Open Letter to Lewis Pugh

By June 24, 2017Activism, My Blog

Dear Lewis,

I am writing to you in your capacity as UN Patron of the Oceans and because I know I can count on you. I don’t know anyone else who has the balls (your balls have literally been frozen in the name of protecting the environment!), integrity, commitment and influence to genuinely serve this earth like you. If not you, then who?

I will never forget the time we were walking together and you drew a line in the sand and explained to me that we all have a choice and our lives will reflect the consequences of those choices. It feels like this is one of those moments. But not a “Mickey Mouse” crossroads, one that can alter the path of life as we know it on this planet! “We not here for a haircut right?”

(Thank you for capturing this moment Ariella. And thank you for your beautiful compassion)

These are your words:

“Why do I do what I do? I do it because I believe in protecting our fragile planet, in peace and in justice. I do it because it’s right. I do it because our souls need nature. And I do it as much for nature’s sake as for ours… Everywhere water is under threat. It is our most precious resource. And there is no alternative to it.”

This is your mission:

I believe this. I believe you. I believe in you. That’s why I am writing to you.

A quick story (we both know about the power of a story) about my father and then I will cut to the chase I promise! Ever since I can remember my dad has never flushed the toilet after a pee. And ever since I can remember this has driven me mad and I have teased him incessantly. Dad I am sorry for teasing you. You could just see further than me at the time. If you are visiting a place that is allowing you to use its resources (free of charge) you of course are going to use them respectfully and sparingly in honor of this beautiful gesture. This has reminded me that we do not own the earth, and it does not owe anything to us. In fact it is the other way round, we owe it a great deal for being able to be here. I like this quote from Alice Walker “Activism is the rent I pay for being able to live on this earth”. Your life is testament to this. I know how much you have given to this means.

As Capetonians we are now very aware of the scarcity of water. It’s on our doorstep literally in the form of one of the most severe droughts in history and we both know that this is generally when a human being wakes up. And we are waking up but it’s a bit like a lazy Sunday morning wake up – just the way we like it in the Cape!

Cape Town is officially at level 4 water restrictions which is urging us all to conserve water wherever possible and has put laws and penalties in place to ensure we do – no bathing, quick showers with buckets so the shower water can be used in the garden, no filling of pools, no watering the garden etc etc.

(Link to official government information which was on the Western Cape Govt home page but I had to dig a little to find it: Level 4 Water Restrictions )

There is a fat Elephant (or perhaps it’s a cow?!) in the room.

We all remember the Meatloaf song. “I will do anything for love, but I won’t do that! No I won’t do that”

This is the bottom line, the inconvenient truth:

Let’s be clear. Animal agriculture uses more than 10 times the amount of water that is used for domestic usage.

This is the bottom line, the inconvenient truth:

Yes say it again. One Hamburger = approx 32 showers!

This is the bottom line, the inconvenient truth:

800 billion gallons of water per year is used directly by farm animals.

As much as we need to promote conscious living and actions like my dads and “level 4 water restrictions” should be the norm rather than the exception, we are pissing into a hurricane and all we are doing is splashing ourselves and feeling a little better about ourselves. Domestic water use compared to animal agriculture water use is like a drop in the ocean.

Like it or not. It’s too uncomfortable , inconvenient for most people to stomach. It was even too uncomfortable and inconvenient for Al Gore who spoke more truth on this subject than any previous leader in recent history. You are not most people so I am hoping it is not too inconvenient for you?

I remember so vividly you taking me through the public speech you gave standing up to the might of Shell. You did not succumb to their power and influence. You stood alone and gave others the courage to stand with you. This photo from that day sends shivers right the way through my being brother.

“If you see injustice, do not wait for leaders. Stand up – alone if you have to. Your courage will inspire others” Lewis Pugh

Thank you for inspiring me to stand up.

This is the bottom line, the inconvenient truth:

This is the bottom line, the inconvenient truth:

Lewis, we don’t even need these stats. Think about it. We have to water the fields producing the food the animals need to eat plus the animals need tons of water themselves. There are an estimated 1,5 Billion cows (let alone all the other livestock animals) per annum, think about how much water this represents and how much shit is generated by all of these cows that finds its way to our water systems and oceans. We have barely even touched on the impact of methane and deforestation on global warming.

Why don’t we just eat the food produced in the field?

Stand with me on this one, Lewis. At least let’s try? Nothing is stopping us from trying. If we truly care for the world around us we owe it to Mother Earth to give this a bash?

“I endeavour to do my best to stop eating animals and all animals products.” John McInroy 

I know you have already stood up for so much in your life and it’s almost unfair to be asking you for more. But we need you to man and it’s actually not that much to ask? What’s stopping us from trying? And if not you, then who?

And ask someone in your life that is as influential as you are in my life and in the world to stand with us. If each of us do this we can start to be the change and history will not condemn our lack of leadership and courage.

Lewis, I remind you of your own inspiring words to live by: Lewis Pugh Speech to Shell: Standing against Goliath 

“Ladies and gentlemen, that is what is at stake here today: our children’s future. And that of our children’s children… Look around the world. Wherever you damage the environment you have conflict. Fellow South Africans, we have had enough conflict in this land – now is the time for peace… I have no doubt, that in the end, good will triumph over evil”

You are spot on.

“As long as there are slaughterhouses there will be battlefields” Lee Tolstoy

“Ahimsa pratisthayam tat sannidhau vaira tyagah – When you stop harming others, others will stop harming you” Yoga Sutra 2.35

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” Matthew 7:12 The Bible 

The environment around us mirrors us and how we treat other living beings. Our treatment of animals is tantamount to participation in one of the most horrific atrocities in human history. Remember how so many people were part of Nazi Germany, black oppression in USA or closer to us both, Apartheid in South Africa to name a few. I don’t blame anyone. We couldn’t see. But now we can.

