Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment
Stop Soil Erosion and Desertification: Make the Switch to the Animal-free Lifestyle - A compilation of Supreme Master Ching Hai's lectures   
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With diverse flora and fauna, magnificent natural landscapes, and an ecological biosphere that supports life, this wondrous planet is our earthly home. From our animal co-inhabitants to the lush rainforests and life-giving soil, we cherish all these as gifts from the Creator. It is a common theme in the world’s major faiths that during our temporary stay here, we should be good stewards of Mother Earth.

Throughout the years, Supreme Master Ching Hai has shared the message of leading a balanced life while following a spiritual path. Not only must we nourish our spirits, but we share the responsibility to care for nature and our fellow beings. In light of recent scientific evidence which pinpoint the raising of livestock as the number one contributor to climate change, Supreme Master Ching Hai affirms the important message she has noted for over the past two decades: we must be vegan and

practice sustainable living. We invite you to listen to a compilation of excerpts from Supreme Master Ching Hai’s lectures titled “Stop Soil Erosion and Desertification: Make the Switch to the Animal-free Lifestyle.”

Eco-friendly viewers, We appreciate your company for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples here on Supreme Master Television. Join us again tomorrow for part 2 of “Stop Soil Erosion and Desertification: Make the Switch to the Animal-free Lifestyle.” And now, Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants is coming up next, right after Noteworthy News. Please stay tuned. We wish you abundant blessings and love from God.

It’s been a pleasure to have your company for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples. Part 3 of “Stop Soil Erosion and Desertification: Make the Switch to the Animal-free Lifestyle.” will continue next Friday. Up next is Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants right after Noteworthy News here on Supreme Master Television. Please stay tuned. May Heavens bless you with much love and light.

Thank you for your company for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples.

Up next is Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants right after Noteworthy News here on Supreme Master Television. Please stay tuned. May Heaven bless you and your loved ones with abundance health and happiness.
The livestock industry causes a large part of the world’s soil erosion. It is a leading driver of desertification, biodiversity loss, and water waste and water pollution, despite water becoming scarcer each day due to global warming.

Moreover, the livestock sector inefficiently drains our fossil fuel and food grain resources. In short, we throw away 12 times more grain, at least 10 times more water, and 8 times more fossil fuel energy to produce a portion of beef compared to a nutritionally similar or even greater amount of vegan food. By the way, fishing is also horrendously wasteful and murderous. A major study predicts that all fished animals will be 90% gone by 2050 due to overfishing and over-wasting by-catch. It means those fish and other marine lives that they don’t need, but while catching other fish, they kill them as well, by the billions.

Moreover, it is such an alarming picture when we think about the billions of animals killed each year for so-called “food.” Fifty-five billion – which is not even counting fish and other species! That is 8 times more innocent beings murdered each year than there are people on the Earth. How can our planet and our conscience support such unsustainable, damaging, and criminal practice? And all for a piece of dead flesh every day, which we now know isn’t even healthy and, in fact, kills us.

I pray that our world’s leaders will take swift actions to ban the destructive meat production and, instead, use subsidies for organic vegan farming which helps absorb emissions. Then we can have an immediate effect on climate change and have more time to develop and perfect our green technology to address CO2. I call upon the media to help as well, and thank you and the Irish Dog Journal for their part.

And most important, individuals must turn to the planet-saving, organic vegan lifestyle, because the dangers are mounting and time is urgent. If every one of us would only switch now, we would ensure a future for our children and generations to come.

Hallo, Master. I recently visited the Grand Canyon in the USA. I heard it became like that about 2 billion years ago due to the movement of the Earth’s crust caused by gas emissions, erosion, and weathering. I felt a lot upon seeing such a wide area becoming a wasteland where living beings cannot live. Is the Grand Canyon that I’ve seen similar to the appearance of the Earth in the future, in the case that we cannot stop global warming? It is of course very sad to remember some unpleasant event, or destructive phenomena that has happened on our planet. I understand how you feel. It could be similar to the Grand Canyon, but not all like that. Some parts will look similar like that, some parts look different.

