Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment: The Best Way to Restore the Biodiversity of Our Planet    Part 4
Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment: The Best Way to Restore the Biodiversity of Our Planet  Part 4
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With diverse flora and fauna, magnificent natural landscapes, and an ecological biosphere that supports life, this wondrous planet is our earthly home. From our animal co-inhabitants to the lush rainforests and life-giving soil, we cherish all these as gifts from the Creator. It is a common theme in the world’s major faiths that during our temporary stay here, we should be good stewards of Mother Earth.

Throughout the years, Supreme Master Ching Hai has shared the message of leading a balanced life while following a spiritual path. Not only must we nourish our spirits, but we share the responsibility to care for nature and our fellow beings. In light of recent scientific evidence which pinpoint the raising of livestock as the number one contributor to climate change, Supreme Master Ching Hai affirms the important message she has noted for over the past two decades: we must be vegan and practice sustainable living. We invite you to listen to a compilation of excerpts from Supreme Master Ching Hai’s lectures entitled “The Best Way to Restore the Biodiversity of Our Planet.”

Thank you, Earth-loving viewers, for your company for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples.

Join us again tomorrow for part 2 of “The Best Way to Restore the Biodiversity of Our Planet.” And now, Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants is coming up next, right after Noteworthy News. Please stay tuned. We wish you a peaceful and blessed weekend.

It’s a joy to have your eco-conscious presence for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples. Part 3 of “The Best Way to Restore the Biodiversity of Our Planet” will continue next Friday. Up next is Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants right after Noteworthy News here on Supreme Master Television. Please stay tuned. May your days be filled with brilliant Lights and the Music of Heaven.

We appreciate your happy company for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples. Join us again tomorrow for part 4 of “The Best Way to Restore the Biodiversity of Our Planet.” Up next is Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants right after Noteworthy News here on Supreme Master Television. Please stay tuned. May you be guided by wisdom and kindness in your everyday life.

Thank you, gracious viewers, for your company for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples. Join us again next Friday for the conclusion of “The Best Way to Restore the Biodiversity of Our Planet.” Up next is Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants right after Noteworthy News here on Supreme Master Television. Wishing you many happy moments every day.

Gracious viewers, thank you for your heartfelt presence for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples. Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants is coming up next, right after Noteworthy News. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. May Heavens bless you and your loved ones with a joyous weekend.
What effect does meat consumption have on biodiversity? Charlie, meat consumption has a huge destructive impact on biodiversity, which is essential for our Earth to function and thus must be preserved. No matter how small, each species has a role to help balance our ecosystem, scientifically proven. And yet, consumption of both fish and animal flesh continue and are wreaking havoc on biodiversity around the globe. In the oceans and fresh waterways, so many species of fish have already been lost, with complete aquatic environments such as coral reefs being decimated by such practices as trawling and fishing with explosives. On land, meat consumption is responsible for vast regions being cleared for grazing crops, such as soy, that are fed to livestock.

One example is seen in the deforested Amazon areas that have gone from lush forest to bare fields used for cattle grazing or primarily animal-feed crops. With these activities essentially robbing our biodiversity, there has been an alarming rise in the disappearance of plants and animals. The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report noted that some 30% of the mammal, bird, and amphibian species currently are threatened with extinction – all due to human actions. And one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted in the field is now forecasting that over a million species will be lost in the coming 50 years. Isn’t that a sad affair? Besides the land being cleared for livestock raising, the livestock itself causes further biodiversity loss due to potent greenhouse emissions, which accelerate global warming.

Many studies have documented declining populations of penguins, polar bears, plants, trees, migratory birds and many others – all linked to rising temperatures on the planet. Even desert animals have been affected, like the Malian elephants that have been perishing in high numbers because their trunks can no longer reach the sinking ground water. The answer to all of this is quite clear: Stop the meat consumption. Stop it yesterday. This will eliminate the so-called need for livestock raising, which will immediately return immense amounts of land to natural sustainability or to natural growing methods that allow biodiversity to be replenished. This is the way we need to go, and fast.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said that the livestock industry is the major cause of the most pressing world problems, namely, global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Can you believe this? It’s like that. For example, global warming, with no animal breeding industries, we immediately stop the number one cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Not just CO2, not just carbon dioxide, but also methane, nitrous oxide, black carbon from burning down the trees for the livestock, and also toxic gases like hydrogen sulfide. This kind of gas, even if you just breathe once, you die immediately, if it’s a strong enough concentration.

