The 1st Middle East Vegetarian (MEVEG) Congress   
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MC (f): Let's welcome Dr. Hegde for his keynote address. (Dr. Hegde(m): Thank you very much.) Pleasure.

Dr. Hegde(m): Good morning everybody, especially the future generation who are here. How do we survive on this planet? Why do we get ill? And why should we become sick and how to avoid all that? So I've been working on this for the last half a century to be very precise, a little over that. Ever since I joined the medical school way back in 1956, I've been worrying about this human being. What is health then? Enthusiasm to work. Get up in the morning, the first thing you ask is, "Do I want to go to school? Do I want to

go to the office? Do I want to work?" And if the answer is yes, you're very healthy. You can have a serious disease and still be healthy. Have you heard of Stephen Hawking? Steve is the professor of physics in Cambridge, who had a peculiar disease 42 years ago, which is called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

And if you read a textbook of medicine, it tells you a amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis offers a death warrant. Patients should be dead within six months to two years after the diagnosis. Forty-two years that man has defied this diagnosis and this definition, and is still continuing very productive, writes books, etc. Can't talk, can't eat, can't sit, can't do nothing, can't even lift his hand, can't even lift a finger, but he's very healthy because enthusiasm to work. Do you know when you

have enthusiasm to work? When you love your work.

So you have to be enthusiastic to work. The second thing is you have to have enthusiasm for compassion. You should love this whole universe, because we are interconnected. I'll show you very quickly

how interconnected we are. Health is a state of perfect subatomic communication.

This was a gentleman, Albert Popp, who in 1970 showed that every cell in the human body, the DNA emits a light, and this light, if it's in sync in the whole body, you're healthy. When there's de-sync in the whole body, you're unhealthy. Not only that, this, my light will probably vibrate with Shankar's light, if I like Shankar. And if I hate him, then there's disharmony, and my health goes bad. Can you believe that? So you have now, scientifically, proof to say that you have a beautiful system inside. Human beings are built to last as long as you live, but today we have changed the atmosphere completely. We have started eating all kinds of animals. We've polluted the whole area, we have chemicals in everything that you eat, water you drink, the milk you take - everything has chemicals - so you get diseases. Otherwise you should not get disease. So why are we suffering? Situations have changed drastically; this is not unusual these days. And the most important thing is the immune system. It is a handyman which keeps you alive, has been knocked down by our modern lifestyle. Now, how do you know you're well? The best definition is in Ayurveda. “Samadhathu,” I'll read that:

“You eat well, you have appetite. You sleep well, you get good sleep, and you have enthusiasm to work and you don't hate nobody; you're very healthy.” Did you get that? You get up in the morning, and say, "Do I have all this?" You are very healthy. That's the sign. So you don't have to go to the doctor, you can know it yourself.

This was the first textbook of medicine written in 1733; those days there were no industries to influence the doctors. And this was the first professor of medicine in Vienna, and his name is Charles Scharshmidst. In 1773 he wrote a beautiful book, where he says, “most diseases can be changed by these three things,” which is true even today: Change of mode of living - that's the essence of this conference, “change of mode of living,” true - tranquility of mind; last, drugs rarely, if ever. Now, where is the mind? “Mind” is a single word in the English language, but in the mother of all languages, Sanskrit, there are five words for a mind. The mind of a child, newborn child which can just recognize, maybe after a few months, is called manas, M-A-N-A-S. That is something like a dark room with a window. So the child sees something in the window, it smiles. Do you know how many times a young child smiles in a day? Roughly, young lady? 500 to 1000 times it smiles. Ask yourself how many times you smiled yesterday? The less number of times you smile, the regular is your heart rate, and when you don't smile, you may get a heart attack. So keep smiling.

And when you smile naturally, you relax so much, your blood pressure comes down, your heart rate comes down, and you'll be surprised, even headache disappears.



Zaufyshan Haseeb (f): Our next speaker is going to be Shankar and I'll tell you a little bit about him. Shankar Narayan is the founder-president of Indian Vegan Society. He is the regional coordinator for India, Southwest Asia International Vegetarian Union. He was a lacto-vegetarian since birth but has been a vegan for 10 years. He lived in Dubai for five years but presently he resides in rural India. And he's organized several events to spread the message of vegan living. So let's put our hands together for Shankar and he'd like to share his views.

Shankar Narayan(m): Good afternoon, everybody. I'm very thankful to the organizers for inviting me to be here and allowing me to share my experiences, or sharing my experiences as a vegan, life as a vegan. Mahatma Gandhiji, the father of India and my moral guru said, “Truth and nonviolence are as old as mountains. I have nothing new to tell the world.” Same is the case with me: I have nothing new to tell the world. If I say something, that is already existing. So, life as a vegan, this is the topic I'm asked to speak. And my life as a vegan for the last 10 years is very interesting. What is vegan? So “vegan” is a word derived from the word “vegetarian.” The original concept of vegetarianism or the essence of vegetarianism doesn't allow any animal products, at least in diet. So, vegetarian or dietary vegan is one who doesn't consume any animal products.

Then what's the difference between vegan and a vegetarian if vegetarian doesn't consume any animal products? Then who is vegetarian? Who is vegan? So, vegan is one who doesn't consume any animal products, including honey, and he doesn't use any animal products also - maybe leather, silk or wool - or going into circus, like services of animals, going on animals for a ride or entertainment or experimentation. Animals are as good as his own family members. There is no exploitation, no use of animals being a vegan, an Indian vegan.

See, according to the Vegan Society of the UK, that is the first vegan society in the world, they define veganism as such: “Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” It's all purposes included, so no animals as far as practical and possible. These two are conditional, so one can exempt themselves based on all these conditions.” This is defined as such by Vegan Society, UK.

The original intention of veganism is to prevent cruelty to animals by human actions, but later they added two more important aspects of veganism. That is for preservation or promotion of our own physical health and protection of environment. And now I'm telling you these aspects are gaining a lot of momentum because global warming and climate change, all these are caused by human activities, especially with regard to food. So, veganism is promoted for these three reasons: one is for prevention of cruelty to animals; second one is for human health; third one is for protection or promotion of better environmental conditions.

We have to eat some food, without eating any food we can't survive. If there is a possibility of surviving without eating any food, as Dr. B.M. Hegde was saying, we get energy from sun, I'll prefer to do that instead of eating plants also, because people argue that plants do have life. Why do you kill plants? So I can't survive without eating plants, so I have to eat plants. So we survive on 100% plant food. So we don't eat or use animals for any dietary purpose. And being happy and healthy is a second part of this, and that doesn't end our veganism.

The very important part of veganism for me derived from Mahatma Gandhi's life, derived from many other people, and derived from our own ancient teachings like Bhagavad Gita, these moral qualities. Nonviolence, or ahimsa, is the foundation of all principles. So ahimsa is another one, is a part of veganism. “Akkrod,” freedom from anger: if you get anger for valid reasons, sometimes we feel we are very angry because there is a reason to be angry, but you have to control anger. If you have a satvik (pure) food, satvik food which gives sobering effect on your body and mind, you cannot get anger. “Alobh” means non-greed. Gandhi again said, “Earth provides enough for man's needs, but not for greed.” That's where we are at this stage. We are always greedy: we want to accumulate more, we are not happy with what we have, we are not happy with what we earn. So we shouldn't have any greed, being part of this.

Next, “Aparigraha” - “Aparigraha” means non-possession. We always feel everything is mine, “So the whole world is mine to enjoy, everything belonging to me.” That kind of thinking we generate with more and more materialistic lifestyle. So we, being Indian vegan, we try to avoid that possession. We don't feel everything is mine. So, if someone takes, we don't feel very angry or we don't feel very depressed with that kind of activity, something happening to us. Then “Dana”, charity: charity is in everything, every culture, so when we have more, we should give that to someone who is in need.

So, giving it to someone who is in need, who is underprivileged, is part of Indian veganism and “Daya,” mercy. When someone is suffering, it's not just humans, it is for all sentient beings. All sentient beings who suffer need mercy. So when they are in need of some sympathy or help, we need to empathize and support them with our help. “Dharm,” righteousness: doing the right thing. So we have a thinking mind, we cannot just ignore just because it's inconvenient to us. If something is wrong, we shouldn't do; if something is right, we should do.

There was a saying, something which motivated me, “The world is not bad because of bad people. It is bad because of the inaction of good people.” If there is something to be done, which is righteousness to do and we have to do that, that is “Dharm” we say. Then the “Dheertha” - “Dheertha” means fortitude. In times of crisis, we should not lose our courage. And “Doordarshitha,” prudence: so you have to think, if not worry; we have to think about tomorrow. “Karuna,” compassion: sympathize with others. So there are so many values: forgiveness, cordiality, dietary moderation. Moderation, “Mithahar.” Splurging on too much is not good for us. Eating less is in fact good for us. Penance, equanimity, restraint, truth, physical discipline, faith, purity, good conduct, ascetism - ascetism means living with minimum resources.

Again our ancient rishis, ancient saints, were doing that. Even if we had more we won't use all those, because we can live with minimum resources. Patience, and in the modern world we lose patience at the pettiest reason, because having patience is very important. Renunciation, detachment, modesty - there are so many qualities which we need to focus and develop as far as possible, as far as practical. So this is the idealism we keep as things to practice. It may not be easy to practice at one go, if we have a focus on all these, it certainly helps us to go ahead in our life and improve our lifestyle.

So what are the positives of achieving or practicing all these ethos of Indian veganism? Calmness of mind. We cannot live without worry, so these kinds of practice of Indian veganism really help us get calmness of mind. When you're calm, you can think peacefully, you can do the right thing, you can do the appropriate thing. We talk about environment and what is the cause of environmental degradation: it is humans and the number of humans. When we go vegan, when you follow all these principles, we have a lesser burden of ourselves on the planet.

The world population is going to be 9 billion soon. When you have lesser eco footprint per person, we can have a number of people on this, or at least a large number of human population can survive being happy and healthy without causing much damage to the Earth. Then, less suffering, less suffering for humans, less suffering for fellow animals, less suffering for Earth, less suffering for everyone around. When you practice this kind of veganism, a better kind of veganism, we have a total painless living.

Shankar Narayan (m): When we stop being cruel to others, when we do stop being part of the cruelty others are doing, we do a justice for ourselves. We will be more happy; we reduce suffering for everyone. With physical health, I already touched upon that. Being a vegan, you need to be very conscious about your health. Nutrition experts say we need to take B12 supplements. There are doctors, there are nutritionists, taking their advice, you need to be healthy; you need to be very, very strong physically.

A lonely world, you have to be mentally very strong; otherwise you feel isolated in this world, you feel lonely, you feel depressed, you feel can't do anything in this world. But, think positive, think positive about the world, think positive about others. So, take everyone in your stride, empathize with others, understand others, live with others. When you do that, you don't feel lonely; everyone is with you, everyone can come with you. So mentally we can be very strong with that kind of attitude.

