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Supreme Master Ching Hai on the Environment: Restore the Balance of the Oceans - P1/4 A compilation of Supreme Master Ching Hai's lectures    
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My question is: If more and more people give up meat eating but keep on eating fish only one or two times a week, with this, how much can it help to save our planet? And could you also tell us how we can more effectively advise people to stop fish eating? Thank you. It's already very good that they stop eating red meat and big animals’ meat.

It's already very good. You tell them that, “Bravo! Bravo! Thank you very much. You are very brave. And I thank you and the planet thanks you! And many animals thank you!” And after that, you give them a flyer. You gather all the information about the harm of fish eating and you give it to them. You say, “Now, if you go one step further, and no more fish eating, then you'll be perfect! You'll be my hero.” Okay. Good!

Because, fish eating is also very depleting to planetary ecosystem. They have proven that overfishing of sardines has resulted in many dead zones. Because they are there for some reason. They are there for maybe oxidizing the ocean or give life to some other kind of species or cleaning the environment. Whatever the species that God has left on the planet, they have work to do. The species has work to do. Just like humans, we have work to do, animals, they have work to do.

Even little fish like sardines, they have work to do. It's just many humans are ignorant. They think it is a little fish, they're helpless anyway, “they're useless.” No, they're not useless. They think they're useless so they fish them up and eat them; but they're very, very useful to our ecosystem and to the health of the planet and, consequently, to the health of humans and all beings on it. So you gather all these facts from Supreme Master Television or any internet, or information you can find in the library or anywhere, and then you print it all on the flyer, and you give it to the fish eater.

This is a quick running report that you can find on the internet and elsewhere. This is mostly concerning Mexico alone. Disappearing glaciers: the glacier on the Iztaccihuatl volcano in Central Mexico lost 30 meters in 6 years. And the temperature of the glaciers is close to freezing, but it’s not freezing. So the temperature does not preserve the glacier, so the glacier on the Iztaccihuatl , Pico de Orizaba volcanoes, the glaciers there are expected to disappear in the next 10 or something years.

You can look that up on the National Autonomous University of Mexico. There’s another one: eroding beaches. Hurricanes and rising seas are eroding beaches in at least five Mexican states, including Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, home to Cancun and other famous tourist areas; and Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Tabasco on the Gulf of Mexico; Sinaloa on the Pacific and some locations of coastal resort in Mazatlan. These beaches are eroding. Hurricane Wilma took much of the sand off Cancun’s beaches. The government has spent US$21 million to restore the beach, but much of these efforts were undone by the nonstop erosion. Not that we could even repair the damage.

The eroding beaches threaten the tourism industry which employs 2 million people and is Mexico’s third greatest source of foreign exchange. A report of the sea-level rise found that 46.2% of Mexico’s Gulf coast is at risk of rising sea levels. Coastal lakes, marsh lands and agriculture areas are most at risk across central and southern portions of the Mexican Gulf of Mexico. And in Mexico, we experience more frequent and stronger hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Powerful hurricanes have increased significantly in the past few decades.

The US National Center for Atmospheric Research has identified warming sea surface temperatures as the main cause and correlated the warmer seas with global warming. Warmer water leads to more water evaporation, giving the storms more fuel to create stronger storms which destroy some counties. Hurricane Stan from October 4, 2005 visited seven Mexican states, leading to loss of homes, deaths, and some entire communities being wiped out completely.

Over 100,000 people were sent to shelters. Fatalities were estimated at 1,620, making Stan the 29th deadliest Atlantic hurricane. August and September 2007: intensive 240 rainstorms came to northern states, with rainfall 19% above historical average. In June and July 2008, the country was struck with 184 storms with rainfall exceeding the average by more than 50%. Hurricane Dean, August 21, 2007, made landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula as a Category 5, with gusts of 200 miles per hour. It completely destroyed the town of Majahual. The government’s preparations and ample warning by forecasters is credited with saving lives, although its aftermath did bring fatalities. The storm brought rain all the way to the country’s Pacific Coast, including up to 200 millimeters in Jalisco and Nayarit.

In September 2008, Tropical Depression Lowell landed in the states of Michoacán, Sonora and Sinaloa with almost 27,000 people affected by flooding who were rendered homeless. Tropical Storm Marco landed in Veracruz during the first week of October 2008; caused flooding in the city with high winds and heavy rains in Veracruz and surrounding regions. Veracruz officials opened 200 shelters to accommodate the homeless people. Some 400,000 people were affected – that’s almost half a million people – with 800 towns flooded by water levels up to 3 meters. Hurricane Norbert hit the Mexican Peninsula in October 2008, with winds of 165 kilometers per hour; hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes due to flooding.

Now, droughts and desertification: Mexico experienced the worst drought in living memory during 1999, with five northwestern Mexican states having been declared disaster areas, drinking supplies dangerously low, and the area was turned into a fire-prone area – in danger of fire. Mexico’s National Institute of Ecology states that between 50-70% of the nation is afflicted by some degree of drought. The Lerma Chapala Santiago River Basin is one of the most significant water areas of Mexico. It has lost 61% of its water drainage and 99.7% of the reservoirs. Usable water volume increased 142%, indicating the population centers, including Mexico City have been drawing too much water.

The environmentalists are very concerned for the biodiversity of the region, which has historically been home to 7,000 species of plants, 170 species of mammals, and 525 bird species and 300 aquatic species. Rain-fed corn, maize, is the most important food crop for Mexicans, and has been vulnerable to drought. In 2003, over 200,000 farmers were affected by climate change, most of which was drought related. Of course, that’s due to climate change. Forty-seven percent of Mexico has some degree of desertification, with 70% of the nation vulnerable. Between 700,000 to 900,000 Mexicans are estimated to leave their homes each year in search of better opportunities elsewhere, maybe in the United States, even.

Puebla State has seen increased forest fires over the past few years; rainfall decreased by 200 liters per square meter; increase in average annual temperatures to 17.5 degrees Celsius. The winter temperatures are now also above normal. Rapid deforestation between 1980 and 2002 on the Puebla mountain, La Malinche, has decreased forest area by 5,355 square kilometers, and it’s believed to have resulted in lower rainfall of up to 100 millimeters.

By July 2007, the deforestation in Puebla led to a landslide, burying and killing 32 passengers in a bus. Harbingers of global warming: we have dengue fever, which has historically been found at elevation below 1,000 meters in Mexico, has now spread up to 1,700 meters. Forty percent of Mexico’s coral reefs are experiencing bleaching on both the Eastern and Western coasts.

Intensity of wild fires: Mexico had the worst fire season in recorded history in 1998 affecting 505,857 hectares during a drought, bringing smoke across the border into Texas where it triggered a statewide health alert. Now, we even have extreme cold weather. Between October 2008 and February 2009, over 36 people in Mexico died due to extreme cold weather, with 22 of them having suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning from burning firewood and charcoal to warm themselves. The average temperature in the north of Mexico during this cold spell was minus 5 degrees Celsius for four months. The Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone is created primarily by runoff from US agriculture.

The Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone is expected to increase. Oceanography Professor Steven DiMarco of Texas A&M University, USA, stated that the increase river runoff from recent flooding in the United States is likely to cause the Gulf of Mexico’s 7,900 square mile dead zone to become even larger. It’s already an almost 8,000-square-mile dead zone and now it’s going to increase larger. Dead zones are ocean areas that no longer contain enough oxygen to support marine life.

River run off laden with nitrates of farm fertilizers is a main cause of these oxygen-deprived areas, with this year’s Gulf of Mexico zone expected to extend beyond 10,000 square miles. There are surely more terrible situations in Mexico that are not checked, due to our carelessness in taking care of the environment, and the global warming resulting thereof. I’ve finished my report, but the damage is not finished here. Please do something for your country at least. Thank you so much for your patience and for sharing the concern with me for Mexico. God bless you. God bless and protect Mexico.
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