Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era - Washington, D.C., Climate Change Conference
MC(f): Hallo, everyone! Welcome to “Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era: Washington, D.C., Climate Change Conference.” We are in the magnificent Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks away from Capitol Hill. We are so glad that you can join us here where it's autumn, a time of abundance and magnificent fall colors!
MC(m): We are delighted to have you with us today. In addition to our guests here in Washington, D.C., we are being joined by countless viewers from all around the world. This event is being broadcast live, globally on Supreme Master Television through 14 free-to-air satellites and dozens of cable channels on every continent. Supreme Master Television is also available online. So, let's begin with some uplifting music! Our first group, The Applaudir Music Septet, is from Washington, D.C., USA. This eclectic and talented group of musicians performs a wide variety of high caliber classical compositions.
MC(f): This afternoon, they will be performing Beethoven's Septet, first movement. Please give a warm applause to Applaudir Music Septet.
MC(f): Thank you, Applaudir Music Septet. I feel energized already! This group, which consists of people from several different nationalities, reminds me of the United States. This generous and noble country is a veritable symbol of freedom and opportunity called the “Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.” The United States of America has willingly opened its doors to people from every culture, language, religion and status.
MC(m): Yes! It is a nation of many notable accomplishments. Let's have a look at some of them in the following video.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I am very grateful to courageous leaders in the world for stepping out of their boundary and to speak out for the sake of everyone. Even if the public does not appreciate their goodwill, Heaven will take note. And they will have a great reward hereafter. It is of course very difficult to be in the position of authority.
To be a leader is to be endowed with bravery, compassion and nobility. That's why you are a leader. It's not easy, of course, to be in the position of “leader.” That's why leaders are few. You see, in a nation, there's only one king, one queen, some princesses, some princes, one president, one prime minister. Very few leaders, compared to the multitude of this world. But fewer even still are brave leaders, courageous leaders, righteous leaders and wise leaders. To such wise and courageous ones, we offer full support and respect. We pray that Heaven give them more strength, more wisdom to carry out their noble duty.
Because as I told you, leaders are few. And fewer still are those who are wise and courageous. Being a leader, we must know what is good for our subjects and what is not. And what is good, we have to encourage them to do, facilitate them to do. And what is bad, we have to stop, to protect them. That is the true meaning of “a leader.”
MC(m): May Heaven continue to bless the United States and all nations of the world.
MC(f): Here in prestigious and historical Washington, D.C., we have many distinguished guests who have graced us with their presence this afternoon. We would like to introduce some of them to you.
MC(m): Please join us in welcoming Ambassador De Brum, from the Marshall Islands; Ambassador Kross, from the Republic of Suriname; and Ambassador Williams from St. Kitts-Nevis. We would also like to welcome distinguished diplomats representing more than 25 additional countries throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
We are truly grateful for your presence at this event. Although he could not be here today, we received a personal greeting from another distinguished person: the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. This respected leader from Korea is very concerned about climate change, and has stressed that a unified world effort is the only way to resolve it. He sent the following message, "To Master (Supreme Master Ching Hai) and all in attendance and viewers, with thanks for your kind understanding, and our best wishes for a successful event."
MC(f): We thank Mr. Ban Ki-Moon and all other leaders of the United Nations who are working so diligently to halt global warming.
MC(m): Now, let's find out more about the current climate change situation by watching the following video.
Floods, Hunger, Deforestation, Arctic Ice Melting, What can we do?
MC(f): Pictures are worth a thousand words. Our first guest speaker will give us more insight into the current situation. Dr. Stephen Schneider is a Professor of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at Stanford University, a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, and the Founder and Editor of the interdisciplinary journal, “Climate Change.” He's also contributed to all four of the reports of the Nobel Prize-winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Please give a warm welcome to Dr. Stephen Schneider. Dr. Stephen SchneiderStanford University Professor of Environmental Biology and Global ChangeUN IPCC lead scientist - Nobel Peace Prize 2007Founder and Editor of Climate Change Journal
Dr. Schneider (m): Thank you all of you for coming. It's my task today to try, in a short time, to sketch out a large number of aspects of the climate change issue. And let me begin by saying, before we try to figure out how to fix it, we got to make sure something's broken. I'm asked all the time, whether talking to congress or members of parliament or ministers or media, and also just talking to plain folks, “Well, is the science of global warming settled?”
Very standard question. And I always like to try it out on my audiences and see where they are, so we know where we're going to be. I was in New Zealand a couple of weeks ago and asked them, and maybe 70% of people, when I said - not every detail but the basic ideas - raised their hands. And I tried it in Oklahoma and maybe only 7% raised their hands - had the same information.
So, people have different perceptions. So with this group, how many here think that the science of global warming is largely a settled and well-understood affair? Okay, a fair number. And the reason for that is, whenever we're talking about a complex issue like climate change, or whether you're talking about healthcare, or delivery of services for sustainable development, there is no single answer. There is a large number of possibilities. And in climate system science, there are components that are well established, where we really do have settled science. I'll give you a few examples. There are components where we've narrowed it down to two or three possibilities, where we have competing explanations.
And there are components that are speculative. And, unfortunately, out there in the very confusing public debate, there are interests that deliberately grab a serious well-established piece of information, and state it as the only thing - end of the world, certainty. And then somebody else from, say an enterprise institute, who says, “But carbon dioxide, that's a fertilizer of green plants. It's good for you!” It's true. It is a fertilizer of green plants, and that also includes weeds and it also acidifies the ocean. And they forget to tell you that. So you get a parade of “end of the world” and “good for you” extremes, which in my view are the two lowest-probability outcomes.
What real scientists do is they separate out into multi possible outcomes, a wide range of possibilities, and then we assign confidence to these. So what we do is called “risk analysis.” What can happen, multiplied times the probability - that's a scientist's job. Whether or not you want to take those risks with the planetary life support system, and whether you care more about protecting sustainability, or you care more about protecting short-term return on investment.
So with that frame, let me move quickly through the program and try to show you some examples of Wellestablished science. So, in the first slide it points out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is a group of about hundreds of scientists from around the world which writes reports and these reports get reviewed by literally thousands of reviewers, and every one of those comments has to be justified. And I've been a lead author in this four times.
So what has the IPCC concluded? Well, they said that the Earth's warmed up 0.75° C, 1.4° Fahrenheit, since 1850. This is not speculative. This is established beyond doubt. And that's consistent not just with the thermometers of the world but the rising sea levels as the oceans warm, the melting glaciers, and the fact that plants are blooming earlier a couple of weeks in the spring - those that are changing - and that birds come back on migration. There's a large amount of evidence. The rate of increase according to our theory should increase with time. That has also happened. And that doesn't prove it, but that's strong circumstantial evidence, and humans are part of the story.
And the IPCC concluded, based on that and other things that we call “fingerprints,” that human activity is responsible for most of the warming since the 1970s. This is evidence. Somebody said to me at a talk the other day, “I don't believe in global warming.” So I simply said, “Well, do you believe in evidence?” “Yes.” I said, “Do you believe in the preponderance of evidence?” That means half of American prudence is based upon civil trials with their standard of evidence as preponderance, meaning more than even. The vast preponderance is determined by those people who actually do the research is that it's warming and that humans are responsible for most of the last 50 years when we use the atmosphere as a free sewer to dump our tailpipe and smokestack wastes or the emissions that come from land clearing. That is very well established.
What else do we know? Well, it's not just the science part itself, it's also what it means. That 0.75 degree C was predicted literally 30 years ago. I have a new book out called “Science as a Contact Sport” just this week, and I tell the story about how 30 years ago this issue was discussed in many hearings. I first testified to then Congressman Albert Gore Jr.'s hearing in 1981 during the Reagan administration on these issues. Nobody can say we didn't know. We knew very well 35 years ago, in almost the same terms of the debate now.
And what the book is about is why we failed to accomplish the mission. In any case, one of the predictions was that there would be longer and warmer summers. That's a prescription for increased forest fires. There's been about a factor of 4 to 5 increase in forest fires in the US West. Now, can we say that's all due to global warming? No, because people have moved where they don't belong and that creates more fires. And we fought fires allowing the fuel to build up. So, like all complicated systems' analysis, there are multiple explanations, but global warming is one of the main ones.
So, again, you have to look at these and try to figure out how to solve them by multiple solutions. Greenland and the Arctic are melting as we saw on the video, faster than predicted. We're performing an experiment on a laboratory and that laboratory is Earth. And we and all the other living things are along for the ride; and that's where value judgments and political action takes place. So, there's been also an observed increase in the strongest hurricanes, and in drought and flood incidents.
So, what else do we know? So warming is, of global mean, past one or two degrees. This is something that becomes in the range that we can expect at a minimum. We have built into the pipeline at least one and probably two more degrees warming, because of the inertia of the system.
As a result of that, we're going to have to learn to adapt to that that we cannot prevent. And most of the work that's been done in the scientific community suggests that beyond one or two degrees, it gets very difficult to adapt. In fact, if you're a coral reef, it's already getting difficult to adapt. So, it depends what the system is and where: some systems can go beyond two, some can't even get to two, and the more and more we keep adding, the more the number of thresholds that we're going to cross where adaptation is no longer possible. So, a major component in the Copenhagen meeting will be trying to get strategies to help us adapt.
But remember, while we have to adapt to what we can't prevent, we have to prevent what we can't adapt to. So adaptation is actually the other side of the coin and it tells you you need to mitigate. And you need to mitigate down to one or two degrees, which means a dramatic change from the current way of producing our energy systems. That can't happen in a decade, but it certainly can happen in a few decades, and this decade cannot be wasted like the last 30 years arguing about it. We've got to move forward.
Well, here is the picture of the unequivocal - that's the warming of the last century and a half. And what's interesting about that is, if you look at the very right end, you'll notice that since 1998 there hasn't been much warming. If you look from 1992 to 2002, it warmed up so fast… What we're looking at is a natural variability superimposed on a multi-decadal trend. The multi-decadal trend is due to human activities predominantly. The short-term fluctuation's due to nature. The biggest problem is the tipping points. How many degrees warming before the melt water in Greenland that goes down, will lead to the point that it actually moves towards an irreversible, can't-stop-it melt, with something like four to five meters of sea level rise? Unfortunately, nobody knows where that tipping point is, only that it exists.
My own personal view?
Twenty-five percent chance if we warm it another degree; 60% chance, two degrees; 90% chance, three degrees. Sounds like I'm an optimist, right? We have a whole bunch of degrees to go. I wouldn't rule out, at 1-5%, it's already too late. So, are we crazy? We're talking about the planetary life support system, and there are people who want to be 95% certain before acting on the grounds that it isn't proved! Well, even if there were a 5% chance that walking into a room with somebody coughing where you wanted to get your dinner, you're going to get the swine flu, you'd skip dinner. We hedge all the time on low probability outcomes when they're highly consequential. And it's a false frame to say that it isn't proved because every single detail is not in.
What can we do? Well, our lifestyle matters. We have to be energy efficient at home. We have to make certain we are good consumers of products: that we read the labels that we buy, the energy star; that we try to get the hybrid and the plug-in cars; we use less imported food stuffs; and for me, personally, I've also reduced my meat consumption. I've lost weight and feel much better. Making significant difference matters. So, the advocacy of this organization, like eating (NFT: He means SMCHIA) fruits and vegetables, that's in line with the advocacy of helping local jobs and reducing our carbon footprint.
So, if you can solve more than one problem at once, well, those then get high priority. And we have to do two acts of good governance if you want to deal with something like climate or food: you have to, A, reduce our footprint on the planetary commons; but B, you have to help the people doing it into a new line of work and into something more sustainable. That calls for two acts of good governance - not just protecting the commons but being fair. So, we've got to do both; we can, but we have to work at it and we have to find cooperative solutions or there'll be no hope.
What we should be talking about with the numbers is how many tens of billions of dollars are each of the principal players going to pay to help us invent our way out of the problem and help the developing countries leapfrog over the polluting Victorian industrial revolution. We need deployment of clean technology. We need sensible rules for energy efficiency. We need a “polluter pays” market-based thing. Every single one of those: efficiency, invention, and market-based and adaptation, is a necessary condition. None by itself is sufficient.
So, let's conclude then:
adaptation planning, performance standards for buildings, public private partnerships, price on carbon. And remember, just as I said when you have to deal with the agriculture workers, you also have to deal with the coal miners. We cannot just say, “No, you can't do this, goodbye, too bad.” We have to work to help them transition to sustainable work. The bottom line? This is not just about us. This is our legacy to our children, grandchildren, and all the other living things on this Earth.
Remember the plants and animals and our children had very little to do with creating this problem. We created it. We have to teach them to solve the problem well. They have to join with us to do it and we have to ask them. What do they want - a legacy of wealth and infrastructure, or a legacy of biotic impoverishment, reduced diversity in culture and nature, just to be richer? I'll bet from what the students I've met, they are much less interested in being mega wealthy than they are in having a planet that works. Thank you very much.
MC(m): Our deep appreciation, Dr. Schneider, for sharing with us the urgency of the climate change crisis and the steps we need to take to avoid the final tipping point.
Dr. Richard Dittman (m): It's a nice review of the scientific results of studies and I thought that was very good. I think we have to save the habitat and get to a sustainable lifestyle. I think all human beings have a duty to fellow human beings and to our habitat and to other species, and I think the idea of not being cruel and exploitative, I share those kind of values.
Mr. Williams (m): We've studied the pyramid (food pyramid) of how each time you go up a ladder from the biomass that is produced by our autotrophs to the next level, all the way to the top, we lose energy, and so, the eating of animals is very bad. We should go to more a vegetarian diet. Our culture has been raised on these animals but it has gotten our ecosystem out of order.
Supreme Master TV(m): What was your impression of today's conference on climate change?
DiViNCi (m): It was beautiful. It was inspirational, it was necessary. The urgency was conveyed in just the right tone. I can't really imagine any one person feeling anything but inspired leaving.
That's why our world has a lot of troubles. And everybody tries hard to make peace on Earth, to talk and talk and talk, and a lot of champagne pouring into all the talk, and a lot of beef and pork, a lot of pigs and cows.
But it's not always helpful, because people do not take care of the problem from the root.
MC(f): Mr. Jens Holm of Sweden， former Member of the European Parliament， is another climate change expert. He has sent us his greeting in a message via video. Let's hear from him now.
Jens Holm(m): My name is Jens Holm. I was a member of the European Parliament between 2006 and 2009. I'd like to greet all the participants of this very important climate conference. Here in Sweden and in Europe, we're getting prepared for the big climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. So it's very handy that you organize a conference about climate change So you in the U.S. also can get prepared for action for the climate. Because we all know that the situation is very, very crucial. It's not only a matter of putting pressure on the politicians; it's also a matter of what you and I can do, and I think there is a lot we can do. We all know about driving less cars, stop flying with the airplanes, taking the train instead, and so on.
But I think also we can change the climate by stop eating meat. The meat production is actually responsible for more than all the emissions together from the world's entire transport sector. That means that meat production emits more gases than the cars， than the trucks， than the airplanes and the boats together. So，by stopping eating meat you can save the planet and you can save the climate. So，please，become a part of the solution: stop eating meat. My vision is that by 2012， all countries in the world have adopted ambitious targets for cutting the emissions of climate gases and that all of us, we are not any longer a part of the problem. We are a part of the solution.
MC(m): Thank you，Mr. Jens Holm. The effects of climate change are certainly being felt in the United States. In 2005， Hurricane Katrina smashed through New Orleans, leaving over 80% of the city flooded. Last year，Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed a statewide drought in California. And temperatures are still on the rise. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)， the combined global land and ocean surface temperature in September was the second warmest on record.
MC(f): Climate change is having devastating effects on other nations. Our next address is from Mrs. Maneka Gandhi， the former Minister of Environment and Forests for India. She has been a Member of the Indian Parliament continuously since 1989. Mrs. Gandhi has received many awards for her environmental work， including the prestigious A.S.G. Jayakar Award for creating awareness about climate change， animal welfare， and deforestation. Please listen to Mrs. Maneka Gandhi.
Maneka Gandhi(f): I would like to say my namaskar (greetings) to Supreme Master Ching Hai and to all of you in the audience. I wish I could have been with you today but，unfortunately， I have parliament. For many years now we have been experiencing the problems of climate change. In my own constituency there was a terrible drought this year. And just when the government had come to grips with it， it turned into an unseasonal flood. The farmers lost everything. The lentils I eat，regarded as a staple in India， are now so expensive that they have become a luxury. We have no rain，no water， increasing heat，drying rivers，and dying people.
Do you feel powerless as an individual to stop the world from dying? Let me explain how you and I can turn this around immediately. Methane and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases，which means that their presence in the air traps heat and affects the Earth's temperature and climate， making the planet warmer. As it warms， the climate changes and the glaciers melt. When the glaciers melt， the rivers first flood and then dry up. Let's take methane. It's an easy problem to deal with. It's produced from four sources: livestock (livestock manure)， rice farming， coal mining，and landfills.
The time has come for both the developed and developing world to recognize that reducing methane is the quickest way to stop global warming， while we wrestle with the problems of technology changes for reducing carbon dioxide. What makes methane so lethal? It may be less than carbon dioxide，but it is 23 times more efficient in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. And methane has a large effect for a brief period. In fact，it lasts in the air for a net lifetime of about 8.4 years， whereas carbon dioxide has a small effect for a long period. What does that mean? It means that if we stop generating methane today， we will see the effect almost immediately. In developed countries， the eating of meat has risen from 65 kilos to 100 kilos per year. One hundred kilos means over 300 animals are killed by one person every year.
Meat eating， why is it a problem? Because it increases both carbon dioxide and methane. Producing one steak in your supermarket takes roughly 60,000 calories of energy. Keeping cattle or pigs， growing food for them， feeding them， transporting them， killing them，cleaning and packaging the meat， sending it by air-conditioned vehicles to the supermarkets which keep it in freezers， then you buy it，then it's in fridges at home， and then you cook it because you can't eat it raw. This is all carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide will increase because forests are cut by the minute in places like Brazil，China， Indonesia，India，just so that we can graze the cattle，the pigs，the hens， the goats，the sheep. These forests absorb carbon dioxide. So when we cut down the forests，we cut down the carbon sinks and we exchange them for meat. Now comes methane and its relationship to meat:
Livestock produces 23% of all methane，because of the fermentation in their intestines， which produces gas in these animals. It is produced in their manure， in the wastewater that they produce. A single dairy cow produces between 550 to 700 liters of methane a day. The world's top destroyer of the atmosphere is not the car，nor the factory - it is the meat-eating human being. There is a 400-page United Nations report, which has identified the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate，forests， wildlife and the continuation of the Earth.
Your ham sandwich is killing me. Your ham sandwich is killing the Earth. Livestock produces more than 100 other polluting gases，including two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia. Ammonia creates acid rain. Acid rain destroys forests. And over-grazing has turned pastures and mountain ranges，like my Aravalli Range，which used to protect Delhi and no longer does so because it has become a desert.
Cows soak up vast amounts of water. It takes a staggering 990 liters of water to produce one liter of milk. Wastes from feed lots and fertilizers，used to grow their feed，all wash down to the sea. It kills the coral reefs and it creates dead zones. There are over 200 dead zones in the ocean now - thousands of kilometers wide - including near India， including off Washington， which have no life.
Diet change would make far more of a difference than trading in， for instance，your car. Many people think that if they trade in a standard car for a more efficient hybrid car， this will save the Earth; but it doesn't. It reduces annual greenhouse emissions by just 1 ton a year， and then you create 1.5 tons by eating meat. All 1.5 billion cows in the world，you created them. They don't want to be killed，but you kill them to eat. In the process， you kill not just them， you kill the planet.
Now what can we do? The costs of reducing carbon dioxide are much larger because it needs technology. The cost of reducing methane is zero - simply stop eating meat. We can remove methane in one day starting with today's dinner. If you stop eating meat today，you will stop my Ganges glacier from melting， and 23% of my people will survive，because the magnificent and holy Ganges will stop turning into a stream. And how will this impact you? My people will not become refugees and storm your gates to enter your country. So，not only will you save the world yourself， stopping eating meat will also stop so much poverty on the planet. It brings you better health. It eliminates most cancers. It frees up masses of land for vegetables and grains and really good eating. It allows water for the poor.