So with all these, whether it is worth it? Surely, I feel being vegan is worth it, because veganism harms none. We don't harm anyone, we don't feel ill of anyone, and it does a world of good. When you change yourself, as Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world.” When you see change in you, you see the change in the world. When you do certain good things, then that percolates to other activities also. Thank you very much for listening to me.

Zaufyshan Haseeb (f): Thank you so much, Shankar! Our next speaker, Thomas, I'd like to share a bit of information about him. Thomas has a Master's in Agriculture. He worked for five years for the German pioneer fair trade company GEPA, and for about 14 years he's been with IFOAM in different management functions, etc. So, please put your hands together for Thomas.

Mr Cierpka (m): First of all, I'd like to thank the team who is broadcasting this session to the world. I'm very much impressed to be on this stage, this is live-stream possible. And I thank all the volunteers doing that because I tried it myself for the International Federation of Organic Agriculture, where I am working for, to include a few members to our site event last Friday in Cancún, when we have been talking about the organic agriculture effects on climate change.

And it was quite difficult and the bandwidth was a problem, and I admire very much that this is possible here. So thank you very much for that. So why am I here? I'd like to bring the message to you, how your products are produced, where the fruits and vegetables come from matters. I'd like to speak a word for organic agriculture being the most sustainable method, and not only that, being even the most economic way of producing food - not only in the very future but also now.

So, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture movement exists now 38 years, and our mission is to make the world organic. And there are a few components which are important in this regard that is on three columns: ecology, social justice and economy. Those are the items which build the fundament and the background of organic, and that is why the method is the most sustainable agricultural method and even lifestyle in the world.

Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystem and people. People before commodities, that's important. We talk about people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and nutrition, energy and water cycles adapted to the local conditions, rather than on the use of inputs with adverse effects - you know what is meant by that one, chemical inputs and pesticides mostly. Organic agriculture combines three things: tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and the good quality of life for all involved. Organic agriculture is more than just covering market demands, it's not just a trend or fashion, it's a concept, and it's sustainability put into practice.

We have achieved already quite some growth and quite a lot, all over the planet you find organic production. Millions of hectares are converted, it's growing and the sales are going up. However, our potential's not well recognized all over the place yet. We have a few reports, a few reports acknowledging what we did, including the recent World Agriculture Report, which is called "IAASTD." (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development) They are acknowledging sustainable and organic agriculture as the best method to move forward.

What are the challenges? Just the major ones. We have the challenge about food security, climate change, biodiversity, sustainable resources, water and soil. So we have it in the conventional agriculture and our concepts address it in a different way. So we come as a movement to the point that small farmers are the most suffering, but also the most important stakeholder group even when we talk about nourishing the world.

They are where the food is produced: they need to nourish their families and they go to the market with their products. So the small holders are on focus for the development we think is important for the future of the Earth. Why? Small farmers are the by-producers of global food. They are the stewards to take care of environment as much as they know. And we know that, specifically, traditional agriculture carries a lot of knowledge to protect nature. We have lost it over the years.

Before, it was very clear that nature is our buddy. We cannot even damage it because it's ours. With the industrialized agriculture approach, we have lost this knowledge, and we treat the Earth like a different component of the economy, but not as ours. Higher sustainable productivity increase will have a major impact on poverty reduction. So, the relation between small farmers and poverty is obvious.

Now, where to go? The concept is also simple. We call it sustainability, and it means development that meets with the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, in a way, a very simple logic, easy to follow. Here is just one way to try to measure sustainability. It's a Swiss study which compares different ways of agriculture here, and different aspects of sustainability. It's about food security, economy, working conditions, product quality, natural resources, animal welfare, biodiversity, climate change.

There is a study available from 2008 that says organic agriculture has the potential to reduce CO2 concentration in the atmosphere by this and this amount of gigatons, and that means to reduce the whole emission of agriculture by half or even more. So that's one little aspect in a way. Not carbon alone will count for the future of our planet, but it's one aspect you should take into consideration when we talk about sustainability.

Therefore, this report I already mentioned earlier, The World Agriculture Report (IAASTD), recommends organic agriculture and sustainable agriculture due to the better land management, crops, and also because we are supporting the small farmers.  Taxes, I already mentioned, on pesticides and fertilizer; that would be the easiest way to go for it. The lobby is not there yet, so be my lobby. Help us to go there, all over the globe. This is the way to make it cleaner. You also should see the subsidies, which are invested in the wrong way of agriculture: still promoting the pollution more than avoiding it.

And if you initiate programs to enhance biodiversity, stop soil degradation, then we are coming closer to the true price. There are different aspects for the external cost categories, environmental, health, and social. Just a few examples. I mentioned water pollution. There are climate change aspects, for example, the mitigation of climate change. We are trying to bring it into the discussion with the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), Cancún, and all over, how to calculate it, how to make the organic farmers benefit from the work they do, bringing humus into the soil, making it a sink for CO2.

They do a good job, why not pay for that? Soil degradation: if you count how many hectares we're losing every day by bad treatment, erosion, by building more roads and cities, this is an aspect to count for. We have to calculate and pay them to keep the land for farming; it's a price aspect. Loss of biodiversity: how to quantify? How to quantify the benefit to have hedges in between your fields and to make a living organism about your farm? This needs to be quantified and come to the price. Health: you discussed a lot this morning - diseases caused by chemicals, for example, coming from agriculture, allergies. Social, rural development and employment: how to count for that? Organic agriculture brings more employment to the villagers. They can keep their work running; they don't have escape to the cities.

Mr Cierpka (m): I'd like to state organic agriculture is the most economic way to nourish this world now and in future. We are not there yet. We know that organic agriculture is small still. The awareness is important among those who take the decisions both in economy and also on a governmental level, as well as the consumer level. The consumer power is tremendous: let's use it even better. Advocacy is important to bring it forward, that we have the research. We need the innovation and, finally, also the trade environment, for example harmonized standards and regulations, which IFOAM is very much engaged in, so that in the long run, organic will be the way to go. Thank you very much for your attention.

Zaufyshan Haseeb (f): Thank you so much Thomas, it was really quite informative for most of us and a little token of appreciation. So guys, what are we doing to save the planet? Earlier on, Shankar said a beautiful quote by Gandhi, which I also like that, “Be the change you want to see.” Absolutely! It's so easy to point to others. “Oh, somebody needs to do it.” Where's that somebody going to come from? As long as we do our little part, just small, small steps, unconditional, our little random acts of kindness, each and every day we need to see how we are making a difference. So Sandhya and some other very, very interesting and creative people thought that there should be some kind of …. Maybe I'll let Sandhya explain all that, right? So, if I could request you to come on the stage Sandhya… Thank you.

Sonyia(f): Let's just watch what we did in the last one year. This was a Veggie Youth Fiesta in Dubai. This was in Bangalore. A Future Green Environment Seminar. All the media in UAE have been very supportive. We've had such a wonderful response in the last three years, you know, baby steps going on. We thought we need to bring this focus group out of the Facebook and the website, and the different online media that we are in and give it a face. So this Congress happened so that we come upfront as volunteers. And thanks to Minope, we brought this whole thing together.

But it is necessary to have a tool. When you want to make a change, so we came up with the Veggie Starter Guide, which is there online, available for free download for anybody in the region. This particular guide, if you see, has got Why, How, Impact on Diet - a lot of Middle Eastern flavors, okay? The food has so much vegetarian in it. We do a lot of presentation on just Middle Eastern vegetarian cuisine, why we need to be veg, and all those very beautiful people out there who are hale and hearty celebrities. And as a support group with all the support from all of you here today and from everybody, we plan to start, 2011, have a support group in the UAE for people who want to make the change.

They want to know how to go about it. So this is one tool that we had launched about three months ago but today I'm so delighted to announce the launch of our second tool. What we have today is the first 100% vegetarian map of Dubai, which is being launched so that you can have a ready tool when you go there. It's going to be available at all the airports, at all the different outlets, restaurants. And this is a humble effort that is being supported by one of the companies called SPI - you'll see them on our gratitude banner out there - who've come forward and produced and published this. Thank you so much, SPI!

Zaufyshan Haseeb (f): The next step is to put it on the GPS system as well. The veggie map. (Yes. That's a great idea.) Yes! Excellent! Let's launch that.

Sonyia(f): Yes, please. Can I have all our volunteers please up here on stage? Thank you!

Zaufyshan Haseeb (f): These volunteers have been working day and night to put up this wonderful Congress. Because of their support it's been a wonderful ride. Our next speaker is going to be Cyntha. Cyntha Gonzalez has been a vegetarian for 30 years and a raw foodist for seven years. Cyntha comes from the US, which she left in 1987. She has lived in Latin America and Europe since then and now has been in UAE for the last 12 years. During her 25 years as a counselor, plus her own personal journey, she has come to understand the rich relationship between food and emotion. Now that's a very interesting point to our eating habits, so I give the stage to Cyntha.

Cyntha(f): Good afternoon, everybody. I just first want to thank MEVEG, I'm really honored to be part of this and I think it's just an absolutely wonderful gathering, and raising the consciousness, so thank you. Thank you for inviting me to be part of this. So my talk is called “Food, Emotion and Life Force.” I want to go into the emotional aspect of food and the link there. There are two ways we can approach this. The first is that slogan, “Put down the food, feel the feelings.” I'm going to elaborate on that. And then the second one is, sometimes, you may not be able to do that, it's like it's too nebulous to say “I'm going to put down the food.

I don't even know the difference between hunger, physical hunger, and emotional hunger.” So what I'm going to do is present to you some examples of how the different foods that you may be craving, or that you're obsessing about, or that you have to have, can actually be a mirror to you of what you're actually feeling. As a counselor, I help people a lot in this. Sometimes, you may have a certain obsession with a type of food or a substance, and you're not ready to put it down, you're not ready to feel the feelings - it's too scary, it's too frightening to go into what's there - and sometimes a guide is necessary to accompany you to go into what's really there.

So the first one I talk about here: crunchy foods. So, crunchy foods are usually to do with anger, boredom, and mulling over something, or chewing on a decision or chewing on a problem. Okay, all the carbs those are filler foods, filling the void, disconnection. And disconnection can be that feeling of loneliness even though you're in a room full of people, even though you're in a big family, whatever the case may be, but it's also what we would say a spiritual connection. However we define that spiritual connection to be, but it's that connection with a oneness.

Okay, sugar: love, it's there, the sweetness of life; wanting that, ultimately, whether it's love from outside. If you're projecting that, you're not getting that love from others around you. Needing to give that love to yourself, needing to really know your own worthiness of love. Okay, caffeine: passion, motivation. A lot of people struggle with the caffeine addiction, and this stuff is not so matter of fact, or just “Oh, well, no big deal.” Can you put down the caffeine and then find your motivation somewhere else? So, this kind of thing is not lighthearted here. Sometimes this demands radical ego death, radical surrender to your truth even though it's extremely overwhelming in terms of the consequences of what this would mean.

