i have written and shared a number of posts about the water crisis in Cape Town and the approaching Day Zero. It is super important that we think about those things. And continue to. BUT, this too will pass, and if we are still alive at the end of it, then we will need to take some things into account so that we don’t keep Groundhog Daying slash Dejavu’ing this scenario again and again.
The story so far
i have already shared a very popular post by my friend Kayla-Tess about how her family of four on how they are working to conserve water; a post by my sister-in-law Shana on how she managed to shower, wash and condition her hair, brush her teeth and shave using only 5l of water as well as this follow-up post she wrote upon the realisation that millions of people in this country have had that as their lived experience for most or all of their lives; my thoughts and reflections on the same thing; followed by a specific question/reflection posed to the million or so South Africans who took to prayer this Wednesday to ask God to provide rain.
Those posts have been read and shared and commented on a lot and if you click on any of the links above you are welcome to do more of the same. BUT a lot of that is small picture stuff in many ways and unless we do have some miraculous rain, or the fifty percent or more of Capetonians who are reported to have not made any changes at all actually come to the party, or the local or national government start displaying some evidence that they are taking this more seriously than they have been [looking at you Mmusi Maimane, handing out free water containers in Constantia!]
One longer-term possibility to consider
Give up meat. i know, i know, grab that asthma pump and calm the flip down. For those of you who are meat eaters i’m not sure that will be a viable option at all. But at least take a look at these graphics.
Whatever the actual numbers are, it seems to be quite strongly suggested that the raising of cattle for meat consumption is costing the planet a whole lot of water.
My wife Valerie [aka tbV] and i decided to try and do something about that in our own lives. For a short while we participated in Meat-Free Mondays, which is an international movement to cut down meat consumption and encourage people to be more aware. We really struggled with it though, largely because we would forget because it was so infrequent and so it didn’t last all that long.
But then we decided to get a little bit more intentional about it and so moved to a one week on, one week off practice where every second week we would have a meat-free week and not consume any meat at home at all [we wouldn’t be dogmatic about it and if we went out and someone had made a meat dish we would eat it but gradually people got to find out and often ask us in advance whether it’s a meat week or not] followed by a week where we would eat as we normally would [which was not excessively meat-heavy anyways].
If this is not something you have ever done, would you consider giving it a go, even if just for one week? And then maybe consider taking it on longer term after that?
For us, it didn’t seem like the hugest deal, but now that we’ve been doing it for three years it actually has proved to be quite a significant amount if you add it all up. We effectively almost halved our entire meat consumption [although weekends tend to be whatever happens so maybe slightly less than halved but thereabouts].
So whether you start taking an official day off of meat per week or whether you decide to be a little more adventurous and join us in one week on, one week off, or if you want to really get serious and consider vegetarianism or veganism [check out some inspiring stories here] please would you consider making some move dropping your meat consumption with an eye on the long-term effects it can have on the water usage in a region or around the world in general.
Don’t take your hand off the wheel
One thing Capetonians need to be vigilant of is the fact that most of the changes we have made in our water consuming and conserving efforts need to become part of our new normal. The moment it rains we can’t all relax what we’ve been doing and assume everything is alright. And even on the off chance that it rains heavily and the dams start filling up significantly, we need to realise that we can never return to our water-wasting ways. We are a heavily overpopulated region and we need to work together to make it as inhabitable as we can for as long as we can.
We are all in this together so let’s not get all Waterworld Mad Max vibes but rather let’s pull together and really do everything we can to make a difference. By changing something like the meat thing now you can influence the situation for years to come.
Any other long term ideas you have that will help us to be better in the long run?