REVERED speaker Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji has called for an urgent need to conserve water, considering 780 million have no access to an improved water source.

Speaking at the G20 Interfaith Summit in Tokyo, Japan, Saraswatiji said water shortage will be more widespread and severe by 2040, and to combat this, large-scale water conservation methods with massive tree plantation drives were needed.

Speaking on the theme of “Food and Water: Resources for Life” at the summit, which took place from June 7 to 9, Saraswatiji pointed out that at the current rate of “over-consumption, over-extraction and over-exploitation, we are looking at a major water crisis.”

Improving our ways of agriculture and irrigation and adopting greener lifestyles were also key, she said.

Saraswatiji with David Cameron

“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 the grains and water they need to not only survive but thrive,” she said.

Elaborating on the environmental ramifications of living a non-vegetarian lifestyle, Saraswatiji shared findings from reports and statistics illustrating the negative impact of animal agriculture on water shortages, food shortages and climate change.

“More than our global water and food shortage, there is a global consciousness shortage. This is the great opportunity and challenge that lies ahead of  our faith leaders, faith communities, and faith based organisations to lead the way for a better, more sustainable future.”

The panel was chaired by Elizabeta Kitanovič, executive secretary for Human Rights & Communications.

Saraswatiji also met David Cameron, former prime minister of the United Kingdom and thanked him for hosting the launch of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism at Queen Elizabeth Centre in London in October 2014.