In a high level panel on ‘Ending Hunger, Water as Life’ based on the theme of food and water as resources for life, Bhagawati Saraswati from Rishikesh spoke at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Tokyo. She suggested a three-point approach to deal with the problem of water crisis.
Addressing the summit leaders she said, “It is estimated that by 2040 the world will have only half the water it needs. At the current rate of over-consumption, over-extraction and over-exploitation we are looking at a major water crisis.
We must improve our ways of agriculture and irrigation so that they are less water intensive and more sustainable.
Large scale water conservation such as rain water harvesting, ground water recharge initiatives must be promoted, whilst simultaneously implementing massive tree plantation drives as well.
It is important to adopt greener lifestyles and understand that our actions and choices have an impact on the planet.
Choosing a vegetarian lifestyle is one of the simplest and most profound changes each one of us can make to ensure that every human being is entitled to the grains and water they need to not only survive but thrive,” she added.
The panel was chaired by Elizabeta Kitanovic, executive secretary for Human Rights and Communications, Conference of European Churches and included Dinesh Suna, coordinator of the Ecumenical Water Network, World Council of Churches and Timothy Appau, staff member, Asian Rural Institute and pastor, All African Baptist Fellowship and others.
Setting the context of the panel, it was shared that over 820 million people suffer from hunger, 780 million have no access to an improved water source, and sanitation is poor for some 2.5 billion people.
Food and water have especially critical importance to survival in times of crisis.
This session built on prior G20 Interfaith exploration of faith in famine emergencies, looking to broader food security insights and highlighting the crucial issues around water and sanitation.
She passionately spoke about the environmental ramifications of living a non-vegetarian lifestyle and shared findings from reports and statistics illustrating the role of animal agriculture in water shortages, food shortages and climate change.