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MC(m): And now, we have a question from Mr. Haji Chaerudin, well known by his nickname Bang Idin. He is a farmer and founder of Sangga Buana Environmental Farmers Group.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Welcome,sir.

BI(m): Thank you. Respected and beloved Supreme Master Ching Hai, my name is Bang Idin. I am from the farmers group, Sangga Buana Environmental Farmers Group. Our philosophy “sangga” means poles, “buana” means “universal life.” Every day I work in the river. I clean the river, convert the waste to organic fertilizer for our plants for almost 15 years in the conservation forest region of Pesanggrahan River. That is my work. And my friends and I, 15 year ago, decided to use organic fertilizer for 60,000 plants in the herbs area, the endangered plants area, and the birds area.

Respected Supreme Master Ching Hai, the philosophy in our farmers group's struggle is that nature is not inherited but is our legacy for our great grandchildren. But,even though I am not a vegan farmer, I already do something as part of the vegan movement. We don't eat the fish in the river but we maintain them by working together within our groups. But, how is the solution to be understood when my group consists of poorly educated people such as myself, people with limited insight? Because my parents told me: clever men don't always understand; the one who understands is not always clever. What is the best solution so that my farmers can be part of the high economic society, while still having a philosophy that loves nature? Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Good afternoon. Hallo,Mr. Bang Idin. Thanks for your presence today. And thanks for being organic farmers. That's great. It's great to know that someone is doing it.

Mr. Bang Idin, as you are fondly called, bravo for your hard work in restoring the balance of your country's natural resources. And also for your time with young people, helping them to be good stewards of the Earth. I appreciate your diligent efforts. God bless you, Allah bless you. I, too, have been saddened at times to see how the environment is treated, especially our animal co-inhabitants. It is better if we remember that land is not like a possession, or something that we just do anything we please with. The land is part of the great being we call Mother Earth which, in a higher sense, belongs to God.

In fact, many religious beliefs describe the role of the humans as the stewards or caretakers of the planet. For example, in the Native American tradition there is a saying, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” Just like you have said that. The Christian Bible also mentions that, "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till and keep it." To till and keep it, means to farm and keep it, like what you're doing.

When God put the man in Eden to till and keep the Garden of Eden, I don't think God told him to put chemical fertilizers into the land that God has made because God has made it perfect already. It's we who have been destroying the natural resources and underestimate the blessing of Allah who has made everything perfect already for our use. We have no need for any artificial chemicals to feed our crops. I don't hear any mention of chemical fertilizer in the Bible or in the Qur'an or in any other religious scriptures, regardless of what religions we belong to. And the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has taught us like this. He said, “The world is green and beautiful,and Allah has appointed you his guardian over it.”

So we should tend to the environment carefully the way our Prophet has taught us, as I know you have been doing. The way you have been doing,sir,is great,is according to Allah's will. Because of the critical state of the planet, if we don't act quickly there may be nothing left at all for us to even want to protect. At that time it might be too late. We cannot continue the trend like this forever, and stop whenever we want to save the planet. I'm sorry to say we have a limited time.

According to all the scientific evidence and all the physical evidence up to date,we don't have much time. Even later on,if we want to save the planet, it won't be successful. So we must do it now while we still have a chance. The threats imposed by global warming are more than imminent; they are already here, as you can see through many disasters, upheavals,climate refugees,phenomena around the world. Now,according to expert scientists,the atmospheric temperatures are rising so steeply that we do not have much time left to change.

We do not have much time left to change. And that is just what they have predicted up to date. But they always predicted and telling us that every time they updated something, it was always getting worse and always faster than they had predicted or they had expected, so we cannot sit here and wait. Even with not much time left to change,we cannot even rely on that. There may be even less time than “not much.” The effects of climate change can be seen in so many ways, with increased flooding, droughts,fires and even earthquakes everywhere in the world.

One of the most tragic disasters of our time was the tsunami that struck your country in 2004,that brought so much sorrow for the Indonesian people and the people of the world. We still feel very sad remembering this, it's like just yesterday. Because the people who are affected, they do not forget yet what happened to their children,their loved ones,their houses, their ancestral heritage.