So all of these things are signals and, of course, it's working with them, and gradually finding your way to come on the other side and listening to “What does my body really want? And if I'm not listening to what my body wants, why is that? And why am I using that food to completely abuse my body, to run over my body? And why am I not listening to the emotion and how can I find ways to do that?” Okay, chocolate. I'm sure there's not one person here that's never eaten chocolate. What do you tend to go to? And where do you tend to eat a bit more if you've had that experience, more than you really need, or really want, or you're hurting yourself with too much of that? If it's just pure dark chocolate, it's just that you just need a real fix with the motivation, the passion.

Now, I talk about fizzy drinks, like the sodas, and that's when we're wanting some pizazz, we want some fun, we want something different, we're in a place where either we're bored or it's just things just aren't happening for us. Okay, now there's a woman, she's been a real teacher to me, one of my favorite teachers while I've been, learning and continuing on this path of eating only raw food. Her name is Victoria Boutenko. She's a Russian woman who immigrated a long time ago to the United States. A lot of people come to raw food for different reasons. Some people come to it for diabetes, some people come with life-threatening illnesses, some with obesity; there are many reasons. Mine was actually more of a spiritual quest: I really wanted to just be in that, like heightened and refined vibration all of the time. That was my quest. I didn't come for health reasons.

Okay, I show here the raw food diet versus the American standard diet. I would say mine is probably quite a bit more greens, and less seeds and things, but pretty much that's my diet. So you can see the difference. And of course, which I'm going to move on to next, is the life force. I mean, when you look at the difference between that, and you just think about life force. What are we taking in when we're taking in on the right side? Okay, so I give here all these different examples of sources of prana and ways to bring in the prana, bring in that life force.

When we cook food over 42, 43°C, the enzymes are killed off, all of them; they're all killed off. So when the enzymes are that life force energy, when we maintain that, those enzymes in the food, we are taking in that life force energy directly. And it's a gradual thing. The more and more you take in that live food, this raw food and all that life force energy, the more your energy will raise in vibration, and the more you will want more of it.

Q(m): There's a lot of hype about vitamin B12 supplements and all. Do you take any supplements like that?

Cyntha Gonzalez (f): You know, very rarely. I don't need it. Let me speak about the B12 and the iron. First of all, the iron, you totally can get it from the plant-based diet. My body just tells me what I need. Whenever I need iron, I start craving black mission figs. Figs. I just want figs and I don't even know why and then that's the key. Vitamin A, sometimes I'll have a calling and I'll go for the carrots.

And then calcium, sesame seeds, unhulled ideally, the brown sesame seeds, which you can get at the organic here or almonds. Almonds and sesame seeds are extremely high sources; and broccoli. Now the B12: there is B12 in seaweed. You can get B12 in seaweed. And I have been fine. To be honest, it hasn't been a problem. But every once in a blue moon, I will feel a call for taking a supplement, but it's very, very rare. And it's usually actually when I'm only traveling because I'm not getting what I normally need. Thank you.

Zaufyshan Haseeb(f): Thank you very much. Very interesting. Cyntha, that was lovely.I think we should treat animals a lot better than we treat them now. We are being selfish by not taking care of the planet because this planet is not just for us, it's for the other animals as well - the parrots, the birds, the lions, the tigers, everybody. A lot of the animals are going extinct because we have been killing them for either fun or sport. Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the planet!

Conference participantGuest (f): These two days I am coming to this MEVEG conference and I really enjoy. I learned so many things about the vegetables and about the health. Today's food which I am eating now, it is really delicious - very nice, healthy. It is so attractive and I really like this delicious food. Thank you very much. Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!

There are more updates of Loving Hut restaurants opening all the time. Fatal prion diseases transmissible through air or milk

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The raising of livestock animals such as sheep, goats, and cattle generates huge amounts of methane and other greenhouse gases, which in turn cause and accelerate global warming. We cannot run around the circle and avoid the meat industry question like we avoid a sore thumb or avoid a boil on our body. Especially, we know that it is a very dangerous boil, which could affect our life, which could be fatal to our life, and even infect others, and even in this situation, infect the whole planet, could kill the whole world. We have technique, we have power. Each one of us can do this, just by being vegan.

Join us on Supreme Master Television on Friday, February 4, for part 2 of the rebroadcast of the live conference with Supreme Master Ching Hai, “The 1st Middle East Vegetarian (MEVEG) Congress,” on Words of Wisdom.

Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for the rebroadcast of the live conference with Supreme Master Ching Hai, “The 1st Middle East Vegetarian (MEVEG) Congress,” on Words of Wisdom.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I tell you a secret: Suppose you promote organic plant-based food, now, whoever, the government, whoever decided to approve this plant-based diet solution, just approves it only, he will earn, my God, thousands of zillions of spiritual merit points. And we need a lot of points to go back to Heaven. Whoever approves this even, just one time, enough for him to fly to Heaven already, after he leaves this world. He doesn't even need any more pilgrimage, doesn't even need to do anything else even. Whoever approved of that, and whoever makes sure that it carries out, will obtain the same spiritual merits points, that Heaven will bestow upon it.

Join us on Supreme Master Television on Tuesday, February 8, for part 5 of the rebroadcast of the live conference with Supreme Master Ching Hai, “The 1st Middle East Vegetarian (MEVEG) Congress,” on Words of Wisdom.

Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for the rebroadcast of the live conference with Supreme Master Ching Hai, “The 1st Middle East Vegetarian (MEVEG) Congress,” on Words of Wisdom.
And now,I'd like to invite Anastasia and she's going to share how we can actually do our own little research. Because we can't be dependent on asking questions or attending forums, we have to do some of it. So it's going to be really interesting. And a little bit of information about Anastasia. She is an audio engineer, former librarian,IT developer and consultant, blogger,bookworm, the organizer of the Twit Book Club, a book club with a new angle on reading and discussing a variety of books. She has been a vegetarian for over a decade and like many turned to the lifestyle after serious health issues. Anastasia wears many hats,it would be an understatement. A bachelor's degree in IT from Wollongong in Dubai, she is also a certified English teacher and she holds an Audio Engineering Diploma and she's enjoyed producing a lot of live events. And currently Anastasia is working on her second bachelor's degree. Wasn't it enough you had quite a lot on your plate,Anastasia?

Anastasia (f): Never enough.

Zaufyshan Haseeb(f): And this one is in Mass Communication Media Journalism. And she is also working on her business degree in Intel business juggling two universities, book club,various research… My God. I don't know how you find time for yourself really. So let's welcome Anastasia.

Anastasia (f): Thanks. Okay,so I'll be talking about why doing your own research is an important thing, especially when it comes to choosing your own diet, because it is an important thing. So some of us actually when we hear the word “diet” some of us go, “Oh,God! Hide me! I've got to lose the weight because I need to get into the little dress to go out” or whatever. So you have to cut out your food, you have to watch what you eat.

But the truth is,it's not all about calories. Diet is something that's long term. It's not something that's only for one or two weeks. The common problem here is that most of us, especially the ladies; the ones who have to get into that little dress, they're thinking “Okay, I need to lose ten kilograms. Let's cut out all the meat, cut out everything, let me just have one glass of water a day,” I know that's a bit extreme but, fine. Two weeks go by, they lose the weight.

What happens when they get off the diet? They go back to their normal ways, their weight comes back. Most of the time the weight comes back with a little bit more interest than the ten kilograms that they initially wanted to lose. Why? Because they're under the impression of,“Well,I was on a diet,I deserve a little something like a chocolate, maybe another one. Maybe some ice cream.” Our diet is the most intimate connection to Earth. Ground yourself with the diet.

An ideal diet is something that works for you. A diet is not something where you have to force yourself to essentially cut out the foods that you don't need. It has to be something that you want to do. So,why research? Millions of us are constantly bombarded with messages on a daily basis. Some of the messages contradict each other. We've heard a few of those during the past few days.

So,where do you draw the line of whether “What's good for you? What's good for somebody else? What you should be doing?” Now,new studies show old food's bad for you. Every time you read a newspaper, so and so food is bad for you. A few weeks later you read,possibly even in the same paper, you read studies that say the exact opposite. For every expert that says one thing,you can find another couple of experts that say the complete opposite. So where do you draw the line? You draw the line from within,from yourself. You have to think rationally. You have to do your own research. And some useful links here,every diet - this is where I got the list of over 400 diets.

This site, everydiet.org, lists as the site says, every diet. But it lists the pros,the cons, the side effects,etc. It's built up by two professionals; one is a nutritionist. Their aim is to actually build up a database of, basically,diets so that people like you and I, we can go on there and we can research the diets in one place. And we can also send comments and reviews of specific diets as well. “Has the diet helped you? Has the diet not helped you?” Foodfacts.com, it's more US-based but it has a lot of information on things like nutrition, labels,reading the label. They've got videos on there as well and a lot of interesting things. You can even look up the E-numbers. Whatever is on the label, you can just enter it in there and it'll show up as what are the ingredients, “Is it healthy for you? Is it not healthy?”

Wikipedia. Probably not a good thing if you are in the education field but, come on,most of us can admit that we've at least used Wikipedia as a starting point, because Wikipedia, they do have references at the end of the article. You can read the Wikipedia info for yourself and you can also scroll down to the references and have a look at the references and follow the links. “Follow the yellow brick road,” as the saying goes. Additives 2 is an iPhone app that, you go out,you shop, you have your phone with you. This is an app that has all the E-numbers, the ingredients and everything built in within the app.

So,whenever you are looking on the shelf for a product,you can just go,“Let's see,yes,that's safe for vegetarians. No,it's not. Okay,that might cause cancer. That might cause asthma or whatever.” It's your body, your health. You take the responsibility. Do not put the responsibility on your doctor or your nutritionist or whoever else. Research is all about balancing the two sides of the story,sometimes more sides of the story, balancing the information, analyzing the data. Once you've got the data, you analyze it, you think about it, you discuss it with your friends, you discuss it with your family. Is it something that maybe we want to do? No? Okay why not? Because the more you analyze information, the more it makes sense to you. If you just listen in like a sponge and then walk away,it's not going to help that much, and at the end of the day, this is all about being informed.

Zaufyshan Haseeb(f): Thank you so much, a token of our appreciation. So guys,there is a saying, which says “Take care of your body,because that's the only place you have to live in.” Actually, there is no other, we can't rent ourselves some bodies. We are coming to a very interesting part of the MEVEG congress, and that is that we are going to go live via videoconference to Cancún,Mexico, where Supreme Master Ching Hai will be there addressing all the wonderful delegates to be a part of the MEVEG Congress. Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed guests, we would like to warmly welcome you all to this very special occasion. It is indeed an honor and a privilege for us to welcome to the conference via video-link the internationally acclaimed author, spiritual visionary, artist, Supreme Master Ching Hai. As many of you know,

Supreme Master Ching Hai is a lifelong vegetarian and vegan who is a powerful proponent of organic vegan living for millions upon millions of people around the world. Her activities range from various projects,such as being inspiration for the Loving Hut vegan restaurant. You know the restaurant that served us that wonderful lunch today? She is the inspiration behind that as well. Loving Hut has 150 locations worldwide.