Some of them are much more potent than CO2, like nitrous oxide. The livestock sector is the number one source of nitrous oxide emissions, and it is almost 300 times more heat-trapping than CO2 over a 100-year period. Now, methane and black carbon are what scientists call short-lived gases, meaning, although they are very potent climate warmers, they dissipate and exit the atmosphere very quickly. And it’s not just global warming we are talking about. If we are vegan, we don’t have to worry about avian flu, which was found in 22 out of 33 provinces in Indonesia alone, and has caused millions of poultry deaths and caused many human fatalities in Indonesia – more human deaths in your country than in any other country due to the deadly form of avian flu.

If we are vegan, Indonesia’s coral reefs, known as the “Amazon of the Seas” for their thousands of marine species, will be left in peace and beauty, and will protect us. The coral reef is a protector of our lives, of the sea. Right now it is endangered, the coral reef, due to overfishing, which includes a destructive form that uses gruesome methods like cyanide poisoning and blasting the fish with bombs and dynamite. My God. The World Resources Institute stated that these types of fishing only bring short-term profit and will cost the Indonesian economy more than US$600 million in losses over 20 years.

Moreover, around the world, countless enormous ocean dead zones will have a chance to return to life, because the rivers and the lakes that were polluted by manure and toxic fertilizers for animal feed will be left alone to purify themselves and recover. Also, when we stop vacuuming all the poor fish out of the sea, they will have a chance to restore the balance in the oceans. We desperately need the fish in the sea to balance the ocean; otherwise, our lives will be in danger. God puts them there for a reason. By the way, at least one-third of all the world’s fish caught and murdered today is fed to livestock – not to us humans even. On land, millions of hectares will be spared livestock’s serious effects of soil erosion, deforestation, poisonous water pollution, and displacement of wildlife - if all turn to vegan.

Scientists found that forests are resilient and can grow back if given a chance – very fast. We have seen that evidence in some parts of the world. The scientists also observed that when the ocean is healthy again, even the dead coral reefs will revive themselves. Imagine! Nature is miraculous and incredible. But in order to witness nature’s recovery, we must not let our current way of life continue. We cannot continue this way, or else we will pass the point of no return and then we will have a runaway planetary crisis; then we might lose the whole planet or the life on the planet.

Fortunately, we have the solution ready at hand, which is the organic vegan solution. It’s so simple, so easy, we might overlook it. We might not believe it, but if we look into all the scientific and the physical evidence so far, we have to accept this organic vegan solution as the one and only to save our planet right now. Instead of spending more money on new technology, we even save money from having to buy meat and subsidize meat with our tax dollars. We simply cannot depend on green technology alone.

Now, there is also an invisible aspect to the reversal in the destruction. A compassionate person harms no one and, therefore, brings no harm upon himself. That is why in Buddhism, they say that the moment we drop the butcher’s knife, then we are protected, then we can become the Buddha, the saint. It’s really like that. We hear real stories about hospital patients who had a terminal sickness like cancer, turned vegetarian or vegan, and then the tumor disappeared, so operations were cancelled and doctors were very astonished. So, people turned vegans and the terminal cancer situation was gone and operations cancelled and the doctors were very surprised.

Because the vegan diet protects us from inside out, starting immediately, so that all kinds of calamities will avoid us, stay away from us. And on a bigger scale, our planet will also be healed. Just like an individual being healed by turning to a compassionate diet – like attracts like. The good, loving, compassionate energy will ward off the darkness that is looming toward us, that is next to us right now. We will, in short, have a paradise on Earth. If you have ever wondered what that might be like, we may soon live to see the day when all beings will truly live by your nation’s motto, that is “Unity in Diversity” – in oneness, understanding, caring, faith, and happiness. I invite everyone to share the hopeful vision that we will save the planet, and will make it a Heaven one.

Besides destroying our precious forests, livestock farms also contaminate or even completely kill our water systems.