Many things have gone away with the tsunami. It's not just material, it's not just the loss of life. It's the heartbreaks that affect people in the aftermath. It's the living who have to live with the tragedy, with the memories of their loved ones, and everything that's gone with it. I'm so sorry, it should not have happened because Indonesian people are God-fearing people,very good people,hospitable, lovely people. I have been to your country many times and had the chance to experience the love of your countrymen.

This should not have happened. It's just the collective bad karma (retribution) of the whole world. And it has to happen somewhere - somewhere that is more vulnerable than the rest, and most often it's the poor people who are in a vulnerable situation, who suffer the most. I'm so sorry. I'm sure you feel the same and your people still feel the pain of this tsunami even after all this time. The inside wound of the heart doesn't heal too fast. Maybe we can build them houses and give them money, give them food,but we cannot truly heal the pain in the people's heart. Can we? No. Not really,right? We can only pray to Allah to give them strength to continue.

Since then,more than 60 Indonesian islands have become submerged. Sixty islands from your country's islands have become submerged. Gone,disappeared. Underwater. Since 2004, since the tsunami, 60 islands have already gone, disappeared forever. And your government is forecasting that 2,000 more islands may sink below the sea over the next decade also, due to global warming. It could be faster.

Prediction doesn't always correspond to the natural phenomena or the things that happen due to retribution,due to our careless actions. So,the rising sea level's going to submerge, maybe faster than a decade,another 2,000 of your beautiful, beautiful,irreplaceable jewel islands. Most recently, your country endured another earthquake. This is also another pain and heartache for the people of Indonesia and the world. But this one,thankfully, not as devastating; but still with the sorrowful loss of many lives. It was painful for me to hear of the human loss and the suffering, so I did what I could.

Of course, like everybody else, I sent some humble contribution and sent some of our Association members,blessed be their good heart, to try to offer comfort to those most in need. However humble the aid, it contains my shared sorrow and prayers for your people in time of need. I wish of course I could do much more, much,much more. So sorry.

There have also been several quakes since. And scientists have discovered that earthquakes are linked to global warming. Because,as the ice melts at the poles - North and South poles - beneath Greenland, pressure shifts on the Earth's plates that could trigger movement to cause earthquakes. How do we stop these alarming changes, Mr. Chaerudin?

We have to halt the meat consumption and the livestock raising,where animals live so briefly and then are brutally murdered en masse,just for a few seconds of pleasure of the consumers. The greenhouse gases released from the animals, from their waste, agricultural runoff,and the activities related to these massive operations have been identified as the primary, the number one,cause of global warming.

Such facilities,which are known to be utterly inhumane, horribly filthy and extremely overcrowded, have been built in Mexico, in the United States,and in Europe,with one also - maybe more even in your country - on the island of Bulan that contains 250,000 pigs. That's on the island of Bulan in your country. As the harmful emissions of these and other animal raising operation cause atmospheric temperatures to get hotter around the world, especially at the Arctic, the destructive effects are too many to count.

They include disturbances to birds' migration patterns; homelessness of Arctic animals,such as seals and penguins and polar bears,because the ice is nearly gone; ruined wildlife habitat from Amazonian deforestation for cattle pasture and feed; the release of even more carbon dioxide and heat-trapping methane from thawing regions of permafrost; global sea level rise that is forcing people from their homes.

It's not just the earthquakes, it's not just the tsunami, it's not just the typhoon, it's not just the cyclone, it's the rising sea levels as well that force people to lose their home, their ancestral home, to go begging elsewhere; losing also their dignity,the power to take care of their own family; losing their grace; losing their status as the caretaker of the family; losing everything,not just physical possessions, but losing their loved ones as well. And such extreme weather patterns that include extensive flooding along with prolonged droughts. It's easy to see the many forms of environmental harm that are linked to this killing industry, which we call meat consumerism: the mass murder of billions,billions of innocent animals' lives.