For instance，do you know that one slaughterhouse in my city uses 16 million liters a day，and one family gets one liter? Take the power into your own hands. You can become an Earth-saver. You don't need machines. You don't need governments. You don't even need treaties like the Copenhagen treaty; you can stop it today by yourself. Maybe this is the ultimate lesson that nature is trying to teach us: Good gets good. Don't kill and don't be killed. Thank you.
MC(f): Thank you，Mrs. Gandhi. Your desire to protect all life is an inspiration to all. We wish you much success in your noble political service.
MC(m): And now，for a dramatic change of pace. According to TIME magazine， Albert Einstein was the quintessential genius of the 20th century. Often，when Einstein was faced with a problem， he would pick up his violin and play until a solution entered his consciousness. Music was the source of his inspiration.
MC(f): Our next performer is definitely a source of inspiration! Ms. Jee-Youn Kim graduated from the Yonsei University， and has performed extensively in Korea. She plays the electric violin，often creating upbeat versions of classical compositions. This afternoon she will share her lively rendition of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major. Please give a warm welcome to Ms. Jee-Youn Kim.
MC(m): Thank you very much， Ms. Jee-Youn Kim， for uplifting our spirits and sharing your heartfelt enthusiasm for music.
MC(f): Yes， that was truly inspiring! Now，let's return to our topic of climate change. Our next speaker， Dr. Noam Mohr， is a graduate from both Yale and Pennsylvania State Universities. He is currently an adjunct professor of physics at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Mohr will explain the importance of short-lived greenhouse gases. Please give a warm welcome to Dr. Noam Mohr.
Mr. Noam Mohr (m): Thanks， I'm happy to be here. Global warming is one of the biggest environmental threats ever faced by humanity for the sheer scale of the problem. The emissions we emit today are ones that will continue warming the Earth for centuries to come. And with the threats， the risks that temperature increases pose- the rising sea levels， the melting glaciers， the increase in extreme weather phenomena like droughts and hurricanes- people are coming to the point where they realize inaction is impossible.
And the question is: What can we best do about it? Traditionally， the pole focus has been on sources of carbon dioxide: burning gasoline in our gas tanks; burning fossil fuels in our power plants; and， of course，very important to address those sources. But it turns out when you look at the data， especially when you focus on the near-term， arguably the best place to focus our efforts is on animal agriculture. This is really surprising.
People don't usually think of the things that they sit down to eat at dinner could be affecting the climate of the entire planet. So，it's really interesting information，and really powerful information， because it means we can start doing something about it and get a lot of bang for our buck. The UN has said that the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale， from local to global. That means every major environmental problem has animal agriculture at the top of the list of causes.
I mean，it's amazing to think that one industry， especially this industry of raising animals for food could be so powerful. But when you realize that it is，it really makes sense that this is also having such a big effect on climate change，and that it is a rich source of opportunity to do something about it. So，first，let's see why this is such a big influence.
The UN has estimated that 18% of our emissions causing global warming today are due to animal agriculture. For a comparison， as Mr. Holm pointed out， all the cars，and trucks and SUVs and planes and trains and other modes of transportation in the world together amount to about 12%. So，animal agriculture alone is a far bigger chunk of the problem than all those sources， important sources as they are，put together.
The University of Chicago did a study which they measured for the average American. If the average American switched their diet to a vegetarian diet， how much global warming would that save? And they found it was about 40% more than if they switched their car in for a hybrid Toyota Prius， which is a big focus of environmentalists' efforts to improve our emissions. Definitely it's a big positive step to switch your car for a Prius， but it's really telling that we can make an even bigger difference by reducing our consumption of animal products.
These are big numbers as they are. And I'll talk about why they're such big numbers, and then talk about why these numbers are truly underestimates of the scope of the problem. And it's hard to imagine when you look at one cow in a field， how could this cow be changing the climate for the entire world? If you look at a chicken hatching from its egg， it just doesn't seem like the chicken could be doing much for the entire world.
But when you look at the vast numbers of animals involved， it's really staggering. You start to realize the scope of the problem. When you look at the vast numbers involved， it really becomes quite obvious the scope of what we're talking about. In the US alone in 2008， just to feed Americans， 80 billion animals were killed. The numbers are just hard to get your head around. If you look at the entire animal biomass of the Earth，all the animals in the world， you'll find one-fifth of those are animals we're raising for food - one in every five! So，the numbers are just staggering.
If you look at the surface of the Earth，30% of the ice-free land surface of the Earth is being used to raise animals for food， for pasture land， or to grow feed for those animals. So，this is a huge part of our economy，a huge part of our human efforts， and so it makes sense that it would be a huge part of our environmental problems. And if you think about it in your own life， how much money you spend on food， how big a part of your life is food?
You go outside and see restaurants and supermarkets and so on… the food we eat is a big part of what humans do and it only makes sense that it's a huge part of the problem. As bad as it is today， as bad as the emissions are from this sector，think about what will happen if we don't do anything. Meat consumption has increased 5 times in the past 50 years， and it's on schedule to double again in the next decade or two. So，as bad as things are now，they're only getting worse if we do nothing， and these kinds of increases threaten to swamp improvements we make in emissions in other areas. So，we absolutely cannot neglect this important area.
Why do these animals and their production emit so much global warming gases? Well，people often look at carbon dioxide， and carbon dioxide is a big part of the problem. And animal agriculture contributes a great deal to carbon dioxide. To produce one calorie of animal protein takes 11 times as much energy input as one calorie of plant protein production takes. So it's very energy intensive. It takes lots of power.
Maneka Gandhi talked about all the different things you have to do to get animals to your plate， from growing far more plants than you would need if you ate them directly in order to feed to the animals， grow the animals， slaughter them， at different locations， transport them to your stores and then finally to your homes， refrigerate them- all that is very energy intensive. And among all the species that we eat， fish is probably the worst in this regard， very energy intensive， on average. Deforestation is also a big source of these emissions.
As we burn forests in order to produce pasture land and farming land to grow feed for animals，we're emitting all the carbon these trees have taken out of the atmosphere during their entire lifetimes， emitting them all at once， that's a huge source of our carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. And if you look at formerly forested Amazon rainforest now converted into land used for growing animals for food， it amounts to 90% of all the Amazon rainforest that's been deforested since 1970 - 90%! So，when you see all this deforestation，we need to think: it's related to what we sit down and eat at meal time.
The deforestation also emits black carbon， which is very efficient at absorbing light. And that adds an extra danger，as this very absorbing material can float through the atmosphere into places like Antarctica， which are very bright and reflect sunlight. Reflecting sunlight is good because it keeps the Earth cooler. But as black carbon floats down to Antarctica， absorbing more sunlight， it presents a danger of increasing melting there.
And melting of Antarctic ice has dramatic potential effects on global sea levels and coastal flooding. So there are a lot of dangers just on the carbon dioxide side. But other gases also pose a big problem. And the other gases are often overlooked in all the focus on carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is produced by far in the greatest quantities of all the gases we emit. But it's not the most powerful at warming the Earth，at all. Other gases can be much more powerful at warming the Earth.
Methane，for example， causes 25 times as much warming as carbon dioxide over 100 years. Other gases like nitrous oxide can be about 300 times，cause 300 times more warming over 100 years. Those are numbers that are often taken into account. And as a result， when you look back at historical warming， carbon dioxide is responsible for about half the problem， and other gases，mainly methane，are responsible for the other half. So it's important not to overlook these other gases.
But when you look at near-term warming，the numbers are bigger than are usually calculated. If you look over 20 years， methane is not 25 times more powerful，it's 72 times more powerful. So all the numbers that are calculated by the UN， by the Chicago Study， by lots of studies，which look at the standard of what happens over 100 years，are skewed when you look at the near-term effects. And in the near-term effects， sources of other gases， like sources of methane， have an outsized effect; and the number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture.
So，that's one reason why animal agriculture has a bigger effect than even these large numbers suggest. Another reason why animal agriculture has a bigger cause than most numbers suggest is aerosols. Aerosols are the tiny particles that make up smog. Whenever we burn fossil fuels，they emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide， they also emit aerosols. Aerosols are bad for our health，but they also reflect sunlight，and therefore cool the Earth.
If you look historically at the amount of warming caused by carbon dioxide and the amount of cooling caused by aerosols， it's hard to calculate the effect of aerosols because there's a lot of uncertainty. But roughly，they're on the same scale. So，much of the warming we've been seeing has been caused by these other gases，by the sources of other gases， rather than sources of carbon dioxide because those sources have been emitting carbon dioxide and heat-reflecting aerosols.
That doesn't mean we don't need to worry ourselves about burning fossil fuels， because carbon dioxide lasts in the atmosphere for centuries. Our emissions are ones we're stuck with for hundreds of years， while aerosols only last for a short time and we're getting rid of them from the environment anyway because they're bad for our health. So，it's not a reason not to do anything about power plants and vehicles， but it does mean that in the near-term， sources of other gases，of which animal agriculture is the biggest source，have a truly outsized effect on the warming we're seeing and will be seeing in the near-term.
So，when you look at methane you realize that the biggest source is our meat production - produces about 100 million tons a year， most of it in the form of digestion. These animals can digest things that we can't eat， like grass，and they do it through a special process， through bacteria in their gut that will emit methane. So，the huge numbers of animals we produce end up producing huge amounts of methane. The biggest culprit is dairy production; they produce more methane than any other source.
But，another source is the manure they produce， which tends to be kept in huge manure lagoons， acres and acres of cesspools， all emitting this methane. And when it comes to manure，pig production is the biggest culprit. They all produce methane. Right now the air we're breathing has more than double the methane it did before industrialization. So the effect has been really big，and this methane is very powerful at trapping heat. So，when you look overall，this is a very powerful message， because it means we can have a really big impact on the climate change problem，an impact that most people aren't aware they can have. It's very empowering.
When you look at it， not only is the effect big， but once we try to address the problem through reductions in animal agriculture， we get benefits of quick turnaround. Even if we stopped selling cars that were inefficient and produced lots of carbon dioxide， it would still take years for the cars that are on the road to no longer be driven. And the turnaround time for power plants is much longer，while the turnaround time for farmed animals is really pretty short.
Even the longest lived farmed animals today generally live only up to 2 years. So changes we make today are quickly implemented. They also mean quick results. Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for centuries. It's still very important to deal with carbon dioxide for that very reason， but methane is in the atmosphere for only about 12 years. So if we make reductions in methane sources， the biggest one being animal agriculture， we'll quickly see changes in near-term effects.
This is extremely important - to remember the near-term - because we are approaching tipping points in the next few years which could cause irreversible changes， and anything we can do to slow the process of getting to that point is urgent. By addressing through animal agriculture，we can also increase sources of carbon sinks. Right now，70% of the world's agricultural land is being used to raise animals for food.
By having the opportunity to return some of that land to its natural state， we allow to grow the plants that were destroyed before that serve to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Targeting animal agriculture is also a lot cheaper than other sources，because it is easy for anyone to choose one source of food versus another source of food every time they sit down to dinner. It's a lot harder for a person to say，“No， I want to switch from burning fossil fuels to solar or wind power.” That takes an investment and longer-term plan.
One study found that we could reduce the economic burden of reaching our climate targets by 80% if we focused on animal agriculture rather than traditional sources. Finally，it's really empowering to people who see this problem around the world and get frustrated when political leaders don't seem to be doing anything， and they feel helpless; people feel helpless.
Knowing that what people eat every time they sit down to dinner makes a difference for the entire world， means we can each make a difference. Every time we sit down to dinner， simply by switching your hamburger to a veggie burger，you can make a difference for the future of the planet， for the health of the planet. It's a message which people can take with them that's positive and which they can implement in their own lives.
So，this is an unparalleled opportunity to make great progress in addressing global warming， curbing global warming， particularly in the near-term， while reducing the economic burden of doing so， and at the same time， addressing all the other environmental problems that the UN said animal agriculture is also a top contributor to. It's just great news to know that what's good for you，for your health， is also good for the planet. This is not a replacement for all the other important strategies that people talk about， but it is the one that may give us the biggest bang for our buck. Thanks.
MC(m): Many thanks，Dr. Mohr， for sharing your research on the sources and effects of increased atmospheric methane. There is new evidence that livestock raising may actually contribute much more to climate change than previously thought. The Worldwatch Institute has released a new study called "Livestock and Climate Change” which states，and I quote: “…our analysis shows that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 51% of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions."
MC(f): Yes，I read that，too. And the livestock industry not only contributes to climate change，it is also a root cause in many of our infectious diseases. Our next speaker will tell us more.
Mr. Torregiante (m): I've turned into a vegetarian myself， and hopefully a vegan when it's all over with， because I know that it contributes a lot to global warming, the methane gas，from the cows and all the animals. But everybody has to get on board. It's just not me and you and 5,000 other people; it's got to be millions of people who have to join this cause.
Jenny Huang (f): I heard a lot of inspiring talk，and from the speakers as well as Master Ching Hai. The key message from this conference is，well， everybody can do something about it. And also it's really about considering the next generation. The impact is not just for developing countries or some far away problem. It's actually something very much， much closer to us than I think most of the people are aware of. So that's even a more powerful message: that everybody has to do something to be a contributor.
Glen (f): I just am reminded how important it is to be compassionate and I understand about the importance of being vegetarian or vegan. But it's encouraged me to share it with other people. Just hearing all of these incredible speakers today， it's just really opened my eyes. We need to do something now. And that's what's so wonderful about being vegan: it can be a really… almost an immediate change.
Joseph (m): There's definitely a chance that people will take a lot away from this conference. And I know I personally was touched by all the talking about veganism and vegetarianism. I'm considering becoming
vegetarian after this; I think that's a step that a lot of people can take. And I really think that it could help make a difference.
All: Be veg! Go green! Save the planet!
MC(m): Dr. Michael Greger is a medical doctor and the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States. He is a foremost authority on swine flu and many other types of disease. Dr. Greger is the author of the book， “Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching." He is also a vegan. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Michael Greger.
Dr Greger(m): Thank you. Good afternoon. According to the Director-General of the World Health Organization， the three greatest threats facing humanity: Number one is the global food crisis; climate change is number two; and pandemic influenza is number three- all of which have to do with our food choices.
The current pandemic has killed thousands of people，but in a world in which millions continue to die of diseases like AIDS， tuberculosis，malaria， why is there so much concern about the so-called swine flu? Because apparently， the last time a nearly entirely new flu virus jumped species and caused a pandemic， it went on to become the deadliest plague in human history - the influenza pandemic of 1918. Most flu-strains tend to spare young healthy adults，the 1918 virus killed people in the prime of life. In 1918，more than a quarter of all Americans fell ill. This is a chart of percent of population dying here in the States. In 1918，as many as 50 to 100 million people lost their lives.
A similar virus today could kill many，many more. What started for millions around the globe as muscle aches and a fever， ended days or even hours later. Homeless orphans， their parents gone， wandered the empty streets. One agonized official in the stricken East sent an urgent warning West: “Hunt up your woodworkers and set them to making coffins，then take your street laborers and set them to digging graves.” This is a clipping from the New York Times， at the time，“Victims of Plague Everywhere. Great pyres of bodies consumed by the flames.” That 1918 flu virus killed more people in 25 weeks than AIDS has killed in 25 years.
No war，no plague， no famine，has ever killed so many people in so short a time as the 1918 pandemic. Where did it come from? The conventional wisdom is that the 1918 pandemic was triggered when an Ｈ１Ｎ１ bird virus in its entirety- all 8 gene segments - jumped into human beings， who then apparently passed it along to pigs， sickening millions of them as well.
Now，after the pandemic when our immune systems got used to the new virus， it turned into the regular seasonal flu， and in pigs，it turned into what we call classic or classical swine flu. Before 1918，we have no reports ever of any pigs coming down with the flu at all. So，throughout the roaring '20s， people got the regular flu every year，and pigs got the swine flu. Same thing with the '30s. And the same with the '40s. The important thing to notice though is that swine flu remained stable throughout，unchanging through the 1950's， the 1960's，the 1970's in North America， and stable throughout the 1980's.
But then by 1999， everything changed. A never before described triple-species flu virus arose. The classic swine flu virus，after being stable for 80 years straight， picked up 3 gene segments from the circulating human flu virus and then 2 gene segments from a bird flu virus，to create the first triple animal re-assortment virus ever described. Our first hybrid， a human-pig viral mutant was discovered on an industrial pig operation in Newton Grove， North Carolina in August 1998， owned by a massive pork conglomerate by the name of Hog Slat.
The virus mutated further，and then spread within months throughout the United States. Soon it spread into Canada，and by 2003 the majority of animals tested in industrial pig operations in Mexico also showed evidence of exposure to our triple-hybrid strain. We then exported it to Asia，and apparently the favor has been returned. After re-shuffling with the classic swine flu， our “made in the USA” triple re-assortment virus picked up two gene segments from a Eurasian swine flu lineage to create the flu pandemic of 2009.
The primary progenitor， the main ancestor，of our current pandemic flu virus， as shown in orange here， is the triple-hybrid mutant that emerged and spread throughout factory farms in the United States more than a decade ago. Six out of the eight gene segments，three quarters of our current pandemic virus，straight from our triple-hybrid. And this diagram， these data，are from the most comprehensive genetic analysis of this virus to date. Now，influenza experts had been warning about this triple-hybrid mutant for years，what they call “an extremely promiscuous mammalian- adapted virus.”
Flu scientists used to only worry about Southeast Asia，but given the appearance of that triple-hybrid mutant， now we need to look in our own backyard for where the next pandemic may appear. And six years later， it indeed did. After eight decades of stability，what happened in the 1990's that led to these unprecedented changes in swine flu?
And the same question with bird flu: no human deaths from avian influenza for eight decades until 1997，when H5N1 started killing people in Hong Kong. And then H7N7 bird flu emerged in the Netherlands which went on to infect a thousand people and ended up being transmitted efficiently from person to person - just two examples of new bird flu viruses infecting people. Now，in poultry， the number of outbreaks of highly pathogenic，highly disease-causing strains - the first few years of this century has already exceeded the total number of outbreaks recorded for the entire 20th century.
As one leading flu scientist told Science:
“We've gone from a few snowflakes to an avalanche.” What has been happening in recent years to trigger these kinds of unprecedented changes in both swine and chicken flu viruses?
Let's ask the world's leading expert，Dr. Robert Webster，as did the senior correspondent of News Hour with Jim Lehrer: “Was there something qualitatively different about this last decade that made it possible for this disease to do something it's never done before， some kind of changing conditions that suddenly lit a match to the tinder?” Webster replied，he says:
“Farming practices have changed.” He talks about growing up on a farm. He says，“Now we put millions of chickens into a chicken factory， next door to a pig factory. And this virus has the opportunity get into one of these chicken factories and make billions and billions of mutations continuously. And so，what we've changed is the way we raise animals.”
Five years ago， the world's three leading authorities got together for a joint consultation - the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations，and the World Organization for Animal Health， the world's leading veterinary authority - and their job was to uncover the key underlying causes of all these new animal-to-human diseases. Number one on their list， in themes of risk factors， was this increasing demand for animal protein the world over. Animals were domesticated 10,000 years ago， but never before like this， especially pigs and poultry.
Chickens used to peck around the barnyard， but now chickens raised for meat are typically warehoused in sheds containing tens of thousands of birds. Half of the egg-laying hens on our planet are now confined in what are called battery cages， these small barren wire enclosures extending down long rows in windowless sheds- can be up to a million birds on a single farm. About half of the world's pig population is currently confined in these industrial confinement operations. These intensive systems represent the most profound alteration of the human-animal relationship in 10,000 years.
Now，the industry is slowly waking up to the growing realization that viruses previously innocuous to natural host species have in all probability become more virulent，by passes through these large commercial populations. This is from an international trade journal. This is not，arguably， how animals were meant to live. So，how does the poultry industry feel about the possibility of its own so-called factory farms leading to a pandemic that could kill millions of people?
Well，the executive editor of Poultry Magazine wrote an editorial on just that topic. “The prospect of a virulent flu to which we have absolutely no resistance is frightening. However，to me， the threat is much greater to the poultry industry. I'm not as worried about the US human population dying from bird flu as I am that there will be no chicken to eat,” said the executive editor of Poultry Magazine. There are at least ten reasons why industrial pork production can present such a breeding ground for disease.