They degrade once-fertile soil, they destroy our biodiversity, and they release vast amounts of extremely dangerous methane and nitrous oxide, and what you call hydrogen sulfide as well, which are heating up the planet now 100 times, 300 times more than carbon dioxide. So, please keep your airplane, keep your car, keep your train, keep your ship; leave them alone for the time being – just take out the meat from our diet. And stop blaming the CO2 for every problem of global warming on our planet. We are to be blamed. The meat industry is to be blamed. The meat industry is the one we have to focus on to stop, to abolish, to stop the climate change and to stop the waste of the forests and land, stop talking around the subject. Talk to the point: meat industry must stop.

Apart from destroying our planet, it is destroying our human quality. It is destroying our compassionate nature. It is destroying the spark of God, the part of God that we belong to. We must stop the livestock industry.

Stop the livestock industry - that would be the most effective way to halt global warming and restore our planet. It will save our precious forests, which takes decades to grow, and create more natural forests that we need to reduce global warming.
Stop the livestock industry - that would be the most effective way to halt global warming and restore our planet. It will save our precious forests, which takes decades to grow, and create more natural forests that we need to reduce global warming. Without our lungs, we cannot survive. So Prince Charles has lately been highly active about climate change, and particularly about protecting the tropical rainforest.

He said to the European Parliament, “The lives of billions of people depend on your response and none of us will be forgiven by our children and grandchildren if we falter and fail.” I’m sorry to say, but I cannot even guarantee that our grandchildren will have a chance to be born to say that, if the leaders don’t agree together to stop the meat industry. Talk direct to the subject, not talk around it. It’s really that urgent. I pray the world leaders will awaken to this reality, immediately, and act properly, now.

I’m very touched by the noble qualities that you lovingly convey to all beings, not just those in the conference hall today. Attending the premiere of your two books today, I have a small question and I wish to hear some of your insights. That is: according to Darwin’s theory on species evolution, it’s a struggle for survival and natural selection. Human beings are the greatest testimony of this. Please kindly share with us your views on Darwin’s theory. Thank you. Yes. Yes, Mr. Đoàn.

Scientifically speaking, it has always been good the way nature unfolds naturally, yes, naturally. Darwin’s theory is about a natural evolution, not a forced, artificial, cruel, disturbing, interfering by human’s way, the way we’re doing. So, Darwin’s suggestion is that we leave nature alone as much as possible, interfere as less as possible. The natural evolution is that we let it evolve. But here, we come interfering with everything. We raise the animals, we force them in cramped little crates that they could not even move around, so we breed disease and we cause suffering to ourselves by eating these disease-filled flesh of animals – cause suffering to them, cause suffering to us.

In the natural world, there is no force-fed foie gras, there are no forced-fed cows, no cramped pigs, no forced pregnancy for pigs and cows and dogs and birds - any kind. We just let it evolve the way nature intends. So eating animals will not help them to evolve at all. Even if we say we want animals to evolve, then we have to let them live first in order to evolve. If we eat them all, how do they have a chance to evolve? And we can see for ourselves already that killing, torturing animals, eating animals has not been helpful to our evolution ecologically, economically, scientifically, medically – nothing. And it only brings us trouble and suffering up to now, like the mad cow disease, the swine flu, the bird flu, so many diseases, etc., etc., that now we can’t even deal with.

Even AIDS/HIV also came from eating the wild animals. So, if we live the way nature intended, like you have mentioned that Darwin’s theory that we have to let everything evolve, then we just let nature evolve. Here we force nature into our will; we want to change nature. That’s why we have so many unnatural outcomes, diseases, disasters - earthquakes, typhoon – more and more every day. And now our planet is going because of our interfering with nature, because we don’t live according to nature.

So if we want to live according to nature and let things evolve accordingly, then we should respect all nature. Right now, we interfere too much with nature and we even breed animals unnaturally, like at least 55 billion livestock per year, and billions more fish, etc. These are not natural made. We even breed fish in a confined area; and these numbers have since increased and are continuously increasing. Can this be called ecological or natural at all? How can any species evolve when we keep forcing them, torturing them, and killing them? Moreover, we went against our own human evolution as well, as we were biologically made to digest only plant-based food.