It depends on how big the destruction. If it is total destruction, then it will become like a desert. Nothing can survive because of too much poisonous gas. It’s uninhabitable for anyone, animals and men. And then all the water might be evaporated, and then there will be no trees and no flowers; no plants even survive. So if you don’t want to be sad, don’t go to the Grand Canyon, all right?

Do not focus on the negative side of nature. Things happen according to the destiny of the inhabitants of each planet. So right now we should concentrate more on informing people how to stop the global warming on our planet and to encourage people to be veg and that should be enough work to do for now. Positive thinking, positive vision, positive action.

Some of the global warming effects that we hear about are a continued rise in the Earth’s atmospheric temperature, warming of the ocean, along with acidification, more frequent and stronger storms, prolonged droughts and intensified heat waves, soil desertification, plant and animal extinctions, and even melting of permafrost, which could trigger massive releases of more methane gas. That would be catastrophic beyond an unthinkable scale. Mexico and your neighboring nations have already suffered from some of these effects.

Besides the drought that has stricken parts of Mexico for over a decade now, other countries like Guatemala have been facing extreme shortages, with over 550 fatalities and more than 400,000 families who have been in need of food and water assistance. In Ecuador, officials have started rotating electricity outages due to low water levels in the nation’s hydroelectric dams. Venezuela is also beginning to ration out water as she suffers from the worst drought since 1947, with June and October 2009 being the driest months in over 100 years.

“How is livestock production connected to these damaging effects?” you will ask. There are so many ways that I’m sure I don’t have enough time to tell all of them, but we can list the activities that are associated with meat production that are causing some of the biggest problems for us. These include deforestation, soil erosion and desertification, excessive use of precious resources, land and water waste and pollution, and animal, plant and human disease or disappearance.

Soil erosion and desertification: the clearing of land for livestock has created instability and serious soil degradation across the country of Mexico. In the northern regions of Mexico nearly two-thirds of the land is classified as being in a total or accelerated state of erosion. In these regions, which are highly vulnerable to desertification, researchers have found that the soil condition is made worse by livestock grazing. So, when the livestock eats all the vegetation and tramples the land, what is left behind is cement-like ground, unable to grow anything.

This worsens global warming because more carbon is released from the dying plants and bare soil. The soil then becomes hotter and overloads the atmosphere with even more heat-trapping carbon. And this is on top of the methane generated by the livestock itself. So, actually, the livestock industry generates more methane than what we can even calculate because of the related effects. Such extensive damage makes it difficult to revive, and continued livestock raising in this case obviously leaves little hope for recovery. In a magazine interview over a decade ago, the President of the National Cattlemen’s Confederation of Mexico spoke of your nation’s prolonged drought and its adverse effect on the cattle industry. Already then there were such distinct signs of global warming effects.

But what he did not realize then is that the cattle industry is causing the drought. So, it’s easy to see that if we stopped this raising of animals for meat, the weather patterns would be quickly restored, along with the land. In the interview, the president of the Cattlemen’s Confederation also mentioned the need for more government subsidies for cattle raising. But what we actually need are subsidies for life-giving practices, not the ones that take the life away from the animals, take away life from us and take away life from our future generations and take the life from our one and only planet. The government could easily subsidize organic farming instead, which would provide abundant benefits for all the people of Mexico and even would remove 40% of the atmospheric carbon if all tillable land on Earth were organically farmed.

So, the solution is very simple: we just have to turn away from the animal products. We stop eating meat, dairy, eggs, fish. If everyone does this, we will have a transformed world in no time. It really is that easy – just one bite at a time. Removing methane from the atmosphere will remove the majority of the global warming effect, and then we can have time to find greener power for our world rather than oil, after we save the planet. Also, the vegan diet will bring more clarity and creativity for everyone, so we will be able to develop all the necessary resources in time. It’s just that we need to make the switch to the animal-free lifestyle now. Then everything will improve, life will be easier, and we can rest knowing that our children will have a future to look forward to.
Mexico has also been particularly affected by desertification, which you know is due in part to her arid climate, as well as what experts report is the effect of excessive cattle-raising and associated irrigation. In 2003, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted that 70% of the land in Mexico was already vulnerable to desertification, a situation that he said was causing up to 900,000 of your fellow countrymen to have to leave their homes every year.