The operation in Newton Grove，North Carolina， where the ancestor of the current pandemic virus was first detected， was a breeding facility in which thousands of sows where confined in what are called “gestation crates,” also known as sow stalls. These are kind of veal-crate-like barren metal cages about 2 feet wide. These highly intelligent， social creatures， basically being kept in a box week after week， month after month，for nearly their entire lives.
They can develop crippling joint formities， lameness. I mean, if we did this to a dog， you'd get thrown in jail. Not only can these pregnant pigs not turn around，they can really barely move at all. Now，the rise in stress hormone levels in these so-called “crated sows” is thought to be because of the interference with natural maternal behaviors like nest building，which they can't do in a cage. And this frustration of maternal behavior has been shown experimentally to result in impaired immunity.
Now，the national livestock and meat board defends intensive confinement in a pamphlet called “Facts from the Meat Board”: “Confinement rearing has its precedence. Schools are an example of confinement rearing of children,” they say. Not that different from how they described veal crates as being similar to a baby's crib. The fact that the industry feels the need to mislead consumers by conjuring images of classrooms and baby cribs speaks to how far out of step animal agriculture has gone from just mainstream basic decency towards animals and，interestingly， they know it.
As Professor Emeritus of Animal Science wrote in one of his college textbooks， “One of the best things modern animal agriculture has going for it is that most people haven't a clue how animals are raised. For modern animal agriculture，the less the consumer knows the better.” What can we do to prevent this kind of thing in the future? Which is why we're all here today.
The United Nations has urged all governments， local authorities， international agencies “need to take a greatly increased role in combating the role of factory farming，which combined with these live bird markets that can provide,” in their words， “ideal conditions for the flu virus to spread and mutate into a more dangerous form. These factory farms can be thought of as the original incubators for dangerous strains of the flu.” More than five years ago the American Public Health Association， the largest and oldest association of public health professionals in the world， called for a moratorium on factory farming.
No more factory farms. In 2007，the journal of the APHA published an editorial that went beyond just calling for de-intensification of the industry，of the pork and poultry industries. The editorial questioned the prudence of raising so many animals for slaughter in the first place. They said: “It is curious that changing the way humans treat animals， most basically ceasing to eat them，or at the very least radically limiting the quantity of them that is eaten， is largely off the radar as a significant preventive measure.
But such a change， if sufficiently adopted or enforced，could still reduce the chances of the much feared influenza pandemic. It would even more likely prevent unknown future diseases that， in the absence of the change，may result from farming animals intensively and killing animals for food. Yet humanity,” it goes on to say， “doesn't even apparently consider this option. We don't tend to shore up the levies until after the disaster strikes.” The editorial concludes， “Those who consume animals not only harm those animals and endanger themselves， but they also threaten the wellbeing of future generations. It is time for humans to remove their heads from the sand,” they say， “and recognize the risk to themselves that can arise from the maltreatment of other species.”
How we treat animals can have global public health implications. Let me end with a quote from the World Health Organization， “The bottom line is that people have to think about how they treat their animals… Basically，the whole relationship between the animal kingdom and the human kingdom is coming under stress. In this age of emerging diseases， we now have billions of curly-tailed and feathered test tubes for viruses to incubate and mutate within billions more spins at pandemic roulette. But，along with human culpability，comes hope. If changes in human behavior can cause new plagues，well， then changes in human behavior may prevent them in the future.” Thank you.
MC(f): Thank you， Dr. Michael Greger. The information you have given us is truly thought provoking.
MC(m): I think it's time for some inspiration. The piano is one of the musical instruments originally designed to reproduce higher universal frequencies. Let's listen to some piano music now that will lift our spirits.
MC(f): Our next performer was born in Saigon， Âu Lạc (Vietnam). Ms. Uyên Phương showed musical talent very early. When she was only seven，she won a scholarship to study to at the prestigious Saigon Conservatory. She has won seven gold medals at piano and organ contests，and recently became the first Aulacese (Vietnamese) student to receive a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. She will be playing “My Favorite Things.” Please give a warm welcome to Ms. Uyên Phương.
MC(m): Thank you， Ms. Uyên Phương， for sharing your uplifting music with us.
MC(f): Yes，it was truly uplifting. Next，we will hear from Dr. T. Colin Campbell， a professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University， and author of the bestselling book, “The China Study.” Let's hear from him now.
Campbell(m): My name is T. Colin Campbell. I'm a long time professor at Cornell University， presently a Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry. I have been working in the field as a researcher， as a lecturer，as a teacher for many，many years- more than 50 years- in the field of food and health. We learned， when we gathered all the information from the laboratory on one hand， from the human studies in the other，that this information rather substantially pointed to the idea that consuming anything other than whole plant-based foods could create health problems.
We learned that nutrition is a major factor in keeping us healthy， and by nutrition I mean consuming whole plant-based foods and eliminating， as much as possible， animal based foods: dairy，eggs and meat. And one of the outcomes of this idea is not only that do we restore health， but now we're learning that this can have a major effect on the environment. I know there's a conference coming up in Washington，D.C. on the question concerning global warming and livestock production and animal food consumption， and I would extend my best wishes for that conference. I think it's an important conference，a very important conference， and I'm delighted to pass along a message that what is being done here is about as important a topic as anything that I can consider. I extend my best wishes to the conference.
MC(m): Thank you， Dr. T. Colin Campbell， for your insight into the relationship of diet and health.
MC(f): So，if we unite for a kinder，animal-free lifestyle，it will be better for our health and for our planet. I wonder how aware today's children are of the benefits from switching to a plant-based diet?
MC(m): Well，let's hear what Wyntergrace Williams， the daughter of famous American talk show host， Montel Williams， has to say.
Miss Williams (f): Some of us don't eat right - fast food，junk food. Sometimes even our school lunches have too much fat and cholesterol. I'm Wyntergrace Williams， you know my dad， Montel. And I'd like your help in bringing healthy foods into schools. A lot of us hate to see this. Others hate to see this. And nobody wants to see this. The answer's this: veggie chili， veggie burgers， healthy foods. Sign our petition today at healthyschoollunches.org
MC(f): Now that was to the point. To elaborate on this topic，we bring to you our next speaker， Dr. Ruby Lathon. Dr. Lathon currently serves as the Nutrition Policy Manager for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Also，she has been inducted into the Inc. Hall of Fame as one of the outstanding Women in Science，Technology， and Engineering. A vegan herself， Dr. Lathon is the driving force behind proposed legislation for the Healthy School Lunch Program. Please welcome Dr. Ruby Lathon.
Dr Lathon (f): Well，good afternoon， it's really a pleasure to be here this afternoon. And I just want to first thank the organizers of this conference, as well as the renowned leaders and speakers who are participating here. And we're going to take a little bit of a shift and talk about the role of diet and climate change and focus a little bit on children and child health. And they've asked me to talk a little bit about the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and give you a little insight on what we do.
We are a non-profit organization，based here in Washington，D.C.， made up of tens of thousands of physicians，dieticians，and healthcare professionals， as well as lay people who promote health through preventative medicine， through good nutrition and ethical standards of research. So，this is definitely an area that fits within our scope. So，the role of diet and climate change is very critical. And we know，based on the many reports that we've heard here today， including one entitled “Climate Change， Sustainable Diet，Health， the Connection and the Solution,” that we know that our food choices， which are a contributory factor to many major chronic diseases， are also dramatically impacting our climate.
So，we know that children's health reflects the society in which they live and we're going to focus on that for a moment. Research shows that the risk of chronic disease increases with the increase in meat and dairy consumption. And this graph shows the increase in meat consumption per capita between 1909 and 2005. And we can see that this increase was about 50 pounds. It was 148 pounds per person in meat consumption， and in 2005 it rose to 202 pounds per person for meat consumption.
And for cheese consumption， the difference is even more striking. We went from about 3.8 pounds of cheese consumption in 1909 to about 31 pounds in 2005. So it makes you wonder where's all that extra cheese going? And somebody else is having mine because I'm not having any. So when we look at this， we're wondering: What impact does this have on our health in general when we see these kinds of increases?
Consequently，the increase in child health and the prevalence of overweight has also increased. If we look at this graph， what it shows is in 1963 the prevalence of overweight among children and adolescents was about 4-5%， and it has steadily increased until 2002， where the prevalence of overweight among children was at 16%. And if we continue to plot this data， it rises in 2006 to 17% and on and on. And when we get the current data，I'm sure it's even more than that.
So，we can see that as we're increasing these things，such as meat and cheese consumption， our weight is going along with that，and as we know that when we have a higher weight，that many chronic diseases are related to that. So we wonder: If we have this increase in weight of children，what impacts them the most?
And one of those things is the school lunch program. We have about 100,000 schools participate in the National School Lunch Program， and that's feeding over 30 million children each school day. Initially，this program was designed so that the most disadvantaged children would have adequate nourishment for learning and other things that they needed to do. All too often we have high fat-，high cholesterol- laden foods that show up as staples in the lunch line. We often see pepperoni pizza， macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets as the traditional staple that you can go in almost any public school in America and it's on the menu.
And so，we know that some of the risks associated with this are: diabetes，hypertension， cancer，and heart disease as well. And so，I want to take a moment to focus on diabetes because that's one of the major diseases that shows up when you have chronic overweight and obesity in our society. And if we look at obesity，diabetes， over the last decade，the last ten to twelve years， the data is astonishing.
So，in 1994 this shows the prevalence of diabetes. So，we had the darker blue color show the prevalence of diabetes in that state if it's above about 4 or 5%. So，if we're looking at the dark blue color， in '94 and '95 it increases. In '96 we're getting a little bit more; '97，again showing the increase in diabetes in each state; '98， '99，2000， 2001，2002 - 3，4. And in 2005，we had to change the scale to add another color because the amount of diabetes outgrew the current scale of about 5%. So，we went from about 4% per state to at least 8% of the population or more having diabetes. And so，we're seeing as the shift in our dietary patterns have changed， so is our weight and so is our health. And consequently， so is our environment.
And so，when we make these links，then we can talk about what we can do about that. So，as it's wreaking havoc on our diet，on our health, on our planet， you know it's also just having a devastating effect as cited，in that we've often heard about - as cited here today in the United Nations report “Livestock's Long Shadow” - that an estimated 18% of greenhouse gas emissions were related to livestock and its production.
However，the 2009 report “Livestock and Climate Change” by researchers at the Worldwatch Institute estimated that that number was a bit higher，producing about 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year. So，that's about 51% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is astonishing. This is from the report by Food Watch，a study that was commissioned in 2008.
And what this shows is， in comparison to a meat diet versus a non-meat diet，the amount of greenhouse gases for a car driven. For example， a meat-based diet would be equivalent to driving a car over 4700 kilometers， or 3000 miles, over a one year period. But，if you switch to a vegetarian diet，which is the second one there， it reduces that by half. And if you then switch to a vegan diet，it only takes about one-seventh… produces less than one-seventh of the greenhouse gas emissions of a meat based diet. So，that's quite astonishing. So，we wonder: What can we do about that?
Dr. Kujur (m): I have attended many national and international conventions，workshops， on topics ranging from conflict and peace to environment，ecology， indigenous peoples， human rights and so on， but I thought this was a unique experience for me，and I myself learnt a lot from this.
Gregory Himbey (m): I was getting stuff that was educating me and really hit me hard， provoking my mind. I'm 57 years old， and a few health issues， and what I've been hearing is: This could save my life! I'm calling it a spiritual awakening for the world， because I do want the universe to go on as it has been going on. It can't go on like it is right now because everything is suffering. The climate affects everything! Today is a reawakening because the tofu I enjoyed today， I thought it was steak! It was so delicious. I have to learn the menu; it's a whole new language now. This is a whole new culture here. It's not about race，it's a whole new spirituality and I'm just so privileged that God has put me in an environment that He has opened up my eyes to a wider horizon， and I'm just grateful.
Sam (m): I definitely learned a lot about just the mass amount of awareness that this issue has. As soon as I got here and I realized that all these people were here pretty much because they are vegan， it was a different… it was almost like I'd walked into something that was bigger than myself.
Francesca (f): I found her (Supreme Master Ching Hai) message overall pretty appealing to the audience. I mean，she really got down to a level that I can relate to as a college student. Unlike grand philosophers who seem to be on this great pedestal，like knowledge and whatnot， she was more at our level. Really she could joke and she had this kind of view on the world that we can all share, younger generations.
Be veg! Go green! Save the planet!
Supreme Master Ching Hai: One small step from everyone in the right direction can result in a big leap in our evolution as a human race. And that small step is very simple. It's just: no killing. Abiding by the principle of “live and let live,” adhering to the universal law where we grant life to beget life.
Join us on Supreme Master Television this Friday，February 12， for part 5 of the rebroadcast of the live videoconference with Guest of Honor， Supreme Master Ching Hai，entitled “Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era: Washington，D.C.， Climate Change Conference” on Words of Wisdom.
Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for the rebroadcast of the live videoconference “Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era: Washington，D.C.， Climate Change Conference” with Guest of Honor， Supreme Master Ching Hai， on Words of Wisdom.
One of the things is that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has done is implemented a kind of an innovative approach to tackling this, starting with our children, and that's our Healthy School Lunch Program. And in that program what we do is help schools introduce vegan options into their lunch line. We show them how to do that in a sustainable way, and a way that is friendly to the children; and they accept it and usually prefer it over some of the other options that they're given.
As a matter of fact, we did a study in Broward County, Florida, where we introduced these options over several weeks in the school lunch program. And so, what we had was a vegan option right next to your regular meat-based option. The vegan option in this graph is represented in red and the meat-based option is in blue. And the children had open opportunity to choose whichever they want.
Now, we will say we promoted the vegan option so they knew they would be there and that they would be available. But even after this promotion period, these items stayed on the menu. So, we can see that the vegan options - the veggie burgers, veggie chili, black beans and rice - sold almost three times as much as the meat options. So, the vegan options were very well accepted by children, which is contrary to a lot of what we hear sometimes by school officials or parents saying, “Kids won't choose healthy food if you give it to them.” And we've seen the opposite, that when it's presented to them and they're included in the process, this is what they want. Not only are our school children accepting it but parents are as well.
We did a survey of over 1000 adults and asked them about: Do they think that vegetarian or vegan options should be made available in the school lunch program? And over 80% agreed that this should be an option. So, we have a lot of support and momentum for this. A second approach that we're taking is on a federal level with the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. And what we're doing there is we're lobbying Congress to make it more affordable, accessible, and easy for schools to include these healthy, high fiber, low-fat foods in the School Lunch Program. So right now we are meeting with representatives from all over the country and getting a lot of support, and things are looking very positive in pushing our bill forward, that this will be very accessible for schools.
Secondly, we're looking at the commodity structure. And what that means is almost all schools who participate in the School Lunch Program get their foods, lower cost foods, through commodities from the USDA. So, what we want to see in that, instead of spending a large amount of money which they currently do on meat and cheese products, we would rather that the commodity structure favor low-fat, high fiber, healthy, nutritious, plant-based foods so that schools can then in turn order those foods. And so, that's another initiative that we're pushing forward in Congress as we're lobbying for that change. So, we believe that change is possible. We have over 100,000 children, students, parents, and supporters who have signed on at healthyschoollunches.org and other places to sign our petition to Congress saying, “This is what we want. This is what we want to see in our school lunches.”
We want to see healthy kids. We know healthy food relates in better behavior, better academic performance, better physical health, and so, we're building a momentum. And when we presented this petition to Congress, it has made an impact. So, we're continuing to gather those signatures at a grassroots level, trying to work this from more than one angle, getting people involved, schools involved, and also lobbying our government. So, schools have also picked this up and gone on their own with a lot of what they've done. For example, we have school districts that are implementing Meatless Mondays to cut cost and in turn increase child health. We have California, New York, Hawaii, and Florida have all implemented resolutions encouraging vegetarian meals and non-dairy beverages in place of cow's milk to be served in schools.
The American Medical Association, as well as the American Public Health Association, have issued resolutions recommending that vegetarian meals and non-dairy beverages be served in the School Lunch Program. So, people are listening. We also had a recent report from the Institute of Medicine, which influences the School Nutrition Association and the USDA in terms of what they serve, that came out about three weeks ago that said there needed to be significant increases in fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, in the School Lunch Program.
So, we're finally seeing people catch on. So, as we're collating this information there's really no way to deny that these changes need to be made and they need to start with our children. Because when children adopt healthy practices then they become healthy adults and continue those same practices into adulthood. And we think this is particularly important for our country as we're talking about healthcare, because if we can stop the problem before it starts, we'll make quite a few strides.
And I'd like to briefly introduce eleven-year-old Nina, who is part of the reason we're here today, addressing methods of preserving the planet that we're going to leave behind for our children. So, I'm going to ask Nina to come on up and I'm going to ask her a few questions. Now, she's quite a little activist herself and a vegetarian. And she's been so kind to come up and answer a few questions about how she feels about what we're doing here, and particularly healthy school lunches.
So, Nina, what grade are you in?
Nina (f): I'm in sixth grade.
Ms. Lathon (f): Great, great. And why are healthy school lunches important to you?
Nina (f): Well, they are important to me because if we have healthy lunches then a lot of people will be healthier.
Ms. Lathon (f): Okay. Seems like common sense, right? So what foods would you like to see served at your school?
Nina (f): Well, I think a lot of fruits and vegetables would be really good. Instead of having like fruit cups which a lot of people have at their schools, they could have fresh fruit.
Ms. Lathon (f): That's wonderful. Absolutely. Absolutely. And why do you prefer to eat fruits and vegetables rather than animals?
Nina (f): Well, I've loved animals all my life, and I think it would be really hard if I had to eat one.
Ms. Lathon (f): Thank you. And my final question is: Why do you think it is important to stop eating meat?
Nina (f): I think it's important to stop eating meat because if more people stopped, then it would be really good for the environment.
Ms. Lathon (f): Absolutely. Thank you, Nina.
And I'd like to just close with a statement that President Obama made at his climate change speech to the UN in September. He says, “The good news is that after too many years of inaction and denial, there is finally widespread recognition of the urgency of the challenge before us.” And so, I would like to say: Let's continue our tireless work to create a sustainable future for our children. Thank you.
MC(f): First, we want to thank Nina for being so compassionate toward our animal friends. And Dr. Lathon, may all schools and communities worldwide follow your noble example to feed our children healthy vegan food.
MC(m): Our final speaker is Dr. Peter Carter from British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Carter has been a family physician for 30 years. He is also the founding director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and a climate policy advisor for Canadians for Climate Action. He is also a vegan. Please welcome Dr. Peter Carter.
Dr. Carter (m): When I was a boy growing up in England - I've just remembered watching the speakers - that when I was getting behind in my jobs, my father used to say, “Peter, come on, you better leap to it.” So, maybe this is a message that the whole world is being given here by this wonderful conference. First of all, I would like to thank you all. The room, the huge ballroom, is packed. I want to thank you all for coming out here, from the bottom of my heart, and the reason is this: We hear increasingly that global climate change is the greatest threat to the survival of civilization and indeed humanity, but that's not quite right.
The greatest threat is the denial. The denial is huge. There are powerful forces behind it, still confusing and misleading people. So you people coming out and showing that you are breaking through the denial yourself, and you're facing the reality of what we all face, and our children, is the best news there is and the best hope there is. So you can see what I'm interested in and what I want to share with you today, which is the “Zero Carbon Emergency Response.” The Golden Era, which in fact we have no choice but to leap to it... the Golden Era is a zero-carbon era, that's what the scientists are telling us.
There are 3 essentials that we have to achieve, and we can achieve these 3 all together.
First is what most people call sustainable, but it's perpetual, you see? Perpetual nonpolluting zero-carbon energy. We live on an energy planet. All right? So, this idea that we have to carry on poisoning our planet and ourselves with fossil fuel is just absolute nonsense, and we've known it for decades.
Second, sufficient zero- carbon nonpolluting food for all. And as you've already heard, this is eminently achievable as long as we switch the way we produce our food, and we are more wise in the food that we choose to eat. Third, is that we have to create world peace. So we have a lot of converting to do: We have to convert our energy completely, we have to convert our food production and diet completely, and we have to convert the militarization of the world completely.
We can do it. How do we get there?
Because we have to leap at it, and we have to leap at it all together. So, in actual fact, we are very privileged to live at this time, because we get to realize and create, in actual fact, a sort of an eternal dream of humanity that you can find throughout all civilizations in all cultures, which is this yearning for a Golden Age. It's been a dream before, but now we can actually make this happen. We, as Ban Ki-moon said, we have all the resources to deal with and get over climate change. The only thing we lack, as he said, is time.