Humans are naturally herbivores, not carnivores. It is explained in detail by Dr. Milton Mills in a well-known article called “The Comparative Anatomy of Eating,” and confirmed by others such as the famous evolution expert Dr. Richard Leakey and the editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Cardiology, Dr. William Roberts. So, the answer of where humans belong in species evolution is clear. We are not their predator. We are their protector and friend. We have to protect all species so that we can keep our biodiversity and keep a natural evolution for all beings, including humans.

Hallo, Master. I watched your DVD and saw the magnificent Lake Amoura. To my knowledge, there are not many places left nowadays that are peaceful for the wild animal friends like the surroundings of Lake Amoura. What can be done to help the wild animal friends have a peaceful and good life similar to that of those in Lake Amoura region? Thank you. Director Nguyễn Thị Nhiệm, thank you for your caring and thoughtful question. One of the words that you mentioned is actually a key to providing a good life for our animal co-inhabitants, that is the word “peace.”

Where there is peace for the animals, they also can have a good life. The best is that we can protect their abodes, leaving them as untouched and unharmed as possible. The wilds really don’t need much help from us if we can just allow them their freedom and their sovereignty. If the animals know the atmosphere is safe and they will not be harmed – and this they do know, very well – then they are far more comfortable and at ease. So, one thing we can do is to encourage governments’ and individuals’ protection of their habitats to ensure that it is not continually lost to other purposes such as deforestation and hunting and fishing. Just to give an example, the rainforests of Southeast Asia have some of the highest deforestation rates in the world.

This means the animals are constantly losing their homes, with many that have become endangered or even extinct. Along these same lines, the other step that we can take to enhance the animals’ sense of peace is to not eat them. It’s one thing to try to imagine how they must feel having their homes invaded, with trees crashing down around them or on top of them, and all their food and cover, gone, but then having to fear being eaten as well – there can be nothing more terrifying! So, Madame Nguyễn, to ensure the peace and comfort of all our animal co-inhabitants like that in Lake Amoura, we really should first cease to consume them, any animals at all. This will broadcast a message of peace that will go around the entire planet and will help immensely with their sense of well-being. Then, the wild areas and habitats will be restored as will be the animals’ natural lives. That’s the best way to protect them, to show our love to them.

We have to hurry and make Heaven so that everything will go well, not just physically, emotionally, health-wise, but even technologically. We will develop unimaginable inventions, technology. And then we can understand each other like the beings in Heaven, without even spoken language, if we don’t want to speak.
Livestock raising is responsible for countless adverse environmental effects, each of which further aggravates global warming. According to the United Nations and other studies, livestock raising is known to cause the following devastating effects:

1. Deforestation: Livestock raising is the single largest human use of land, and the main reason for deforestation. Since 1970, livestock production has been responsible for 90% of the Amazon deforestation, to clear land for pasture and grow animal feed crops. A rainforest area the size of a football field is destroyed every second to produce just 250 hamburgers.

Scientists warn that if we continue on this damaging path, the Earth’s forests will soon stop absorbing greenhouse gases, and instead will start to release huge quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2). Moreover, deforestation for livestock activities also produces black carbon. Black carbon is a greenhouse particle that is 680 times as heat-trapping as CO2, and causes the ice sheets and glaciers around the world to melt even faster. Up to 40% of black carbon emissions come from burning forests for livestock.

2. Soil erosion and desertification: Over 50% of the world’s soil erosion is caused by livestock, which along with deforestation leads to desertification.

3. Biodiversity loss: Livestock is the leading cause of animal and plant extinction due to land degradation and other habitat-destroying effects. The livestock industry is killing off our beautiful wildlife, including Mexico's own.

4. Deadly pollution: Of all sectors, the meat industry is the biggest source of water pollution. Excessive and unregulated animal waste, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, and other livestock-related contaminants choke our waterways and create oceanic dead zones, such as the massive one in the Gulf of Mexico.

5. Disease: Over 65% of human infectious diseases are known to be transmitted by animals. The filthy and inhumane conditions of factory farming harbor lethal bacteria and viruses such as avian and swine flu, which we all know is a pandemic continuing its global deadly toll.

