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GOOD PEOPLE GOOD WORKS Inspiring Respect for All Life:Jacek Bozek and Klub Gaja (In Polish)    
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Today’s Good People, Good Works will be presented in Polish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

We organize lectures and conferences. And, as I said, sometimes we add art into it. That is, we make our spectacles, happenings. We publish magazines. We release films. We make radio and TV broadcasts. I think we are active.

Hallo, warm-hearted viewers, and welcome to today’s Good People, Good Works featuring a talk with Jacek Bozek, the founder and president of the Poland-based organization Gaia Club, which endeavors to advance human and animal rights as well as better the environment.

Formally, it is an eco-cultural association, named Gaia Club. It was established 22 years ago. And at the moment it is a group of people working together. I hope that it is also a group of friends. Apart from working for the Earth, working for animals, we educate, and we inspire, as we often say.

Mr. Bozek is also director of the Gaia Club in the UK and president of the Gaia Club in the Netherlands. The first Gaia Club started in Poland and has its roots in lessons that Jacek Bozek learned from surviving a nearly fatal childhood illness. It was this deeply challenging experience that led him to have a profound realization about life.

Life is worth living. Life is something most precious. We, animals, the world, do not have anything more precious than life. I was a child who was very sick and from that moment I knew that it is worthwhile to value life. Life has its own value.

Through other life events as well, Jacek Bozek also came to truly understand that the desire to live is not only fundamentally important to humans, but to animals as well. This desire to protect all life, no matter the species, led him to form Gaia Club.

And all these, I think, had such an impact on me, that all my life I wanted to help, help animals in particular, These animals have been always wandering somewhere at the back of my head. So first I stopped eating meat, then I started practicing Hatha Yoga.

When we talk about life, then is the life of a pig in itself less valuable than the life of a wolf? We have to answer this question in our heart and mind. But for me, there is no question at all.

Life in itself is worth the life, so I should protect a wolf and I should protect the environment it needs to live the way it should. As for pigs, we should protect them from our cruelty and lack of understanding of the fact that they are sentient beings too.

As several of its core members are artists, the “Art for the Earth” project is an important aspect of Gaia Club’s endeavors and includes film and theater productions, exhibitions and street art, all of which are tools to inform the public of the need to conserve natural resources such as Poland’s Bzura River and respect the dignity of humans and animals.

Art can move me, it can move the viewer. But in my activities and in the activities of the organization I run, I would like to make a social change. I would like the world to change and to go in a direction, where there is more love, more understanding and peace. Art can be a medium. If we use art, I want it to be good.

I also want it to be fun for me and for the team. Because if we carry out this social change, moping about, if we are sad and talk about sad things, nobody will want to listen. We can also have fun talking about important things.

Gaia Club has helped to significantly further the cause of animal protection in Poland. In 1991 the group started “The Circus is Funny, but not for Animals” campaign to raise awareness of cruelty to circus animals. The same year Gaia Club protested the first-ever bullfighting show in Poland with the result that no one has since attempted to stage such an event in the country.

Through their nationwide initiative “An Animal is not a Thing,” Gaia Club collected over 600,000 signatures from fellow Poles, resulting in the enactment of a major national animal protection law.

As to what we have achieved, I would be very concrete here, I would name such things as the Law on the Protection of Animals, or changes in this Law on the Protection of Animals, waking up awareness in thousands of people, about animals, about rivers, and about forests.

We do not only talk about protecting nature, fish or animals, but we also say, “Dear consumer, the fate of thousands of creatures, living creatures, depends on your choice.”

A very important decision made each day is what we put on our plate. We asked Mr. Bozek for his views on livestock production and its relation to environmental degradation and climate change.

All things influence each other. And how can using 60-billion animals per year for meat, skin, eggs, and milk not have an influence. How can it not directly affect our lives? It does affect, it affects us directly. Not only does our diet affect our state of mind, but also our health.

When we talk about climate change, usually we know that 14% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, but we do not realize that 18% comes from large industrial animal farms. Only when we become aware of this do we know what we are talking about.

When we return, we’ll learn more about the outstanding achievements of the praiseworthy Gaia Club. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

I thought to myself, how can I be helping animals and eating them at the same time? Thus, I have not eaten meat for, I do not know, 30, 35 years.

