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Golf Courses give more reasons why we must abolish billionaires
One golf course uses 312,000 gallons of water per day, while an average household uses 183 gallons, at a time climate change leads to depletion of 21 of the 37 of the world's freshwater sources
Cementing golf course in France, Credit, The Connexion
Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion cemented golf courses in southern France, over exemptions from water restrictions. They kicked against golf clubs watering their greens at a time when the authorities told residents to avoid non-essential water usage such as car washing and watering gardens, during one of the worst droughts in France.
Other examples abound where residents expressed oppositions to golf clubs. Activists campaigned against the development of a new golf course by American billionaire Mike Keiser at Coul Links in Scotland, feeling the project would damage a unique and surprisingly rich habitat.
Local golfers and activists in Hong Kong clashed when the government advocated for the development of a land occupied by a golf course leased by the Hong Kong Golf Club.
These incidents, and many others, spotlighted not only the tremendous power of golf-playing elites, but also the extraordinary rate at which the lifestyle of the billionaire class impacts on climate change and the usage of water.
The usage of water at golf clubs is astonishing in its own right. Golf courses in the United States use about 2.08 billion gallons of water per day for irrigation, with an average golf course making use of 312,000 gallons per day, according to Audubon International. Owners of golf courses bury a stupendous 3,000 sprinklers at different places, while a 150-acre golf course uses about 200 million gallons of water per year, enough to supply about 2,000 residences with 300 GPD of water. If you lay the approximately 16,000 golf courses in the United States together – about 50% of the world’s total – they occupy an area as large as Delaware.
Water consumption for golf courses in Agarves, Credit, ResearchGate
Globally, more than 38,000 golf courses exist, with the United States far and away the global leader with 16,000 golf courses, Japan (3,140) and the United Kingdom (3,101), neck and neck in the second and third place, all using water or recycled water to irrigate their premises. A typical golf course in Britain utilizes anywhere between 378.5 square meters to 3,785 square meters of water per week in the summer months. However, the Environment Agency in United Kingdom warned in January that an extra 3,435 million liters of water could be required each day for golf courses going forwards. This means golf courses, not just in America, make use of a stupendous amount of water, and the trend is global.
A water- thirsty golf course, Credit, NPR
But while the rise in population worldwide no doubt impacts on water consumption, household use does not match water usage by golf courses. Golf courses utilize billions of gallons of water per day, but on the average, water use in the U.S. adds up to about 138 gallons per household per day, or 60 gallons per individual. While a golf course in the U.K. may use up to 3,785 square liters of water per week, the average individual in the country uses 152 liters of water per day and a household of four uses around 600 liters per day. An average person in Japan uses 287 liters per day, and it would have been lesser had it not been the Japanese take daily baths more than once. In Africa, the average family uses about five gallons per day.
An African golf course, Credit, CNN
This means that while ordinary people globally use little amounts of water, the rich squanders the resource through golf-related pleasures at a time of depleting water supply occasioned by climate change. The consequence of all the international inequalities is that a wealthy group uses far more water, for all purposes, across all livelihood zones on earth.
This matters because the world’s freshwater sources deplete faster than nature replenishes them, with 21 out of 37 of the world’s aquifers receding, from China to United States and France. From 1960 to 2000, global groundwater depletion increased from 126 to 283 km3 per year, creating fears of a possible water war in the near and long term.
Working families don’t own these golf courses. Initiation fees to join Augusta National Golf Club for instance range from $250,000 to $500,000. The income of many members ranges into billions of dollars. The implication means less than one percent of the population consumes 2.08 billions of gallons of water per day through golf courses.
Mangawhai, New Zealand
Water usage isn’t the only way billionaires impact on climate change through golf courses. Across the world, their influences show in many ways. It shows through the building of golf courses, the use of golf clubs, and other associated endeavors. For instance, U.S. billionaire Ric Kayne planned to build two golf courses at Te Arai, next to an 18-hole course rated as one of the best in the world, only it would negatively affect the stream level, fish numbers, and fairy terns of Mangawhai Wildlife Reserve, a key breeding ground for terns in New Zealand. Golf courses, to attract billionaires and their associates, cut down trees to make for fairways and different holes, causing harms to the environment, said Brent Blackwelder, an environmentalist. Billionaire Jeff Bezos purchased a property for $165 million in the Benedict Canyon neighborhood of Beverly Hills, complete with a nine-hole golf course, a motor court with a garage and gas pumps. Larry Ellison plans to turn his private Porcupine Creek property in Rancho Mirage into an ultra-modern luxury retreat, featuring a re-routed 18-hole golf course.
The billionaire lifestyle fuels the construction of gold courses, which build lavish facilities to attract them, leading to negative impacts on water consumption and climate change, and something practical must be done to put an end to the trend. Fine billionaires! Tax them to death. Take away their money somehow, say critics. Instead of these options, the idea of creating a fair society should come to play.
Society must strive towards more than just fining or taxing billionaires. It must make their lifestyle unattractive to people. People should not want to become billionaires. The world must do this if it hopes to survive the water supply and climate change crisis.
More about Golf Courses and Water Usage
Lavish water use at golf course, Credit, Enviromental Protection
How Much Water Golf Courses Need? Read this.
How Much Water Does a Golf Course Use? Read this.
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