Even wild animals, such as the beautiful Indonesian monkeys and the highly endangered Sumatran orangutans,are known also to be hunted and sold for meat.
Mr. Chaerudin, in the Qur'an, Allah forbids killing. Allah tells us to be merciful to all creatures. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, told us to be merciful to all creatures. Allah told even his cousin not to eat meat. Please read the Qur'an again and tell me if I'm right. In our society, ladies and gentlemen, all the powerful people in the world,in our society,the law only punishes someone who has done something wrong to the society.

The animals,they have never done us any wrong. They live their life quietly,they're eating whatever God provides them,they don't harm us in any way. Even if in some cases they do,because we destroy their habitats, because they have nowhere to live, they have no more food in nature for them to eat,so they have to come to us, trusting that we would share with them some food,because we took away their habitat. In our society if we took away something from someone, we pay back something. So the animals trusted that we would pay them back with some food. But,in any case, we always kill them, if they come too near.

Now,I don't know if there is any law that says that human beings have the right to disturb the wild habitats of the animals. Is there any law from God, from Allah,or from our physical law stating that we have the right to destroy the habitat of the wild,and then kill them if they come near, or don't even come near, like the wild monkeys of Indonesia and the orangutans,and many other wild animals that some noble organizations try desperately to help to preserve? But they don't have enough power sometimes,because the ones who have power do not care.

Please forgive me if I offend anyone; the truth is always the truth. Say it or not say it. Mr. Chaerudin,I hope you and the audience can agree that the legacy to our children should include our promise, our vow,our law, to refrain from killing animals or making them suffer in any way. If we want to call ourselves a civilized human race, we must protect the animals' lives,which are linked to ours. We have to protect them because they are us - because if we don't protect them, we are vulnerable because Heaven will not forgive us, if we treat other co-inhabitants unkindly.

Also because now we are at the point where we must change while there is still time, otherwise we will face disastrous consequences and we might lose the whole world, our lives altogether. If we want to receive the mercy of Heaven for our life here on Earth, we must first be merciful in granting the same dignity and freedom of life to the animals. I hope you agree.

Only then can we have a return of the environmental balance that I know you also seek to protect, Mr. Chaerudin. That's why you are doing what you do. If everyone does this, our world will be transformed. So please,everyone, plant veg, be veg and we can go green later when we've already saved the planet. Save our planet,please. I wish you the best,sir. God bless you.

MC(m): Thank you,Master.

MC(m): The next question is from Ms. Harini Bambang Wahono, a member of the Society of Activist Care for the Environment, and the recipient of the National Champion in Nature Conservation and Planting Award,as well as the Kalpataru Award.

Harini (f): Thank you for this opportunity.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hallo,Madam. How are you?

HBW(m): Good. Respected Supreme Master Ching Hai, I was raised the child of farmers. I have a close relationship and friendship with animals and nature around me. I like nature very much. I also love the green environment at my father's farm,and right now I am feeling and knowing that life on Earth is in great danger because of climate change. I already try to do as much as I can to spread the information to the society in my neighborhood so that the people will take good care of the environment and make the neighborhood a more comfortable place to live, and to live in harmony with animals. My question is: What should be our roles and also all the roles of the citizens of this country to save our world from destruction? That's my question. Thank you very much.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,thank you for your very loving, concerned question, and the willingness to save the planet. Thank you also for your love towards all beings on this planet. Thank you for your love for nature and the animals which,of course, you inherited from your childhood life,being a farmer's daughter. And congratulations on the awards that you received which you so much deserve,such as the National Champion in Nature Conservation and Planting Award.

It is reported that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has said,“Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit will be rewarded.” Correct me if I am wrong. I understand your sorrow about the plight of the lives on our Earth. I feel the same,Madam. Already we have lost countless,precious human lives and animals and life-supporting plants due to climate change.

Every year,at least 150,000 people die due to climate change, including in Indonesia. Also every year, 325 million people are seriously affected by climate change, also including Indonesia of course. That is more than the whole population of your country who are suffering each year due to climate change. Imagine if the whole population of your country suffers due to climate change and in the whole world, 325 million people. That's more than your whole country's population suffering due to climate change.

