You save more water by not eating a pound of meat than you do by not showering for six months

The water crisis in Cape Town is a dire situation as there are only 79 days of useable water left. Our water resources will be exhausted by 30 June, as announced by News24.

Cape Town uses approximately 801 million litres of water per day, which is 101 million liters above the target of 700 million liters per day. It is not only large corporations that use exorbitant amounts of water. Many households are responsible for this high water usage – 20 000 homes use 50 kilolitres a month, according to Patricia de Lille, the mayor of Cape Town. These households will not go unpunished though. They face steep fines if they fail to reduce their consumption levels and warnings have been issued which affirms that their water usage will be cut to 350 litres per day.

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Theewaterskloof dam, one of the biggest water suppliers in Cape Town, is close to empty. Photo: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/emergency-measures-in-place-for-water-crisis-cape-town-20170313 Edited by: Lara Antonopoulos

Each individual can make a difference to save Cape Town by reducing their level of water consumption:

Adopting a vegetarian diet could be beneficial to Cape Town and aid in the attempt to save the city. The amount of water that goes to raising animals for food is astounding. The production of one pound of meat takes more than 2,400 gallons of water, whereas just 25 gallons of water is needed to grow 1 pound of wheat. Diets which depend on meat, therefore, place enormous pressure on the environment. Research claims that up to 24% more water will be needed to grow the world’s food in 20 years. It is simply not viable if one continues to live a meat-based life.

There are many other prudent ways in which people – meat eaters and vegetarians – can save water. Non-potable water (water that is not of drinking quality) can be utilized in many ways:

  • Individuals can shower with a bucket and recycle the grey water to use in the garden.

  • Vehicles can be washed with non-potable water.

  • Other little things which make a big difference include fixing a dripping tap and

  • Turning off the tap when you brush your teeth (because running the tap while brushing your teeth uses up to 20 litres of water!) or

  • Installing a water meter.

Attempts to manage water consumption will be put into effect, according to Xanthea Limberg –   the mayoral committee member for water services – in an interview with Cape Argus. “… the city will intensify the restriction rules further and drop pressures to inhibit high consumption.” The installation of water management devices would assist households, businesses and other users to efficiently manage consumption. Level 3B water restrictions have been in effect since 1 February 2017 until further notice. The hyperlink explains what the restriction entails in more detail.

It may seem futile to fix a dripping tap – one might ask how that matters in the grand scheme of things, but it is important to remember that every drop counts. Overcoming the water crisis starts at home. In the end, saving water will not only help the water crisis in Cape Town, but it will also benefit the environment.

If you are what you eat, are you a garden or a graveyard?

Do you miss bacon?” is one of the first responses I get when I tell someone I’m a vegetarian. The answer is no. In fact, the thought of ever eating meat again makes me shudder. Vegetarianism is a hotly debated topic, and there will always be people that believe they “can’t” live without bacon. This article is not here to try and persuade you to become a vegetarian or to shove “meat is murder in your face”. I am merely explaining vegetarianism from a spiritual point of view.

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You are what you eat. Photo: twitter.com/my_vegan_dreams/status/772464413483921410 Edited by Lara Antonopoulos

Albert Einstein once said that “nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet”. There are many scientific arguments which support a vegetarian diet. Meat eating causes cancer,  obesity, heart disease and many other health issues. The meat industry also destroys the environment. It causes deforestation, a waste of resources, water pollution, and global warming. Spiritual people are vegetarians for different reasons, though.

Imagine how terror-stricken an animal becomes the moment before it is slaughtered. There are many stories of how cows die of fear while they are led to the slaughterhouse. It was even found that dead pigs have humungous veins which basically exploded of fear and adrenalin while the pig was led to the slaughterhouse. The perpetuate cycle of being born only to become someone’s dinner transmits an energy of anxiety and melancholy onto our plates. Energy can’t be destroyed, and it remains in the meat from the moment the animal is slaughtered until the moment we consume it. It is impossible to keep our bodies pure while sustaining ourselves on meat. Our body is a temple, and it is spiritually counterproductive to pollute it with the corpse of a dead animal.

In an interview with Murari Gupta Das, a local monk at the Hare Krsna temple in Rondesboch, he  shared an anecdote with me about how he became a vegetarian. A Swami asked him, “Do you want a relationship with God?” Murari replied, “Yes”. The Swami then said, “But when you eat meat, it’s like me going to your house and saying ‘I’m hungry, can I eat your dog?’ Would you want to be friends with me then?” Murari said “no”. The Swami explained that the same applies when you want to have a relationship with God. If you want to be friends with him, you cannot eat meat. Nine years later, Murari is still a vegetarian.

Only vegetarian food is cooked in the temple kitchen. Photo: Lara Antonopoulos

Vegetarianism is also encouraged by the Bible and ancient Vedas. Stephen Knapp quotes the Vedic text of the Manu-samhita (5.45-8) in his book The Heart of Hinduism: The Eastern Path to Freedom, Empowerment and Illumination: “… but let him [man] never seek to destroy an animal without a [lawful] reason. As many hairs as the slain beast has, so often indeed will he who killed it without a [lawful] reason suffer a violent death in future births.” (Manu-samhita 5:37 – 38) This quote shows us that when you sow suffering, you will reap suffering. As the second law of thermodynamics states, for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. This is called karma. In your next lives, you will pay the consequences for inflicting pain and suffering on innocent animals. When we base our happiness on the suffering of other beings, we bring upon ourselves undesirable consequences. Is it worth slaughtering an innocent animal for the sole purpose of satisfying your taste buds?

How can man find peace if, through the tortuous cycle of the meat industry, man’s body is permeated with the anxious energy of an animal living on a factory farm? How can man find peace if his karma accumulates every time he eats an animal?  Finding peace and bliss is a crucial part of spirituality, and it is important to remember “until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”