I repeat: it causes up to 900,000 of your fellow countrymen to have to leave their homes every year, with many going to seek better livelihoods in the United States, if they can find it. This astonishing number of nearly one million Mexican people per year came from a Mexican government report. I’m not making it up. It comes from your government report, which stated that soil conditions were too parched for citizens to support themselves and their families. Another study conducted last year found additional desertification, particularly in Oaxaca State.

So it could really be said, very regrettably, that your people are among the many today who must cope with the real and harsh status of “climate refugee.” These are just a few examples of how climate change is already taking its toll on the Mexican people. It’s real, it’s intensifying, it’s not abstract. And please remember, the number 1 cause behind it all is animal agriculture. People have to be informed fast.

However, the good news is that the way to end all this is truly even more real and quickly manifested than the problem itself, because each and every person can do something significant to stop global warming. And you know already what that is, right? Yes, the vegan diet. And here I say “vegan” rather than “vegetarian” because we also need to eliminate the eggs, dairy, and fish industry. These products are all part of the inhumane cruelty to the animals and the greenhouse gas production of the livestock industry that is destroying our planet. We can inform the people of all this.

The government should inform people of all this so that they can see that their lives and the lives of their loved ones are on the line due to climate change and livestock production. So, even if they can only think for themselves and their loved ones, they still need to take fast, preventive actions now to protect their children and families by turning to the vegan diet. But you see, we are not just victims: we are also the rescuers and part of the solution. If we stop the meat eating, we stop the animal consumption. We must all be vegan. There’s no other solution, I’m sorry. And the more people do so, the more it becomes like a popular trend. So in that way, it’s also easier for people to think beyond themselves when they see the positive results of changing.

The main thing is: switch away from meat, eggs, dairy, fish, meal by meal, day by day, and we will be living in a vegan paradise in no time.

A top Irish environmental economist, Dr. Richard Tol from the Economic and Social Research Unit of the Department of Economics, stated that if you are serious about reducing emissions in Ireland, there is no future for beef and dairy in the country. He also said that with Ireland failing to meet the target set out by the Kyoto agreement, that penalties are expected to run close to one billion euros a year in the lead-up to 2020. What alternatives do Irish farmers have to dairy and beef? We can turn to organic farming, and it’s easy, it’s simple, cost and water effective, and it’s ecologically, economically sound. It will absorb even 40% of CO2 if all the tillable lands are organically cultivated.

It could be more than that. According to the Kyoto agreement, if in any country where the farmers grow organic fruit and vegetables, then there would be no need to pay subsidies. Organic food and produce are grown and handled according to strict sustainable procedures, with limited chemical input or we could even use no chemical input at all. So, organic food, also GM-free (free of genetically modified organisms). Organic farming preserves topsoil. Chemically intensive practices are a key factor in the erosion of top soil. Scientists found that soils in organic plots were up to 60% more stable and are less prone to erosion. So, over one-third of Irish rivers are now polluted, mainly due to farm runoff; could be more than that, but we want to try to be conservative here.

Organic farming reduces toxic farming runoff and pollutants that contaminate our water, soil, and air as well. So organic farming is healthier for farm workers, the surrounding communities as well, and for natural wildlife. Now, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) considers 60% of all herbicides, weed killers, or 90% of all fungicides – that means mold killers – and 30% of all insecticides – that means insect killers – are potentially cancer-causing for humans and animals of course. Organic farming keeps harmful chemicals and pesticides out of the food that we eat and the beverage that we drink. So, farmers may apply for a grant from the Department of Agriculture, for up to a maximum of €60,000. So, organic sales in Ireland have increased, you see, by 82% already, reaching a value of 104 million in the year up to July 2008. Yes.

For Ireland to meet the Kyoto agreement target, they need to plant millions of trees so farmers can use their land to do that, and this will help to cool the world also. And forestry, it also adds to the beauty of the landscape, and that’s good for Ireland’s tourist industry.

We notice that in Africa most people do not show concern about the issue of global warming. They pinpoint Westerners as responsible for this calamity because of the large scale animal agriculture practiced there. What could you tell Africans to let them understand that the issue is a common threat and, therefore, it must be a common concern for all Earth’s inhabitants? What is the advice you would give us to motivate them to change their diet?