6. Food waste: Livestock uses up to 12 times the amount of grain as the same amount of vegetable protein. About 730 million tons of the world’s grain harvests are used to produce animal protein. This could feed all the hungry people, numbering 1 billion in the world, and many times over.

7. Water waste: It takes over 1,200 gallons of water to grow 1 serving of beef, but only 98 gallons of water for one complete, nutritionally balanced vegan meal. While 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, we waste 3.8 trillion tons of precious clean water each year for livestock production.

8. Energy and Resource waste: Animal products require 8 times as much fossil fuel energy to be produced, compared to vegetable products. A study found that meat and dairy production in Mexico use the most agricultural supplies and resources in the country, and this is reflected elsewhere around the world as well. All the evidence speaks so loud and clear. If these resources – land, water, and grain – were turned instead towards the direct support of human life instead of livestock, what a different world we would have.

Respected climate scientists including Dr. James Hansen of NASA, Dr. Carlos Nobre of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, and Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – all have stated that reducing meat consumption or becoming vegetarian would be an effective solution to global warming. That is, we have to live an animal-free lifestyle, a compassionate lifestyle.

Thirty years ago, my husband and I decided to become vegetarian based on the principle of respect for life and non-violence. Today, doctors recommend us not to abuse them for health reasons. Additionally, we are finding out that this excessive consumption not only negatively affects human health but the health of the planet as well. When a hamburger arrives on my table, what does it involve in terms of climate change?

There are a lot of scientific reports made about the costs of meat eating, so I’m sure you are asking for the sake of people who may not be aware. So, please, allow me to state some of the costs of what we are dealing with for the next time one is about to eat a hamburger. The cost of a hamburger appears to us as cheap, but without the enormous subsidies involved in the meat industry, the real monetary cost of a hamburger would be much higher, much higher, at least US$12.

There are so many costs and resources involved for that one hamburger that you are asking about, from the field to the plate, and all the processes in between. From burning the precious forests to growing the corn and soy to feed the cows, to making the fertilizer and watering these feed crops, to giving the cows huge amounts of healthy land and water, hormones and antibiotics are also forcefully fed to the cows, and we will eat all that. Then, the transport over long distances here and there and finally to the slaughterhouse, to freezing the meat so that it does not rot as it is supposed to, then finally, it has to be cooked before reaching the plate - and cooked well because, for example, the US Department of Agriculture found that 89% of beef hamburger patties contained traces of the deadly E. coli bacteria. Eighty-nine percent of the beef hamburger contains traces of E. coli.

There is more that goes in the hamburger than what you think you see. Here are just a few examples. Destruction of land: First, land must be cleared to raise the cows. For one hamburger, there are 55 square feet of destroyed tropical rainforest, which is an equivalent of 75 kilograms of CO2, or driving your car for 5 days straight. Also, biodiversity loss. In the process, we lose up to 30 plant species, 100 insect species – I mean the beneficial one as well - and dozens of birds, mammals, etc.

Now, it contributes to hunger. Some of the deforested land is used to grow grains. Oftentimes, poor families are forced off their land in the process. One hamburger costs 4 pounds of grain that was consumed by the cow - that’s about 3 loaves of bread or 8 plates of spaghetti that could have fed a number of hungry people. So, another cold cost of a hamburger is human starvation.
Now, we have topsoil loss: For one hamburger, 10 pounds of topsoil for farming are eroded and lost for hundreds of years, a very serious problem. Now, greenhouse gases. Next, one hamburger alone is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. The methane gas emitted for that piece of meat alone weighs approximately 4.7 ounces, but it has the same heat-trapping effect as 6.8 pounds of CO2, because methane is very potent. Water waste: not only land and food, but water is also required in huge amounts.

Just one hamburger costs 625 gallons of clean water, or, it would cost you about 45 showers. A month and a half or two months without taking a shower, for one hamburger alone. Imagine that! On a side note, one cow in his lifetime before slaughter, uses enough fresh water to float a large naval ship. Imagine that again! Just one cow. Now, we have fossil fuel waste. One hamburger costs thousands of miles of transportation, all the way from the pasture to the feedlot, then all the way to slaughterhouse, and then to the market.