We are in an emergency. So, the idea of deep peace has been around for a long time, and all the religions and all the cultures also have this idea of deep peace. So, I want to stress this: we're not going to get to this Golden Era, we're not going to make this conversion of our agriculture and our fossil fuel energy, without abandoning this hostility which we've inherited generation after generation after generation. We're spending US$1 trillion on armaments, still.
I remember working against this in the peace movement in the seventies and eighties and I believe, yes, we did save the planet from destruction by nuclear holocaust; but we face another one now. And this time we have to change our world to save our Earth. There's something missing, obviously.
We all know how bad this is, so there's some missing ingredient in how we deal with this at our political levels and everything. Well, the first is the denial again. We've got to face the situation. We've got to open our hearts, face the fear, and say to ourselves, “Okay, we're not going to let this happen.”
It's really terrible, it's really scary.
So that's the first thing. Well, obviously we have to have a compassionate culture. We have to create a compassionate culture as the Dalai Lama and all the spiritual leaders, indeed, Supreme Master Ching Hai, say is the essential.
I often think that the greatest invention of humanity is our ethics of compassion. This was actually invented, right? By ancient cultures. It's the most essential “invention” that we ever came up with. We have to get over this hostile competitiveness, which is our perpetual war economy. We have to convert this.
Nicholas Stern in The Stern Commission explained that global climate change is the greatest market failure ever, because we think it's fine to make war all the time, and prepare for war, and not worry about all the damage which is being done to the planet. By the way, Sir Nicholas Stern… I was very glad because he's sort of one of my climate heroes. I thought the Stern Commission report was great. So, I think last month he made a statement to the media that he said, “You know, I think people are going to have to become vegetarian to save the Earth.” That was very good. Well, guess what he did last week? He made another statement, “I'm vegetarian!” Good for you, Sir Nicholas!
This conference reminds me of a conference in Columbia University in a special edition by Scientific American back in 2005, called “Crossroads for Planet Earth.” Of course it's humanity which is at the great crossroads. And the theme of the conference was that the human race is at a unique turning point, and will we choose to create the best of all possible worlds? This is still an open question. All you people here I know have made the choice. We have everything we need to create this best of all possible futures, but if we don't, if we don't get engaged, if we don't address it, if we don't look at it, by default, we're leaving the worst possible world for our children and all future generations - and nobody wants to do that.
So, a few reports here… 15th of September 2009… I was immensely proud of my medical profession when they issued a special open letter in the Lancet, in the British Medical Journal, September 2009, addressing the issue head on, saying that “failure to agree to a United Nation's climate deal would bring a global health catastrophe.” And that was signed by the presidents of 18 of the world's professional medical organizations. That really did my heart good, of course, to get that news. Thank you.
MC(m): Thank you, Dr. Carter, for your sensitivity, your broad perspective, and for encouraging all of us to take immediate action.
MC(f): It looks like, if we want to save our planet, we will have to change our lifestyle. An organic, vegan diet would definitely resolve many of the problems our world is facing today.
MC(m): Yes. It is getting easier to be a vegan. More and more restaurants are offering vegan options. There are even chains of vegan restaurants being opened up around the world.
MC(f): So, it's becoming easier to make the change! And speaking of being able to make changes, we are pleased to present two incredible contortionists from Mongolia.
MC(m): Narangua Dulamsuren and Hongorzul Tseven-Oidov are talented artists who are currently performing with the world renowned Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. They have won several awards, including the gold medal at the 2006 International Circus Artist Competition in Latina, Italy. For our conference this afternoon, they have prepared a magnificent performance called “Swan Dreams”. Please give a warm round of applause to Narangua and Hongorzul.
MC(f): That was just amazing. And they look just like swans! Let's give them another round of applause, these incredible young people from Mongolia!
MC(m): The beauty of that act reminds me of Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Out of her loving oneness with all animals, Supreme Master Ching Hai has penned three international bestsellers The Dogs in My Life, The Birds in My Life, and The Noble Wilds. While she was writing The Noble Wilds, Master Ching Hai became acquainted with a family of wild swans and was able to communicate with them telepathically. She discovered that swans have Noble Qualities that exceed most humans.
MC(f): One day the mother swan told Supreme Master Ching Hai, “We do not have to use verbal language. We communicate in silence. We do not need to talk about love, harmony and peace. We live in them.” In other words, swans simply exude unconditional love.
MC(m): Now, getting back to our topic of global warming, let's find out how some cities around the world are taking concrete steps to halt climate change. We will now hear from their leaders.
Mr Falkin(m): Good afternoon. My name is Larry Falkin, I'm Director of the City of Cincinnati's Office of Environmental Quality. And I'd like to send my greetings to Supreme Master Ching Hai and all of the participants in this conference. The city of Cincinnati has adopted a “Green Cincinnati Plan,” which is the city's climate protection action plan. What we did is we got together a large cross-section of the community - both leaders of the business community, labor community, and non-profit organizations - and had them help us identify things that could be done in Cincinnati that would reduce our contributions to global climate change, and at the same time improve our local environment, improve our local economy, save more money than it costs, improve public health… set out to achieve all of those objectives simultaneously.
What we found, and we're very happy to find, is that most of the things that we would do to reduce climate change are things that we had good reason to do anyway, that did save more money than they cost, that did improve local public health, that did improve the local environment. One example of a recommendation in the Green Cincinnati Plan is to encourage residents of the city to eat less meat. And not only does eating less meat significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it also helps people be healthier, helps people save money; it does all of those objectives. So, a lot of people are making personal decisions to alter their lifestyles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including by changing their dietary choices.
So, I want to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to participate in the conference this afternoon and for sharing the experience of Cincinnati and our efforts to reduce climate change and help people move towards a diet that contains less animal products.
Mr Termont (m): Hallo, everybody. Hallo, Madam Ching Hai. My name is Daniel Termont, the Mayor of City of Ghent, Belgium. Already a couple of months ago we declared Thursday as the “Veggie Day.” Because you know, perhaps all of you, that indeed the production of meat is responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions. That means that we want to do something against it - then we declared Thursday a Veggie Day. But there is more: all our schools, and we have a lot of schools in our city, are also eating vegetable meals on Thursday. And what's more, we're looking now that all our receptions in our City Hall will be veggie receptions. So, I hope you have a very good meeting there, that you can do something against the all-over-the-world emissions of greenhouse gas. Thank you very much and a lot of success.
Dr Hermans (m): We have made a very, very important decision: We go for veggie! And veggie means that we will encourage our citizens to have less meat. And why do we make this important political choice? It is important for the health to eat less meat, but also for the environment. We know that the production of meat gives significant environmental problems.
So, we have given our citizens a book, a little book. All 70,000 citizens have a book with recipes of veggie dishes. We work with the schools, we work with our hospitals, we work with organizations to have Thursday as our Veggie Day. So, for us the political choice was important. That gives us the opportunity to take some actions about health, and about meat and veggie. So, be veg, go green, and save our planet!
MC(f): Our thanks to these dedicated statesmen for sharing their success stories. We appreciate and laud their noble leadership!
MC(m): That's great news, that entire cities are working to halt climate change. I wonder if there are other positive developments happening in the world?
MC(f): Well, Mrs. Hazel Henderson is a distinguished futurist, evolutionary economist, and the author of the bestselling book “Planetary Citizenship.” Let's hear what Mrs. Henderson has to say about our future.
Mrs. Henderson (f): I'm very happy to be at this wonderful conference on “Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era.” So, greetings to all of you who are there! And we need now to really restore our vision. And so, let us now learn from our children and the vision that all children in the world share. And they know that we can build a happy and harmonious and just and peaceful and sustainable future. So, we have to thank all of our children for their wonderful vision.
And I have worked all of my life in the belief that we humans are standing at the brink now of the Solar Age. And this is the great transition, if we move to more vegan, vegetarian diets, we would go a long way to reducing the carbon on this planet. What I see happening now is that all of the new companies who are creating healthier food, healthier lifestyles, preventive medical care, and fitness, and all the companies who are working in solar energy, in wind energy, all of the other sustainable technologies, making our appliances and all of our energy systems more efficient.
Financial crisis and the climate crisis are a huge learning opportunity to help us now shift very rapidly into building this new economy. We have all the technologies we need. We have all of the resources we need. So, again, I congratulate you all for being here, and let us all move together to this new Golden Age, this Solar Age, where we can all live together on this planet in a healthier, more humane, more just, and more sustainable way of life. Thank you. Be veg! Go green! Save the planet!
MC(m): Thank you for your warm wishes, Mrs. Henderson, and for including children in your vision of the future.
MC(f): Mrs. Henderson talked about the beginning of a new economic era on Earth, but what about people? Will they be different, too? Will the children of the new era be more intelligent and more talented?
Sister Mity (f): The whole conference was really enlightening and I really liked it. Listening to the Supreme Master was a really wonderful experience. It was unimaginable! I'd love to be a 100% vegetarian now. I am deciding already to enjoy eating this and I really liked it!
Steve(m): I think that it's simple enough to go vegetarian. It takes a little work the first couple of months and then you get used to it.
Our next speaker, Dr. Noam Mohr, is a graduate from both Yale and Pennsylvania State Universities. He is currently an adjunct professor of physics at New York University. Dr. Mohr will explain the importance of short-lived greenhouse gases. Please give a warm welcome to Dr. Noam Mohr.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: According to precedent, non-violence is, in fact, vegan, a requirement for advancing to the next levels of civilization.
Join us on Supreme Master Television on Tuesday, February 16, for part 8 of the rebroadcast of the videoconference “Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era: Washington, D.C., Climate Change Conference” on Words of Wisdom.
Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for the rebroadcast of the live videoconference “Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era: Washington, D.C., Climate Change Conference” with Guest of Honor, Supreme Master Ching Hai, on Words of Wisdom.
MC(m): Akiane Kramarik may be representative of the children of the future. Only １５ years old， Akiane has already been selected by Tribute Entertainment as one of the ２０ most accomplished visual artists in the world. Let's hear from this amazing young girl.
Ms Kramarik (f): Hallo，everybody. My name is Akiane Kramarik. I am １５ years old and I am an artist and a poet. My story began at the age of four. I grew up in a family that，you know，did not believe in God. We didn't pray. And one day，I started having these visions and dreams about Heaven， about different people， different cultures， and I didn't think that my parents or my family were ready to hear it，so I decided to draw them. And the more I drew the more my parents started believing me and they started supporting me and my gifts. So，I progressed into painting. At the age of ７，I started to write poetry and I wrote many books but I've published two books. And this is my poetry book.
And the first one is about my art. And at the age of nine， Oprah noticed my gift. And after her show， my whole career just boomed. I was so honored that everybody could know my message. And my message is to bring people together， to unify them and to realize that love is the answer to everything， if we really look at it， at that perspective. And I actually wrote a poem that is about that.
And this is called 『Love.』 Love is never alone Love is always crowded Love is a shared self We cannot own our love We cannot teach our love The longest breath of love Is the shortest distance to Heaven The deepest life is love The deepest love is an embrace Love is not rest Love is peace Love is a purpose And right after I wrote that poem，I knew that I needed to show people that if we just live together in harmony and… live better！ Myself， I am a vegetarian because there is no need to actually take another life. And I feel better. My artwork is inspiring me each day and inspiring people each day. The future has so many surprises. And I can't wait till I show the world what my message is.
MC(m): We are grateful for Akiane's blessings to this world. She represents the hope and promise of a visionary new generation.
MC(f): Like Akiane， Supreme Master Ching Hai speaks about hope for a new world， a world of love， compassion and peace.
MC(m): Supreme Master Ching Hai also teaches that music is heavenly， especially the music of the harp.
MC(f): Yes，we often see the images of angels and other heavenly beings playing this celestial instrument. Our next performer， Yasmeen Amina Olya from British Columbia， Canada， plays the Celtic harp. She also sings，but in a language that she says is not of this world. She calls it a celestial language of love and light. Yasmeen will perform one of her compositions entitled "The Beginning." She says it's a song about hope for our world in the light of God's will. Please give a warm welcome to Yasmeen Amina Olya.
MC(m): That was truly out of this world. Thank you for sharing your celestial music with us. Please give another round of applause for this exceptional artist， Yameen Amina Olya！
MC(f): In just a few moments, our beloved special guest of honor， Supreme Master Ching Hai - a world renowned humanitarian， artist，author， and spiritual teacher - will share her wisdom and vision with us.
MC(m): Supreme Master Ching Hai has dedicated her life to serving and uplifting all beings， especially those in need. The following video will introduce this beloved teacher.
Truth，virtue and beauty are universal values and form the fundamental qualities of any inspiring individual. Great arts are inevitably inspired by great love. Each and every one of us has the innate source of love which can be translated into action. We can paint our canvas of life with kind deeds. Kindness has been considered the core value of human civilization since its origin. Throughout history， planet Earth has been graced by many enlightened beings， whose lives were examples of love in action. And many others have inspired humanity to evolve into a more advanced species， with higher consciousness and a greater capacity for love. They have shared their lives and their love with all those around them， helping to create a better world.
One of the current examples of love in action is Supreme Master Ching Hai， a world renowned humanitarian，artist and spiritual teacher. Like many great saintly beings， Supreme Master Ching Hai has shown her great innate compassion towards all forms of life since childhood. It was natural for her to seek a spiritual journey and dedicate her entire life to helping others obtain enlightenment and liberation from their sufferings.
"Whatever we can share， begin with sharing. And then we'll feel a subtle change in ourselves- more love will be pouring into our consciousness， and we will be aware of something. That is the beginning. We are here to learn， to learn to grow as well as to learn to use our power， our limitless power of love and creativity in order to make a better world wherever we happen to be incarnated.』
Supreme Master Ching Hai's love and assistance have extended beyond all cultural and racial boundaries to millions of people around the world.
(M): 『She is the light of a great person， an angel of mercy for all of us』.
She was，because you know the presence， You can feel…. You don't have to have studied it to know. The people that have it just have to walk in the room， and in her case everyone gets it. You don't have to be a believer of the same denomination to know the special people， that there's a Moses， a Jesus，a Muhammad， and not deny their speciality. You don't expect one to go with the other， but they all unanimously go 『oh，』 they bow to the specialness， when it's present. And it was present that night，you could… everyone felt it.』
Although she does not seek acknowledgement of any kind， in recognition of her selfless assistance， Supreme Master Ching Hai has been given awards worldwide by government officials and private organizations on numerous occasions. They include the World Peace Award， the World Spiritual Leadership Award， Award for Promotion of Human Rights， World Citizen Humanitarian Award， Award for Outstanding Public Service to Mankind， ２００６ Gusi Peace Prize， Los Angeles Music Week Certificate of Commendation， and First Place Silver for the ２７th Annual Telly Awards，２００６， and the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award from the ４３rd President of the United States， George W. Bush.
In addition，October ２５ and February ２２ have been proclaimed as the Supreme Master Ching Hai Day in the United States. Congratulatory messages were sent to the Chicago ceremony by many government officials worldwide，including Presidents Clinton， Bush and Reagan. To commend virtuous actions and encourage others to be inspired by their examples， Supreme Master Ching Hai has created a series of Shining World Awards. Through these prestigious awards， she has recognized deserving humans and animals for their exceptional heroism， compassion，leadership， bravery，or intelligence.
Supreme Master Ching Hai is also the source of inspiration to Supreme Master Television， a global station which airs constructive programs with subtitles in over ４０ languages. The station encourages harmony， greater understanding and compassion for all beings. It also promotes an organic vegan lifestyle as the most effective and fastest solution to climate change. Through her tireless dedication to improve the lives of all beings on Earth， Supreme Master Ching Hai has set a true example of love in action.
Supreme Master Ching Hai is one of the truly dedicated people of this era helping others find and create a beautiful vision of our future. Many great people in history have had a dream， and in her own words， so does Supreme Master Ching Hai:
"I dream that all the world will become peaceful. I dream that all the killing will stop. I dream that all the children will walk in peace and harmony. I dream that all the nations shake hands with each other， protect each other and help each other. I dream that our beautiful planet will not be destroyed. It takes billion，billion， trillions of years to produce this planet and it's so beautiful， so wonderful. I dream that it will continue，but in peace， beauty and love."
MC(f): And now comes the moment we have all been waiting for， the moment when we get to greet our special Guest of Honor Supreme Master Ching Hai.
MC(m): Hallo， Supreme Master Ching Hai. You look so beautiful！
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hallo，my love. Hallo，everyone. Thank you.
MC(m): We are extremely grateful that you could join us here in Washington，D.C.
MC(f): Supreme Master Ching Hai， we have been discussing the urgency of climate change and the solutions to many of our problems， and that a vegan diet offers a solution. We also have been talking about the dawn of a new Golden Era here on Earth. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.)
MC(m): We have many guests with us here this evening， as well as our worldwide viewers， who would like to ask you some questions. But before we begin the question-and-answer session，is there anything you would like to say to our guests and viewers？
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes，I would like. I would like to thank all the beautiful people for coming. And I am very honored to be with them once again in the company of the great，goodhearted， intelligent people of America，including the distinguished guests， dignitaries，and illustrious speakers who are leaders in their fields of government，science， environment，and health. I have been listening quietly. Well，I have been in your country， the United States， many times，including the magnificent nation's capital， Washington，D.C.， and I have always been welcomed so much， so much， no matter where I go. For this，I am always grateful and I have a special place in my heart for the United States of America and her citizens as shining examples of the democratic spirit.
I am always impressed by this young，self-made nation that has excelled in strength and leadership through her people's sheer determination， sincerity and faith. And I believe that the courageous actions needed at this urgent time would be led by Americans. Your high standards of integrity and deep love for your families and country will bring about the crucial steps needed to save our precious planet，our home， and the one we want for our children and granＤＣhildren. May this important event be fruitful and beneficial to the participants and the world. Thank you all for being here. God loves us all. God bless you all. Thanks a lot.
MC(f): Thank you， Supreme Master Ching Hai， for your insightful words and for your beautiful dress today. You look absolutely gorgeous.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Oh，Thank you. This is vegan fur. Vegan fur， it's not real fur.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I designed it. MC(m): Wow！
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Also the jewelry. You know，right？ Look at how beautiful… You don't have to wear real fur. It's beautiful.
MC(m): It's much more beautiful.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: And you feel so light wearing it because you don't have a bad conscience. And so warm，so warm. I have something better inside. I also designed it. Look at this. See？ Look: Be Veg， Go Green， Save the Planet.
MC(m): Master， you look like a queen.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Oh，Thanks a lot. Yes. I am the 『queen of hearts！』 『To the queen of heart is the ace of…』 beauty！ All right，let's get down to business because all of you are busy.
MC(f): Well，we have several questions that our guests this evening would like to ask you.
MC(m): Our first questioner is a software developer named Jerry Pelletier.
Mr. Jerry Pelletier (m): Hi，my name is，like they said，Jerry Pelletier.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Welcome.
Mr. Jerry Pelletier (m): Thank you. My mother，Chanmo was a devoted follower of your teachings for many，many years.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I know her.
Mr. Jerry Pelletier (m): Yes，I knew，I knew.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: She's a Buddhist nun. Mr. Jerry Pelletier (m): Yes，yes.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes，and she's a very， very beautiful woman.
Mr. Jerry Pelletier (m): Yes. My question is that this world we share and made up of many countries，and the activities of one country affect the health and wellbeing of other countries. It's kind of… the analogy I can make is the smoking and non-smoking sections of a restaurant. So，right now I think the world is… there's more smokers than non-smokers. So what can we do？ Is it just one person at a time？ Is it a country at a time？ What can we do to get everybody on the same sheet of music to change the way we live to save this world we live in？
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes，what can we do？ We have to change ourselves first. It begins with us. Since time immemorial, evolution always begins with the individual. If we want to change the world，we change ourselves first.
Now，even if the government forbids smoking or drinking or drugs，but if people individually continue， then we have not made much difference. So now，we have to change. For example， we change a little bit， you know our habit， just a very little bit. Like，we put down that piece of meat， and then we replace it with tofu or some other vegetarian protein. Just a little change，very little change，and then the world will change， and then we will continue to live here，and then we can have a better world. Everything will change for the better. Just a little change like that.
SMYV (m): And what did you think of today's conference？ What kind of impact did it have on you？
Swamburger (m): I loved every minute of it！ It's the same message that we've always been speaking about， it's now just a lot more prevalent I would think， and that's love. And of course，be vegan. I don't think people really should be calling vegans 『vegans.』 I think they should just be calling them passionate people who believe in saving the planet. If you want to save the planet then you know what to do.
Nathan (m): Veganism is a great way to take on climate change for sure.
Supreme Master TV (m): And what is your impression of Supreme Master Ching Hai， given the fact that you just heard her speak？
Nathan (m): She seemed really nice， really，really nice. And like I said， she makes a great point about the vegan diet， and that combined with moving away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner sustainable resources， making sure we pay attention to science-based solutions， that's exactly how we're going to create a peaceful，green future.
Supreme Master TV (f): Tell me your impressions of the conference tonight.
Hardy (m): I am most impressed with the interaction between the questioners and Master Ching Hai in that the interaction helps us to become more intimate with her. She was very explanatory about her own pursuit of her own divinity and her sharing herself with the audience tonight. I think one of the great messages early on，expressed by Ching Hai，is that it starts with us， the individual，and the collective individual action would perhaps have the greatest impact. We have our own mandate to spread that message amongst our own， but also to those whom we contact wherever we should find them.
Musician A(f): Be veg！ Musician B (m): Go green！ (Both): Save the planet！
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Another good way to quicken our movement to a sustainable planet is to generate more positive energy: Do good deeds and be loving and kind. Expand our loving quality. This is what will create a shield，invincible，to protect us and the planet.
Join us on Supreme Master Television on Friday，February １９， for part １０ of the rebroaＤＣast of the videoconference 『Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era: Washington，D.C.， Climate Change Conference』 on Words of Wisdom.
Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for the rebroaＤＣast of the live videoconference 『Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era: Washington，D.C.， Climate Change Conference』 with Guest of Honor， Supreme Master Ching Hai， on Words of Wisdom.
Mr. Pelletier (m): Sometimes it takes an impending catastrophe to make us change and become much greater than we were before. Is this what's happening with climate change? Is it，in fact， an opportunity for us to make an unprecedented leap in evolution?
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Good question，sir， good question. You see，we should not have waited until we have a catastrophe like this，or impending catastrophe，to change. But，nevertheless， you're right. It's possible that when we're faced with such a great upheaval， then we will change and we'll make a leap into the next level.
Especially now， we still have a little time to change; it's just that we need to act now， you see，to profit from this so-called catastrophic future awaiting us. We have to act now for all of humanity. Because along with our own survival and health， there is an entire planet that is in trouble， and everyone needs to be vegan to save it. It's a very simple solution that we might overlook. Because if we all change to vegan，put down the animal products， then we would have a dream world - that I promise.
Because like begets like. We forget that the Bible told us that “as we sow so shall we reap.” That means if we create peace，compassion and harmony，then that's what we will get. Now，the impending catastrophe that you mention，it might be motivating us to change， the whole humanity. But to benefit from this opportunity， more people must act now. All of us must. We face a very dangerous future if global warming continues.
In fact， distinguished scientists and other United Nations members have been meeting throughout this year in preparation for the December Copenhagen summit， where they hope to reach agreement on a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was just here in Washington D.C.， making an historic address to the US Congress， and asked the United States to help to lead in halting climate change. I would ask the same even though I am not a Chancellor. I'm sure many of you are aware of the increasing number of global warming effects noted worldwide，so I will share just a few from the world and from the United States.
1. In the Arctic，North Pole， so much ice has already melted that scientists are forecasting an ice-free summer within as little as 3-6 years， which would be the first time in one million years - first time in one million years! Meanwhile，Greenland is shedding 85 million tons of icebergs each day due to warming，and at a rate that is increasing by 7 percent each year. The West Antarctic Ice Shelf is also melting， with 3.3 meter sea level rises forecast that would threaten cities like your country，New York， Washington，D.C.， and San Francisco. And if all of Antarctica and Greenland were to meaning the ice - then the sea levels could rise to as much as 70 meters，which would be deadly or disastrous to most lives on Earth.
2. Glaciers across the globe are shrinking more quickly than researchers ever expected， leaving rivers and lakes gone，disappearing or drying，with no water for crops and billions who face food shortages due to water shortages， as well.
3. Due to rising sea levels， islands are sinking as we speak，with Tuvalu，Tonga and some 40 other island nations having to plan their whole country's migrations. They are being forced to join the already 20 million climate refugees today. The International Organization for Migration stated that there may be 200 million climate refugees by 2050.
4. According to researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology， United States of America， worldwide the number of the most destructive Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has doubled over the past 35 years.
Category 5 storms yield the highest level of destruction in major cities. Their intensity and duration have also increased by 75 percent since the 1970s. One of these storms whose effects can still be seen and felt was the 2005 Hurricane Katrina， which devastated， especially，areas of New Orleans， with people who are still recovering their homes and their lives today. I am so sorry the American people have had to suffer through such tragedies.
Now， in the United States: 1. Close to a million acres of pine forest have been lost in the Rocky Mountains due to beetle infestation from global warming. Similar also in Canada but，due to the time limit， I cannot report to you everything，so now we just report about United States.
2. In the state of Montana， the famous glaciers of Glacier National Park are now expected to disappear within a decade.
3. According to a new study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography， the Colorado River， which supplies water to seven Western states，is going dry. Famous river.
4. In fact，researchers say that the US West is facing a devastating drought crisis as snows from mountains are releasing vast reservoirs of water.
5. The sea level in North Carolina，USA， rose three times faster during the 20th century than during the previous 500 years.
6. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that for the first time on record，in 2008， six consecutive tropical cyclones made landfall on the US mainland. The North Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean are the two areas with the strongest hurricane trends.
You may ask，what is the main cause of this damage and destruction to the environment? Perhaps surprisingly，it's not the coal industry or cars or planes or trains or boats or ships. It's methane， which is produced primarily by the livestock industry. A new and just-published report by the respected Worldwatch Institute states that livestock is the largest single contributor to greenhouse gases， responsible for more than 51% of the total emitted.
This report factors in an atmospheric heat-trapping effect of methane that is 72 times - 72 times! - larger than CO2， when averaged over a 20-year period. Furthermore， just days after the Worldwatch Institute report was released， NASA announced that methane actually contributes much more to global warming than previously understood and it traps 100 times the atmospheric heat over 20 years.
And the largest source of methane is? You know - livestock. Now，facts such as these have caused people like esteemed climate expert Lord Stern of the United Kingdom to state in an interview that “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better.” So I quote exactly what he said.
Now，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.
Next，meat consumption is a very serious threat to human health. You ask any scientist， they'll tell you this. You ask all the responsible doctors， they'll tell you this. In fact，one of the doctors is sitting there; Dr. Greger， I saw him there. Now，bacterial infections from food-borne illnesses originate largely in animal products，causing widespread illnesses， disability and even death for thousands of Americans each year. The top four bacteria are E. coli，salmonella， Campylobacter， and listeriosis.
Studies have shown that bacteria from contaminated raw meat can remain even after washing a working surface. And it only takes a few cells of E. coli， for example， to kill a young child. Just a few cells of E. coli to kill a young child，a young，little，tender child. Imagine that， just a few cells.
Add to that，the leading causes of death in the United States， like from heart disease， cancer，diabetes，obesity. Every year，heart disease kills 632,000 Americans; cancer kills 560,000 Americans; stroke kills another 130,000 Americans; diabetes kills 72,000 Americans - just from meat eating. And we cry over war-related deaths. Who cries for these hundreds of thousands of Americans who die because of that piece of meat? Who cries for those young，helpless， innocent，little children who die just because of meat-related E. coli， just a few cells of it? So，ladies and gentlemen， meat is the worse killer than any war， don't you agree? Yes or no? Audience: Yes! Thank you! Thank you!
Then there are more diseases related to the production of the meat， like swine flu，which Dr. Michael Greger just explained very clearly， originates from animal farms. And the next pandemic， which could emerge any day now，any minute， could be worse for us， could be worse than swine flu. So，sir，to solve this，we do need to move quickly， and of course we know what to do，right? Yes? Be vegan. You know，yes or no? (MC (m): Yes，we know. ) Thank you. Wonderful people. Wonderful! You make my day.
There is an advantage of time here，because one aspect of methane is that it dissipates in around 12 year's time， whereas carbon dioxide， CO2，stays in the atmosphere for up to thousands of years. So，we remove the livestock-generated methane， and the planet cools fast! You see the logic? Yes. From many scientific studies，the health benefits of the vegan lifestyle are already clear. And there are entire communities such as Village of Peace in Israel， where thousands of vegan residents are free of diseases，such as high blood pressure， diabetes and even cancer.
In the country of Ghana， there is a similar program where after becoming vegan for more than 20 years now，the villagers， the entire village，don't have malaria anymore; and you know how malaria attacks those countries in Africa. And the previous high infant mortality rate went down to zero. Before，high infant mortality rate… zero. I also applaud this program.
So please pray with me， Mr. Pelletier， that everyone does wake up in time. Pray. I pray day and night that the divine manifest in the physical realm and wake up the leaders of our nations，wake up the religious heads， wake up everybody in time so that they understand the urgency of our situation， and that they understand the solution of solving this dangerous crisis that is facing us. That is，we have to turn back to our caring and compassionate nature inside our heart.
That's very simple. We are that. We are compassion. We are merciful， we are caring. So，we just have been cheated. We have been misinformed up to now， so we did not know it. Being vegan worldwide is the advancement of compassion that will uplift and unify all cultures， bringing tranquility to humans and animals alike. The inner peace that comes from replacing killing with respect for all life will spread like a wave across the globe， elevate human hearts，and create a harmonious Eden on Earth. That will bring us all to a lasting Golden Era. Bless you. Thank you. I am positive we will do it. Yes? (Yes!)
We can make it - just a little change， just a little change. Just a little piece of animal meat- change to vegetable protein. We have plenty nowadays. We have vegetarian sausages， we have vegetarian… all kinds of chicken， shrimp look-alike - taste better! Thank you. I love Washington，D.C.! I love Washington people， you are so elite! Thank you!
MC(m): Our next questioner is Mr. Bob Lebensold， producer and radio host of a program called "Environmentally Sound” on WVOX Radio in New York. In fact， Mr. Lebensold and Supreme Master Ching Hai know each other，because he's recently interviewed her on his program. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.)
Bob (m): Hi，Master!
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hi，Bob!
Bob (m): It's good to see you again. Good to be with you again.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: How are you，Bob?
Bob (m): I'm great. I'm great. It's very nice to be here. I'm glad your people invited me. You have a great crew here，great staff.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Good audience. They are so good.
Bob (m): Yes，very good. And very pretty.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I feel such a loving and supportive atmosphere. Okay，go ahead，Bob.
Bob (m): Okay，my question is: I still don't quite understand what you mean by "Leap to the Golden Era.” What does the term "leap" actually mean? What makes it happen? And what does the Golden Era mean to us here on Earth?
Supreme Master Ching Hai: You don't know “leap,” Bob? I am sure you know. You just ask so that you can have some interesting things to talk on your radio show， right? Leap.
Bob (m): Well，actually， I asked that because I would like to understand what this is about. It's called Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era. And I would like to know just how you see it - what it means in your terms- because you are the inspirational spark for this whole gathering.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: All right，sir. Aye，aye，sir. I will comply.
Bob (m): Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you for your question. Very thought provoking. I shall try my best to explain what is meant by “Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era.” The leap is the big jump that could bring humankind from one incorrect way of life to a better way of life， to the next，higher level in a short time. You see，one small step from everyone in the right direction can result in a big leap in our evolution as a human race.
And that small step is very simple. It's just: no killing. Abiding by the principle of “live and let live,” adhering to the universal law where we grant life to beget life. Because like attracts like; that，we all know. This，of course，includes adopting a vegan diet. Humans are naturally more generous and peaceful in their heart; it's just that we all have been misinformed， misunderstood for a long，long，long time. We thought meat was good for us，we thought dairy was good for us， we thought fish was good for us，we thought eggs were good for us... It's all wrong. It's all the opposite. It all has been proven that these things that we have been told that are good for us - like meat，fish，dairy，eggs， whatever animal products “are good for us”- is all wrong. It's the opposite of what is good.
It has been bringing us suffering，sickness and tremendous loss of finances from tax payers， for curing disease and related business. So，we have been misled， for a long，long time. Now，we have to do research. We have to listen to the wise doctors and scientists. We have to see the result of their research: that meat and animal products are really，really poisonous for us. We have to stop now， especially stop for our children's sake. We can't keep poisoning our children anymore; they are helpless. The poor children， they rely on us， they think we know better，but it's not our fault either.
We just need to turn around. Why it's not our fault? Because we have also been taught that way. And our grandparents， our great-grandparents have also been taught that way. And for being too busy， too busy for daily survival，working， we have no time to do research，so we did not know that these things are truly poisonous to us. And above all， it is eating up our planet. It's not just killing people，it's not just killing animals， it's killing our planet. And we have to stop it in order to save our world. We just turn around， that's it. Just walk the opposite way， the right way without causing any more suffering; no taking more lives， but loving and protecting all creatures. That's the leap that all humanity needs. Thank you.
We will feel completely different after we make this leap. We will feel evolved to the higher level of consciousness automatically. Just imagine we are big，strong， intelligent and able. We are able to plant all kinds of stuff to eat， and we should not use our might， our intelligence， our capability，to harass， to molest，to torture， to cause suffering and to murder those little， helpless，innocent animals who have never done us any harm.
According to the law, they are innocent. And if we kill innocent beings，we are the ones who should be punished. I am sorry if I offend you， but this is the truth. And I am sure you understand it. Thank you. Through our leap in this evolution，we can leave this existence of want and fear，toward a true life of peace and love and enlightenment - from the vicious cycle of killing，suffering， and violence to a circle of loving kindness， protection，and happiness.
Can we imagine a world where the meek ones never have to fear the strong? Where there is no more violence，no fighting among neighbors， near or far， and no child has to die of hunger，thirst or illness every few seconds， every day，while their mother watches， completely helpless with her heart drowning in sorrow. As I am speaking, many children are dying somewhere. Every few seconds， a child dies of hunger. We cannot keep doing this. We cannot wait longer. We have to save these lives - not just the lives of animals，but the lives of our children， even if it's not our children… other people's children.
Meat causes so much suffering because it causes hunger and war. We use up all our cereals， grain，soy and good resources，and land and water to support the meat industry，and therefore the world is short of food and water. So，in order to save lives we have to stop the meat industry. The way we are living right now is a deeply degraded condition of what we really are. We are the children of God, which is all loving and kindness. We are the heirs of Heaven. We've just forgotten.
Can you imagine a God who comes here to Earth and kills everything in sight to eat? Sorry，if there is a God like that，I don't want to be Hiers child. Would you like to be the children of that kind of God? Tell me yes or no? (MC (f): No!) Okay，no. Thank you. Thank you. You are so kind. Now，if God is all merciful，all compassion， all loving，and we are the children of God， then don't you think we should walk like God's children on Earth? We have to walk the way of love and compassion. We have to represent our Father if we want to glorify His name. We always pray every day，“Hallowed be thy name… in Heaven as well as on Earth,” but what do we do to hallow Hiers name?
We have to represent Hirm. We always pray to God because we believe God is merciful，protective， compassionate and loving. And we are the children of God， we must represent these qualities. We are those qualities: we are loving and kindness. We have just been misled，misinformed，and we have forgotten. So please just remember. These qualities are deep inside us，so we know there must be something better than what we see around us. We do have examples through our history of human beings whose lives were so uplifting that they continue to shine until today - not only spiritual teachers， but philosophers like Plato， statesmen like Socrates， the mathematician Pythagoras，and the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson of America. They were all vegetarian.
Are you surprised? No, you are not. You don't look surprised to me. So you knew all that. All the great people，they are vegetarian or vegan. So，if we study them carefully，we will see that at the basic core of the civilized life they taught is the vegan diet. The vegan diet is one of the first single greatest acts of compassion，of not harming another life， and not damaging the environment even. If we compare a meat-based diet to a vegan diet， it takes around 14 times as much water， 6 times as much grain， 10 times as much energy， and over 20 times as much land， while often destroying precious rainforest. Being vegan is good business in terms of virtuous merit，as well as preserving the only home we have.
The less damage and harm we inflict upon the planet and her inhabitants， the less we have to pay. We are paying dearly now，and we will pay much dearer if we don't stop the meat/animal industry. The more we exert our loving kindness and protection towards all beings，the greater we will be in the world， the greater will be the feeling in our heart as well as in the Kingdom of Heaven. That's why great Masters and other illuminated souls of the past all taught us， one and the same，that if we don't wish to be harmed，we must not impose harm on others. You look in all religions， all say the same… this sentence， this same meaning. Whatever is good for us， we should do for others; that whatever we sow， we will reap，without fail.
That's why they did teach us not to eat animals and to be vegan. If we make this leap， a very small change in the diet. Instead of meat， instead of animal protein， we choose vegetable protein，which is first class anyway. Animal protein is second class，why? Because they have eaten the first class vegetable and fruit and then we eat their flesh. That is second class. We are humans， why do we choose the second class stuff? It doesn't befit us. So we have to make this leap. Thank you. My God! You are so kind. We have to make this leap， ladies and gentleman， because if we do， the Golden Era will be here in no time heralding a time of peaceful living， without the perpetual loss of lives- early deaths in the tens of billions each year! My God! Tortured and murdered for our fleeting pleasure， which we could always replace. Meat is replaceable.
There are so many wonders of earthly life that we have yet to experience and discover! So much scientific knowledge to be revealed and explored， and invented，and incredible technologies to be discovered and developed. There are better social systems. These are things mostly beyond our present level of logic or even our imagination; but，they can only be achieved through tapping into our wisdom and creative power. In order to open this wisdom，we must first remove the harmful， obstructive substances that block and suppress it, like meat，dairy，fish， poultry and all animal products. These things obstruct our intelligence， delay our progress， not just spiritually，morally， but technologically as well.
Finally，besides our personal reasons of wanting to welcome a golden era， we also have the planet to consider，which as I'm sure you know， we are at risk of losing anytime now. So，this leap in consciousness is also to save our planet and all other beings that deserve a harmonious world to live in. If everyone makes this leap or shift， we can save our planet. I promise，with all the honor that I have， and God be witness. At the same time， we elevate ourselves， which has been long，long overdue. Thank you，Bob，for making me talk so much!
MC(m): Thank you， Supreme Master.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: The Washington people are very polite. They are very polite， educated people. Thanks so much.
MC(m): Thank you for explaining the truth so clearly and for encouraging us to do the right thing.
Supreme Master TV (m): Alex，what are your impressions of the conference that you saw today? What are you taking away from it?
Alex Arndt (m): I have a much better understanding of who Supreme Master Ching Hai is， because I've known her， I've seen her，but just getting to really look into her eyes today and see her compassion and her emotion was really special for me. Just a spectacular conference! I loved it! Thank you.
Alex Arndt (m): Hallo， my name is Alex Arndt， singer from the Sonic Paradigm. Be veg! Go green! Save the planet… today!
Joe(m): Supreme Master Ching Hai's a very humanitarian woman， she's very accomplished. I sense a sense of love and peace in her talk， and a humanitarian philosophy. So I thought that was good.
Supreme Master TV (f): So what are you going to take away from today?
Mavis (f): More awareness about how to help the environment and how to eat healthier. So，just a wonderful event to be more aware of the environment.
Supreme Master TV (f): And did any of the speakers make a particularly big impression on you， or what really made an impression?
Ashley (f): The Master， Supreme Master. The way she spoke was really，elegant and she seemed to accomplish a lot，with her prestige and humanitarian works and everything that she's involved with.
Supreme Master TV (f): And what was your impression of her?
Mavis (f): Definitely with the Supreme Master: her presence. Seeing her just so， calm and，I don't know， just her presence was wonderful， to be around，and just welcoming and peaceful. I'll definitely go to the website and see how I can make a change in my diet，because the food was delicious. And I'm interested in you know，being a vegetarian and stuff.
Sam (m): I definitely learned a lot about just the mass amount of awareness that this issue has. As soon as I got here and I realized that all these people were here pretty much because they are vegan， it was a different… it was almost like I'd walked into something that was bigger than myself.
Francesca (f): I found her (Supreme Master Ching Hai) message overall pretty appealing to the audience. I mean，she really got down to a level that I can relate to as a college student. Unlike grand philosophers who seem to be on this great pedestal，like knowledge and whatnot， she was more at our level. Really she could joke and she had this kind of view on the world that we can all share, younger generations.
Be veg! Go green! Save the planet!
Victoria:(Q３) Our next questioner became a vegan a few years ago, when he realized that it was a more compassionate and noble way of living. Mr. Alex Arndt, songwriter, musician, and lead singer of the band Sonic Paradigm now promotes the vegan diet through his songs.
Mr. Alex Arndt (m): Hallo， everyone. Hi， Supreme Master Ching Hai. Hallo.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hi， Alex.
Mr. Alex Arndt (m): Hallo. I just wanted to say thank you for being my fan， I am also a big fan of yours, and I am so happy to ask you this question. My question is: As a musician, it seems to me that one of the most powerful things is art, in our world, and it connects us as human souls. Why do you think this is？ Does the beauty of art remind us of another more noble way of life？ Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, sure. Sure, Alex, sure. It's so nice to see you, a smart, handsome, compassionate musician. Voice of the voiceless, torchbearer for many people. I'm one of your fans as well. I wish you all the best as you continue to write and sing from your heart. Your songs are very touching and ringing with heartfelt truth and feeling, like 『There are No Slaughterhouses in the Spiritual World.』 So why would we want any on Earth, right？ That's it. Your songs are powerful, very powerful， and art is powerful. You know that.
Art can speak to us deep inside without any explanation and language. It just goes straight to our heart. It can elevate a person's mood， dissolving the barriers of prejudice or preconceived notions, and going beyond the need for human language, for a perfect expression. And you know, Alex, artists like you are considered half-saints already. You are a vegan artist, so perhaps you are more than ５０ percent. Congratulations. Aren't they nice？ I could talk forever in this kind of atmosphere.
The artists are able to emulate the heavenly melodies and the beauties from above and try to express them on Earth as much as they can through their physical instrument and vocal. Because in Heaven, everything is so glorious and beyond imagination - full of divine Light and celestial sounds of music. That is what we call the higher vibrations of the universe, which we can hear anytime.
Like now, I'm speaking to you, I don't have any instrument and nobody is playing any harp around here, but I can hear the heavenly music at the same time. The inside melody, this music, is the real music, is the real inspiration behind all the greatest compositions on this planet. I know it because I myself experienced it. In ancient times, the spiritual practitioners who are connected to Heaven, at times tried to replicate the mesmerizing, wonderful music of the celestial abode by creating instruments. So， many of the instruments we have - like the harp, the piano, the violin, the flute, the Scottish bagpipes, etc. - they all correlate with the sounds of real Heavenly realms, except the real ones are much more incredibly uplifting, for this matter.
I know it because I can compare, because I hear the inner music and I can hear your outside music or other artist's music, so I can compare. Though the paints and the gold and precious gems can never be as brilliant as the ones in God's Kingdom, they also still help to remind people of their glorious, divine nature, or awaken to something beyond the ordinary world.
So, all artists help to awaken the noble qualities within humans. So, you are right to say that the beauty of art does remind us of our real Home. It's not just the aesthetic pleasure, but it resonates with our origin. The beauties we adore so much, are us. The nobility, love, and compassion, are us. Therefore, we are grateful to the artists， such as yourself, who have enriched our lives through their beautiful contributions. Let's continue working together until we create our own spiritual world paradise, Alex. Thank you. Heaven bless you.
Mr. Alex Arndt (m): Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Continue with your music.
MC(f): And we thank you, Supreme Master Ching Hai, for your words are actually artistic to our souls. They're music. It's heavenly and we are moved with the compassion and passion of what your wisdom is all about. So thank you once again.
MC(m): Our next questioner is also a musician. He goes by the pen name DiViNCi and is renowned for his dynamic form of hip hop. He is most notable for doing many things simultaneously, and can even play music with his feet and face.
DiVinci (m): Thank you. I'm here with my group, Solillaquists of Sound, and we've dedicated our lives as both people and musicians to inspire everyone to recognize the power that they have as individuals. And it feels really great to be among so many other people that have dedicated their lives to the same thing, so thanks to everyone here, as well as Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Wow.
DiVinci (m): Can you comment on the children that are being born these days？ Children like Akiane, they seem to be born with great gifts and maturity, and wisdom that's well beyond their years. What is their role in this time？
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, I'd be glad to inform you. You just remember, there was one little beautiful girl, Akiane Kramarik. She is one of the, what we call, Indigo children or Crystal children. They're born from a different dimension, from a higher dimension, but unlike us they have the ability to retain their divinity, or at least some part of it, so that they can bring to this world some different gifts for us. We are all born from different dimensions， Mr. DiViNCi.
We are all divine. We are all born from a higher level of consciousness, from what I know. It's just that we have been degraded, we have come to this world and we have been confused, and the negative force of this realm has been deluding us and making us into what we have not willed to be. We should have been much better than what we are. That's why we are never satisfied with ourselves, no matter how much money we have, no matter how successful - big house, big car - something inside us always makes us feel… something's missing. Something… we don't know what. That is our divine origin trying to wake us up.
Indigo Children are the children who have exceptional talent for their age. They know more, way beyond their years. And people who have studied or spent time with these special, gifted children have told us about them. These are the youth who are born from higher dimensions and can retain some part of their intelligence, their wisdom and their talent, their quality of the higher dimension. Many children, don't have to be Indigo children, from the time of their birth until about three, four years of age, many of the children still can remember Heaven.
Sometimes they talk with each other about Heaven. Sometimes they told their parents about Heaven, but the parents would not listen, would not understand, because the parents have already forgotten. After ３-４ years of age we have forgotten our origin. So the Indigo children are the ones who still continue to remember after ４ or ５ years of age. Lucky for them. Perhaps it's Heaven's will to let these children come and remember their divine quality so that we have hope, so to remind us that we could attain like that. We could be like them, or perhaps we were like them. Yes, we are like them, Mr. DiViNCi.
Through my meditation, through my search of Heaven and Earth, I know we are all divine, Mr. DiViNCi. If only I can show it to you. If only I can let you know what I know. If only I can remove all the obstructive substances that many of us have been misled about and put into this temple, the divine temple, and blurred our consciousness. That's the reason we have forgotten our Godly origin. That's the reason why we forgot that we are truly the children of God. We've all heard that we're children of God but we don't know it. We don't really know it because we obstructed ourselves, because the negative force in this world is too heavy: they kind of surround us, they kind of oppress us so that we could not struggle to fight against it. And then we succumb to this negative force and degrade ourselves more and more every day.
That's why many Masters came to this planet since times immemorial to try to lift us up, to try to remind us. But the thing is, it's not that easy because we have been sleeping too long. Now, we're talking about the children, that they have retained some part of their divinity.
They've come because they've found that the atmosphere, perhaps, on our planet has become more suitable, more refined and brighter for them. Our planet has been changing recently for the better, you see, as more and more people are doing virtuous deeds, practice deep meditation, spiritual disciplines, and adopting the compassionate, vegan lifestyle. Nowadays, because the communication is so advanced, so the vegan lifestyle or spiritual lifestyle spreads very easily, unlike the time of Jesus.
So, nowadays, we don't have those harassments from misunderstanding like the time of Jesus or the time of Prophet Muhammad. Also, our human evolution has benefited from the spiritual Masters who have been gracing our Earth throughout history to bless us. So, the atmosphere of our world today has become more purified， despite the setbacks that we have also, at the same time, due to the uncompassionate way that we have been misled into living. Nevertheless, the part that can be purified, it has been purified, so our planet atmosphere has been receptive, uplifted to these higher dimensional levels.
So, some higher dimensional beings can come here - perhaps more in the future. These so-called Indigo or Crystal children have come to join us; as we continue to purify our world, we'll have more and more of them. They serve as innocent inspiration and reminder towards our own innate higher qualities, as we see their good energy, creativity, intelligence, wisdom and love put into practice.
For some of us who may not know much about these young people, I'll explain a little more. These children, they are born with many talents, including both the artistic and technological, way beyond their tender age. Their faith in the divine gives them a simple but clear sense of life's purpose. And, not only do they share their creative talents freely with the world, but they also have a lot of inborn virtues. Their nature is of unwavering honesty that can never be compromised by this world. They're lucky. They dislike suffering and injustice. They have more or less telepathic talent. They have intuitive feeling - very strong - so they are very sensitive to other people's feelings and animals' feelings.
Oftentimes they could communicate with animals since a young age already. Because their purity naturally repels substances such as chemicals, pollution, and unwholesome foods, these children are also vegetarian or vegan by their own choice, since very, very young, as their nobler selves would only allow them to be so. So， their presence is a blessing; it's a gift for the continued development of our world, and at the same time, they are an encouraging signal that our planet is on an elevating path.
We can only wish that more and more of them may come, and better yet, that more and more of their wonderful qualities will emerge in every one of us. Even as ordinary adults, we can cultivate spiritual consciousness still, or creativity, intelligence, and other abilities similar to what we see in these Indigo children. We all have the capacity and potential to be higher beings. We have just been suppressed by incorrect choices in life. We have been poisoning ourselves by misinformation. But, all these wonderful qualities, divinity, can be awakened any time.
I know that because I have my own experience. I wasn't born enlightened. You see？ I searched for enlightenment, and I reached it at around ３０ years of age - similar age to the Buddha. Buddha wasn't born enlightened, despite all the myths about him. You see, we still have a chance. In our group, many people older than you practice spiritual meditation and they regain their divinity, just the same like the Indigos or more even. So, we have choices. We have a chance. We can do anything we want because we are the children of God. Just believe it. It's truly like that.
Now, back to Earth. We can always regain all this divinity. Truly, I promise you with all honesty and honor, that we can have it. Every one of you sitting there, whatever age you are, if you don't even have any experience about Heaven, you don't even have any talent before, you don't even know what to meditate on - any one of you can attain this divinity again, reclaim it again, provided we have the right counteraction. And the first step is to switch to a more compassionate lifestyle, because that is what we are: we are compassion. A compassionate, vegan diet is the basic way of a higher being, a mark of a true human being.
A true human being would never kill. A true being would never harm another, even if his own life is threatened. A real gentleman steps wisely, understanding that all beings are connected, and that by taking a life, compromises his own human spirit and bringing the bad retribution of killing upon him. So, it is not solely the responsibility of these children to improve the world's consciousness level - we must all work together to bring Heaven closer to Earth. We can all do it; it's so simple. In my group， even children ５-６ years old can meditate and can hear the inside melody, can talk to God. If we want to bring Heaven to Earth, if that is our wish, so shall it be. Thank you and bless you for being a vegetarian, Mr. DiViNCi.
Mr DiVinci (m): Thank you.
MC(m): Many thanks, Supreme Master Ching Hai, for the scope of your vision and for reminding us that we are all God's children.
MC(f): Our next questioner, Mr. David Canther, is a former pastor and founder of ACTS World Relief. This organization provides hot meals, emotional care, emergency supplies, and medical assistance to those suffering from disasters. ACTS' mobile kitchens and medical units also provide inner city relief.
Mr. David Canther (m): Master, my heart was touched as you were sharing about Hurricane Katrina, and as you know we were there cooking with our kitchens hundreds of thousands of meals when the McDonalds were all closed. And so, we took the quantum leap of faith by offering to hundreds of thousands of people vegan meals.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Bless you.
Mr. David Canther (m): It was actually quite a shock when we put up signs on the top of the large tents that we brought in and we could offer different types of food that we listed what they were. The line that was always the longest was for vegetarian and vegan meals.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Oh！ Oh， Incredible， incredible.
Mr. David Canther (m): The Red Cross was so interested in that, that it was a risk and they contacted me later and said,『Actually， you're the first organization that we would like to, in the future, offer to help pay for some of those meals because we can see how the community wants a broader amount of the choice of the kind of food they can eat.』
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Oh, Wonderful. Good news. Good news. Even in such a desperate situation.
Mr. David Canther (m): There are three questions which I have. What is the role of animals' divine presence on Earth？ Do their roles and relationships with human beings deeply connect us further？ And lastly, are they helping us to reach the Golden Era？
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Okay, Mr. David Canther. First of all, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart because you're vegetarian and you offer vegetarian meals to people, and that you give me the good news that the longest lines are the vegetarian food choice. I'm so happy, that means we have a chance to save the planet because more and more people want to be vegetarian. A very good sign, Mr. Canther. You see, even in such a desperate situation where people have nothing anymore and they just need food to survive, they still adhere to the vegetarian diet. Oh, God be praised.
Now， I answer your question. You deserve it. Only three questions？ I would answer you ３００.
Nice to hear good news. Nice to see good people. Mr. Canther, the role of all wondrous animals and their presence on Earth is to bring divine love onto this planet. The animals are so close to God, we humans can hardly imagine. We hear about plenty of examples, like the dogs that rescue disaster victims who otherwise would not have been found without their extraordinary abilities. They can guide the blind, they even sense when a person is about to have a seizure and dial the emergency telephone number. And then there are other animals we don't see as often, yet with a Heavenly role that is just as vital.
Like the whales and the seals that populate the vast oceans， covering ７０％ of our Earth, who bless us tremendously by their powerful and love-filled presence. You know, in Âu Lạc (Vietnam), people build some small temples along the coast, many of them, to worship the whales because they want to show gratitude to the whales. Many of the boat people have been rescued by whales from the stormy sea or from a capsized boat; the whales rescue them in number. Since time immemorial, the Aulacese (Vietnamese) people have always built temples in gratitude to the whales. And these are the true stories.
Not only do they bless us invisibly, they also rescue people at sea. And this is very, very common in Âu Lạc (Vietnam). You go there, you see many whale temples. You still can talk to the people who still stay alive due to the whale's rescue. I mean, the story is alive, it's not like a fairy tale or a legend. It is a living story still - even recently. But sadly, they are still seen by some humans as seal fur or whale meat. But these two animals are some of the many animals who literally radiate love to balance our planet.
As we are being deluded more and more into the killing of the animals and destroying the environment, the atmosphere of our planet is also being depleted of love and happiness. Therefore, these animals, they were born here in order to balance it, to help us to fill in the void of love that we lost through our inconsiderate actions. But sadly, we kill them. We kill our benefactors, just because we are blind. We are blind spiritually, telepathically and psychically that we don't see who are friends and who are not.
Sadly, the friends, we can see - like the whales, the seals - but we don't recognize. But the enemies we don't see but we listen to. That is the force of evil, the force of the negative in this world. We don't see the force, we don't see that power, we don't see it manifested, personified, but we listen to it daily. So, we do many wrong things that we regret. Or, at the time of death, we regret because at that time we can see whatever wrong things we do, just like watching cinemas, and we feel very sorry that we have done such things due to not knowing, due to being misled.
So, these animals, they are really our friends, they are our benefactors; but many of us kill them. If we can contact some of the best animal communicators, they will tell you that whales are the greatest love. They house the greatest love of the Divine for our planet; seals also. In one of the conferences last time, I have told the audience about the different quality of love of different animals, and whales and seals are one of the few 『number ones』 in loving power.
Now, that's not me who says that. It is through meditation and I have been informed like that. So, if we kill these beings, we're really killing ourselves. We take out the balance that is greatly needed at this time, especially at this time, in our dire situation. Now, if we let them live, then they will be able to bring back to Earth the powerful， unconditional love, like that of the mother for her child; and they do their noble mission knowingly. They knowingly do it.
(f): Global climate change has always been an issue that I have been worried about but I have never had very much information about it and so it was great to be able to come here today. I always knew that the meat industry had an impact on our climate but I didn't realize, for example, that １８％ of greenhouses gases are a result of the meat that we eat. And so I'm really going to take that home with me. I am also going to consider how much dairy I eat. And I also wish that other people could get this information because I think if they had more, if they knew more about what was told today they would change their diet as well.
(m): Be veg！ Go green！ Save the planet！ Conference rocks！
Mr. Ball (m): I know the sub-focus and much of… or, I guess the subtext was on climate change, but the larger theme was the Golden Era. And frankly, I think that was the most important. The fact that Supreme Master Ching Hai has held a conference in the capital, declaring that this is what we're up to, I think is a first and I give her all the credit in the world for doing that. Thank you. And thank you that you're working for her ＴＶ station to do that. You truly are creating leadership in the world through that. So I thank the conference for bringing attention to these really vital issues. Thank you so much to you, to the whole ＴＶ stationto Master Ching Hai for holding this groundbreaking conference in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Latham (f): It was the first time I heard her (Supreme Master Ching Hai) speak. I felt she is very insightful and just really did a great job of showing the compassion behind what we're trying to do. And while we laid out the science, she highlighted the compassionate piece of why we should really be interested in that, and then tied it into science and health and the impact on the environment. So I thought she did an excellent job with that.
The role of all wondrous animals and their presence on Earth is to bring divine love onto this planet. The animals are so close to God, we humans can hardly imagine. We hear about plenty of examples, like the dogs that rescue disaster victims who otherwise would not have been found without their extraordinary abilities.
You know, in Âu Lạc (Vietnam), people build some small temples along the coast, many of them, to worship the whales because they want to show gratitude to the whales. Many of the boat people have been rescued by whales from the stormy sea or from a capsized boat; the whales rescue them in number. Since time immemorial, the Aulacese (Vietnamese) people have always built temples in gratitude to the whales.
And these are the true stories. Not only do they bless us invisibly, they also rescue people at sea. And this is very, very common in Âu Lạc (Vietnam). You go there, you see many whale temples. You still can talk to the people who still stay alive due to the whale's rescue. I mean, the story is alive, it's not like a fairy tale or a legend. It is a living story still - even recently But sadly, they are still seen by some humans as seal fur or whale meat. But these two animals are some of the many animals who literally radiate love to balance our planet.
As we are being deluded more and more into the killing of the animals and destroying the environment, the atmosphere of our planet is also being depleted of love and happiness. Therefore, these animals, they were born here in order to balance it, to help us to fill in the void of love that we lost through our inconsiderate actions. But sadly, we kill them. We kill our benefactors, just because we are blind. We are blind spiritually, telepathically and psychically that we don't see who are friends and who are not. Sadly, the friends, we can see- like the whales, the seals- but we don't recognize.
But the enemies we don't see but we listen to. That is the force of evil, the force of the negative in this world. We don't see the force, we don't see that power, we don't see it manifested, personified, but we listen to it daily. So, we do many wrong things that we regret. Or, at the time of death, we regret because at that time we can see whatever wrong things we do, just like watching cinemas, and we feel very sorry that we have done such things due to not knowing, due to being misled.
So, these animals, they are really our friends, they are our benefactors; but many of us kill them. If we can contact some of the best animal communicators, they will tell you that whales are the greatest love. They house the greatest love of the Divine for our planet; seals also. In one of the conferences last time, I have told the audience about the different quality of love of different animals, and whales and seals are one of the few『number ones』 in loving power.
Now, that's not me who says that. It is through meditation and I have been informedlike that. So, if we kill these beings, we're really killing ourselves. We take out the balance that is greatly needed at this time, especially at this time, in our dire situation. Now, if we let them live, then they will be able to bring back to Earth the powerful， unconditional love, like that of the mother for her child; and they do their noble mission knowingly. They knowingly do it.
Second question: Do the roles and relationships of animals with human beings deeply connect us further？ Yes, of course, sir, of course, because the animals are very pure. They are already connected with the higher source of the Divine, so we can learn so much from them. The animal does not have to be large. It could be an ant，which is noted scientifically for his intelligence, or a rabbit. A rabbit is also a powerhouse of love; almost next to the whales, for example. Or even a chicken- you may be surprised.
There was a Finnish painter who told us that when he was feeling down because his day didn't go well, the chickens in his backyard came and sat in front of him, and just by looking at them he got a sudden energy boost and felt better. Yes，try it yourself. Rescue some chickens from the battery farm, and then try looking at them. Thank you.
Now，some people also report remarkable experiences with marine mammals, like the dolphins, saying that just contacting them once in a while lifted them out of their depression, or nervous breakdown even. And some researchers have even noted a shift in people's brain waves for the better, more positive, following dolphin encounters. So, this has been proven, with lasting changes that include more creativity and even a strengthened immune system. Imagine that？ Just contact them once in a while. So, how is it that animals are helping us to reach the Golden Era？
It is through their unconditional benevolent love and merciful nature, Mr. Canther - I'm sure you know this, or at least you feel it - and their absolute forgiveness, no matter what humanity has done to them. You see, for example the whales, in Âu Lạc (Vietnam), the big whales that rescue the fishermen in Âu Lạc (Vietnam), they do know that these are fishermen. They do know that they kill fish for a living, but they still rescue them at sea when the fishermen are in danger. You see？ Absolutely unconditional， non-judgmental. This is the love that we humans also house in our heart，but we have suppressed it, because the substances that we took into our body don't help us to develop more of our divinity, but on the contrary, destroy it, or at least suppress it, damage it. So now, we have to reclaim it again.