Well, I’m sorry that global warming does not spare anyone. Each person is responsible to do their best in awakening noble qualities in themselves to save the planet and, of course, their lives and the lives of their family. Also, Africa has not been spared the effects of global warming. As early as 1997, a United Nations document refers to desertification, which came from people removing the protective mangrove trees on the western coast of Africa. The reason was understandable: they need wood for fires and for home-building. However, the trees’ loss resulted in salt water contamination of crops and also a loss of coastal biodiversity.

While it may be true that other countries in the world are responsible for larger releases of greenhouse gases, there are also situations that are a direct cause and effect within Africa. Another situation that has had drastic effects within Africa is drought, but the biggest cause and effect is on an individual level, that is, meat consumption, or I should say meat, fish, or egg, milk consumption. This category of food, meaning animal products, is truly one of the biggest, or I shall say the biggest ever, contributor of global warming. The biggest contributor to global warming is the animal product industry. In terms of drought, you see, one serving of beef on average requires 1,200 gallons of water to produce, while an entire vegan meal takes only 98 gallons.

That is 12 times as much water to produce the same amount of energy from food – and in this I describe only the physical situation. Along with the physical is the reason behind, which is that we must switch to a more compassionate way of living in order to survive. At the same time, please remember that global warming is not about blame. We all have a shared planet and we have shared responsibility, and we all want it to be saved for every one of us. Just like in the human body, if one area is hurt, it will affect the whole body as well. So even if the injury came to Africa from another part of the world, we should all fix it because we want the entire body to be well again.

And that is very good for us to have such a noble intention, helping to save the world because every good deed helps balance the entire planet’s karma (retribution) – meaning the atmosphere, the energy. So that is the key, to be veg and spread the message of compassion, to let people know that they can really make a difference; and we each can through the choices we make in putting food on our plate. Please try to inform your people that peace and the survival of our planet begin at home, begin on our plate.
Thank you for accepting to be here with us tonight to share this so important message. I have two questions. The first question: According to you, what will be the benefits of organic farming regarding the current agricultural issues in Africa such as erosion, drought, deforestation, and infertile soil? The second question: What are the constraints and benefits of such agricultural practices? Thank you.

Thank you. Hallo, Dr. Tounou, thank you. That’s a very good question. As you may realize from your research that the vegan diet is the real key and is the essence of the change that is needed for saving our planet. Organic vegan is like a great bonus because organic growing methods benefit not only human health but also the environment. For example, a study conducted in the United States found that organic farming preserves topsoil and keeps water bodies clean, and if used worldwide, would have the potential to absorb and store approximately 40% of all present-day CO2 emissions each year.

This would be a direct benefit to our Earth. The other aspects of vegan organic farming that are beneficial include things like crop rotation, mulching, and natural fertilizers. Crop rotation means that a field is planted each season with different crops. This variety approach helps keep the plants healthy and also restores fertility and nutrients to the soil. Other methods such as mulching and even a new method called no-till organic farming help retain moisture and reduce soil erosion considerably.

Deforestation is mostly caused by animals’ feed as forests are cleared to plant crops are for raising livestock, while hundreds of millions of people are starving in the world. So, in general, vegan organic farming follows a philosophy of living in harmony with nature and protection for the planet and all beings. The methods employed support the natural balance between farming and the environment. Over time, the combination of this care and practice through the techniques available can go a long way toward restoring the balance from problems that may have arisen in the past.

Also, there are many successful stories for organic farming already across the continent of Africa. For example, in the area surrounding Cape Town, South Africa, the townships are growing 100% organic gardens, with crops that are sold locally. A similar operation has begun in Kenya. And in Uganda, where organic fertilizers were recently introduced, they are already seeing success with the soil and harvest – on your own continent. There are more and more, just too many to list here. So the benefits are immense. I highly encourage you to pursue vegan organic farming methods, if at all possible. Of course, it is possible; everything is possible when we want to save our planet.

Everything is possible. It has to be possible, for our own survival. You can bring manyfold benefits in doing so, and you can be one of the growing success stories as it becomes more and more popular.

Regarding your efforts to fight global warming, you know that we need a stronger involvement from politicians. Their involvement is necessary. However, we noticed that it is not their primary concern. My question is: What can we do? Or in your opinion, what can we do so that politicians get more involved in matters concerning global warming, environmental issues, and in the fight against global warming? Should we send them all to a university of environmental sciences?