And other than that, Supreme Master Ching Hai has promoted a lot of scientific basis for stopping and reversing climatical changes and preventing physical calamities through correct living, correct diet,and correct treatment of the Earth and all the Earth's inhabitants. This is a very interesting thing how she is linking to - when we bring about a change in our diet - how it has an impact, a ripple impact, on the rest of the world; added to this are her many publications, which show her deep love and understanding of animals and their importance in maintaining the loving balance to life.

We would like to convey through a video a glimpse of her unconditional compassion and love that Supreme Master shares with all those who come in contact with her. So let's watch the video. All right! We are very fortunate that Supreme Master Ching Hai has accepted our invitation. As you know,she has an extremely busy schedule, but she still found time to be with us on the first MEVEG Congress here from this wonderful city of Dubai, and she will be online with us through videoconference. And her speech is going to be on “Being a Vegan: The Environmentally Sustainable Food Choice.” I'm sure it will be a very engaging and inspiring presentation.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hallo,hallo.
Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Hallo, Supreme Master Ching Hai. How are you?
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you. I'm well. Thank you. Allah is the Greatest. Allah is Great. I greet you in the name of Allah.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Thank you so much for being with us today. Master Ching Hai, we warmly welcome you to the first ever Middle East Congress,here in this amazing city of Dubai. Firstly, we at the conference would like to thank you and we have great respect for the three decades of work that you have put in, and engaging people all over the world to promote the healthy, compassionate, life-sustaining vegan organic diet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thanks Allah. Thanks Allah. Thanks Allah. I hope you understand my Arabic.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): I'm sure. I don't personally speak Arabic,but I've been trying to learn. I've been here for 10 years. So it's not (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) an easy language,and we truly appreciate that at least you're making the effort of speaking it. Thank you!

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you ,thank you.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Supreme Master, we've heard a lot at this conference already about the benefits of the organic and vegetarian lifestyle from a wide range of speakers, dignitaries,presenters… And many people are intrigued by your topic today on the sustainability of the vegan diet. Moreover,we feel that it is fitting that in Cancún,Mexico, world leaders are discussing this very important topic of working together to come up with a global solution to global warming. We would love to hear your insights on what you see as the seriousness of global warming to continued life on Earth and what links there might be to diet, agriculture,and lifestyle.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. Greetings,all of you, from Cancún. I'm in Cancún,and so many great people are here,and they are still trying to help to change the climate change. I'm very pleased and honored to be in your presence in Dubai.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Thank you. The honor is all ours. Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Without further ado, we'd like to invite you to put your hands together once again for Supreme Master Ching Hai and her presentation on the topic, “Being a Vegan: The Environmentally Sustainable Food Choice.”

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you ever so much. Thank you. May Allah bless you. I'm very honored and pleased,actually, to be in your presence in Dubai. It's a beautiful city; beautiful country. I have been there. I have been in your country. I love all the Middle East actually. The warmth and joy of the Arab people is so inviting,as I have found it everywhere - in your hospitality, your giving of charity, and your great religious faith. Well,I want to congratulate you, Middle East Veg Group, for your effort, for your exciting,historic first Congress. And a big congratulations especially to all of you veg heroes of the world and the Middle East.

“Allah sure will have mercy upon you for giving mercy to other beings.” This was the Hadith, the wisdom of the compassionate Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Through this excellent event and your talented and caring contributions, you have confirmed the many benefits of plant-based living, both for ourselves and our Animal co-inhabitants. And now we can go perhaps even one step further in considering the vegan lifestyle as necessary to actually save humanity and the planet. Some of you may be aware already,but just so that we all have the same understanding I would like to emphasize again that our situation is already very grave.

Human survival is at stake due to climate change and environmental damages. To grasp this urgency, we can pick any region of the globe, like for instance, the Middle East, to see how the climate change has affected our people, our world,our animals, our environment. Now,if you allow me, we shall go through some of the important events concerning your beautiful regions.

1. Climate Change and Environmental Issue in the United Arab Emirates. The Arab region is one of the world's most vulnerable to climate change. I'm very sorry to know this,and I'm sorry to have to tell you. It's not a very pleasant thing to inform your friends that their house is in danger, that their life is in danger. It could break your heart. Now,scientists have already reported on sea level rise in Egypt, desertification and climate refugees in Syria, dust storms in Iraq, floods in Yemen,etc.,etc. Pardon me,pardon me. I'm just too emotional when lives are concerned. You are all my friends, even though we haven't met each other. I have so much love for this world and for the people of this world, because I've met many of you,and you're so nice,so nice,so nice. And you don't deserve to suffer at all. None of us deserve any of this suffering, either from disease or from climate change. Now,since we are in the United Arab Emirates, we will focus on the major environmental issues your country is facing.

2. Water Shortage. Climate change has brought hotter temperatures and reduced and erratic rainfall to the Middle East, including in the United Arab Emirates. Making the situation worse now is the fact that current consumption rates of water are unsustainable. Even with several desalinization plants in place,suppose there was an emergency and more water could not be produced, then your country,the United Arab Emirates, only has about four days of fresh water supply for her people, or even less than that. Abu Dhabi's groundwater supplies have been reduced by almost one-fifth, just since 2003. I think you know that. Do you?

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Yes,Supreme Master, they are now getting new information,because we live in an illusion that the water is going to be there,but thank you for sharing these statistics with us.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Okay. Then I will continue to share more with you. You will be more surprised. I'm sorry,I wish I could bring you more pleasant news,but friends have to tell each other the truth, right? If you allow me. Now we go to number three section, which is “Groundwater Depletion.” We could have other kinds of water, but if groundwater is depleted and we are in deep trouble. I'm sure you understand this. Because of prolonged drought,coupled with higher use,it's quickly depleting groundwater throughout the Emirates, especially in Abu Dhabi, where this source is relied upon for 71% of the total supply, especially for agriculture.

However, water consumption is noted to be 24 times higher than the land's ability to recharge and replenish the water the natural way,and unusable saltwater is now found at shallow depths even. They are shrinking. All kinds of water, not just sweet water,even salty water is sinking. Instead of reaching water at a depth of 6 meters, as they did in the past in order to dig the well, now the well diggers currently have to go as deep as 100 meters below the ground before finding it,or in some cases,not even be able to find any water at all,after 100 meters deep,digging.

Number four concerns “Food Insecurity.” Agriculture is already difficult due to the shrinking water supply. Now we have extreme heat and increasingly salty soil, and salty soil we cannot cultivate. I'm sure you know that.

5. Desalinization of Water: Unsustainable. Very unsustainable. Okay. Meanwhile,Dubai's water is primarily human-made,I'm sure you all know that, through desalinization. The United Arab Emirates is the second largest user of desalinated water in the whole world, but desalinization plants use a lot,a lot,a lot of energy and emit a lot, a lot of carbon dioxide on top of that. There are also other side effects. I'm going to tell you. They will spew enormous quantities of hot brine and chemicals into the sea. This pollution accelerates the warming of the water while increasing its salinity.

In fact,the Gulf's salt concentration level increased by 40% in 30 years,creating an imbalance that threatens local flora and fauna. The general salt increase has another adverse effect, which is to make the desalinization plants work harder and harder and use more and more energy to purify the water. So it is an unfortunate cycle,you can see. Being dependent on desalinization also creates a water security risk, because it only takes one oil spill, one toxic algae bloom, or one big cyclone to have to halt the process immediately. That means we will have no water,and God knows for how long.

Now we go to number 6 section,which is “Marine Pollution.” The Persian Gulf is a contained environment where pollutants can accumulate, some of which take many years to disperse. These include more than one million barrels of oil spilled each year from oil leaks and accidents - and we're drinking all that in! - includes sewage discharge from other use, the households; includes harmful chemicals, including pesticides and phosphorus,heavy metals, such as mercury,copper and nickel,arsenic,lead, and many others. You see how we have to take all this, even though we are not aware?

Now, number 7, which is “Overfishing.” Commercially-fished species in the United Arab Emirates have declined an alarming 80% in 30 years! That means we have 80% less fish in your sea the last 30 years. Only within 30 years, we deplete fish supply, the fish population,80%. My goodness. Any of you know this?

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): I think we weren't really aware of this particular issue at hand because, as I shared with you, we live in a kind of an illusion,that just because we just get ample amount of seafood, or when we go swimming the water does not seem polluted (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) so we just believe everything is fine.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. You see, the problem is much of these chemicals or pollutants that run into our water are not colorful, not specially significant so that we can even know what it is,or we can even see what it is. And even the chemicals or the pollutant or the poison,even mercury for example,that goes into the fish that the people consume, they're colorless, tasteless. So people don't even know what they're eating until they've fallen ill or die.

Now,these include many more that are unique to the region, many more marine life. Fish,you know? Like,we don't have anywhere else in the world,except in your region we have this. Like,such as hamour, kingfish,sea bream, and emperor fish. In addition,you see,they are all kind of diminishing or maybe extinct already. These fish we cannot find anywhere else except in your sea.

Now they are going,gone. In addition,the sheer excess of fishing vessels and fishing gear also lead to a huge by-catch and damage to even more species. This is part of the global decline of marine life due to overfishing. It's everywhere, not just in your country. Everywhere marine life is declining,extinct,or going to be soon,sooner than we can imagine. Even if you love fish, I am not sure how much longer you are going to have fish on your table. So please be prepared to have vegetarian food. That would be a very wise choice.

MC(f): Well said, Supreme Master. I would definitely like to, first of all,thank and offer my humble obeisance to Supreme Master Ching Hai for agreeing to come on the video conferencing. The other great thing was that she was in Mexico, in Cancún, and at the COP - so extremely well informed about not only the UAE, the world facts,and all the environmental areas. So that was very impressive indeed. It was a great honor having her live,beamed down to the UAE. I'm Sandhya Prakash, Founder-Director, MEVEG, you're watching Supreme Master Television. Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save our Planet!

Harvey Ellis (Vegetarian)Senior executive in the IT field Speaker Coordinator,MEVEG CongressMr. Harvey Ellis (vegetarian) (m): I've been happy to be at the MEVEG, the very first MEVEG Congress, where I've had the opportunity to see for the very first time Supreme Master Ching Hai, who gave a fantastic speech with regards to the environmental impact of the Middle East region - some startling statistics with regards to the environment were presented today by the Supreme Master Ching Hai. The fantastic inspiration that she gave to the audience was a sight to behold, particularly in terms of her philosophy with regards to presenting veganism as a solution to all the environmental woes of the Middle Eastern Region.

“After the visit of [Supreme Master] Ching Hai, author and volunteer activist for the protection of the planet, young volunteers and members of the organization which she represents globally declared in favor of encouraging plant-based food and the gradual reduction of meat consumption. This is due to the high percentage of global warming that the animal industry produces as it is involved in the generation of methane gas, which retains the heat.... The work carried out by [Supreme Master] Ching Hai, the international leader born in Vietnam, is a legacy in which the goal is to benefit the planet though the consumption of plant-based food.