Speaking of the quality, the unconditional love, I must say something about honoring this love from the animals. For all the generosity of spirit and blessings that they bring into our lives, how do we have the heart to kill them, and eat them, to enjoy their suffering？ You must know this, Mr. Canther, since you are already vegetarian. I appreciate that. God bless you. Thank you, thank you. For anyone who is not yet a vegetarian, or who has not understood why, please inform yourself of the unimaginable, utterly cruel and utmost inhumane treatment involved in meat and dairy production, or fishing even, as well as lab experiments or the animal fur industry.
If we really connect with the animals, or if we really don't shut down our innate feeling, we will also feel their suffering, which is caused almost exclusively by humans. So please, I ask you, go and find out what really happens to the animals in those slaughterhouses - I will call it 『massmurder house.』 If you do, it's likely that they will no longer end up on your plate. The unimaginable horrendous treatment of the babies - baby cows even, baby seals, baby chicks - will make you shudder with horror.
Even the egg industry has blood on its hands. If you would like more information, there is a show on Supreme Master Television called 『Stop Animal Cruelty』 a program on Supreme Master ＴＶ at www.SupremeMaster
ＴＶ.com/stop-animal-cruelty, as well as other information concerning humans, animals and saving our planet, etc. We don't like to think of ourselves as cruel, much less brutal, especially for something like a hamburger or a piece of bacon, but these are the facts. Animals are utterly， cruelly mistreated day in and day out to feed the very industry that supplies all the meat consumed by humans.
In news just a few days ago, an undercover video sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States recorded the treatment of baby calves, some barely a few days old. As these animals were being led to their murder, many of them were so weakened by the bad treatment and the condition they lived in that they could not walk- or they were too young to walk- they were kicked, beaten repeatedly while laying down, and they were doused with water to increase the pain of the electrical shock, and even skinned alive. Can you imagine that we do these things？
It may surprise you to know that this was a certified organic facility - it's not just an ordinary animal farm. So, now we know that even the animal products you think are somehow more healthy or eco-friendly, this is not the case at all.
Please don't eat meat, it's too cruel. In another discovery, undercover recording, baby male chicks were being sent by the thousands down a conveyor belt to a giant meat grinder - alive！ Can you imagine？ Little chicks like this, so beautiful, so cute？ And they do this. We, humans, do this to them. In this factory alone, over 150,000 of the tiny baby chicks are ground up… are ground up, alive, every day for dog meat or whatever meat. All because the male chicks cannot lay eggs, so don't make profit for the industry. So they grind them alive.
Can you imagine？ If anyone does not believe in hell, please go and see these places;
then you will know hell exists right here on our planet. These factories also supply the so-called free-range eggs. Some people think that eggs do not require the loss of life, but they do, very much so.
And then there are the horrifying conditions of the pigs, which are extremely clean animals, by the way, scientifically proven. But these intelligent, sensitive beings are locked in crates so small they can't even turn around all their miserable lives. But the worst is their actual death process. You see… oh God, I have to tell you, but it's heart-wrenching. First, the pigs are stunned, often unsuccessfully, leaving them still conscious when they are hung by the feet and cut open with a knife. In fact, they are still alive when they are next put into a vat of boiling water, with videos that have shown them still twisting in pain. Imagine if it's us. Imagine if it's our loved one. Imagine if it is human.
All this for a piece of meat, dead flesh that often causes even more diseases to humans, not like it even helps us in any way. Is it really worth it？ Tell me, please, is it worth it？ (No！) It's not. It's not, you're right. How can we degrade ourselves into such an inhumane, heartless state of being, by supporting these cruel, heart-wrenching practices？ I ask myself,『How can we justify causing that much suffering to another being, when the alternative is so easy, affordable and at hand and healthy？』 I hope it is clear that the best, and really the only way, is to be vegan.
This lifts the immense burden of suffering and murdering of the innocents from our heart. It can enhance our connection with animals also. The human caregivers at a New Zealand animal sanctuary say that the naturally vegetarian donkeys - the donkeys, they're vegetarian, yes - and there, they make friends with vegetarian human visitors faster than with the meat eaters because they feel safer without the smell of meat. So, the animals they do know.
My dogs for example, my dogs, I have even a Rottweiler - a Rottweiler, you know Rottweiler reputation, right？ Whenever I took him to our group meditation places - you can see it on video also, I'm not making up a story to glorify my dog. His name is Goody. When I adopted him I said,『Goody， your race is a Rottweiler and I heard that you don't have good reputation as a race of dogs, so I name you『Goody』 and you're going to be a very good dog so that you can redeem the reputation of the Rottweiler race. It's okay？』 So I named him『Goody』 and he's very good ever since. Whenever I bring him to our group meditation… you know our group is all vegetarian, all vegan, and meditation and all that; supposed to be good, and no killing, no drinking, no gambling, no adultery, no stealing, no lying... you know that.
So, whenever he goes into this group of people, no matter thousands or hundreds, he runs around them, licking them all over and asking them to hold his hand or hug him, or jump on them, whatever. He does that to numerous people - whoever- man, woman, children, and old and young alike, because he feels good, safe there, I reckon. Now, you don't have to be an animal communicator to see this, that he feels good within our group.
Now, when I took him out sometimes to the restaurant, which is a non-vegetarian restaurant... it is difficult to find always in my travels a vegetarian restaurant, but I go in there to eat vegetarian, and I sometimes encourage my people to go into a non-vegetarian restaurant to eat vegetarian food to remind them to keep cooking more and more vegetarian for more people, because vegetarian restaurants, they already know. So, I go often to a non-vegetarian restaurant if I have to go out. Then, sometimes I bring my dog, whatever dog I bring. Okay, now, we talk about Rottweiler, we talk about that race.
He's been so good with hundreds of thousands of my Association members whenever he's among them. But I brought him out just to a non-vegetarian restaurant, and the owner of the restaurant, because he knew me, he came and talked to me. He just came, just like two meters near me only, he (Goody) jumped right in the middle， between me and the owner of the restaurant - the owner is still alive; if you want I can ask him. He jumped right in the middle and sat up straight and looked at him and growled at him already - growling only. I said, 『No，no don't do that.』 So the Rottweiler was quiet. Then the man thought he could approach me a little further. He just took one more step and he stood up, the Rottweiler stood up, and said,『Grrr，no more！』 He protects me that much.
But among hundreds or thousands of my people, he never does anything to them. He goes and licks them all over and, pawing them and hugging them. My God, you have to see it to believe. Well, all my people are still alive. You can ask them. The animals do know, I know that from my dogs. All the dogs are the same.
Now, one of the other dogs, called Hermit, he's an Australian Shepherd. He's also very protective. Now, when he goes among our group, all the vegetarians, he also lets them… he's normally very shy; he only knows family members, but when he goes out he's very shy. But when he goes to our group, if I tell him,『Hermit，never mind， go, let people touch you because they love you』 and then he goes. He goes around and lets people touch him, and then he comes back and sits next to me. Yes, fine.
But, if I go outside and take this dog with me, even to a bank, he's not growling like that; he's shy. But the bank people see him so beautiful -blue eyes and a very beautiful dog- so they want to touch and he doesn't want them to touch. He hides behind me immediately. Whenever that person approaches，he just runs behind my back and hides. He doesn't want to be aggressive because I told him not to, but he doesn't want to be touched by the meat eater. I'm sorry if I offend anyone. But in my group he lets everybody touch him. These are true stories. And now, we must know that animals really understand who is who. So, if we know all this, we cannot support further the meat industry because that's mass murder.
In our society, we only kill someone when he has done something wrong. And nowadays, many countries have already abolished the death penalty. And even a death-sentenced prisoner, they have their own cell and they have clean food, clean water. They are not treated the way we treat our animal friends. This is really not humane at all. Please, stop all this. Please tell everybody else to stop all this. Thank you so much, thank you.
MC(f): Thank you, Supreme Master Ching Hai, for reminding us how noble our animal friends are and how they contribute to the loving balance of this world.
MC(m): Our next question comes from Marysol Verela, a freelance journalist with The Examiner newspaper in Orlando, Florida. A vegetarian herself, she is an advocate of the vegetarian lifestyle and has written many articles to encourage people to embrace it.
Ms. Verela (f): Yes, good evening, Supreme Master. I'm very happy to be here and to have been invited to this event, and to have the opportunity to go back home and inform everyone who didn't have the same opportunity as me about all the benefits that come from living in this healthy lifestyle.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you.
Ms. Verela (f): With that in mind, I have a question for you. I recently noticed that there is more and more positive and constructive media happening around the world.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: That's right.
Ms. Verela (f): And there are websites that provide only the good news, and television stations as well. So, with that in mind, can you please share with us your thoughts on the role of the media in transforming society？ Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Of course they are powerful, Ms. Verela. The media has a very important role in our society, everybody knows that. The printed words are very powerful. People are too busy with their daily activities, so they look to the media for informing and reporting relevant events, important matters, and all necessary information for their lives.
So, the media is a useful tool to awaken one another at this crucial time, a time when our planet and the lives on it are in danger. That's why I'm so glad to see many television and radio channels starting to broadcast about the urgent situation of our planet，and even the solution of the vegan diet, which is the switch, you know, that we have to make, very small change: piece of meat out, vegetarian protein in. That's it - just a small change, everyone can afford.
And it's cheaper, healthier. And Supreme Master Television is there as well to contribute and to inform the people in this endeavor. Just recently, Lord Stern in the UK made a statement that the vegetarian diet is better than a meat diet for halting climate change, and the world media came to discuss the topic more actively, almost on every station. And then, the Australian and American television channels interviewed former US Vice President and Nobel Prize Laureate Mr. Al Gore. You know right？ Our hero，you know him. (Yes.) Everybody knows him by now.
They asked him, the journalists, the reporters, asked Mr. Al Gore to talk about the vegetarian solution as a means to halt global warming, which he recognized as important in curbing global warming, he recognizes that. He said that he cut back on the animal diet very sharply, and he said that the vegetarian diet definitely is a solution to curb global warming. So, the media helps a lot to point people in the direction of the solution. In fact, the most urgent role of the media right now is to become vegan themselves- compassionate, noble, and doing good deeds and to inform people of this urgent action. They should be an example，the media.
Now, we also see that the public is responding with enthusiasm to spiritual topics like meditation, yoga, alternative living, vegetarianism. They want to know more about science and spirituality. We are, as a race, the whole humanity, becoming more spiritually-minded and reaching beyond just the limited, ephemeral, physical realm for something greater, nobler, and higher. I'm so glad we are in this trend. And the media is a huge, huge help in reminding people to go in this upward direction. But, still，our evolution has been a bit too slow, don't you think？ It's too slow.
So, I also look for hope in the good media people such as yourself, Ms. Beautiful. And if I may humbly urge you to encourage people through your work to become vegan， to save human lives, animal lives, and the environment. Because the vegan diet, though simple, is the giant stepping stone that would bring us higher in our evolution. Besides, time is running out for our planet. We must act fast to save lives. So, the media has a very great, heroic, noble role to save the world at this moment in our history. And while saving lives, the media also can save the loving, noble quality in human hearts as well. Do you see how great and noble the role of the media is？ Thank you，Ms. Verela, for being a vegetarian yourself. God bless you and your company.
MC(m): Thank you, Master Ching Hai, for the scope of your vision and for your pioneering role in the creation of Supreme Master Television.
MC(f): (Q7) Our next questioner is the owner of Paradise Found, LLC, a company that delivers vegan produce to an ever expanding market in Ohio. Mr. Randall T. Ball has a question he would like to ask Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Welcome, Mr. Ball.
Mr Ball (m): Hallo, Supreme Master. Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hallo.
Mr. Ball (m): I'm honored to come. A lot of people don't know this, Cincinnati is known as “Porkopolis.” We got our start as the pig capital of the Midwest. So, my question is really a very important question , I think, one that I've been asking myself for years, and that relates to the political leadership of this country. And to be able to ask you this in Washington, D.C., seems really powerful. So, I wanted to preface by saying, I'm almost half a century old. When I was growing up, America was known as the land of the free and the leader of the free world, and a beacon of light to the world. And now, we've become the leading consumer.
So, my question is, the American people have demonstrated their compassion and their power, since the beginning, in overcoming many forces of evil. So, right now, how do we, as citizens of America, the ones that are literally consuming the planet, encourage and support greater nobility in ourselves, in our fellow American citizens, and in our government leaders? Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Mr. Ball, good question, sir. Thank you for trusting me with such a great responsibility. I admire the American people very much, sir, you know that, for their faith and open-minded, courageous spirit. And right now, the government leaders need our faith and encouragement more, because we really need their leadership to bring about wide-scale change. We must help provide the government with information about the true cost of the animal diet.
Sometimes the government are busy, putting priority elsewhere, you know, sir? Not that they don't like the change, but maybe they are not completely informed. So, we have to inform them: write to them, talk to them, do whatever it takes to inform them of the true cost of the animal diet. Not just costing life, it costs billions of US dollars every year - just for the meat-related sicknesses, not to talk about how it kills our planet.
You can gather and print it, all this information, and send to your political leaders. If you want, you can go to SupremeMasterTV.com/SOS. We have all the information up to date that we have gathered - reliable and ready material collected there for you. I myself have also written and sent letters and information to the secular and religious leaders of the world, hoping they have time to read. I don't send a lot of books, just short, condensed information. If you want you can enquire, the condensed one that I sent to the leaders of the world.
And if they want to know more, or if you want to know more, or your people want to know more, can always log on to www.SupremeMasterTV.com/SOS. That's it. Or, just log on to www.SupremeMasterTV.com and ask for any subject you want. They are all free of charge and ready anytime. And should the leaders take some positive steps, then we should write to thank them also and encourage them, not always criticize and don't thank them when they do the right thing. We should have positive encouragement, you see? We have to encourage them when they do some right things and so they go further in that direction, or even better, improve.
As for the way that the meat industry is destroying the environment, our health, and the health and future of our children, and the planet eventually, the numbers, the sheer numbers, should be more than enough to shock any of us into action. Allow me to report to you a few shocking facts from the United States, your country, alone - United States alone.
1. Waste of land. Now, in the US, an area more than nine times the size of California - nine times California's size! - is used either for growing farm animal feed or grazing livestock. It's all about animals, nothing about us. That's about 1 billion acres, or 80% of all agricultural land in the US, and about half of all US land being used for meat production. By contrast, less than 3 million acres is used to grow all the vegetables in the country. Imagine that!
2. Waste of water. Half the water in the US is wasted on the production of meat. Just for comparison, 100,000 liters of water are needed to produce one kilogram of beef, while less than 1% of this amount, or 900 liters only, is required to harvest a kilogram of wheat.
3. Waste of food. 90% of all soy, 80% of all corn, and 70% of all grain grown in the United States are fed to fatten livestock, while this could feed at least 800 million hungry people, sir. We have hungry people; we have children dying every few seconds because we use too much land, too much water, too much food for livestock instead of on humans.
4. Pollution. Livestock produces 130 times as much waste as the human population in the US. Can you imagine that? A single pig farm with say, 500,000 pigs, generates more waste yearly than the 1.5 million residents of Manhattan in New York City. In Virginia State, even the poultry farms are producing 1.5 times polluting nitrogen, more than all the people living in the same area. We are killing us, ourselves. All this waste is unregulated and untreated.
There's no law to regulate these and treat these things. So, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that agriculture, which is mostly for meat production, contributes to nearly three-quarters of the country's water pollution problems - three-quarters of your country's pollution came from livestock. Now, in 1995 one time, one 8-acre pig manure lagoon burst in North Carolina…For people who don't know what a manure lagoon is, allow me to explain.
It is where they have dug a big lake, and then all the manure and the waste - the urine and all that of the pigs - will go in there. And it looks like a lagoon, so they call it “manure lagoon.” One time, an 8-acre large, such pig-manure lagoon burst in North Carolina, spilling 25 million gallons of this poisonous waste, twice the volume of the notorious Exxon-Valdez oil spill. We complain about oil spills, but this is even worse. Hundreds of millions of fish in the state's New River were killed instantly due to the nitrates in the waste, with further harmful effects once the contamination reached the ocean.
This is just one of many incidents, sir. Not only that, we have the enormous dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the size of New Jersey, which suffocates all marine life there. And this is overwhelmingly due to the nitrogen runoff from the Midwest, from the animal wastes and the fertilizers for the animal feed crops. This waste is toxic. It contains antibiotics, hormones and pesticides, and 10 to 100 times the concentration of deadly pathogens like E. coli and salmonella compared to human waste.
5. Health and economic costs. Meat causes hundreds of billions - hundreds of billions! - of US dollars in medical costs alone, and economic burdens on families and governments. Not to mention the pain and suffering of the families, of course, unimaginably great and lifelong. And all the while, we are suffering illness, losing lives, grieving over lost loved ones, family members; losing happiness; losing money due to the animal diet. We are the ones who are paying the industry to continue producing this problem, producing meat, fish and the like, with our hard earned tax money that's used to subsidize them. Ironic?
The US government could, of course, redirect the billions of dollars now spent on livestock subsidies to help farmers switch to organic vegetable and fruit agriculture. That will be a great help to your country and the health of the Americans. The government could use these powerful tools to spread campaigns about veg alternatives, bans on meat, and laws to help people switch to organic, vegan farming and consumption. A global switch to a veg diet could even save the world governments a lot of money, as much as 80% of all the climate mitigation costs of US$40 trillion by the year 2050.
That is, we save US$32 trillion in climate mitigation costs, and having a healthy vegan population is a good deal, good business deal in all positive aspects. There is a very good reason for the American government to abolish meat, fish, eggs and dairy - all the animal products altogether. We must stop animal production now and at all cost if we want to keep this planet. I repeat: We must stop animal products right now and at all cost if we want to keep this planet.
I have always looked to the American people and their great government leaders as one of the best living examples of democracy and freedom, integrity, of our world. However, I must tell you truthfully that the meat industry is unbefitting to the greatness of your country and of the great American citizen. Don't you agree, sir? Thank you. Great people deserve great things. Great people lead great lifestyles.
So we have to do away with the un-great things and we have to begin the great things, for the great people, great country like America. I pray, sir, that the ones who are aware and want to save the children will do something about it, and fast, to stop this horrendous criminal system that is killing us and destroying our planet, and that we must not allow any longer. Thank you and God bless your faith in the Divine, in your leaders, and yourselves. God bless America!
MC(f): Thank you, Supreme Master Ching Hai, for sharing your illuminating wisdom with us.
MC(m): (Q8) Next, we have Mr. Tom Vennum, a clinical bodyworker and a vegan.
Tom (m): Yes. It's so nice to see you, Supreme Master Ching Hai. This is quite an honor. I'm quite intrigued by the idea of this “Humanity's Leap to the Golden Era” and the idea of a Golden Era being here on planet Earth. I have a question about it. It seems as time has gone on, we've evolved to a system where we've had to work to provide for our basic survival needs. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.) How will this system change as we grow into the new era? Will it be more service-based, where neighbors simply provide for one another out of the kindness of their hearts? Thank you.
That would be great. That would be great, sir. Yes, that'd be great. That would be our dream world. It might happen still. Yes. It's nice to meet you, sir. You are correct. There are systems like that that exist without money, based on what I have seen in more highly developed societies in the universe, such as on other planets.
You see, our planet is not ready yet for this system. It's not the system, this or that. It's the people, the concept of life, the concept of the society has to change first, the people's concept. Once they make a switch to change into a more sociable, more neighborly, more global family-like, then that kind of exchanging system will automatically Come to realization. I have seen in other planets: only the people who are more evolved, or the concept has evolved in that direction, more like a community, global community direction, more spiritually, then they would use that exchange system with no money that you mentioned.
These planets, they are inhabited by beings similar to us, but they're more beautiful. I'm sorry. Maybe because they are more relaxed. And they are vegetarian -relaxed, happy, and light conscience. So many of these civilizations are much more advanced than we are, even spiritually, even technologically, mainly because they have developed morally and spiritually to a higher level than ours.
