Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment: The Only Way to a Sustainable Planet: Be Vegan - P2/6 Compilation of Supreme Master Ching Hai's lectures    
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Hallo, Master Ching Hai. Hallo! Hallo! First of all, I would like to say that it’s my honor to have a chance to listen to Master Ching Hai’s words. I think we are at a turning point. We are at a point where we will have to face a dark future unless we change. In order to solve the problem, every sector in our society has been making many efforts. What I want to ask you is about our coping strategy.

It seems like civic organizations and academic institutes are leading the initiatives to stop global warming, but it seems like the government is lagging behind. For example, Seoul National University, which is a national institution, consumes one of the highest amounts of electricity. The energy consumption levels of government institutions are high as well. However, I think lowering our consumption level is not the only solution. I would like to ask your opinion about what the public sector, especially governments, should strive to achieve in terms of policy.

As I have mentioned before, we have to tackle the root of the problem. The root of the problem is the cause of global warming, and that root is our unkindness to our co-inhabitants. Every action provokes a reaction, and this is very scientific. You see, if we sow an apple seed, we will get an apple tree and from that apple tree, after a while, it will bear apple fruits for us. This is a circle of life. If we kill, we cannot expect life from it. Every action bears the same fruits afterwards. It’s not religious speaking, it is scientific. So, now, the root of our problem is that we have been unkind to our co-inhabitants - the living, feeling, walking, acting, loving beings, like animals, of all size and shapes - and we have also been unkind to our environment.

So, we have been massacring our co-inhabitant animals, and we have been destroying our environment, like deforesting and destroying the water and destroying the air. From all this, we cannot expect a better outcome. So, in order to solve the problem that we are facing right now, we have to reverse our actions. We have to be kind to our co-inhabitants. Instead of killing them, massacring them, sacrificing them, we have to take care of them, have to be kind to them, look after them. And instead of deforestation, we have to plant trees again, take care of whatever environment that we have.

And instead of polluting our planet, the air, we have to turn to friendly energy and sustainable energy. Just reverse our actions. I think we have to come together as a people to let the government know what we want. Write to the government, all of you, all of the people. The people have to understand, that the government also have their own problems, yes.

There’s no problem greater than saving our lives and the lives of the next generation. If everyone realized this, then we would drop everything else. Everything that is not useful to us, everything that is not kind and conducive to our living here and our next generation’s life, we have to change, we have to drop it. Drop it like a hot cake, like a hot potato, because it burns you. No matter what everyone else says, no matter how much you lose, you have to drop the hot plate, because it hurts you.

Global warming is like a hot plate, iron-hot burning plate. We must take care. If the government do not take care, the people just take care: just become vegetarian. Refuse all the animals products, then nobody will raise animals anymore, nobody will kill them anymore. Then we stop the physical, harmful effect of animal livestock raising, which is the number one cause for our climate change. And that’s the only one that we as individuals can immediately contribute. we can change it. No need to wait for the government. We do it.

The people have to take action and then perhaps the government will come along with it. If the government doesn’t lead you, you lead the government. There is no need to sit there blaming each other. But you see, it’s up to everyone to choose what they want. As I have told many times, God gives us free will. I respect that also. So, I can only inform, I can only give my opinion, but the people have to do it, because the people have God inside them.

They have wisdom, they have understanding. It’s just they have to choose to use it. Now, we have to do more than that, it’s not fast enough right now. It is urgent. You see, the killing of animals will be the killing of ourselves and our next generation. That is the fact. Like attracts like. What we sow so shall we reap. There’s no need to even talk about religious scriptures;

it’s just the fact like that. Thank you. Your question is very intelligent. I hope you spread the constructive news to your fellow students and more people. We need you.

With the emergence of the Asian economic powers including China and India and their increasing energy demands, what goals would you like to see such nations set in this regard?

I would imagine, of course, a Heaven on Earth. And to achieve this, it would be best for these energy spending countries to develop in a wise and sustainable way. They all know that already. The question is to put into practice the knowledge that we have already accumulated. They should set goals to use sustainable energy and minimize their greenhouse gas emissions in their industries, because every effort is worth the benefits to their citizens’ health, environment, and even the economy.

This is the true meaning of “prosperity.” Unfortunately, as countries develop, their demand for meat also increases as they can more easily afford it. However, this is extremely counterproductive because the demand for meat pushes up energy demands enormously, while worsening global warming. Raising animals is responsible for 80% of all greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector. Here are three reasons why these developing countries should also set no-meat and, instead, propagate the vegan lifestyle as their number one goal.

First, it’s to save energy for better purposes. Meat production is energy intensive and grossly energy inefficient. To produce 1 kilogram of beef consumes 169 megajoules of energy, or enough energy to drive an average European car for 250 kilometers! One 6-ounce beef steak costs 16 times – 16 times! – as much fossil fuel energy as one vegan meal containing three kinds of vegetables and rice. The UN IPCC’s chair, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, further points out that meat requires constant refrigerated transportation and storage, the growing and transportation of the animals’ food, a lot of packaging, a lot of cooking at high temperatures for long periods, and a whole lot of animal waste products that also need to be processed and disposed of.

Meat production is so costly and inefficient, so unsustainable that it is bad business to produce meat. Second, besides energy, precious land, food and water resources– already scarce in these very countries – are also wasted or degraded to unacceptable degrees. One study in India found that to produce 1 kilogram of beef requires 7 kilograms of grain for feed - instead of direct human consumption - while yielding less than one-third the amount of protein. The poor are bound to suffer from hunger. And, overall, increased meat consumption has always been correlated with jumps in chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, whereas before that, these ills were virtually unknown.

Finally, one reason why developing countries should say no to meat production and consumption is that by turning to the plant-based diet, they will gain invisible benefits as well. In India and China, it is already taught in their traditions, in the law of ahimsa – meaning nonviolence – and the law of karma, which says “as you sow, so shall you reap,” meaning, by turning to the virtuous, compassionate diet of vegan alone, they would generate such a positive, constructive energy. This new, loving power could even stop the effects of climate change in their vulnerable lands and open up people’s innovative thought to solve all manner of economical, social, and technological problems. And every country, whether developed or developing, will flourish in ways beyond our imagination. I promise it is true.
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January . 2021