Here is How we can Help #RallyForRivers be an Even Bigger Success!

  • Harsha Atmakuri
  • 1253

At Vegan First, we love to hear varying opinions and thoughts on current topics that impact our environment and have a connection to Veganism. This article is one of them. RallyForRivers is a campaign by Sadhguru and is aimed at protecting our rivers. We’re glad he has taken a stance to look after our Rivers and the huge public support it has recieved. We would like to shed light on the one big way we can truly conserve water and our environment - in this article written by Harsha Atmakuri will explain exactly that with his fresh opinion on a popular topic. Enjoy the read!

By now many Indians are aware of the nation-wide revolutionary campaign started by Sadhguru (founder of Isha foundation) to save all the major rivers of India (for the future of humanity and our motherland) which is called — RallyForRivers.

This campaign aims to bring social and political movement to plant trees along the length of all the major rivers in this country, to maintain a minimum of 1 km tree cover on either side of the rivers from its banks.

In his own words, Sadhguru says “This is not a protest. This is not an agitation. This is a campaign to raise awareness that our rivers are depleting. Everyone who consumes water must Rally For Rivers.” 

From businessmen to celebrities, middle-class householders to politicians, from schools and colleges to universities and MNCs - everyone is unanimously supporting, promoting and praising this campaign - All for the greater good of our nation.

All this sounds encouraging and promising, however, it is not going to be effective nor at the least bear its fruits in time. The reason for this is simple and straightforward and it is related to our food choices — ANIMAL AGRICULTURE.

You must be wondering “How does my food choice affect Rally For Rivers and the future of this nation?” Here’s the answer

Every time we talk about climate change, or river depletion, or deforestation, species extinction, etc. we often think about pollution that is related to automobiles and factories. However, there is an elephant in the room which was not just ignored but also forgotten— It is our own food habits! Animal products like meat, eggs, fish, dairy, etc. are the most significant source of air/water/land pollution; it is more than all the automobiles in the world combined.

Since Rally For Rivers campaign is primarily focused on water (river) conservation, I would like to limit this discussion to only water resources and the challenges our mother Earth and her residents (humans and animals) face in future with regards to water resources.

Before we discuss any further, we need to know what is the meaning of the word Water Footprint as it is often used by the scientific and academic communities as an indicator of consumption, which as stated in the below images:

Info above collated from The Guardian

Image courtesy Vegan Street

As you have read in the images above, you must have realized that— the impact of the water footprint by each one of us on the environment is astounding, and you must know where I am heading with this statement.

A non-vegetarian who is consuming dairy/egg/meat etc. has a massive water footprint over a vegetarian, and a vegetarian who consumes dairy products has a massive water footprint over a vegan diet (i.e. feeding only on fruits and vegetable, while abstaining from not only meat and fish, but also eggs, milk and honey, etc. including avoiding animals in clothing, furniture, entertainment and research)

Hence, if you do support the Rally For Rivers, you must also understand that in order to save the rivers, underground water, etc. We need to be living on a vegan diet in the first place. Otherwise planting trees alone can only mean that we are trying to fill water in a pot that has holes at the bottom. All the efforts will go in vain.

Coming to the statistical understanding, It is projected that: Meat consumption will increase by 76% by 2050 not only because world’s population will be 9.6 billion by then but also increasing per-capita meat consumption and we will be growing more crops to feed animals than for ourselves. (here)
Such unfathomable demand for animal products requires huge resources of land and water which enables further deforestation, pollution, and destruction of our planet.

During any drought, people display a lot of outrage when a water tank has been used for watering a private garden or a cricket stadium, but the same people go home and cook chicken and consumes dairy, which utilizes much more water than a single water tank can carry.

Though Rally For Rivers campaign is a very much appreciable and much needed for the nation and the world, it, however, cannot fulfil the basic needs of our survival in the long run. Unless it is supported by veganism, and it should be done NOW.

Our Earth is at the threshold of its ruins where Rally For Rivers may slow it down for only a moment, which inevitably, will be overtaken by our own destructive food habits.

This can be put to an end if each one of us individually and collectively, learn and understand the consequences of our dietary and lifestyles choices on the environment, and consciously changes to a plant-based diet. For more information on environmental consequences of our dietary choices, please watch this 16 min YouTube video COWSPIRACY

When spoken about veganism, it is often encountered with a response “Let us plant trees first” which seems to be ignoring the other important issue – Animal Agriculture. While planting trees is focused on long term goals; the supporters should be aware by now that our food choices also play key role in not only long term solution, but also in addressing the problem right at this moment. A simple change in diet habits can make a lot of difference to the world.

Rally For Rivers is only a half solution the other half of the solution is in our diet. Let us support both and make it a complete and immaculate force in saving our mighty rivers. Only then the long-term goals can be achieved.

Hence, I request Sadhguru and the Rally for Rivers team to implement, practice and include veganism in their campaign.

Hence, I would like to conclude this article by adding few more words to what Sadhguru already said “This is not a protest. This is not an agitation. This is a campaign to raise awareness that our rivers are depleting. Everyone who consumes water must Rally For Rivers and must Go Vegan.

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Harsha Atmakuri

Harsha Atmakuri is a medical graduate and a vegan activist from Mumbai. Ever since he turned vegan, He began spreading the vegan message through various means like outreaches. He is also a Vegan First content contributor

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