Welcome back to Good People, Good Works as we continue our interview with Jacek Bozek, founder and president of Gaia Club, a Polish organization dedicated to promoting animal and human rights as well as sustainable lifestyles. Thanks in part to the group’s fine work, more and more Poles are realizing the urgent need to take gentler care of the Earth.

Before 20, 30 or 100 people took part in our projects and now hundreds of thousands participate in them. And we get feedback from them that they have noticed their yard, they have noticed their river, and that they have changed their diet. And ecology, animal rights slowly have started entering the mainstream, becoming something very important in business, in the economy, in politics.

Fifteen or 20 years ago, we did not have any contacts with businesses. Now businesses come to us and say, "Do something with us. We also want to change our attitudes." We were just the first ones in many activities in Poland. We were undoubtedly the first. And now it bears fruit.

Gaia Club works in cooperation with many other like-minded groups to bring about powerful results.

Now we cooperate on a national and international level. Our partners are the United Nations, the Polish government, Polish and international NGOs (non-governmental organizations). We are simply more open, and we know that through cooperation we can achieve more of those goals that we are committed to.

Gaia Club is quite active in raising the eco-awareness of Polish youth, and in 2008 over 20,000 children took part in environmental projects inspired by the group.

Without doubt we do huge educational work. There are about 6,000 schools in Poland that we cooperate with. There are governmental and non-governmental institutions that we cooperate with within our projects.

Trees and forests are essential as they serve as shelter for animals, take in carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the atmosphere, and keep nature in balance. Planting trees and preserving forests continues to be one of Gaia Club’s major goals. As a result of the group’s 2008 "Tree Day" initiative, over 60,000 people teamed up to plant 73,700 trees.

One of the projects, for example, is the “Tree Day,” which we carry out in Poland and elsewhere in the world. We plant trees always in October, but we work all year round. Young people or institutions set up their own parks or discover the parks, renovating them and bringing them back to the state they used to be. We look for monumental trees, and we try to put them under environmental protection. We also carry out cultural activities, setting up those parks, collecting waste paper.

One of the elements of the Tree Day is: “Collect waste paper, save horses.” Somebody might ask, “What do they have to do with each other?” They do, because young people will be more willing to collect waste paper when they know that the money from it will be spent on buying a horse which is destined for being slaughtered or simply put down because of old age.

And we are able to collect, not only we, but everyone that we cooperate with can collect about 400 tons. And every year we help five to seven horses. At the moment we already have 37 horses and a donkey.

Mr. Bozek's daughter now introduces us to two horses whose precious lives were saved through Gaia Club’s Tree Day project.

This is Pegaz. He was reared for slaughter. He was bought out before his death 10 years ago. For 10 years he has lived in the stable in Wilkowice (Poland) with his friend, Daisy. Daisy, here you are.

Okay, eat – And generally there is a lot of work with them, but they are very grateful that they were saved.

When the Polish version of Supreme Master Ching Hai's international #1 bestselling book, “The Dogs in My Life” was released in 2009, Mr. Bozek joined in the celebration held in Germany, thanked the author for Her inspirational work, and shared the following observation on the fundamental unity of all beings during the event.

Our attitude and preferences have a huge impact on the economic forces and market decisions.

One of the most important courses of action today is to educate and help our world citizens in making conscious and wise choices in their life. I am filled with hope for the future when I see people and organizations whose work help others to understand the interconnected fate of animals, nature and ourselves. Thank you.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

For a steadfast commitment to advancing animal welfare and encouraging green living, Supreme Master Ching Hai is honoring the Gaia Club with the Shining World Hero Award and gifts along with US$10,000 to further its good works.

Our appreciation Mr. Jacek Bozek and the kind-hearted members of Gaia Club for devoting so much time to protecting animals and our precious planet Earth. We wish you great success in all your future noble endeavors.

For more details on the Gaia Club, please visit www.KlubGaja.pl

Thank you for joining us for today’s Good People, Good Works. Coming up next is Enlightening Entertainment after Noteworthy News. May peace and harmony be enjoyed by all beings.
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