Finland’s Veg Future: A Discussion with Research Scientist Dr. Markus Vinnari (In Finnish)    
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Today’s Enlightening Entertainment will be presented in Finnish and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

“I am a vegetarian. I believe that the rest of society should be too, because I have not heard any sensible explanations as to why this should not be the case.” Markus Vinnari, PhD Finnish research scientist, vegetarian Excerpt from “The Past, Present and Future of Eating Meat in Finland” v Welcome, intelligent viewers, to our program today. As the tragic effects of climate change continue to threaten the existence of the billions of lives on planet Earth, scientists from all disciplines have made tremendous contributions to propagate the urgent message to halt global warming.

When it will happen, nobody knows, but eventually the human race will either demolish itself – we will not be living on this planet anymore – or then there is the possibility that we become vegetarians, we change our perspective of nature and other animals, and we will survive.

The whole point of my thesis was that this is possible.

With meat consumption identified as being the leading cause of climate change and a host of other environmental and health problems, concerned experts have joined the mission to outline institutional foundations needed at the societal level to maintain a sustainable planetary home.

One of the pioneer researchers in this respect is the Finnish economic sociologist Dr. Markus Vinnari, a researcher at the Turku School of Economics’ Finland Futures Research Centre, housed in the University of Turku in Tampere, Finland.

In March 2010, Dr. Vinnari presented a doctoral dissertation entitled, “The Past, Present and Future of Eating Meat in Finland.” This is the first doctorate level research that provides social and economic analysis pointing towards a vegetarian and vegan human society in the next 50 years.

I have been interested in vegetarianism for quite a long time. One of the reasons why I continued to go to education in the Technical University in Tampere, was that I was interested in the environmental impacts that meat eating has. And I went there in order to find out how much pollution actually meat eating produces. And over there the evidence is quite strong.

And if you look at the philosophical points, those are the philosophers have been doing their work for quite a long time and that’s the strongest base. And then when you look at the arguments that why you should eat meat those are actually quite weak; you can’t make any sense out of those.

Praised by academia and discussed with much interest by the media and the public, economist Dr. Markus Vinnari studied the future prospects for meat eating and vegetarianism in Western society. Part of his study explains an alternative view on the environment that would make a plant-based diet the constructive choice.

There is global warming that is a mega-trend, that is going to affect us all, and in the longer term we are probably going to handle that somehow. Or the other option isn’t very likeable. There is also water shortage, we need to change our agricultural system somehow, and one really big aspect of that is that what are the end users going to use?

Are they going to use meat products that are going to need a lot of resources or vegetarian products which don’t need as much resources. So basically when these larger changes that are needed are understood, then we can start looking at the picture, that are there some factors that are already happening? And when you look at it, you start to notice that okay there is actually quite a lot happening here.

In his thesis, scientist Dr. Markus Vinnari explained that three concepts were examined to formulate the research process: Deep Ecology, Deep Vegetarianism and Ecological Modernization. He wrote:

“The Deep Ecological principle states that the human perspective towards nature and animals should change towards one which sees animals and nature as having value inherently and not being valuable only as material resources or by the wellbeing they provide to humans. Deep Vegetarianism argues that humans have the moral duty to become vegetarians…

According to Ecological Modernization theory advancements in human capabilities, that act as a driver for technological development can be seen as answers to environmental problems.” Excerpt from “The Past, Present and Future of Eating Meat in Finland”

Some people are really interested on the environmental aspects of it, for example, the greenhouse gas emissions are something that is almost daily in the news these days; and people are becoming more and more aware of the fact that methane is a really dangerous greenhouse gas and they are changing their behavior because of that. Some people are really keen onto the ethical issues, and in my opinion that’s the strongest argument that there is. And of course, there are the health arguments.

Dr. Vinnari firmly believes that basic information on the benefits of the plant-based diet needs to be distributed to the general public in order to dispel the many myths claimed by the meat and dairy industry. Through increased understanding, a quick change towards the adoption of a vegetarian diet can occur in the enlightened population.

In Finland, when you go to the doctor’s office when you have a baby, they hand out papers that are printed by the food industry. So I was shocked actually that this happens even in Finland, that there is material put out by the food industry over there, and of course, it says that you need to drink milk. It doesn’t say that you need vitamin D, it says you need to drink to milk.

When I started to be a vegetarian more than ten years ago, nobody actually knew what it meant. And they were quite sure that okay, you are not going to have enough nutrition and you are not going to survive. Now, that you go to the university, quite a few of the ladies are actually vegetarians. And this is something that has happened quite quickly and nobody questions the fact that actually you couldn’t survive.