Scientists calculated the annual number of flood events has tripled since the 1980s, and tropical storms and similar events have nearly doubled,Madam. Furthermore, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes,stated that 99% of the people who lose their lives due to natural disasters are in Asia, including Indonesia. And how many more are we bound to lose if we don't change in time? What are we waiting for? Fortunately,we still have hope,Madam. If we still really want to stop all this loss and suffering,we must all become vegans to save the world.

Very simple solution. A little change in the diet, that's all. One piece of meat,put one piece of tofu instead. There are varieties of vegetarian diets, not just tofu. I'm just saying that, because nowadays they make vegan beefsteak or vegan hamburger look exactly like the meat product. It tastes even better, healthier,and is more sustainable. So,it's just a little change in our diet. That's all. One piece of meat eliminate,and one piece of meatless protein. It's the same, just better,healthier. Because animal consumption is killing our world. The war is nothing compared to it. The terrorism - what we call “terrorism” - is nothing compared to it. Anything is nothing compared to the meat industry. It is really killing our people and our planet.

One example is fishing. The US-based Pew Commission found that overfishing is the greatest threat to marine ecosystems, followed by agricultural runoff,including livestock manure - means waste - and fertilizers used on animal feed crops. In your country, Indonesia,where overfishing is common in the precious coral reef areas,one report has put it this way, I quote exactly from that report: “Overfishing is causing more damage to the coral reefs than earthquakes or tsunamis.” Can you imagine this, Madam? And we thought earthquakes and tsunamis were already devastating Enough,were already causing too much heartache and sorrow.

But overfishing,even just in Indonesia alone,is causing more damage than earthquakes and tsunamis. My God. Overfishing has caused the remaining fish to be smaller,so the mesh size of the nets has been decreased to capture smaller fish, resulting in other fish being caught as well. The other fish that the fisher don't need, are also being caught there. So,it destroys even more marine ecosystems and destroys more fish life. These are either ground up as animal feed, used as fertilizer, or thrown back into the ocean as dead fish.

I have seen one documentary film from Greenpeace Brazil. Actually,we aired it yesterday on Supreme Master Television. You can see that the dead fish are covering the whole entire surface of water. You don't see water. You only see dead fish floating on top. It's a horrible sight to witness. Now,for example,for every one ton of prawns caught,three tons of other fish are also killed and thrown away. For one ton of prawns, three other tons of other so-called useless fish to the fishermen, commercially useless, are being thrown away.

Can you imagine how much damage we've done to the sea? The Indonesian government also acknowledged the devastated oceans due to fishing,and also said that 94% of Indonesia's coral reefs are dying - just in your country alone. It's very devastating to the environment. The coral reefs are there to protect us. If they are dying, we'll be dying. It's just we don't see the effect immediately so we think it doesn't concern us. It does concern us.

In addition,every year, Indonesia imports 70,000 tons of beef from Australia and New Zealand. It takes 15,000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of beef. So in total,the imported beef production alone, which doesn't even reflect the full amount of beef consumed in Indonesia, causes the waste of almost 1.2 billion tons of water each year. That's why we are short of water in the world.

Sadly,Madam, while this waste is going on right now, 1.1 billion people have no access to clean safe water- 1.1 billion. And 1.8 million children die every year due to sickness from contaminated water. So you can see the animal diet, the animals industry is killing our people, killing our water, killing our planet, killing marine life, killing our sea, killing coral reefs,killing all that is important and protective to us- just for the sake of immediate profit, we're killing our world and we are killing ourselves. If we truly wish to see real harmony born between humans and animals and nature and Heaven, we must be the harmony, we must live in harmony, and act also in harmony, which includes the act of eating harmoniously each time we come to the table.

Peace,compassion, mercy begin on our plate. We cannot truly call ourselves harmonious if every meal is the result of filling our hands with the blood of the innocent and harming the environment and killing our planet on which we live. We must protect the environment and the animals because we have to protect ourselves. They are linked to our safety,comfort and longevity and the life of the planet. If we want to have a home for our children, we must protect the animals. How can we call a dinner of fish harmonious,when slow and painful deaths by mass suffocation had to take place to bring the fish there onto our plate? All the scriptures told us that we receive what we grant,or we reap what we sow. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,said, “Allah will not give mercy to anyone,except to those who give mercy to other creatures.”