Thousands of young people around the world have chosen the alternative of organic food: Russia,China, Pakistan,and Argentina in Latin America, the representative groups that promote the spiritual leader [Supreme Master] Ching Hai's message, indicate that,in this way, the increase in temperature of the planet would be avoided. [Otherwise], there would be devastating consequences, such as tsunamis, seaquakes and the disappearance of some countries and islands of the planet sinking [into the sea].”
Commercially-fished species in the United Arab Emirates have declined an alarming 80% in 30 years! These fish we cannot find anywhere else except in your sea. Now they are going, gone. In addition, the sheer excess of fishing vessels and fishing gear also lead to a huge by-catch and damage to even more species. This is part of the global decline of marine life due to overfishing. It's everywhere, not just in your country. Everywhere marine life is declining, extinct, or going to be soon, sooner than we can imagine. Even if you love fish, I am not sure how much longer you are going to have fish on your table. So please be prepared to have vegetarian food. That would be a very wise choice.

MC(f): Well said, Supreme Master.

I'm sorry I have more news for you. We go to number 8 issue, which is “Coral Reef and Other Marine Habitat Destruction.” Now, one-third of the fish in the Persian Gulf are supported by its coral reefs; however, the Persian Gulf coral reefs are now among the most endangered in the world. About 35% might have been already lost due to bleaching pollution from desalinization plants. And it will not stop if we continue to have desalinization plants. It will just increase the damage, you see? But without desalinization plants, we have no water in your country. So, you see the trouble. Effects from past wars in the region also add on to this problem.

And also ongoing mega-construction projects, though they look beautiful, though they are an attraction to the locals as well as the tourists, they do cause a lot of damage for the environment. Now, for example, the building of large artificial islands in Dubai, which is really a masterpiece of architecture - I also am very impressed by it - but it has hugely damaged the Gulf's coral reefs, mangrove trees, and sea grass ecosystems. Please forgive me for stating the true facts, because you need to know now.

Number nine, we go to “Air Pollution.” Many of us now live in the cities and we cannot avoid the pollution, like the ozone smog, which takes away our health and sometimes even our precious lives. One in five Emirati children has asthma, and hundreds in the country lose their lives to pollution-related problems every year.

Number 10, we go to discuss the topic which is in your heart today and which is the major theme of your Congress. That is “Meat Consumption,” the subject that not many people want to talk about, even at the United Nations summit. I'll tell you what, yesterday, I was at the meeting and the President of Mexico - he was the advocate for lessening methane - and he said methane is caused by livestock raising. He knows all that and he advocates for reducing it, even through animal industry section. So he's well aware and he's not covering up anything like that, but he has a long speech. I don't want to repeat his speech here. If you want, you can log onto the UN website and find out what he said. Okay? I'm just saying just one little thing that I have observed.

One of the participants, she was from China, I think. She looked like Chinese to me, and she spoke with a Chinese accent, in English. She was mentioning about all the damage that the meat industry is causing to our world and the environment and the health of the people and the health of the children and every other thing, etc., and even causing disasters in our world. And she was just mentioning it, I mean, really to the point, honest, and not trying to show off. She was just really very emotional and passionate about the meat issue that she wanted to remind all the participants, and particularly the President of Mexico, to see how they would deal with this, how they would stop it, or how would they kind of decide about the meat industry. Then I heard that she was told not to talk anymore. Look. And the President also did not answer. Perhaps he was short of time, he had to leave.

But, you know what I mean? (MC (f): Yes. We can understand.) We have to be honest and truthful about the main topic. We cannot run around the circle and avoid the meat industry question like we avoid a sore thumb or avoid a boil on our body, and “Don't touch it! Don't touch it!” We have to touch it in order to heal it. Especially, we know that it is a very dangerous boil, which could affect our life, which could be fatal to our life, and even infect others, and even in this situation, infect the whole planet, could kill the whole world. Then we have to touch that boil and let the doctor heal it. Or we heal it ourselves if we know how. And we do know how. We have technique, we have power. Each one of us can do this, just by being vegan.

Nobody wants to touch this subject, I don't know why. Maybe you could advise me later on. Why? Because I really do not understand. I don't mean to intrigue you or to pretend innocence. I really do not understand, when the problem is as clear as the nose in front of me here. I do not understand why people don't discuss and immediately get the solution going to save all lives on the planet, because we don't even have time anymore to discuss much further, too long, or to be polite to each other until it's too late. Okay. Sorry. I get carried over. Forgive me. I'm just too passionate about this subject because it's in my heart. It concerns all of us.

Yesterday, I was watching the President's speech and question-and-answer there, just as I was just mentioning to you. And one of the, I think, journalists or something, with a big camera, came and said, “Oh, can I take your picture?” I said, “Why? I'm just listening to this.” And she said, “Because you're so passionate and looks like you are only… Very interesting. It seems like a one-man campaign or something.” I said, “Yes, yes. I am very passionate about this, because it's my planet!”

Zaufyshan Haseeb, MC (f): I think that's a wonderful idea. It starts with one man, doesn't it? And then it carries on to the other, and that's how your passion can go on to other people as well, and it's our own common world that we live in.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, because I sat there just alone, watching the TV, outside the corridor, and I was so fixed on the TV. That's why she was attracted and she came and watched me for half an hour or something before she asked me. I said, “Oh, go ahead. Take what picture you want, I am all yours.” And then she left after a while. Okay. We go back to your country. Forgive me. My God. Forgive me. The United Arab Emirates is one of the main countries in the Middle East that imports live sheep from other countries. Millions, millions of these animals arrive on ships, with tens of thousands that have died each time from extreme crowding and other conditions along the way. Poor sheep. They have done nothing wrong to us, ever.

We have a saying in English, “as sweet as a lamb.” I don't know how about your country, if they have such a saying or not. How can we kill such sweet, living animals, tear their limbs apart and consume it? Allah would not be very pleased with this, I imagine. And the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, when he was alive, tried to save a little lamb at one time. I am sure he saved many other animals whenever the opportunity arrived, but not all are recorded in the Hadith or in the Qur'an.

Enormous quantities of meat are also imported, especially from Brazil, India, Australia, also Sudan, Kazakhstan, etc., etc. All of these exporting countries mentioned above have environmental and even economic struggles due to livestock overgrazing - meaning that the meat habit worsens drought and desertification in many other countries as well. So the piece of meat that we put in our mouth is responsible for many disasters around the world. I am so sorry that you are not well informed.

Zaufyshan Haseeb, MC (f): We can see now how it is connected. Zaufyshan Haseeb, MC (f): I mean, we could see the connection even when we (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Okay.) heard your topic, so…

Supreme Master Ching Hai: All right. Maybe it will come back later, with Allah blessing, yes? (MC (f): Yes.) If Allah wills. It will come back. Okay. Thank you! Okay. Plus, on top of all this, the raising of livestock animals such as sheep, goats, and cattle generates huge amounts of methane and other greenhouse gases, which in turn cause and accelerate global warming. I'm sure you can see the logic.

In fact, livestock raising for meat production is known to be a significant factor in global warming, with scientists now saying that it is, the livestock sector, is the number one cause of global warming. I'm sorry again if you are not well-informed.

Zaufyshan Haseeb, MC (f): Were you informed, delegates, about this? That it's the major cause of global warming? Excellent. Thank you. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Maybe some of them know.) Yes.(Supreme Master Ching Hai: Maybe some…) I was not. I thought maybe petrol emission and all those gases, or whatever that might be, the major cause than actually livestock farming.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Livestock farming is the major cause. It's more than all the transportation combined, more than all the ships, the aeroplanes, the cars, the railway, whatever transportation, you name it, it's nothing compared to livestock raising, in pollution rate. Okay, now you know it. You can log on to all kinds of scientific facts or the UN's Livestock's Long Shadow website to see all this. I am not making it up. It's the fact, 100% accurate. Conservatively, the pollution is more than stated. More. And it's getting more and more each day.

So the people of the United Arab Emirates could accomplish the most effective green change by removing all animal products. I know I'm asking for the moon, but you have the power to do it. You have to. You must. We all must. All countries must do this. Otherwise, we will suffer too much, too much. Very soon. I'm not a psychic. I am not predicting the future from clairvoyance or from the crystal ball in front of me. No, no. I don't need that. The scientific finding, research facts, is enough to scare all of us.

Even suppose I am a meat-lover, even if I am, I would immediately drop that meat like a hot potato and run away from it. (MC (f): That's true. That's well said, Supreme Master.) Yes. This could help revive barren lands in many other countries, as well as yours. In addition to stopping climate change globally, we could have a lush planet again, because we will have no more deforestation. Instead we will reforest. And who knows, we can even reforest the United Arab Emirates. I'm sure we will have time to do that after we save the planet by stopping all kinds of poisonous gases from the livestock industry. And it is crucial to stop eating fish as well for the seas to survive, as I have mentioned before the reason why.

The United Arab Emirates has had the good fortune to prosper, and is blessed with peace, abundant sun - precious, the sun is precious - and talented people. The discovery of abundant oil reserves has allowed your residents to enjoy a high standard of living in a short time. It was your wise and visionary leader, the nation's founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He was the one who reminded us that the ancestors survived in this environment, on land and sea, because they knew they had to conserve it. They had to take care of it in order to continue the survival rate. And he also said we should take only what we need, and no more, to conserve the environment.

Your government indeed has been looking ahead to the future, since a long time. Not just recently. Not just now. By planting so many trees and green areas to block desertification - well, we could do more of course when we have more time- building solar energy, promoting organic farming, and developing clean, alternative energy technologies such as through the world-famous Masdar City project. I'm sure you know. (MC (f): Guys, you know?) Yes. (MC (f): Yes. The audience is aware of it.) Yes. Yes, that's a miracle that your government is creating. I applaud them. Yes. And I'm sure many other countries are looking to the United Arab Emirates as a pioneer and a role model, and a shining example in this environmental protection endeavor.

Zaufyshan Haseeb, MC (f): Excellent. That is a very good initiative, that can be.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. Yes, ma'am, it is. It is an excellent initiative. Your government is very wise. Now you have to support your government to go one more step further, that is, to support the vegan alternative to save the United Arab Emirates, as well as the world. The United Arab Emirates has been for many years a provider of abundant energy for the world.

At the same time, the government of the United Arab Emirates is generous in charitable giving, all the time, all the time. If you don't know about it we have a list of recent charitable deeds from the United Arab Emirates on the Supreme Master Television. You can log onto www.SupremeMasterTV.com. Every month we list all the charitable countries and people in the whole world. And you can always look backward to the older broadcast to find anything you want, ever since our television exists.

And today, the country would be able to make a historic philanthropic contribution to save the world if we go one step further: that is to support the organic vegan solution, because that's the only one we have right now in this urgent situation. And other technologies we can slowly develop when we have time. The thing is, green technology takes time to develop and takes time to implement all over the world. Also, we cannot be too sure because these are new technologies, have not ever been tested. So, at least we are safe if we go on the vegan lifestyle to save huge, dangerous, amounts of methane gases and other gases, which speed up our global warming danger.

