Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment: The Best Way to Restore the Biodiversity of Our Planet - P4/5 Compilation of Supreme Master Ching Hai's lectures    
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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.
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January . 2021