That's stated in the Qur'an. We need your help, Madam Wahono. We need everybody's help as well. It's not just our animals and trees, but human lives that need help saving. And by being vegan, we are not just ensuring everyone's survival,but this is also our chance to have a new,harmonious, noble,peaceful relationship with other species on our planet. We have to live,befitting the children of Allah.

Can you imagine? Suppose Allah would come to our planet, what would Hes do? Imagine Allah comes here and kills every living creature to eat, just to keep Hiers body alive for a hundred years, more or less. Would Allah ever do that? Would Hes,Madam? (No,Master.) No. We cannot imagine God,or almighty Allah, would come here and kill every little,innocent, helpless,defenseless loving creature to eat. So we are the children of God.

All the prophets tell us that. Jesus Christ told us that. Buddha told us that. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, told us that. We are the children of a merciful Father. We have to be like our Father. This is very logical. That would please the Father - that we are like Him, that we are merciful, that we have compassion, that we are in harmony with each other.

All the fathers would love their children to be like that. So,in order to be worthy of Allah's children, of God's children, we must live the way our Father would like us to live. This is the stepping stone that would even stop war among humans and bring Heaven to Earth,in no time.

If we stop the killing, Heaven will be here. God would be among us, and we can feel Hirm. We may be able to even see Hirm, not just in vision of meditative prayer,but maybe just like normal. In addition,we should do good deeds to further strengthen the loving, positive atmosphere of our planet. You see,just like when we walk into a room, some people are quarreling with each other or even fighting with each other, we feel very frightened and uncomfortable. Yes? That is the atmosphere of the fighting, argument,discord,that makes us feel we want to step away, we want to run,because we are scared; we feel very uncomfortable. But if we walk into a room where people are sitting together, having a happy party or a wedding,we'll feel so happy,blissful, because the atmosphere is happy. So that is what I mean by “atmosphere.”

We have to create a happy,loving atmosphere for our planet, then we can live in that atmosphere,be protected and be happy. This is very scientific. We don't need even to believe in any religions to understand this: we create our atmosphere. Just like at home, if you're in harmony with your wife,your husband, your children,you'll feel so nice and happy. But when you are not happy with each other- you're fighting or arguing- the atmosphere is really very uncomfortable, sometimes suffocating. That is the atmosphere that I'm talking about. So,we create the atmosphere we live in. If everyone creates the harmonious atmosphere, our planet will be in peace,and we will be like in paradise. We have to create the loving atmosphere for our planet.

This will also help protect us. And also,we should pray to Heavens, to the great mercy of Allah, and the angels, to all divine beings,to help awaken humankind- awaken us, so that we understand right from wrong. We understand that we must walk the way of God's children. With your admirable, strong,proactive spirit, we have more hope, Madam Wahono. So,please help us, help us, help your loved ones and those around you, to all be veg, and do good deeds. Please remind them. Thank you so much. May God bless you.

MC(f): Thank you,Master,for those words of wisdom.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you!

Francine Roosenda (f): I'm very inspired by what Master Ching Hai said: her way to motivate people to be vegan by helping the planet and then reducing the greenhouse emission gas and all the bad methane effects on our planet, simply by turning ourselves to be vegan. It's really,really inspiring and really motivating to be a vegan!
If that very noble intention can help do something to save this planet, then why not? And I'm going to willingly do that and help that.

Hallo, Supreme Master Ching Hai. I'm very honored to listen to your seminar, and I wish I have a chance to one day really actually meet you face to face because there are a lot of things I want to ask and discuss with you. Thank you so much. The Supreme Master brought us the enlightenment, the science of intelligence and intellectualism. She gives us an explanation, a practical way to live in tune with nature.

Be veg! Go green! And save the planet!

Let there be peace.

I think it's a great seminar. It's an important initiative, especially talking about organic farming. My name is Tessa. I work for Greenpeace's climate and energy campaign and I'd like to say to everyone: Be veg! Go green! And save the planet!
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