So, as your country has already thought of her future beyond fossil fuels, which are non-sustainable and polluting anyway. There's a more beneficial way, as you know, is to provide for humanity through sustainable, peaceful means - meaning obtaining our energy from limitless sources like wind power, sun power, and plant-based food. I think this is more befitting the United Arab Emirates' royal race of people - the people with talents, the people with technological intelligence, and God blessing. I think it's more befitting that we change to a compassionate, God's creature-loving lifestyle, such as vegan diet.

And, I'll tell you a secret, before I forget. This is a little part of my spiritual diary. When I meditate, visions or wisdom or information come through to me, myself. Sometimes I share it with my Association members. Sometimes I share it with the world. This secret, I have not told; I tell you today. Suppose you promote organic plant-based food, now, whoever, the government, whoever decided to approve this plant-based diet solution, just approve it only, he will earn, my God, thousands of zillions of spiritual merit points. And we need a lot of points to go back to Heaven.

Whoever approves this even, just one time, enough for him to fly to Heaven already, after he leaves this world. He doesn't even need any more pilgrimage, doesn't even need to do anything else even. Whoever approved of that, and whoever makes sure that it's carried out, will obtain the same spiritual merit points, that Heaven will bestow upon it. For example, just like financial merit in this world, if we have spiritual merit points in our bank account, it multiplies, multiplies. This is the thing. And the more we have, the more interest rate we earn.

This is a very good thing. I was smiling alone by myself in the tent when I knew this. And I was asking Heaven recently that if I could tell people of the world, and I have the permission. Not everything I am allowed to tell, but when I asked for the permission, and I could tell, I was so happy, I was so happy. When you are happy, and you have some good news, you want to spread it all over, right? All of us, right? (Audience (all): Yes.) Yes. f: (Sure.)

Yes. So, promoting organic, plant-based food is, of course, the most urgent because we need to stop global warming in order to save ourselves, in the near term, by reducing the methane and other also toxic gases even, to poison us even, not just only global warming, but it will poison our atmosphere. Maybe if it's too much, we cannot bear, because these poisonous gasses will speed up the global warming.

Many. Nitrous oxide, which is about 300 times more potent to warm the climate than the carbon dioxide that we talk about from the cars and from the aeroplanes and so on. And methane is 72 times more dangerous, more potent in warming the climate than carbon dioxide. So, even if we have more carbon dioxide than methane, it's not equivalent in the degree of danger.

Therefore, I said we still can have the cars; we still can use the fossil fuel for a while until we develop enough green technology to replace it; we still can fly an aeroplane, we still can use the car, the train, the buses, whatever transportation you choose. Of course, the less, the better. But carbon dioxide is not as dangerous as methane or nitrous oxide, for example. And there are more gases, more dangerous and poisonous gases, coming from animals, livestock, because they emit these through their waste. They put lagoons after lagoons of animals' waste out there in the open.

These gases, they are short-lived compared to carbon dioxide. So if we stop these short-lived gases, our planet cools fast, faster than stopping carbon dioxide, because carbon dioxide will stay in the atmosphere for 1000 years. Something like that. But methane and other gases, methane's short-lived, maybe 12 years only. So if we stop the methane, in a short decade, a few, maybe even shorter, we have the planet cooling, and not warming more.

So, all governments must stop all animal raising and animal products, first of all. They will not only cut the greenhouse gases drastically and at a very low cost, they will also save a lot of the water used globally for growing the fodder for animals, the way it is. But also in the long term, you see all this food we can feed the world, double times over. Also, in the long term, organic vegan agriculture will sustain your country and the world.

The United Arab Emirates government is currently working to increase the country's food security, to be less dependent and more self-sufficient, which is laudable. So they have been buying farmland in other countries to grow food supplies. Good idea. But more importantly, they are investing in technology to grow, say, like fruits and vegetables in the better way. Thank you so much, the government of the United Arab Emirates, for such intelligent approach.

Zaufyshan Haseeb, MC (f): No, no, thank you so much, Supreme Master Ching Hai. Thank you (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, yes.) for your profound insights and words of wisdom and sharing your research with us as well. Some of the delegates were already aware of it, and some were new information to us, but thank you for making it clear and I personally wanted to thank you for letting us know what's the direct stairway to Heaven. All those million, billion points that we can go straight to Heaven if we start doing all this goodness, and sharing that secret with us. I wanted to thank you (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) especially for that.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Okay, okay, yes. Your government is going to Heaven for sure. For example, recently the United Arab Emirates government opened a state-of-the-art farm even, that uses hydroponics - meaning no soil is needed - while saving up to 70% of irrigation water. Your government is really trying hard to be up to date in the climate change fighting, yes, and they succeeded in growing all kinds of vegetables. Isn't that a good news? Yes. The main crops of the country are dates, fruits, and vegetables of all kinds, and this is wonderful, wonderful, because this is everything we need to have a complete, healthy nutrition.

And the number of organic farms is growing all the time. Your country has 13 organic farms as of March 2010 and will have 23 more by June 2011, for a total of 40 registered cleaner, eco-friendly farms. Yes, go ahead, go ahead clapping them, clapping the government. I also applaud them. At the same time, I hope and encourage the farmers; they hope, I hope, the government encourages the farmers to forgo the cattle and poultry raising, to be vegan, organic vegan. Because, for one, it is still much more costly in terms of food, energy, water uses to raise animals Whereas, it costs less and less to have organic farming, especially the hydroponics that your government is progressing to promote.

Senior executive at a top oil and gas firm Food Coordinator, MEVEG CongressTony Satinder Pal Singh (m): Supreme Master Ching Hai's talks today, and the interaction, were really a remarkable inspiration for me. To hear her passion, to see and feel her passion and her commitment to what it means to planet Earth if we could all move towards a vegan diet, is a source of inspiration and a message of extreme importance to all of us, because she's absolutely right, that you know indeed most of the world's greenhouse gases, the largest source of emissions actually come from farms that breed animals for human consumption.

We need to have the personal commitment, and that personal commitment needs to be strong enough to actually translate into a call for action by our leaders around the world. And by combining those 2 things which Supreme Master so clearly has done, I think we can move towards her stated very noble objective. Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!

Zaufyshan HaseebTelevision host, Geo TVBehavioral PsychologistHost, MEVEG CongressZaufyshan(f): She (Supreme Master Ching Hai) has a wonderful energy, a lovely aura, and the way she speaks so softly, her message really hits home, and you feel that she is concerned, and she gives good percentage of research about the region that she's talking about, so that made a lot of sense.

Her message was really wonderful, that we can save the planet by such a simple choice as changing our diet. I come from a culture which are primarily meat eaters, but today after Supreme Master's message, I'm really thinking deep about it that how a little bit we can make a difference in the world. So I will be sharing this message with not only family, friends, and whenever I get an opportunity on the media, I would share this message. I'm Zaufy, and I'm a TV show host, keep watching Supreme Master TV! I have a message for you: Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save our Planet!

Biodiversity: Life on Earth Achim Steiner - UNEP Executive Director (m): When we talk about biodiversity, we talk about life on earth. When we talk about biodiversity loss, we are talking about destroying life on earth.

Janez Potocnik - European Commissioner for Environment (M): Biodiversity is sometimes in the shadow of climate change, which is extremely important, but we should understand that biodiversity is actually the other side of the same coin.

Harrison Ford - Oscar-nominated US actor & producer, Conservation International Board member (M): Biodiversity; it is the foundation of life on earth.

Edward Norton - Oscar-nominated US actor, screenwriter and director; UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity (m): Human wellbeing is intertwined fundamentally with biodiversity.

Dr. Harold Mooney - American ecologist from Stanford University ; Co-chair of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (m): The impact of human activities on biodiversity is influencing feedbacks to the climate system.

Anthony Kleanthous - Senior Policy Adviser on Sustainable Business and Economics at WWF-UK (m): We have lost 30% of the biodiversity on this planet in just 40 years. And in the tropics we're talking about 60% declines in biodiversity.

Edward Norton - Oscar-nominated US actor, screenwriter and director; UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity (m): At the end of the day the things that are causing the most catastrophic collapse to biodiversity: climate change, deforestation.

His Royal Highness, Prince Charles of Wales (m): And without adequately addressing tropical deforestation we cannot have an answer to climate change. Saving the rainforests is not an option.

H. E. Paulo Alberto da Silveira Soares - Brazilian Ambassador (m): The Amazon is nowadays the lungs of the world.

Paulo Adario - Greenpeace Amazon Representative, Brazil (m): Cattle is the main driver of forest destruction, and 80% of the area that is destroyed in the Amazon is occupied by cattle today, this is growing.

Michelle Rodriquez - US Actress in Oscar-winning film Avatar (f): They're making room just to feed cows, so they're chopping down a bunch of trees.

James Cameron - Oscar-winning Director; Avatar (m): Yeah, but they're not just chopping down any trees, they're chopping down the most beautiful, majestic, bio diverse rainforest on the planet.

Anthony Kleanthous - Senior Policy Adviser on Sustainable Business and Economics at WWF-UK (m): You know meat and dairy really are the primary concern here.

H. E. Paulo Alberto da Silveira Soares - Brazilian Ambassador (m): Brazil is a net producer of meat.

Yannick Jadot - European Parliament Member, from France (M): Animal feed is coming from Latin America which is also contributing to deforestation and so to climate change.

H.E. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva - 35th President of Brazil (m): We have been discussing the climate change issue and more and more we see that the problem is even more severe that we could have ever imagined.

H. E. Paulo Alberto da Silveira Soares - Brazilian Ambassador (m): So we have to strike a balance, for instance instead of producing so much cattle, so much livestock, in all this devastated area where they are breeding cattle, why not produce more soya? We should consume much more. And this would benefit the health of us, of me, you and everyone in the world. Less consumption of meat only helps your health and the climate change.

Her Excellency Claudine Schneider - Former US Congresswoman, Board Member of US Climate Institute (f): We would be addressing not just deforestation but the problems of erosion and loss of clean drinking water. We would also be enabling people to live a healthier and longer life.

Ben Ten Brink - Program Manager, Nature, Landscape and Biodiversity, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (M): So that's I think three good reasons, biodiversity, climate change and personal health to reduce the consumption of meat.

Pavan Sukhdev - Study leader for The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), Head of UNEP's Green Economy Initiative (m): Today something like 25% of all land is in some form or the other used for meat food. So if you could somehow think of more efficient ways of making use of the same land, I think that will be a huge favor that we do ourselves. So we should reduce our meat consumption in my opinion as well.

Dr. Ann Larigauderie - Executive Director, DIVERSITAS - Vegetarian(f): Yes, being a little more vegetarian that would be a really major contribution to the biodiversity problem.

Jo Leinen - European Parliament Member, Chair of Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (M): The protection of biodiversity means that we have to reduce emissions and the consumption of resources; and that means we have to change our lifestyle - our lifestyle is much too heavy for the nature and the ecosystems, and especially our eating habits have to be changed. I think we eat too much meat and we eat too much fish, and we have to reduce both and be more vegetarian.

Sir Paul McCartney - Former Beatles Member & meat-free advocate (m): Join us in this effort: reduce meat.