Hallo, Mr. Secretary. You are correct. It is best if government leaders can be part of the solution. They can assist in helping people to understand why it is so important to make the change to the veg diet. To approach the political leaders, you can first get together with others of like mind. Then you let the leaders know that you and others like yourself are very interested in this subject. Tell them you want to save the planet, that’s it.

Write to your government leaders about the veg solution, go and visit with them, if that is possible. For supporting materials, you can ask our Association members to provide you with the information you might need. From what we are reading in the news, it seems that more African leaders are now becoming interested in halting climate change and realizing the need to act on global warming. Sadly, global warming is affecting African countries in all the severest, and some of the most visible, ways.

The world’s second largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria in Eastern Africa, is now being jeopardized due to over-fishing, pollutants and climate change, which are interrelated anyway. Rivers and lakes are drying up in Africa. Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro’s glaciers and ice are almost all gone and coral reefs are dying, bleaching. There are water crises from Sierra Leone to South Africa. Zimbabwe, Somalia, Mauritius, Mozambique, and Sudan – just to name a few – are experiencing worsened droughts that make it difficult to plant crops, thus adding to food shortages and prices rising. Add to this, desertification and deforestation that further degrade the land.

Increased temperatures mean erratic rainfall – either too little or too much at a time - so we have ravaging floods that drown the crops and fires that burn the forest. Likewise in West Africa, home to 43% of the total population of sub-Saharan Africa, if you’re a farmer, you already can feel that the climate is in trouble. There are more frequent droughts, heat waves, floods, storms, frosts, freezes, and locusts than before. These impacts of climate change increase food insecurity and the food crisis in Africa. There is also increased risk of diseases such as malaria because the mosquitoes spread to higher altitudes. The United Nations is afraid that hundreds of millions of people in Africa are at risk. This is just a handful of all the news reports coming out about global warming in your land. I’m sure there are more.

For leaders, they are aware of these grave problems facing their countries. Now, if the citizens also support them, remind them that they’re concerned and that this is for their best interests, then they will be even more energized to address climate change. Then they will remember that global warming is the most important agenda, that it’s their duty, not only professionally, but also personally, because it affects themselves and their children as well. So let us try our best to help remind and encourage our leaders to do something. Thank you, and Heaven bless the majestic land of Africa and preserve it.

I’ve learned from Ayurveda that we become gentler and less violent if we become vegetarians. If all humans become pure vegetarians, could we prevent global warming and various disasters on Earth? In addition, wouldn’t it be a problem for our ecosystem if all humans become vegetarians? Thank you. Thank you.

Yes, Professor Jeong, welcome. To your first question, if humans become purely vegetarian, we would not be able to prevent global warming at this time, because it has already begun, but we would be able to stop it in its tracks in time so that it won’t get worse and that we don’t have a planetary runaway crisis, like what they call the “irreversible point,” the “point of no return.” For the question about whether it would be a problem to our ecosystem if all people become vegetarian: it is the opposite, madam. The real problem to our environment is meat eating, the way we are doing now. All our planetary problems including climate change, food crisis, soil erosion, pollution, etc., can be solved by turning to the organic vegan diet. We have all the evidence pointing toward this answer. We have proof. It’s proven and it is like that. We are now consuming meat and experiencing

so many harmful effects. It is destroying our health, damaging our environment, endangering the lives of our animal co-inhabitants, killing our noble human quality and our physical existence. According to the United Nations report “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” raising animals for food is very detrimental to the ecosystem. Some examples as follows: Livestock occupies the single largest human-used sector area of land. Livestock is the cause for loss of 70% of previously forested land in the Amazon.

Livestock is probably the largest source of water pollution from any industry. It causes dead zones, erosion, sediment runoffs, compact soils, etc. Livestock may well be the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity of our planet. So why not just try to make a change in the opposite direction to see if things will improve. It will improve. It will be better for sure. If we walk away from violence and hatred, we will meet peace and love awaiting at our destination. If all humans became vegan, it will become a paradise on Earth. We hope one day we will experience that paradise on Earth in our lifetime.

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