/or its ingredients. The owner of the shop, Leila McAlister, is allowing a team of scientists from King's College London to calculate and then display the water footprint value. The actual numbers are shocking: Because of the amount of water consumption involved in the growing, harvesting, and shipping of vanilla pods -- just one ingredient -- one dessert had a water footprint of 994 liters.

What's the Big Idea?

The concept of the carbon footprint is well-known at this point, but given estimates that two-thirds of the world's population will live with "severe water stress" by 2025, Tony Allen (who originated the water footprint concept) and his King's College colleagues believe more attention needs to be paid to the impact of water usage on an individual level. What to do about these numbers remains unclear, according to one researcher: "The issue is extremely complex...There really is no consumer guidance, but as our understanding develops it will come."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

 

What's The Water Footprint ...

Newsletter: Share: