Carmody (m): I've got just two questions here for you, too. One is: Do you think the Copenhagen climate change conference that is coming up will make it a priority to stop the destruction of the world's tropical forests which in turn can help climate change? And secondly, in terms of the world being vegan or vegetarian and the importance of such, what do you think will most inspire or encourage people across the country to adopt this important diet in order to avert a global crisis?
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. Yes, Mr. Carmody, thanks for coming. And thanks for sharing with us all this positive change in your great country. Ireland seems to be the first in many things. Carmody (m): Yes.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Even stopping smoking, and the first in a record of organic farming, etc. You see, it does have an effect, all your efforts. And just now Mr. Coenen and his wife have reported to us about their success, EVA, in Ghent city. Because right after the Ghent city declared Thursday is a meat-free day, for example, then many others are also starting similar meatless programs.
Like São Paulo, Brazil, and the mayors of many cities like, Hsinchu of Formosa (Taiwan), Santiago, Philippines, are encouraging their citizens to be veg for the planet. We also have the famous vegetarian celebrities using their fame and name to promote the compassionate way of life. And according to my inner meditative knowledge, we have at least more than 40% of the world's population now are vegetarian or vegan. I mean, less cruelty. Let me think. We have almost 50% or something now. Really?
MC(f): That's great news! I can hardly believe it. MC(m): That's even better! Oh God, thanks, God. Thanks, Heaven. Thanks, Heaven.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. That counted also those who are part-time vegetarian. But nevertheless, it's already a very encouraging sign. Put altogether we have like 50%, my God. Okay. And more and more schools are giving vegetarian and vegan options for lunches. Like in the US, since 2003, 40% more schools now offer regular vegetarian meals. That is 2 out of 3 schools offer regular vegetarian meals. Isn't that a good sign, yes? MC(f):That's great.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: That is great.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: But of course, it's not enough to save the planet. Of course, it's not enough. Nevertheless, we continue. We continue and pray and, regarding your question, I also wish that the leaders of the world at Copenhagen will really make it clear this time what is the priority and what is the most urgent decision to make and what is really not. So I really pray to all the divine power to enlighten them, to wake them up because we need them to make good decisions to save our planet.
Truly, the planet also is in their hands. They are that powerful. I hope they do realize the power they possess, and I hope they realize the consequences of not using that power for a noble cause, because that will be a disaster for them in thousands or millions of years to come. Because of the law of “as you sow so shall you reap,” because of the law of cause and retribution, because of the law of karma (retribution). You are right, sir, saving the world's tropical forests, the lungs of the Earth, is one of the very important priorities.
Because when the tropical rainforests are destroyed, there are many frightening side effects. It's not just the permanent changes to the world's temperature, rainfall, and weather patterns which the forests regulate. It's not just about the millions of people who might lose their livelihoods that depend on the forests. There is more to it than that. There is the extinction of plant and animal species that is 100 times faster than what is natural, and it ruins our ecosystems. And there's also the rainforests themselves; this is important.
The rainforests themselves normally are our protectors, but as the climate gets warmer, instead of absorbing CO2 to protect our planet's climate, they will be emitting back CO2 as well, and that will be harmful to us. By harming the rainforest, by destroying the planet by raising animals, we are turning our protector, which is the rainforest, into a harmful agent. They will not be helping us. They will not be helping us, the rainforests, if the climate gets warmer.
But instead, they'll worsen... they will be worsening the global warming problem, because they cannot absorb the CO2, but they will release all the CO2 that is already contained in their kingdom. Now, we need to look at the main reason why there is deforestation. Yes, we all know. There is a whole industry behind it in most of the cases, namely the livestock industry.
For example, 91% of the Amazon deforested since 1970 was used for what? For grazing pasture, meaning that the number one reason for deforestation of the Amazon, which is the greatest lung of our planet, is to raise cattle. And the second biggest reason, also for cattle. They grow the soy to feed the cattle and of course, other animals as well, by the way, yes. NASA reported that once the forest is cleared for pasture or feed crops, the soil itself becomes a large source of emitting carbon - the soil itself even.
So not only that, the fires that burn down the trees also release a lot of carbon dioxide, CO2. The Amazon rainforest alone contains more carbon dioxide than 10 years worth of all human-produced greenhouse gases. Plus, when we burn the forests, we release black carbon, which are particles of soot that trap 680 times the heat of the same amount of CO2. Now, blame whom? Don't bother blaming CO2. (Yes.)
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Especially because they are black, these soot from the burnt-black rainforest, they hold a lot of heat. According to researchers in Brazil, 60% of the black carbon measured at the Antarctic Peninsula came from burning the rainforest in Brazil for livestock raising. So, we have to put the blame, the finger on the right spot.
I hope the Copenhagen leaders understand where to put their finger - not just talking around the subject and trying to avoid the burning spot, which is livestock raising, which is animal production. Animal industries are the number one killer of all killers on this planet. Forget about the war, forget terrorism, they are just small numbers compared to the meat industry. Meat industry is the number one killer, is the number one murderer, and a legal murderer and we endorse it! We accept it!
This is all our wrongdoing, it's all our fault. If the planet is to be gone forever, we cannot blame anything else, anyone else, except ourselves if we don't do anything
at all to change this. Furthermore, it's not only the Amazon. NASA states that the single biggest direct cause of tropical deforestation is livestock grazing land. The livestock sector is the single largest human use of land.
We have only 30% of land that covers the Earth. The rest is 70% - it's water, yes? It's ocean. We have only 30% of land, and of that precious 30%, one-third of it is used, not for our true survival, but for livestock pasture or growing tons of grains for animal feed - all to produce a few pieces of meat. And you swallow it in two seconds. And that few seconds will bring you tons of sickness, disease and suffering, sorrow, for yourself also.
Even if we don't have compassion for the animals, please do have compassion for ourselves. Do not eat poison and continue to suffer more in the hospital with all kinds of treatment related to it. In fact, we are losing 55 square meters of rainforest for every beef hamburger patty. Every little beef hamburger patty, that costs 55 square meters. This is a pity, because we have better, more delicious, more nutritious, more healthy, and safer alternatives to hamburgers to nourish ourselves anyway.
How can we, as very intelligent human beings, do this to ourselves? Not to talk about the cruelty that we committed to animals which degrades us to this level. I'm so sorry to have offended you, but I also take responsibility as a human being here on this planet for this - for all the things that I have not known before, for all the things that I'm doing with you, I have been doing with you, in this respect.
So please, do forgive me for being straight, honest, and “just the facts.” This is not to mention that besides destroying our precious forests, livestock farms also contaminate or even completely kill our water systems. They degrade once-fertile soil, they destroy our biodiversity, and they release vast amounts of extremely dangerous methane and nitrous oxide, and what you call hydrogen sulfide as well, which are heating up the planet now 100 times, 300 times more than carbon dioxide.
So please keep your airplane, keep your car, keep your train, keep your ship; leave them alone for the time being - just take out the meat from our diet. And stop blaming the CO2 for every problem of global warming on our planet. We are to be blamed. The meat industry is to be blamed. The meat industry is the one we have to focus on to stop, to abolish. To stop the climate change and to stop the waste of the forests and land, stop talking around the subject. Talk to the point: meat industry must stop.
Apart from destroying our planet, it is destroying our human quality. It is destroying our compassionate nature. It is destroying the spark of God, the part of God that we belong to. We must stop the livestock industry. I hope the leaders of the Copenhagen conference will do this, otherwise I don't know what else to say anymore. If they won't do this, I don't know what else to say anymore. I really will be speechless.
Stop the livestock industry - that would be the most effective way to halt global warming and restore our planet. It will save our precious forests, which takes decades
to grow, and create more natural forests that we need to reduce global warming. Without our lungs, we cannot survive. So Prince Charles has lately been highly active about climate change, and particularly about protecting the tropical rainforest.
He said to the European Parliament, “The lives of billions of people depend on your response and none of us will be forgiven by our children and grandchildren if we falter and fail.” I'm sorry to say, but I cannot even guarantee that our grandchildren will have a chance to be born to say that, if the Copenhagen climate change conference leaders don't agree together to stop the meat industry. Talk direct to the subject, not talk around it. It's really that urgent. I pray the world leaders will awaken to this reality, immediately, and act properly, now, even before the Copenhagen meeting in December.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I could talk forever, but only the main point is that we must stop the meat industry. That's all there is.