So, no matter if you try to buy your food locally to save emissions or not, you can’t win if you eat meat. There is much more greenhouse gas that goes into this hamburger. In fact, one hamburger uses up 6.5 pounds of fossil fuels, or about a quarter gallon of gasoline. That’s over 16 times the amount needed for one full, nutritious vegan meal. Now, we have health hazard. There is also the cost in lives. In just one hamburger patty, there are pieces of dozens, or sometimes even hundreds of individual cows, all their flesh mixed together.

And, you’re getting more than what you think you’re buying. You’re buying a health hazard. There is saturated fat which causes heart disease and stroke, there are also extra things, such as growth-inducing hormones, traces of antibiotics that are fed regularly to the poor cows. The actual bacteria that are resistant to those antibiotics, these resistant bacteria are called superbugs. So, the added cost here is a multi-fold risk to our health. There are even more costs after the hamburger is eaten.

For example, a woman loses 28 milligrams of calcium after eating just one hamburger, which weakens her bones. And there is rampant risk of potentially deadly E. coli infection, as beef is a primary source of this bacteria. And again, there are risks of heart disease, cancer, mad cow disease, bird flu, pig disease, swine flu and other meat-related diseases. We also have other human costs like the poor families being pushed off their land for cattle production; the adults and children of the world who are perishing due to hunger; the grief and sorrow of the families who lost loved ones due to meat-related diseases, etc., etc.

As for the bigger picture of how much meat eating is costing our planet – the cows in such unnaturally huge numbers, more than 1 billion on the planet, are responsible for more than 50% or even far more, of total greenhouse gas emissions on Earth. Nitrous oxide, which is 300 times more potent than CO2, is being emitted in vast quantities from the fertilizers required to produce the food crops for the cattle.

The livestock industry produces at least 67% of all the world’s nitrous oxide emissions. So, a hamburger, as you can see, is clearly unaffordable, not only in global warming, but also in deforestation, soil erosion and desertification, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity – not to mention the negative health and bad karmic (retribution) consequence prices we also have to pay – and loss of lives, precious lives.


on behalf of the members of our society, I would like to ask Master two questions. On one hand, I have encountered the opinion of the Food and Agriculture organization, which says that it is necessary to decrease the meat consumption by half just to ensure that the current situation, the ecological situation on the planet, won’t deteriorate further. That was in 2006. Isn’t this statement exaggerated? And how do you see the current situation? And the second question: Nowadays, we perceive the growing deterioration of our current climatic situation.

We also see that the economic crisis is increasing and, furthermore, witness a growing moral crisis. Does any connection exist between these crises and the current diet of the people? Hallo, sir. Welcome to our meeting, Mr. Škvaril. How are you? I think you are correct that reducing meat production by 50% is a very underestimate, in part because we have waited so long to change. So our time has become too short in fact, and the situation is too dire. Just in case you are not aware, or maybe others viewers are not, I will share with you some of the facts of where we are today.

With melting that has caused the biggest ice loss ever known in the Arctic, scientists now tell us that the region is warming at the rate twice as fast as the rest of the world. As you may already know, two German ships have just traveled through the Northeast Passage because the ice all melted, and that is the first time in known human history that the ships could pass through. So the vast ice beneath Greenland is also melting even faster than previously predicted. Many researchers are saying that at the rate of current warming, there is almost no way for our world to stay within the limits of a 2 degree Celsius temperature rise, which is the maximum that will still ensure the safety of most life on the planet.

But even though our predicament is very grave, we do still have time if we act now, and the solution is still very simple. Well, you know it, right? It’s the vegan diet – no animal products. No more killing, no more torturing, no more even experimenting with animals, no more raising animals for meat or any other purposes, except to protect, love, and take care of the animals. This is the key. If everyone switches to this beneficial lifestyle, our planet will be cooled in no time, scientifically speaking and my promise.

One reason for this is that the main contributing gas from livestock, which is methane, traps 72 times more heat than CO2 over a 20-year period. And then there is the other gases, nitrous oxide for example, which comes from the unregulated waste contamination and fertilizer runoff of crops that are primarily grown for livestock to consume. This gas traps 289 times - 289 times! - more heat than CO2, more than carbon dioxide. According to the most recent figures from scientists, livestock raising is actually responsible for more than 50% of global warming. More than 50% is coming from meat and dairy production! Imagine that?

