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Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment: The Best Way to Restore the Biodiversity of Our Planet - P5/5 Compilation of Supreme Master Ching Hai's lectures    
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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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