Your second question that you asked: What will most inspire or encourage people to adopt the vegetarian or vegan diet to avert global crisis? How about that we still have our planet? How about that we still can live here? How about that we don't have sickness again? How about that our children will be healthy, beautiful, intelligent, loving and kind? We all wish our children to grow up intelligent, loving and kind, but what do we teach them from the beginning of their very fragile life? What do we teach them?
We push the symbol of violence into their mouth. Even if they spit it out, we force them to put it back in again until they get used to it. Violence is a part of our life, up to now. Violence is what we teach our children, and we expect them to be loving and kind. Not only violence, that piece of meat or fish or animals, stuff that we try to stuff into our children's unaware stomachs, that also decreases their intelligence, decreases their loving quality, humanity. So we expect our children to be the best, and we give them the worst. The worst of all the worst is the meat diet. So, how about promise that our children will be what we expect them to be without a meat diet? Intelligent, loving and kind, and noble beings.
And how about the promise of a repaired planet, with lush green forests thriving from horizon to horizon, clear rivers, clean streams, healthy living ocean, pure water to drink, without having to put chlorine or any chemical into it, to even destroy our health further.
How about all that picture of paradise? If we just put down that piece of meat and fish and dairy, whatever the animal piece that we want to put in our mouth. How about cleaning our system - make it healthy, alive and not as a graveyard? You know sometimes if we go through a graveyard, we feel so scared, right? As a kid, I was scared. How about you? Any of you are scared when you walk through the cemetery, the graveyard at night or even daytime? (Q (all): Yes.) Yes, okay, okay. Imagine you yourself are a graveyard. Isn't that scary? MC(f):Scary. Andrew(m): Very.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes. And day in and day out, 24 hours a day, a graveyard you carry with you. And, so okay, we talk more positively like EVA do, okay? Okay, we picture, we show them, we invoke their imagination of such a revitalized and calm environment, healthy world. All the inhabitants will live together in peace and harmony. I know we're all reciting that since time immemorial, but we have to do it now, we have to realize the harmony and peace, not just talk about it. We will live in peace and harmony as we never did before.
Because in a vegan world, we think differently, we act differently, we live differently, we treat each other differently, our mind functions differently, our heart feels differently, our intelligence activates differently. There is no more reason that we can see for animals to fear humans, there is no more reason to make anyone suffer, for animals and humans alike. We will see no reason; we will see only reason to love, to protect and help each other, and no more grounds for humans to fear one another, because everyone will honor life and protect both theirs and others' life, simply by being vegan.
Your life will change, your thinking will change, your whole being will change. Believe me, I know it because I've done it. You will change, completely. You will love yourself more, you will have more self respect and you'll be glad that you walk the noble way of the compassionate vegan diet. Without this deep-seated fear for one another or from the animals, there will only be love, peace, both with animals and humans. The wise sages and thinkers like Pythagoras said, “For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other.”
And Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian author that every one of us knows, also said, “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.” It is like that, truly like that. In the USA, for example, the FBI, Federal Bureau of Intelligence, the famous FBI of America, they officially consider animal cruelty as part of how much a criminal is a threat to society. Many serial killers in their childhood tortured and abused animals. They practiced this first on the animals, and later on humans. You see? And so, the opposite will be true. If we are kind and loving to animals, we will also be even more kind, more loving to our human companions or human co-inhabitants. Without slaughterhouses, we won't participate in the habit of killing, or even have the subconscious participation of the habit of killing, the habit of oppressing the weak and the defenseless and innocent just for our palate. It is really below our dignity.
Our minds won't be in conflict so much between our wish to be compassionate, to be loving and peaceful, and our behavior that speaks louder than our words - the opposite. And further, with no weapons, no armies for battles, only time and energy and financial power remaining for constructive works to better our society - imagine what a society that will be.