In addition, through numerous animal cognition studies and the testimonies animal telepathic communicators, the vastly undiscovered realm of animal intelligence is being revealed. Dr. Markus Vinnari’s study makes the case that all life has its own value.

“The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: intrinsic value, inherent worth). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes. This principle states that not only anthropocentric interests are relevant. Hence when making decisions the end result of their effects on other animals and nature should be evaluated.

This is because there is good evidence available of the environmental consequences of meat eating and strong arguments in favor of giving intrinsic values to production animals. Adhering to this principle would lead to vegetarianism.” Excerpt from “The Past, Present and Future of Eating Meat in Finland”

For example, I’ve been quite a lot of involved with animal welfare researchers and over there it’s not even allowed to say that some animal is sad, because there is this idea that the animals are so different from us, even though Darwin said quite a few years ago that actually animals and humans are quite similar, there isn’t that big of a difference.

It’s happened just during a few years and now that I speak to those researchers they’re saying that, “Okay, the animals are actually experiencing the same things and they are, have the same feeling as we do.” But now we are just in the beginning of being able to say that out loud, we are able to write that in a journal article.

In his dissertation, “The Past, Present and Future of Eating Meat in Finland,” Dr. Vinnari delves into the historical roots of vegetarianism and outlines the necessity for human society to return to a plant-based diet society.

How we, the world, could become vegetarian during the next 50 years, and one of the ways that I saw that it could happen was that there is some crisis, a global crisis, that people get aware of, that okay, we did it, this is our fault what should we do about it? And that’s of course one possibility that if there is such a global crisis, which is severe enough, then there is going to be large implications, to our consumption practices.

We need to think about the technical aspects of it, we need to think about the social aspects of it, we need to think about the political aspects of it. All little advancements are needed in these different areas, and we don’t know at what point it will start to go automatically.

There needs to be more research on the health effects of vegetarianism. How to build up a really healthy vegetarian food circle; that’s something that is really important, because that information needs to get into the school system. That is information that needs to get into the nursery system, and to the mothers of little children, that’s something that is quite important, that people don’t have any fears.

“As there are possibilities that humankind and all other life will be faced with catastrophes in the form of climate change caused by environmental degradation and as the number of animals slaughtered in the agricultural sector are staggering, action needs to be taken to avoid catastrophic consequences. The use of more efficient forms of food production, i.e. not meat, would help avoid such environmental degradation.” Excerpt from “The Past, Present and Future of Eating Meat in Finland”

Meat-free Days that have been adopted around the world best exemplify the hopeful beginnings for society’s transformation to a new paradigm of sustainable food consumption.

I was enormously happy when the idea that once a week they offer vegetarian food in the school system went through. It’s not only that the children get a taste of vegetarian food but it also makes the cooks who are making the food think about what they are making, and they are starting little by little to think about how to get real nutritional values into those foods.

And even though it’s just one day a week, it means that the whole food acquiring system needs to tackle that. There needs to be better cooks, they need to know how to make vegetarian food, then there needs to be a shop that sells them these products, and when they sell these products to these schools these products will probably become more cheaper and cheaper.

So basically then the children can go home and tell their parents that I ate this really good vegetarian food at school. And as those foods become cheaper, those parents are more probable to buy those products. So it’s a really, really big change when you start to think it in that respect. And these are the type of things that needs to happen. In the same way, if you are vegetarian, ask your friends to come over and teach them, just say taste this and how does it taste?

Tomorrow ask your neighbor or your friend or somebody that you haven't offered a vegetarian dinner before, to come and eat with you, and offer them something really nice that they would actually like.

And perhaps they are going to make vegetarian food tomorrow and that always means that there is less suffering in the world.

Expressing his enduring optimism for the vegetarian future of Finland and our world, Dr. Vinnari articulated:

“I hope and believe that the direction in which societies are developing can be a preferable one. By this I mean that the diffusion of scientific knowledge in societies can help humans to understand their prehistoric roots and their position in the social, political and cultural systems that we live in.

I hope this is true because the other direction, the one in which we see animals and nature only as resources, does not engender great prospects for sustaining life on earth.” Excerpt from “The Past, Present and Future of Eating Meat in Finland”

Dr. Markus Vinnari, we appreciate and share your noble vision for a vegan world in which all beings co-exist peacefully on our beautiful, sustainable planet. May your beneficial work continue to be met with success for the greater good of all Earth’s inhabitants.

Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!

Thank you, thoughtful viewers, for joining us for today’s program. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Words of Wisdom, coming up next after Noteworthy News. Blessed be all virtuous hearts who adopt the loving and dignified animal-free lifestyle.

Dr. Markus Vinnari’s work, “The Past, Present and Future of Eating Meat in Finland,” can be freely accessed at: search word
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