I have asked the question to people who grew up during Apartheid, “what did you do?” I don’t want to be asked this same question about what I did during this time and not be able to say I really tried. And I’m not talking about Meatloafs idea of trying!

We are not helpless. When we are sitting on our rocking chairs after doing all we can with this physical life how do you want to answer the question from a young person born into the world in 2050, “so what did you do during the Animal Holocaust where we used up and polluted all our water?” I believe that is how history will come to remember this period of our existence and this question will be asked.

We can choose. Our survival doesn’t depend on us eating animals or deciding which ones get to live freely or which ones don’t, this is speciesism which is the foundation of racism amongst humans and how we have come to accept that one living beings life is worth more than another’s based on random factors or perceptions. Our survival depends on us seeing our “sameness” in all living beings and not being constantly reminded of our “otherness” that disconnects us and allows us to commit the atrocities we do against each other.

We can change the world. We have gotta at least give it a try!

“Never doubt that  a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Let’s hope Meatloaf isn’t proved right! No one wants to hear his new song “I will do anything for the planet. I just want to do that! No I won’t do that!”

Yours in admiration, service and respect

John McInroy
A fellow and present visitor on earth.

Ps. Veganism is not so bad… you may even lose that gut of yours!

IF YOU ARE NOT LEWIS AND YOU HAVE READ THIS FAR. THANK YOU. YOU COULD DO ME A FAVOUR AND RE-READ INSERTING YOUR NAME INSTEAD OF LEWIS. IF YOU ARE “IN” TO GIVE THIS A TRY YOURSELF PLEASE LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW AND SHARE THIS IN A COOL, HUMAN, COMPASSIONATE WAY WITH YOUR FRIENDS. THIS LETTER IS AN INVITATION FOR ALL! Feel free to join in any capacity, see it as a cool experiment that can have epic ripples on the earth, remembering that even an intention is a powerful first step not to be underestimated. Go on give it a try! (Disclaimer: the beautiful female friends are not a guarantee but highly likely as well as a nice healthy body, mind and spirit!)

“A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step”

Take it!

Every time I arrive at Cape Town International Airport I am reminded of these words

“… sometimes one must go public with an idea to push a reluctant organisation in the direction you want it to go”

You have that influence and courage Lewis!!


About Bodhi

In conventional speak, John McInroy is a South-African born social activist, humanitarian, social entrepreneur, ultra endurance athlete, international field hockey player, actor and vegan yogi. In more authentic terms, Bodhi is a human you may see walking the streets barefoot trying to find new ways to tread as lightly as possible.


  • Emma says:

    🙌🏼 emma duffy from Ireland

  • Jim Eshelman says:

    Please do all you can to make this information known.
    Thank you
    Jim Eshelman
    Durham, NC

  • Madeleine says:

    Weeooohoooo!! Bravo

  • Claudia Debs says:


  • Ewa Josefsson, Miami Florida USA says:

    Thank you for putting this into words John. I can’t think of a more compassionate action than choosing a diet free from animal products, for all those reasons that you mentioned. We don’t have much time. How we live our lives right now is essential. ‘May all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to their happiness and freedom.’

  • Maria-Lisa Höcker says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful letter. Often it takes one to actually make the first step so that more people can join. Thank you for giving us the chance to join and spread the word. It is so simple but essential.
    Maria-Lisa, from Berlin, Germany

  • Charlotte Kelberine, New York, USA says:

    Spot on, John. Thank you. By your side on this journey.

  • Ludovic Baussan - New York - USA says:

    Bravo for this amazing initiative !!!!

  • Rima Rabbath says:

    Your courage & honesty, your sense of trust & frankness in the possibility of going the distance and taking everyone with you is magical. Thank You.

  • May all beings everywhere be happy and free. Free from suffer and sickness. And may my thoughts, words and actions contribute it in someway.

    You’ve found a courage and beautiful way, bro! Your thoughts and words make us observe the world with compassion.

    We must change the world, we must stop the Animal Holocaust!

    I proud of you. Thank you for inspiration 🙏🏻✨

  • Rowena Johnson, London, UK says:

    “Why didn’t they just eat the food produced in the field?”. This is the question future generations will be asking in exasperation if we continue with the status quo. Few things are as simple to grasp as this.

  • Angela Holderness says:

    Thank you for your energy and heartfelt dedication to a cause that is close to so many of our hearts. Thank you for putting this into words and motion. We need to come together to do what we can to activate change and your light and heart are a source of huge inspiration and encouragement. Thank you John!

  • DALE JOHNSON says:

    Mc ! you give up beer and I will give up beef !… this argument could go on and on depending on what angle you coming from …..

  • Christina says:

    All by your side my love! Keep spreading the message of truth.

  • Julia Baumgartner, Munich, DE says:

    Thank you for sharing & putting all of your heart into this! Your words are super inspiring! We are all in this together.
    Juli ✨

  • Chris Geils says:

    John, I love you brother. I’m with you and going to give this a crack. Starting now.

  • Carol says:

    Very compelling arguments and graphs! Thank you!

  • Cindy L. Leonard says:

    Beautiful, thoughtful, compassionate call to action, thank you.
    I’m in and will share with others.

  • Aida bee says:

    Finally done! (( you know…a bit of “too much english for a while” 😛 ))

    Such a letter, words and action Pura! Please keep inspiring us and take the way of the leader even from de backstage… your magic going through every single place, corner and heart 🙏🏼❤

  • Janice Ducate says:

    Wonderfully written and so true! 🙏🏽❤️

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