Kerry McCarthy - British MP, vegan (f): People shouldn't just be lobbying their MP's about aviation and things like that; they should also be lobbying them about the livestock sector. I think that's really important.

Mary Robinson, 7th President of Ireland (F): It is important, as you know well in this room, that we change our behaviour, and that we learn how to be better stewards of this earth. So I admire the way in which you are also putting a lot of emphasis on your own lifestyles, what you eat, what you grow, how you behave.

José María Figueres Olsen, former President of Costa Rica (M): One of the important contributions that we could make to lower carbon emissions is a change in our diets. That is the change we need, the change that will guarantee us a much better quality of life on a much better cared-for planet than the one we have today, which is what we all want.

Mayor Jaime Hernández Zaragoza, Cancún, Mexico (M): This night is an exceptional night, a night of lights, a night in which Supreme Master Ching Hai enlightens us with her presence to bring help to those who are already suffering the consequences of this terrible phenomenon, which threatens our planet and all its inhabitants. I will disseminate what is agreed on here, what is proposed here, and all the solutions that are put on the table and in this organization; I shall make them as my own, with my family and with all the inhabitants of the municipality.

Ben Ten Brink: Be Veg, Pavan Sukhdev: Go Green Ben Ten Brink: 2 Save the Planet! Pavan Sukhdev: Save the planet! www.SupremeMasterTV.com/SOS
We need every help right now in this emergency situation, urgent time, to save our planet. The Abu Dhabi government,for example, is doing a good job to support the farmers,to encourage them to choose the most profitable, as well as ecological, chemical-minimizing, water-saving crops. This kind of government is also my government. I hope our government will guide the agriculture sector to the organic vegan path, and also use their knowledge and talents to share these good techniques with other countries, because the world is interdependent and can cooperate together for a sustainable future.

Again and finally,we must change our lifestyle, whether we like it or not. We should like it, because we save lives. We should be as noble and compassionate as that. Otherwise soon we will not even be able to enjoy this lifestyle, or any other kind of Lifestyle at all. We should live more simply,sustaining ourselves on the best diet, and the economy, ecology diet that is organic vegan.

And we should also live more contented, not only with money or material possessions, but with spiritual inner strength as well. Thank you for your open-mindedness in seeking new information and for your courage to change your life and to speak up for these new,noble lifestyles. Thank you. Thank you for paving the way by helping others

Supreme Master Ching Hai: as well to be vegan, be greener,healthier, happier,and more loving. Okay? Thank you very much, and you can,of course, ask me any questions you want now. Allah is great. (MC (f): Right,right.) May Allah bless us all.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Thank you so much for your profound thoughts. Supreme Master Ching Hai, there are certain questions,as I shared with you earlier. (Welcome.) So, the first question will be asked by Harvey Ellis. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) Harvey Ellis is a senior executive in the IT field, the speaker coordinator for our MEVEG Congress,(Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) and a supporter of vegetarian and organic living. So,Harvey,(Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) you can ask your question now.

Harvey Ellis (m): Thank you, Supreme Master.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you and welcome. I would like to know in terms of the future of the Middle East,in terms of the environmental impacts in the region, at least the future of the Middle East, how does it compare to the rest of the world in terms of the environmental impact that you see?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: As I said to you, the United Arab Emirates is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. I just hope it will improve through our more compassionate Allah-pleasing lifestyle. Okay. I thank you for your concern,and it's very nice to see you, first of all. I cannot really compare so detailed,but I can only tell you that there will be dangerous impacts if people don't change, if we don't change as the whole humanity. Not only in the United Arab Emirates, but the whole world has to change to the more sustainable diet,not to talk about compassionate diet.

As the scientists have told us and as you mentioned, we are already seeing the impacts worldwide. Even as we speak, the whole Middle East region is suffering from unusually extreme hot weather and drought, even a worst-ever forest fire in Israel, for example. Heat waves,dust storms, and flash floods have been occurring with increased intensity and damage. I'm sure you are already aware that the Middle East contains 13,13,one-three, of the 19,one-nine,driest countries on the globe. Now,you see?

The water available per person in the past 50 years has become 62% less. Meaning in the past, before 50 years, for example,if they have 100 liters per day,now they have only 38 liters, per person. Thirty-eight,yes, that is 62% less. Now it's getting worse and worse. In just five years ahead, one Arab person will have to survive on less than one-tenth the amount of water available to the average person in the world, in comparison, Mr. Ellis. See? Leaders across the region are worried about how they will provide adequate water. I think you all know this. You know? The water is less and less now.

Christians,Muslims,and Jews in the Holy Land are praying for rain, and the Jordanian government is even pleading to the people to hold prayers for rain after five years of unusually dry conditions. The desert is spreading relentlessly in Northern Africa. Massive sandstorms in Iraq have become much more frequent, more severe. Ancient irrigation systems in Syria have collapsed. There are Egyptian farmers so desperate for water they dangerously use untreated sewage liquid to try to irrigate their crops.

And,in the Persian Gulf, groundwater sources don't have time to replenish and are being infiltrated by salty water from the rising sea - rising seas, not just one,no. The Arab world's legendary Jordan River, you know,the Dead Sea, and the River Nile are shrinking so fast,so fast - shrinking. One visitor to the Dead Sea noted that it now requires half an hour to walk to the beach to reach the water shoreline,which was just a few steps from what used to be the seaside hotels before. The hotels there used to have water at their “feet,” at their gate,and now you have to walk half an hour in order to reach the water shoreline.

My goodness. Food production is also going down,drastically in some locations. The Fertile Crescent that fed all the farmed civilizations in Iraq until now is a permanent cracked desert already. Five hundred thousand climate refugees are on the move in Syria. These are people like a farmer named Ahmed Abdullah, you know,real example, real people. He used to provide for his wife and 12 children from his farm of 400-acre field of golden wheat,and now he lives with them in a tent- imagine? - as he has no job, no money and no support from anyone at all. He not only has no money, he lost his dignity as the breadwinner of the house,as the provider for the family. Imagine how he feels. Imagine how we'd feel if we are Ahmed Abdullah, the poor farmer who lost everything,because of climate change.

Overnight,who knows, we could be the Ahmed's family neighbor if the whole world's population does not change in time to save us. So,first we must stop the urgent climate change by adopting the vegan lifestyle, and fast,fast,fast,before the despair and tragedy get even more out of control.

Second,we can also do a lot to help to ease the food and water shortages in the Arab world. For example,we can choose the best farming or irrigation methods that are water-saving. This could maximize efficient use of the precious resource,since 85% of all the freshwater in the Arab region is currently used for agriculture,mainly for livestock raising. It could even free up all this water for more sustainable uses instead if we stop the livestock raising. So halting livestock grazing,which goes hand-in-hand with the vegan lifestyle, would also hugely lessen the desert conditions. So,countries like Syria and Iraq could once again be prosperous and proud exporters of grain. I pray we won't wait until it's too late to change. Thank you,Mr. Ellis.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Thank you, Supreme Master, for your answer as well. We have one more question from Tony. Let me introduce Tony to you. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Welcome.) Tony Satinder Pal Singh is a senior executive at a top oil and gas firm. He is also the food coordinator for the MEVEG Congress. He coordinated all the lovely lunches for us as well. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Wow)

Mr. Tony Satinder Pal Singh (m): Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you,Tony.
(m):How are you, Supreme Master? Good morning.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: How are you?

Mr. Tony Satinder Pal Singh (m):Very well,very well, Supreme Master. Thank you very much for a most insightful talk. It's indeed a lot of lessons, a lot of facts that we take back with us. I would like you to share your insights, your views on how a move to a vegetarian diet could actually help sow the seeds for long-term peace in the Middle Eastern region. Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. We all want that. We all want that,yes. Thank you,Mr. Singh, or you prefer me to call you Tony?
Mr. Tony Satinder Pal Singh (m): Either way is fine, Honorable Master.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: All right. For respect, I call you Mr. Singh.But for love, I call you Tony.
(m): Tony is good. No,out of love, please call me Tony.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: All right,for love I call you Tony. Yes. Thank you for all the food that you provide there for these beautiful people. (Mr. Singh (m): Thank you.) Yes. Peace started on our table,Tony, we all know that, and simple. Why? Why does the vegetarian diet help in sowing seeds of peace in the Middle East you ask? Yes. It's simple. It's just the law of like attracts like. If we save lives, we will have life. Yes. The way a vegetarian diet can help is because it is the most peaceful action on Earth that we can choose.

By becoming vegan,the people in the Middle East are putting the power of their actions into their prayer for peace, and God will do the rest. But I have told the UN delegate who came to our gala dinner last night that peace doesn't come just by praying. Everything has a price. Just like in our world we have negotiation for anything we want, peace also even needs negotiations, as you know that.

Physically speaking, for example, the peace in Israel, in order to restart the peace process, Israel has been promised many aeroplanes. Yes? I guess it's protective airplanes,as well as aeroplanes billions of dollars. According to the press. I wasn't there. I cannot tell you that it's from my knowledge. Okay. Now,similarly, we have to negotiate it spiritually. We have to earn peace because we have damaged peace. We have damaged the atmosphere of peace by creating,participating, or inciting wars over these decades. (Mr. Singh (m): Yes.)

The price of peace,Tony, is very high. I myself gave everything that I have, spiritual points, but I'm still a couple of zillions short. After this, all these conferences, I have to shut myself in again in a tent and continue to earn more merits in order to give more. And you,all of you, out there,please help me by being vegan, by being virtuous, by being benevolent, so that the atmosphere will be more suitable for peace,apart from the spiritual merit that we have to earn in order to give,just like money we have to earn in order to give or to spend. I spend very little, concerning money that I earn as well as spiritual points that I earn. In case I give everything, I tell you honestly, I will not be able to go to Heaven. If you go to Heaven before me and see me still running around here, the last minute, help me,please. I mean it.
Okay,now,you ask me why we have to give spiritual points for example, to have peace in Israel and Palestine, you will ask me,right?

Mr. Tony Satinder Pal Singh (m): Yes.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,okay. I will tell you why,sir. Just like a poor person, he needs money. And in order for him to stand on his feet again, the government gives him some support or the neighbors give him some money until he gains back his strength to work or his financial stability. Either he will repay you or not repay you, it doesn't matter. So people who are into war,they're in depleted status,situation, of spiritual points, spiritual merit, either because they have to take care of their country and decide to go into war for some reason and losing their store of spiritual points or either they are in the critical time of shortage of spiritual point,just like we are in the critical time of shortage of water, or sometimes we are short of money. Okay.

So,the one who has more, must give,so that he can change the pattern of his karmic structure, yes,the karmic structure, the karmic pattern - meaning that whatever you have done in other lifetimes before you come here, or in this lifetime,will determine your actions and continue further in the same route if they fall into a certain karmic pattern, then just stuck there, cannot get out. You see? So they need spiritual fuel,power,in order to get out of that situation, of the structure of the karmic fixed pattern, that they are trapped into - you see what I mean? - just like we give money to some people in time of need. The people who are into war are to be pitied, to be prayed for, not to be condemned and criticized. We have to help them. We have to pray for them not just by word of mouth but by our spiritual strength and our spiritual merit. We must share with the whole world, and in order to share we must have first.