So, with 55 billion animals currently being murdered every year for meat consumption, you can imagine how much the Earth would be restored if this is stopped. The original United Nations report in 2006, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” spoke in bold terms even already about the damage caused by the livestock industry, saying that, “It is one of the topmost significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale, from local to global.”

Furthermore, I would mention a few of the problems the United Nations and others have noted are coming from livestock raising and meat consumption.

First, depleted land and forests: according to the United Nations, livestock is the main reason for deforestation and the loss of our vital trees, which in turn is causing tragic declines in natural biodiversity. Livestock raising is also among the top factors in degrading our lands through soil erosion and pollution, as well as climate change.

Second, wasted resources: for every kilogram of animal protein produced, livestock are fed about 6 kilograms of plant protein. The US livestock population currently consumes more than 7 times as much grain as the entire American population.

Third, wasted water: with current droughts and water shortages already affecting millions and only expected to get worse, worse and worse, scientists have found that each person eating a meat and dairy based diet uses around 4,500 gallons of water per day, compared to 300 gallons per day for a vegan diet. This also means that 1 pound of animal protein requires 100 times more water to produce than 1 pound of grain protein. Over the course of a year, the vegan diet saves approximately 1.5 million gallons of water per person.

Fourth, wasted energy. Now, the artificial indoor environment of the factory farm and slaughterhouse use massive amounts of energy. In fact, it takes 8 times as much fossil fuel to produce animal products as to produce plant food. Fifth, environmental contamination. The United Nations has also recognized livestock as inflicting some of the biggest damage to our dwindling water supplies. Just to give you an idea of the scale: one dairy farm alone with 2,500 cows produces as much solid waste as a city with over 400,000 residents.

This waste, which sometimes contains bacterial contaminants such as E. coli, ends up in waterways that affect drinking water and aquatic life. Along with the waste are chemical fertilizers runoff used on crops fed to animals which have been documented by scientists to cause dead zones in the ocean as well as toxic algae outbreaks, those green moss that grow in the water. One such event just occurred in Brittany, France, where a majority of the country’s livestock and a third of the dairy farms are located. On the Brittany coast, this waste and chemical runoff coming into the sea causes outbreaks of toxic algae, which emit the lethal, deadly gas hydrogen sulfide.

So, recently in the news we heard of a horse that died within half a minute of stepping into the algae and now the health concerns of over 300 people are being investigated for the same reason around that area. Making all of this worse is the fact that animal waste is largely unregulated - meaning that there is nothing to stop these events of contamination that can cause illnesses or even death for massive numbers of animals and people. Just talking about financial saving alone, scientists in the Netherlands found that of the estimated US$40 trillion needed to stop global warming, a full 80% of this amount would be saved with the vegan diet! That’s a saving of US$32 trillion for the simple step of turning away from the meat to eating plant-based goods.
The United Nations has also recognized livestock as inflicting some of the biggest damage to our dwindling water supplies. Just to give you an idea of the scale: one dairy farm alone with 2,500 cows produces as much solid waste as a city with over 400,000 residents.

This waste, which sometimes contains bacterial contaminants such as E. coli, ends up in waterways that affect drinking water and aquatic life. Along with the waste are chemical fertilizers runoff used on crops fed to animals which have been documented by scientists to cause dead zones in the ocean as well as toxic algae outbreaks, those green moss that grow in the water.

Making all of this worse is the fact that animal waste is largely unregulated - meaning that there is nothing to stop these events of contamination that can cause illnesses or even death for massive numbers of animals and people. Just talking about financial saving alone, scientists in the Netherlands found that of the estimated US$40 trillion needed to stop global warming, a full 80% of this amount would be saved with the vegan diet! That’s a saving of US$32 trillion for the simple step of turning away from the meat to eating plant-based goods.

According to a recent announcement by the United Nations, the number of people going hungry across the world in 2009, this year, has now officially exceeded 1 billion. This is due in part to the steeply rising food costs that are part of our global economic crisis. However, this is directly related to meat consumption. Because if all the grains fed to livestock animals were grown for human consumption instead, then the amounts of food harvested for humans would be higher and prices lower. Logically, no? Moreover, the global warming caused by livestock has resulted in many instances of documented extreme weather and drought, leading to devastating crop losses and also driving food prices sky high.