As a result, they do everything in a more effective and peaceful way. In our world, we have to earn a living because of the need for physical survival, so we even feel bored at work in many cases. Many people, they work but they don't love their job, they are not interested, because they feel forced to do the job just to earn the money. Often because of that we are forced into some job that we don't even like or not interested or not even capable to do.
So, often our precious talents and gifts, natural gifts, time and freedom, are all lost in the office or in the factory, or at best, put on hold for many, many decades until we're retired. And then we're tired to even realize our dream anymore. Or, we are too sick from the whole life long of service and being poisoned by being mislead into eating meat, cigarettes, or whatever. So when we retire, we're really tired, so all our talents, ability, energy, are lost - just for maybe a few dollars an hour.
And we are the children of God. And we have talent. Many people who have talent, ability, bury their life into some other mundane, laborious job until they die, unfulfilled. You know that. Yes. It's a pity. However, in these more developed places in the universe, everyone is secure and has enough, just like your dream world that you have mentioned. They work, but are able to choose which talents and abilities to share and contribute to the society.
Because they do that so they do their best, because they do what they love to; they have choices, see? Instead of working for money, they produce for the honor and pleasure of contributing. They bring the fruits of their labor, or their talents, like their harvests or their services, to a place where they can exchange them with one another for the goods they need.
This could be a goal that our world could look forward to. These people in those societies, they can enjoy a lot of time for their leisure, and developing their hobbies and their talents, etc., etc., and discover their dormant capabilities as well. So, therefore, in such a society, there are many wonderful inventions have been born. And many wonderful things happen because people are relaxed and do what they do best. No one ever worries about lacking physical necessities, so their lives are full of freedom and happiness. Doesn't that sound wonderful, sir? Sound wonderful to anybody?
At least we can dream on, dream on. Because American people say: “You've got to have a dream. If you don't have a dream, how would you have a dream come true?” Right? So, right now we dream that our planet first be saved by a vegan diet, and then we can dream of this dream world in which everyone exercises their talents and their love for their work and creativity, instead of working hard, back broken just for money. Now, wouldn't it be nice to have this kind of free and happy society? Well, if I might add, all such societies are also vegan, I told you.
Their concept of life is very clear - very clear, very selfless, unconditional, very intelligent. I have not seen a single civilization so advanced and happy, joyful, that is not a vegan society. According to precedent, non-violence is, in fact, vegan, a requirement for advancing to the next levels of civilization. In those societies they only take what they need, and their needs are so few.
Because once we change our concept, we live a freer life. Our souls are less burdened, our hearts are more open, our minds are so happy. We need very little in life to feel contented- because we're not burdened by the guilt of murdering innocent animals. We are not burdened by the obligation to earn a living, to pay tax, to pay electricity, to pay whatever - all the basic necessities - they should be free for everyone.
Now, in those societies, they don't have this burden, so they're free to develop, and they develop so much. And so they're happy. When you're happy you don't need much. You really don't need much, because you're spiritually also fed, emotionally also satisfied. And as you notice yourself, when we're happy emotionally, or physically or mentally, we hardly need anything. Remember when you fall in love, you hold hands all day; you don't even want to go to eat anything... lay in bed all day talking nonsense together, and you're not hungry. You're happy: you feel you don't need anything. You feel you just need that place, that little room, that's enough.
Now, the taking of another being's precious life, including the life of an animal, no matter how small, certainly never happens in an intelligent and civilized society, as I have seen it. Members of such a true civilization would never oppress, torture, or murder the weak, defenseless and innocent animals that have never done anything wrong to them; but, on the contrary, treat all life with utmost respect and protection, like they would their own life.
Furthermore, they don't take up their planet's resources needlessly to try to breed and raise animals for the pleasure of their fleeting enjoyment of the palate. They are frugal and sensible. Perhaps, we can someday join the ranks of the highly developed planets. Maybe we can even learn from them and exchange goods with them. There is much we could look forward to on our own planet and beyond.
But first we have to save it, by being vegan - that's the only solution right now. We don't have time for anything else. Thank you, Mr. Good-Heart for being with us, and for doing your part. God bless you.
MC(m): We are so grateful for your fascinating vision and elevating wisdom, Supreme Master Ching Hai.
MC(f): Next we have a question from Mr. Steve Ma, the founder, president and GEO of the organization Live Green, and he also is a devoted vegan. The letters "GEO" stand for "Green Executive Officer."
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Oh! Yes? GEO, not CEO? Wonderful.
Mr. Ma (m): Hallo, Supreme Master.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hallo, GEO! Good invention! That's a new word.
Mr. Ma (m): One of the things that we do as an organization is encourage people to go to green businesses and support the business owners who are doing it right. So, first I'd like to invite you to come to DC and we will go out a nice vegan meal together
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Wow! Mr. Ma (m): at one of the restaurants.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: It'd be my honor. God willing. Thank you.
Mr. Ma (m): One of the things we really like to do is point out people who are doing it right, people who are succeeding in helping us live a more sustainable way. And thankfully, there are many recent examples of people, communities, coming together to live a more sustainable way. And for instance, right here in DC, Mrs. Michelle Obama has created an organic community garden, a vegetable garden. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right!) And school children
Mr. Ma (m): from nearby schools come by to help maintain that garden.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, I've heard about that.
Mr. Ma (m): So, I want to know from you specific examples of things that we can do together as communities to really bring about a sustainable planet?
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right! Good question! Good question! Yes, bravo to America's First Lady Michelle Obama. She is my First Lady. Wonderful. That is a true First Lady. She has taken the lead by example. You know, in our old system of kings and queens in China and Âu Lạc (Vietnam), we call the queen, “Mother of the Nation.” So Mrs. Michelle Obama is worthy to be called that. She has taken the lead by example. She even said that her family feels more energetic and healthier from eating the organic vegetables, local-grown.
Imagine if every neighborhood in the United States had an organic veggie garden like that, for sharing fresh, healthy, vegetables with everyone. There are reports about organic vegetable farming that it is quite profitable, and the demand for organic vegan foods now is growing faster and faster around the world. So one thing we can do is to encourage more organic vegan farmers markets. Farmers markets are more and more popular in the United States now because it's fresh, it's quality, and it's local, so there is less transportation pollution.
But, interestingly, studies show that eating locally is not as good as eating vegan. For example, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University calculated that a vegan diet reduced over seven times the emissions compared to a 100% local meat diet. So, you see? Eat vegan is better than eat local even, “loco” meat. In Spanish, “loco” means crazy -we don't eat “loco” meat.
Now, in another study, Foodwatch in Germany found that switching from a meat diet to an organic meat diet saved only 8% of emissions, but switching to a non-organic vegan diet, even non-organic vegan diet, reduced 86% of emissions. So, we save the planet by being vegan. Even non-organic! So, actually, organic is good, local is wonderful, but the first step is at least being vegan, organic or not. Organic, of course, is the best, because when we plant all the tillable acres on our planet organically, then the CO2, the carbon dioxide, which exists already in our atmosphere will be absorbed 40%. And the other 60%, we take care by being vegan. Then we're happy. Our planet will definitely survive. Now, the vegan lifestyle is the greenest lifestyle. Right or not? Audience: Yes!
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you. Thank you, good children of God.
Because even organic meat is actually not eco-friendly at all; it requires even more land, and more energy than the non-organic meat in meat farming. Can you believe that? So, it doesn't even help to try to raise animals organically. The so-called “sustainable,” “free-range,” organic poultry, for example, needs 20% more energy and has a 20% higher, bigger impact on global warming than non-organic poultry farms. Think about that. So, we've been misled all the time. This is a terrible thing about this negative power in this world. It makes us believe things that are not good for us at all.
From now on, we have to try to do research and believe only what's good for us. And we have to research until we really find that this news, this information, is truly reliable and believable by example, by proof. Otherwise, just don't listen to anything anybody else says if they don't prove it. Similarly, organic eggs were found to have a 14% higher carbon footprint than non-organic eggs. So there we are. And even though you don't use fertilizers, the benefit could be cancelled out because of the increased land use.
Therefore, only the vegan lifestyle is truly sustainable. Now, once we become vegan and urge others to join through grassroots seminars, flyer distribution, letters, email, whatever, we could practice sustainability in other ways. As I have suggested before, we could plant organic vegetables and trees. Better still are those fruit trees and nut trees, and those vegetables or legumes like beans and stuff that need little water. That, we can do research to know which ones need less water, because right now we're short of water as well.
We're short of everything right now. So we should be frugal not to waste precious energy and water, use our own shopping bags even. We encourage sustainable energy development. And we can write or talk to the government and the media, and the farmers even, because we really do need all the help from the government, from the media, to accelerate the trend. Another good way to quicken our movement to a sustainable planet is to generate more positive energy: do good deeds and be loving and kind. Expand our loving quality. This is what will create a shield, invincible, to protect us and the planet.
Finally, we can pray that divine power manifests on Earth to awaken leaders, media, influential people, and all the world citizens to take the right steps to preserve our planet, and fast - fast before it's too late. Because at this point, we do need Heaven's intervention to save our planet. Not to pray to them to protect us; just to pray so that they awaken everybody to the solution of the vegan diet, because that is the solution that will save our planet. If we can do these things, starting with being veg, we would realize not just a sustainable planet, but a real paradise of peace in our lifetime. Thank you and Heaven bless you for being a vegetarian, a handsome vegetarian.
MC(f): Thank you, Supreme Master Ching Hai, for sharing your most wonderful and insightful answers to these thought-provoking questions.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you.
MC(m): Our final question for today comes from Ms. Julie Johnson， a teacher，adult educator， and former Coordinator of Environment and Sustainability Programs at an independent boys' school in Canada.
Julie (f): Supreme Master Ching Hai， I'd like to say hallo from Canada. My husband and I are visiting from Canada and I know there are lots of Canadians helping out with the conference today.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hallo!
Julie (f): And we'd like to let you know that you're a climate hero in Canada, as well as here in the States, so thank you for that.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Climate hero, I like that. I like that, but I would like to save that title for all the people in the world who are doing more than I do and who are trying more than I am in their own way to save lives. By the way, I also thank them from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity. (Julie (f): Thank you.) Thank you, all of you, for being heroes.
Julie (f): Yes, thank you, all of you. Supreme Master, there are so many inspiring teachers in this world, from many walks of life and these educators treat children as whole beings, And in addition to teaching skills and knowledge, they also instill good values in our children. And I'm wondering, how will noble, loving education help to usher in the Golden Era？
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Good, noble education. Hallo, Canada. I've been in your beautiful country and met the kind people of Canada. Very safe country. Also, because your country is peaceful, makes no enemies anywhere. When you don't provoke people, then you are at peace. That's a good example, you see？ Canada is a good example of,『As you sow， so shall you reap.』 Your country only helps people and is being friendly to all nations, therefore, your country is always at peace and the people are happy. But it's cold, very cold. Even then, people are happy. They're not going anywhere, they stay there.
So now, I like your expression very much:『noble， loving education.』 And it is true that we are indebted to all the inspiring teachers whom we are honored to learn from throughout our lives, especially the teachers who impart the moral values as you mentioned, and a virtuous way of life; who help to nurture the citizens of the world to do good deeds selflessly; who treat others with kindness and fairness; and take care of the weak and the less fortunate. If we have more such teachers, our world could become a Heaven.
As the famous American historian Henry Adams said, I quote him:『A teacher affects eternity.』 Even eternity, not just one lifetime, a good teacher. A teacher affects eternity; that's something to think about. The best way, I think, is to start with a spiritual foundation, because spiritual practice includes the basic moral and social standards. I think all the schools on our planet should include spiritual and moral standards in our school curriculum. Because that's what's lacking, deeper subjects. Not just saying,『Okay， I go to church or I give a little to charity，』 which don't always even mention in the school.
Now, the basic moral and social standards we must instill in the children at a young age and provide the inner support they can always lean on throughout their lifetime.
A study in Canada, your country, showed that children who have spiritual faith are happier. Furthermore, meditation helps children to become calmer and more focused. For example, in the US, some studies were conducted in schools that taught children how to do simple meditation, and they reported very good results, such as less anxiety, better mood, more attention span. Such kids grow up to be the helpers and strong leaders of our societies.
Now, another important part of a noble education, as you mentioned, is to encourage the children's already God-given loving nature. Actually, all the children, not just the Indigo or Crystal children, are born very sweet and loving and innocent; and they do have connection with God up to the age of ３ or ４. There was a very touching story, a true story; a mother told the story of her two children talking to each other. One child is a girl, she's four years old, and the other is one year old, laying in the crib still. And the four-year-old girl asked her younger sibling,『Please, can you tell me what God is like, what God looks like？ I began to forget already.』That made me cry so much when I first heard about it. 『Please tell me what God is like， I began to forget already，』 the four-year-old tells the one-year-old.
And now, we come back to Earth. We have to teach the children to be protective and loving to the innocent lives, like the animals, the helpless, the defenseless, the innocent. The blessing, actually, to our planet are the animals. This gives them a close affinity with animals since a young age. We have to teach them the value of loving kindness to others, especially to the animals. It is up to us to not suppress or deny them their love for the animals.
When we feed our children animals' meat, the children, of course, become anxious and restless, because it goes against their natural instinct. We put violence into their tender body when we should teach them the best example of loving kindness and compassion. It's not just the physical, but subconsciously, in being given meat, they learn something very conflicting with their own care for the animals and love in their own heart, and clashing with everything else they are taught about being loving, being kind, not harming others, not killing others if we ourselves don't want to be harmed or to be killed, treated badly in the same way.
We teach our children to be kind, to be loving, to be non-violent, but we feed them the very symbol of unkindness, of violence. That is the piece of animal flesh that we force into their tender body, by force sometimes. If you notice many little babies, when you feed them meat they often spit it out, and then we take it back, forcing them again， again and again until they get used to it and cannot do without. And then they grow up teaching their children the same way. Isn't that a pity？ Very sad affair.
But it's not really the parents' or the teachers' fault; it's not our fault, because we ourselves were taught the same, as I have told you, from generation to generation, one leading the next, because we have no time to do the research on the reality of the harm of the animal diet and the benefit of the vegetarian lifestyle. See？ Now, we must take time to do it. This is truly a tragic education that has been passing on to us and we have been passing on to our children. We shut off our sensitivity to the suffering of the animals and let ourselves forget that we are degrading ourselves, our true God-like, compassionate and innocent selves. We damage our body, our intelligence and we are killing the planet.
Now, all it takes is a noble teacher, a parent- one noble role model- to nurture in our children what they were born knowing : that we love and care for all living beings as we would ourselves. That is the only philosophy. And that is the only true, noble way of living our lives. If we cannot teach that all life has inherent, precious value, then we may wonder what is worth teaching.
Jesus said that above all else, we must love one another as ourselves. The Talmud said,『The greatest wisdom is kindness.』The Buddha taught us to uphold compassion, and the Qur'an reminds us to show mercy to all creatures. The Prophet in the Qur'an had stated that『Allah will not give mercy to anyone, except the ones who give mercy to other creatures.』 It's very clear. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, also told his cousin,『Oh Ali, don't eat meat, don't eat that.』
So, since human history began, we have been reminded by the great and compassionate teachers, like Mahavira, Jesus Christ, Moses, Buddha, Prophet Muhammad, Guru Nanak, etc.，etc., and many other great teachers who have helped to uplift us already, time and again, to a more civilized way of living with one another. And if we study carefully their message, and their own practice even, at the basic core of the civilized life they taught is the peace-loving vegan diet.
That's the beginning of everything else: that's the beginning of the moral building block; that's the beginning of spiritual upliftment; that's the beginning of a peaceful society. If we can provide this Same most basic spiritual and moral foundation for our children, then we are doing our part in『noble，loving education』 that you mentioned, and it is certain that we will usher in a Golden Era. Thank you and all Heavens love you for being vegan！ And your husband. God bless you. Thank you！
MC(f): And thank you, Supreme Master Ching Hai, for your answer. And we want to say that you are one of the most inspiring teachers in this world！
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you. Thank you. Thank God for blessing me with such privilege. I really thank Heaven every day that I'm in the position to be able to contribute some humble goodness to the society. And thank you for being a good audience，thank you for your good questions.
MC(m): That completes our formal question-and-answer session. Supreme Master Ching Hai, is there anything else you would like to tell us？
Supreme Master Ching Hai: A few words of thanks and goodbye. You see, I am grateful also for the questioners because their questions are very, very thought provoking, very enlightened, very concerned, very loving. Their enlightened questions, their sincere attention, support and love for the planet give me the inspiration to give a good answer.
They said 『good answer』is because of good question. And most of all, I appreciate all of your willingness to join hands in helping ensure the future, for our world. If we act now and together, while we still have a chance, and we still have some time, we can step into a world of our most splendid dreams, and beyond. Thank you for the good questions. I would like to thank again all the inspirational speakers, dignitaries, and participating guests for your many and valued contributions to the world. I also send my appreciation to the organizers for making this conference possible and successful.
I can imagine how much hard work, dedication, and loving kindness has been put into this conference in order to make it as beautiful as it is. And because of that we have all the beautiful supportive, lively, good-looking audience. Thank you. And I salute the gracious hosting nation, America, as well as the capital of this great nation Washington,D.C. As the speakers have said today in so many ways, we must all rise to what is needed by the planet now, and to what we know we can be.
The time has come for us to change, evolve, grow and stand tall as the rightful crown of creation, the benevolent rulers and protectors, and Heaven's children on Earth. I pray that each of us may walk away from this important event much more encouraged, much more knowledgeable, and readier than before to go forth in the direction of righteousness, justice and love. Together, let us make the unprecedented leap to the Golden Era, to the time of compassion, harmony, kindness and true peace that awaits us. I know that we can do it. Yes, we can, right？ Yes, we can. Yes, we can！
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I am positive that we can do it and I believe the Americans will be standing as one, blazing the trail to our shared wondrous destination. God bless us all. God bless America. God bless our world. Love you. Splendid people. Wonderful people, thank you so much. Thank you so much. I'm also standing for you. Thank you, thank you so much. Please be seated.
MC(f): Okay, and now, let's celebrate with some entertainment. We are delighted to present a trio of musicians from Washington,D.C. The St. Charles String was founded in ２００４ as an opportunity to promote chamber music through educational outreach programs and concerts. These musicians are renowned for their technique and exciting repertoire. In addition to playing classical chamber music, the St. Charles String are also known for their fun and uplifting arrangements of modern rock tunes - a true celebration of youth, inspiration, and endless possibilities.
MC(m): Please welcome the St. Charles String， playing 『Sunrise Quartet， Allegro con Spirito.』 by Franz Joseph Haydn Trio
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Excellent, excellent！ Thank you so much！ Could you please give them some gifts for me, like books and a little red envelope？
MC(m): And we wanted to thank them for sharing their elevating music with our world audience.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you.
MC(f): Which raises the question, what will music to be like in the Golden Era？ Our final song is from Nominjin Oidov, a singer songwriter from Mongolia whose voice is a joy to behold.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.
MC(f): This evening, she will be singing 『From a Distance.』 While she performs, we will watch a video that celebrates the dawn of the Golden Era here on Earth. Please give a warm welcome to Nominjin.
From a distance the world is blue and green And the snow capped mountains white From a distance the ocean meets the stream And the eagle takes to flight From a distance there is harmony And it echoes through the land It's the voice of hope It's the voice of peace It's the voice of every man From a distance we all have enough And no one is in need And there are no guns, no bombs and no disease And no hungry mouths to feed From a distance we are instruments marching in a common band Playing songs of hope Playing songs of peace
They're the songs of every man God is watching us God is watching us God is watching us From a distance From a distance you look like my friend Even though we are at war From a distance I just cannot comprehend What all this fighting's for From a distance there is harmony And it echoes through the land It's the hope of hopes It's the love of loves It's the hearts of every man And it's the hope of hopes It's the love of loves It's the song of every man God is watching us God is watching us from a distance God is watching us God is watching us from a distance
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Bravo，bravo！ Beautiful，beautiful！ Beautiful lyrics as well.
MC(f): Thank you, Nominjin, for that stunning performance, and the video was very inspiring. We are looking forward to that happy day！
MC(m): Supreme Master Ching Hai， we have a special presentation for you from Mr. Lý Kiến Trúc，President of the Vietnamese