Mr. Tony Satinder Pal Singh (m): Understand. Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. The peace a size of Afghanistan and Israel costs zillions of zillions of spiritual points to ease, and I call upon all humanity to wake up. Please wake up. Please live the way you are intended to live. You are the children of God. You are the future,the children of the Buddha. We must live befittingly as the royal members. Please be veg,that earns you merit enough to help the whole world and to restore peace on the planet. If you are virtuous, everything will become virtuous. Thank you very much.

Mr. Tony Satinder Pal Singh (m): Thank you, Supreme Master.
Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Thank you, Supreme Master. We really appreciate that you've given us so much time from your busy schedule. So,Sandhya has one question.
Sandhya (f): Honorable Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hallo,love!
Sandhya Prakash(f): Thank you so much for joining us at the first Middle East Veg Congress today.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,I'm privileged. The first ever and I am here with you.

Sandhya Prakash(f): And you are at the Conference of Parties right across the world in Cancún,Mexico, and it's a great honor for us that you can offer a message to all these delegates here, right across the ocean. You earlier asked that why people don't discuss meat as an issue,and if there is anybody who can answer. So I'd like to add a point there,that,I think (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Answer me.) change is difficult, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Difficult.) change for anybody,when they look at changing themselves. People go around changing the world very easily so as to say.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,I know.
Sandhya Prakash(f): But changing oneself, I think,is very difficult. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: I know.) So maybe that's why.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: You're right, you're right. But the thing is, if your house is on fire, you don't sit there and argue. You jump out,no?
Sandhya Prakash(f): Absolutely.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The thing is,people do not realize the danger, but if they do, they would change. Yes. That's why we have to implement the information,like the way she is making the congress today,she's trying to give people information. ((f): Sure.) This is a great thing that she's doing. ((f): Sure.) Yes.

Sandhya Prakash(f): At this congress we would like to also probably,since there's so much positive energy right now,right here, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) with your permission and blessings, can we do in our own small way, a minute of silence, connecting all of us right here. That would be just so wonderful.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. Okay,we do that.
Sandhya Prakash(f): Yes,please,all of us just close our eyes.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: And thanks for all the blessing that we have, up till now.
Sandhya Prakash(f): Thank you,everybody.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you! I was going to do it at the end and you - so fast! Thank you.

Sandhya Prakash(f): You are just so to the point in raising each one of the points for us here about the dangers of water, especially in the Middle East. Very,very pertinent point. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) And if there is one urgent action which should be carried out immediately to protect all our lives on this planet,what would that one action be? That's the only question I have.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you for the honor to be with you and for your noble question. Yes,it's just one action: Vegan. Only one. You're right. Just one action. Sandhya Prakash(f): Thank you. Thank you very much.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Supreme Master Ching Hai, we have a lovely young person with us who would like to ask a question. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Please.) Leena Abbas is a vegan and an owner of an organic beauty salon in Dubai,and she has the last question. Thank you for being with us today,Leena.

Leena Abbass(f): Hallo, Supreme Master Ching Hai. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hallo!) It's a great honor for me to be able to ask you a question. Could you give us some insights into the existence of animals on our planet? Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, taught us to be kind to animals. What roles and significance do animals have in our spiritual,mental,and physical well being? Thank you!

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Good question. Good question. Yesterday,among the distinguished delegates of the COP16 in Cancún, I have revealed a little bit of my spiritual diary, just like I revealed a little bit today for you. I have told them that animals are here to bless us. Each animal will give you many spiritual points to add up to your spiritual power. If you refer to that talk again,yesterday - maybe it will be coming out soon,because yesterday was live, but probably they will broadcast it very soon again with multi-language subtitles.

Please,refer to that, but I'll be brief. Like,for example, if you earn every day like 100 points of spiritual merit,then the dolphins or the whales will give you 40 points more or 50 points more,even. Or the dogs in your house will give you 8 points more on top of whatever you earn. And the more you earn, the more it multiplies. And the birds in your life will give you also spiritual points. That little bird there, budgies even, give you 4 points. Yes. Even the flies give you spiritual points. Everything in this world you see,or not see, are helping us, blessing us all day long.

And the animals are always blessing us unconditionally,okay? They give and give and give and give. Despite however we treat them,they give us blessing all the time. In fact,without the animals' balancing blessing power,probably we would have died earlier,all of us, or the planet would have been destroyed. Okay? That's how powerful the animals' presence on this planet is. Okay? Thank you,love! Leena Abbas(f): Thank you, Supreme Master.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Thank you, Supreme Master. This has been really an enlightening experience for all of us. Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): So,thank you for answering all the questions with your patience and with your wisdom. It's really a beautiful thought that how we can make actually a Heaven or a paradise right here on the Earth,where all human beings live in such harmony and love. Love and compassion are not just to us,amongst us human beings, but also amongst animals and other creatures, as you said,that they give us their blessings as well. I would request just a few minutes more of your time, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: No problem.) because I'd like to share a very interesting thing here, ladies and gentlemen: we are honored to announce the Arabic edition release of the international bestselling book, “The Birds in My Life,” or as it's said in Arabic, "Al Toyoor Fee Hayaty," and that is what we are going to launch right here today.

In these beautifully presented pages of this book, Supreme Master invites us to experience how she sees the beautiful birds in this world, giving us an account of the inner lives and the important messages these creatures have for us. We take them for granted. We see them flying all around us. We never think from a certain point of view as to how to give them the proper respect, the love that there is. So “The Birds in My Life” is a journey told through pictures,photographs, deep personal experiences, and I'm sure that you'll be transformed into another world altogether where these compassionate, co-inhabitant, intelligent beings,they all are living in harmony. And the awareness can go much beyond our imagination. So,what inspired you to write this book, Supreme Master?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you,angel! - the angel of Allah. What inspires me is my birds. They just give me so much information that even these books are just one little part of whatever we intercommunicated; just only a sample. And we have talked with each other that we should do something for the birds,yes? And the birds are connected with all the animals as well, and hoping that through this book,people are more connected with the birds and then more connected with all other animals,and to respect and love and to protect them the way you have just mentioned. That should be our world, the world when all live in peace and no fear from each other.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Excellent! That really is beautiful! So,now that we have Supreme Master right here with us, as if she was in the room, perhaps we can symbolically cut the ribbon to launch the Arabic edition of this book, "The Birds in My Life." Can I request that?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,please. Would you join us in this wonderful launching ceremony? I'll do that, and I thank you immensely. Thank you so much! Thank you so much. You're so kind, you're so kind.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): And you can see over here.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: We cut it?
Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): We drop it and you cut it. Thank you so much!
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Okay,1,2,3. Thank you so much! Thank you,thank you, all of you! I'm so pleased, so pleased. Thank you! So happy! Thank you!

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Thank you so much! We'd really like to thank you, Supreme Master Ching Hai. It's been wonderful that you've shared your knowledge with us, and your insights,and showing us the way of how a vegan lifestyle could actually transform the world into a more peaceful place. And we wish you good health and hope for success in every aspect and in the life-affirming and love-spreading vegan diet that you follow, which follows through to other things. But before we say goodbye to you,I have some piece of news. Because we've (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) just launched the book as of a few minutes ago, but it was put on the stands, so all the books which were here in the UAE are on reserve list. So I'm going to request you to send another shipment. Already the book is a quite a success here, even in just a few minutes.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Already gone? Thank you so much to your...
Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Nearly all the books...
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I don't know how to say to thank you. My God. God Bless you.

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): No,no,no. So kindly send us the shipment and we'd love to welcome you one day in Dubai as well, so that you can be actually here with us. It would be an honor, Supreme Master. Thank you so much!

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,I would love that. I would love that. Allah willing, God willing. Thank you so much! And my God! My people will be in touch with you to send the books,extra, more books that you requested. Your people love birds?

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Yes,they do.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,please convey my thanks to His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, (MC (f): We shall.) and all the staff in his company,and all the people involved! May Allah bless him, His Royal Highness!

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Thank you so much! Thank you!
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I also bid you farewell now,and I will pray for your wellbeing. And I know you will make a right decision, okay? Thank you! Allah bless us all!

Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Thank you, Supreme Master. Appreciate it. So ladies and gentlemen, with such profound thoughts,we actually are going to be closing this 2-day MEVEG Congress. If I could request Sandhya to please also come here…and I think Sandhya is going to cry. She's so overwhelmed by the two days of the congress and looking forward to a next year.

Sandhya Prakash(f): You know when you start and imagine that you want to do something, it is always very possible, be it for yourself,or for a community or a family. We all have certain dreams. We all are in the Middle East for many years,for our jobs, for several other reasons that we come here. But whatever we do in the place that we stay is vital. You cannot postpone things like doing good to a tomorrow when you have more time, more money, you are more relaxed. No,it doesn't happen that way. So this whole journey of 17 years personally,and of each one of you who's been around, always my message at the end of this congress is that if you have a thought,and you want to make it happen, it's only here and now. So the same goes for any change that we want to make in our lives. This particular congress is also a culmination of a thought that has been there in many minds, not just one.

But the way we can connect again and do things that really make a difference and solve the problems of the land here is so very important. And this whole particular congress has been the work of a lot of people, a lot of contributions. Deep thanks to everybody,and Zaufy, for carrying this through with that smile of hers throughout the two days, which is great! Zaufyshan Haseeb,MC (f): Thank you. Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

Sandhya (f): And vegetarian living for better health and environment was just the theme for this time. There are many other areas of depth that we can go to in the future with tools that we have launched. Please come up with your ideas. These are not any one person or two people's things, please share your ideas online. We have Ram here, who's an IT,you know, who's brought the whole IT thing together for us, the website, the Facebook,and so on. So each one has just taken responsibility by themselves,and this doesn't happen when there's no team. So I really thank the team that is behind all this. Without further ado, thank you! (MC (f): Thank you all so much!) And deep,deep thanks to all of you.

Lina ChasebiConference participantIranLina - Iranian participant (f): I like to suggest all people - all children,all adults - read this book, this wonderful book. Thanks to Master Ching Hai for this wonderful book! It has helped me to know the feelings of animals, especially birds. I like this feeling and it has helped me to know the birds better. It's a very important point for me. After I finished this book, now it's a different realm, different world,for me. Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!

Leena Abbas (Vegan)Founder-CEO,Zen Beauty LoungeDubai,UAEMs. Leena Abbas (f): Amazing,amazing source of energy. Her knowledge and the facts and the way she portrays her messages, I mean,any person from any level, from any nationality, from any religion, will listen to it. Because the way she communicates to us is in a very simple manner, but in a very factual manner as well. It was a great honor for us to actually have the Supreme Master communicate with us. Her messages were definitely very enlightening and definitely left some thoughts with people to start living more consciously and really making an effort to protect the environment and the world that we're living in. Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!

Eating or using animal products = is like burning your own room while you are in it. - Supreme Master Ching Hai

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