Of course, it's a Heaven on Earth. We will have the means and the fearless heart to solve poverty and hunger, which themselves are in many ways a product of meat-eating. We will live in beauty and health and so much joy, the whole atmosphere will be brimming with happiness like a real paradise. If we become vegan, such a simple, easy step, we don't just win our beautiful planet back, we stand to gain an even more beautiful, wonderful, elevated world.
Because the vegan lifestyle carries such a powerful energy - all positive, all loving, all constructive, all blessing, all intelligence - that could melt all the negative energy away, destroy it forever, and neutralize the destructive forces in our environment and in our lives in the shortest time that you could imagine; and then replace them with constructive energy and peaceful vibrations. It will be just like the difference between walking into a slaughterhouse and into a vegan café, which you could try yourself to compare the atmosphere and the feeling - you will see what I mean.
Actually, there is also very strong motivation for people to be vegan when they see the animal cruelty that occurs with their own eyes. The horrors that take place behind the factory farm, behind the walls of the of the massacre house door - I don't call it slaughterhouse, I call it “massacre house.” Behind the door of those massacre houses, there are horrifying actions going on. Or if they go on the massacring fishing boat or the bloody whaling boat to witness it for themselves, I wonder how anybody could ever do this for a living?
But, of course, they have been cheated into doing that. We have all been cheated into doing the things that we should have never done, should have never even imagined. Because our hearts are originally full of compassion and love, but we just ignore our feeling. If you ever wondered if hell exists, just go into those massacre houses or the boats that kill the whales and go to the seal-massacring areas. Go there to find hell, then you'll believe that hell will exist.
Our original God Nature is compassion and love. I repeat again and again and again: You are not that. You are compassion, you are love incarnate. Please return to it. So when we force ourselves to watch the videos of animal cruelty, which by the way are purposefully hidden from us for a reason so that we don't know, we flinch when we watch this cruelty even on video, or even when we heard reports about it. Just like before, we heard one of our brothers report about the cruelty everywhere - we flinch, we cringe, we look away, we cry, or we scream. We have nightmares. We cannot bear to see the cow, the pig, the chicken's throat punctured or slit so they bleed to death.
And other more gruesome, unimaginable ways of torturing animals. Or the force-feeding of a foie gras goose, or purposeful underfeeding of a baby veal calf, of confining him so that he has to keep his tender meat, that he could not even move his body for the rest of his tender short life. Or the gruesome fate of baby chickens where the females have their tender beaks cut off while hanging upside down and males are grinded alive or suffocated to death, or the non-stop misery or panic of the pigs, who are so intelligent and loving and clean, yet forced to stand knee-deep in their own filth and choking on their own toxic fumes of their own waste and screaming out of madness.
Or the sheep with the broken bones from being transported thousands of miles to the massacre house. We look away because it's not our nature to want to be hurt, nor is it our nature to inflict pain and agony or sheer terror on others. Health is also another very strong motivator that we can show other people to encourage them and inspire them. In a vegan world, there would be no more sad news about someone's child dying of brain damage or paralysis due to E. Coli, the deadly bacteria which originally almost always comes from farmed animals.
There would be no more heartache due to deadly swine flu pandemic, or mad cow disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes and heart attacks, salmonella, Ebola, etc., etc. Even AIDS that we fear so much is originally also from hunting animals to eat. Animal diseases from the horrid, filthy livestock raising environment are responsible for 75% of all the emerging, infectious human diseases, and they are often contracted by us hunting after the animals, or forcing them to stay in a crowded, filthy place to be massacred for us to eat.
This is not the way God intended for us to live with our co-inhabitants. This is not the way we should behave as children of God. We have been really deluded into doing all this, and degrading ourselves thus into this level. The animals are our helpers, our friends, and Heaven's beloved. I hope whatever most motivates us, we change, and quick. We are running out of time anyway. If we wait too long, I'm afraid we won't be left with a choice, if we want ourselves and our children to survive. Now we still have a choice. But if we wait too long, I'm sorry, maybe no more choice. Thank you, Mr. Carmody. I know I talk a lot but I can never talk enough.
Carmody (m): Thank you, Supreme Master, and thank you for all that you do. Thanks.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you, for being such a caring animal activist.