July 30, 2010

Panamanian island dwellers prepare to leave ancestral homes

For the indigenous Kuna people, who have lived for hundreds of years on islands in an archipelago off Panama’s northwestern coast, the increasingly intense effects of climate change such as stronger winds, storms and higher tides are now leaving them in ankle- or knee-deep water, often for days on end. Their situation has also been made worse by the harvesting and acidification of many offshore coral reefs, which previously provided protection.

Sea level rises of up to 59 centimeters have been forecast by the United Nations to occur by century’s end.

However, those calculations did not account for what is now known to be the accelerated melting of vast ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, and scientists more recently warned that the seas could rise two meters instead.

Thus, with the prospect of conditions only worsening, some of the islands’ 32,000 people have begun to prepare for a move to the Panamanian mainland. In other areas of the world, communities on island nations such as Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji have already had to relocate due to rising sea level effects such as inundation of buildings and salt water contamination of crops.

Hector Guzman, a marine biologist specialist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama states, “This is no longer about a scientist saying that climate change and the change in sea level will flood (a people) and affect them. This is happening now in the real world.” We send our prayers for the strength and resiliency of the Panamanian Kuna people at this difficult time.

May we all heed such warning signs from science and nature alike to act quickly in sustainable ways and avert the loss of lands, cultures and lives.

Supreme Master Ching Hai has on several occasions spoken of the devastating effects of rising sea levels and how to address this urgent matter, as during an October 2009 videoconference in Indonesia.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The threats imposed by global warming are more than imminent; they are already here, as you can see through many disasters, upheavals, climate refugees, phenomena around the world.

It’s the rising sea levels as well that force people to lose their home, their ancestral home, to go begging elsewhere; losing also their dignity, losing everything, not just physical possessions, but losing their loved ones as well.

We must change while there is still time. So please, everyone, plant veg, be veg and we can go green later when we’ve already saved the planet.


Climate change affecting US urban water management

In an Illinois, USA region that is home to the world’s largest wastewater treatment plant and three of the largest in the country, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago serves five million residents and receives visitors from around the world as a model in water management.

However, the increasing frequency and severity of storms due primarily to global warming is presenting costly challenges unlike any seen before. Commissioner Frank Avila of the District’s Board of Commissioners shared his observations with Supreme Master Television about the impact of these weather changes on the city.

Frank Avila – Board of Commissioners, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, USA; vegan (M): The climate change, I have seen a frequency of storms here in the Chicago land area, and the intensity of the rain in a shorter period of time coming down, which inundate our local sewers.

In the month of June here in Cook County, we had three storms within about a week-and-a-half period to two weeks, and this last storm we had winds about 80 miles (129 km) an hour. And after that, we had a large storm come in in a shorter period of time and the systems could not handle it, and a lot of basements got flooded because of it, causing a lot of damage with each homeowner.

VOICE: Commissioner Avila also stated that global warming has heightened the need for conservation of limited water supplies worldwide. According to the US Geological Survey, more than 80% of the consumptive use of fresh water in the country goes to agriculture, with the majority to industrial factory farms.

One cattle farm with 30,000 cows can withdraw nearly one million gallons per day from an underground aquifer, resulting in wells running dry and threatening local vegetable and fruit production. A committed vegan and producer and host of a TV program on environmental protection and public health, Commissioner Avila shared his thoughts on the vegan diet solution to environmental and health protection.

Frank Avila (M): I’m a vegan, and I understand that by going vegan, we would save a lot of water that is scarce. They’re saying, “Well, we have a shortage of water.” Well, the reason why you have a shortage of water is because you’re using that for other resources. You’re using that probably to raise cattle to eat meat. And you’re using more water in that respect. But by going vegan, you use less water, you don’t harm the climate, and also you stay healthier.

VOICE: Our appreciation and admiration Commissioner Frank Avila for your concerned eco-efforts and advocacy of the vegan way to conserve water and halt climate change. Through this simple lifestyle change, may we all act to ease such extreme weather events while protecting our precious natural resources.