So, if everyone turns to the plant-based diet, we have more food immediately and an easing of conditions like drought and flooding, with abundant harvests and food supplies quickly restored. In fact, the head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Mr. Yves de Boer, already stated in June 2008 that “the best solution would be for us all to become vegetarians.” He meant vegans, because vegetarians mean people still drink milk and related dairy products. That means we still have to keep a large amount, maybe less large but still a large amount, of cattle, and that will contribute to global warming and further food crisis and security.

You mention also the moral crises of our world and wonder if there is any connection to our food choices? You can guess the answer to that, right? Yes, there is, sir, there is. This is the other reason we must become vegan. We have to stop the cruelty, the inhumane and below-human standard treatment of all the animals that come here to bless our world with their uniqueness and love. I mentioned before that 55 billion animals are murdered every year, legally for consumption. This is not even counting the billions of fish! Can we imagine?

There is no bigger moral crisis than the one that is created by the mass massacring of sweet, innocent, living beings for our pleasure when we have other choices. Such mass murder is a crime of global proportions. And this killing energy in turn breeds and strengthens other negative energy, which is degrading our society and destroying our world.

So, to return ourselves and our world to a purer state, one where all beings can feel safe, protected and loved, and where all humans walk the dignified way of the children of God, we have to stop the killing of innocent animals. Stop it now. Stop it now and turn to the merciful way of life, the natural way of life that God intended us to live, which is the vegan diet. This will restore the conscience of every person who adopts such a lifestyle as well as the planet itself. If the conscience is clear, we have no more moral crisis, sir.

We have peace. We have harmony. We will have abundance. So please, Mr. Škvaril, join in this peace- and planet-building purpose.

We still have a lot of work to do, sir, and not much time. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported that livestock raising is the single largest human use of land, the biggest source of water pollution, the number one cause of biodiversity loss, and the top producer of human-caused methane and nitrous oxide.

In fact, the United Nations has named livestock as one of the biggest environmental problems of our time with 90% of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest since 1970 being for cattle and growing animal feed. Lush forests are being turned into barren fields at a rate of 36 football fields per minute – 36 football fields per minute! – of rainforest are being destroyed as we are speaking. If you can imagine how big that is, how detrimental that is to our world... the rainforest is the lung of our planet; it’s the health of our co-citizens. And as the trees are felled and plants become more exposed and dry, they even emit carbon dioxide rather than absorb it. This is another danger that is attacking us.

In which way a vegetarian diet has an influence in the spiritual life of people? Hallo, Ms. Bracesco. Yes. Being veg is beneficial for any kind of spiritual advancement. In fact, all the wise, ancient teachings of sages since time immemorial have highlighted the importance of a benevolent plant-based diet. It is a fundamental requirement of a spiritual practitioner. The concept behind forgoing animal products is ahimsa – meaning nonviolence. By partaking of a vegan diet, we also avoid the bad retribution of killing and thus it will not burden and obstruct our spiritual journey. I’m sure you are familiar with this principle, Ms. Bracesco, in your work to save and protect the animals. Being vegan simply means that we protect all the animals.

This killing of other beings must be stopped for humanity to evolve as a civilization. The benefits of doing so are manifold. Besides the restoration of health, biodiversity will be allowed to thrive, planet equilibrium restored, along with the easing of our own conscience and our capacity for elevated consciousness. All these are the fruits of a more compassionate diet. This loving attitude also creates a more peaceful atmosphere that brings greater comfort to all beings.

At peace with ourselves in the knowledge that we did not cause anguish or pain to our fellow animal brethren, we will have the inner tranquility to pursue our spiritual endeavors wholeheartedly. Before we expect the lion to lay down peacefully with the lamb, we humans must do it first. As long as the humans cannot even lay down peacefully with the lamb, causing all the anguish, fear, sorrow, oppression to weaker beings and defenseless animals, we cannot realize this heavenly dream as the lion will lie beside the lamb. So we must return to our compassionate self. We must return to our glorious status as the children of God. We have to bring Heaven to Earth.
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