In a March 2009 videoconference in the United States, Supreme Master Ching Hai discussed the worrying misuse of water in our increasingly precarious environment while highlighting the most effective area of action.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The experts also calculate that 1 kilogram of beef takes 5,000 to 20,000 liters of water to produce. But 1 kilogram of wheat takes only 500 to 2,000 liters of water. That is 10% of the amount of water for meat.

At a time when we have water shortage and all the reservoirs are dwindling at such an alarming rate, we are truly afraid that even if we don’t take shower at all,it will not do much help because all the human uses and everything together is only 30% of water around the world. Everything else is mostly used for meat industry.

So if we really want to save the water for the world to be able to use for our daily necessity, not to talk about future generations, then we have to change to a vegetarian diet, animal-free diet.

The many costs of biodiversity loss

A two-year study by accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, commissioned by the UN Environment Program, (UNEP) titled “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) puts a price tag on the economic impact of environmentally-damaging business practices that cripple or prevent flora and fauna from providing ecosystem services.

The report brings attention to the largely ignored multibillion dollar deficits resulting from activities that cause water contamination, deforestation, fish depletion and land loss due to soil erosion and drought.

The estimated annual cost to the world economy in 2008 for such practices was between US$2 trillion and US$4.5 trillion, equating to as much as 7.5% of global income.

These findings are particularly critical today as human-caused global warming continues to trigger the rapid deterioration of global biodiversity. Dr. Heather MacKay of the international wetlands conservation agreement, the Ramsar Convention, spoke to Supreme Master Television of the gravity of the situation.

Dr. Heather MacKay, Chair of Ramsar Convention’s Scientific and Review Panel (STRP) (F): It’s really gotten to the point where it’s very serious. We are seeing now many very significant tipping points being reached in ecosystems. So we’re very worried and need to try and reverse this.

VOICE: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has named animal raising for meat and dairy production among the primary factors of biodiversity loss.
As an earlier FAO report stated, “Indeed, the livestock sector may well be the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity, since it is the major driver of deforestation, as well as one of the leading drivers of land degradation, pollution, climate change, overfishing, sedimentation of coastal areas and facilitation of invasions by alien species.”

Dr. Heather MacKay (F): It’s true that intensive production of livestock can take up significant resources. We will all have to look at our diets, what we eat, what we consume, where we get our water. All of those things will become important. We need to work on an international level on governance, national level with policies and laws, but we will also need to actively restore large ecosystems, to restore biodiversity, to protect it.

VOICE: Thank you, Dr. MacKay, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and UNEP, for highlighting yet another aspect of the immense benefit provided by the plants and animals in our environment.

May we all quickly adopt a biodiversity-conserving plant-based diet for the sake of the global economy as well as all life on Earth. Supreme Master Ching Hai has long emphasized the vital need for conservation and protection of all fellow beings, as during a July 2008 videoconference in Formosa (Taiwan).

Supreme Master Ching Hai:: So we lost many of these precious species, we lost many of us, because they are us. And we still did not wake up yet. We should have more rules, more guidelines, to protect natural habitats.

Above all, enlightenment is really what’s needed to govern. That’s number one. And vegan diet with right motive, number two, will offer more compassion and insight, also will help preserve precious natural habitats for the wild and protect the resources for humans.


July 22, 2010

Accelerated Greenland melt linked to warming oceans

The loss of a nearly 4.5-square-kilometer expanse of ice in a single day from Greenland's Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier is a warning sign of increasing water temperatures, according to researchers at the US National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA).

The detachment of the huge piece of ice caused the ocean to effectively move 1.6 kilometers further inland, a point more interior than what has ever been previously observed. The Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier, which has seen drastic ice losses since 2001, is believed to be the largest factor in northern hemispheric sea level rise.

Thomas Wagner, cryospheric program scientist at NASA, noted that this recent event occurred just after an Arctic winter season in which no ice had formed in the surrounding waters. He commented, “While the exact relationship between these events is being determined, it lends credence to the theory that warming of the oceans is responsible for the ice loss observed throughout Greenland and Antarctica.”

NASA scientists previously observed that west Greenland's glaciers are melting 100 times faster at points beneath the ocean than on their above-ground surfaces, saying that the likely explanation for this discrepancy is warming ocean water.

Dr. Wagner and other National Aeronautic and Space Administration experts, we thank you for these observations that further reveal the predicament of our fragile biosphere.

May we all act now in effective ways to cool and re-stabilize our shared planetary home. Conveying her ever-present concern for all beings, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke during a lecture given in France in December 2007 about addressing the dire situation caused by such conditions as accelerated polar ice melt.

Supreme Master Ching Hai:The climate is warming quicker than they predict, that’s the problem. Because you see, when one thing is warm, it makes another thing warm. And then, because like this, if the ocean is warm, then it melts the ice.

Because when the ice is there it reflects the heat, and so the ocean is less warm, but now the ocean is warm enough to melt the ice, and so there is nothing to reflect the heat, and therefore the ocean is warmer.

So that’s why they could not calculate it well. And so it keeps warming faster than they think. So in that case if the governments or everyone don’t do anything, then that’s it.

Do whatever you can to save the planet. Like, go out with the Alternative Living and tell people to eat vegetarian, tell people to plant trees, spare some with the electricity, water, whatever.

But that is not much. The government has to do something. They have to stop it altogether. Anyway. If it were up to me, I’d forbid everybody to eat meat. Stop immediately.


July 21, 2010

Nitrous oxide and methane emissions recalculated

Although CO2 emissions are typically believed to be the primary source of global warming, a study conducted by Dutch government researcher Dr. Petra Kroon has found that non-CO2 emissions, specifically those from methane and nitrous oxide, have in fact been underestimated due to inaccurate measuring methods.

By devising an innovative technique to measure the emission of these gases, Dr. Kroon, who was conducting research on behalf of the Netherlands’ Energy Research Center and Delft University of Technology, was able to calculate their contributions more accurately.

She found that the previous methods used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for measuring these gases would account in the Netherlands for 14% percent of overall greenhouse gas emissions, and 23% globally.

However, Dr. Kroon’s newly available technology and methods that allowed measurements across several hectares continuously yielded vastly different measurements, which were also calculated with a much higher degree of certainty.

Using this technique, Dr. Kroon found, for example, that 70% of the annual greenhouse gas emissions in a peat pasture area used for intensive dairy farming were attributed to methane and nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide and methane are known to be linked to agriculture, with the methane mostly released from cattle and nitrous oxide emitted primarily by their manure as well as fertilizers. These two gases are also known to have a much higher global warming potential than CO2, which could change other calculations considerably.

Our appreciation, Dr. Kroon, the Netherlands and Delft University of Technology for this insightful research.

May individuals and governments alike quickly adopt more sustainable ways such as organic vegan farming to cool and restore our planetary balance. During a November 2009 videoconference in the United States, Supreme Master Ching Hai discussed research findings that also confirmed the significance of nitrous oxide and methane and their main source in animal agriculture.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: 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.

Furthermore, 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. 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!
I am positive we will do it. Yes? We can make it – just a little change, just a little change. Just a little piece of animal meat, change to vegetable protein.


Current CO2 levels could lead to irreversible Arctic change

With current rates of Arctic warming continuing to accelerate, especially over the past two decades, Dr. Ashley Ballantyne of the University of Colorado, USA and other international colleagues sought to better understand these rising temperature-related risks.

To do so, he looked back in Earths’ history to the Pliocene Epoch between 2.5 to more than 5 million years ago, when CO2 levels were between 350-450 parts per million, comparable to today’s approximately 390 parts per million. However, despite the similar amounts of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, the Arctic’s temperature at that time was much higher.

Dr. Ballantyne’s findings indicate that present temperatures in the Arctic simply may not yet be showing the future changes in store for the region.

Dr. Ashley Ballantyne – University of Colorado, USA (M): We were pretty startled to learn from our estimates that temperatures were on the order of 19 degrees (Celsius) warmer during the Pliocene in the Arctic.

It was very different from the Arctic landscape of today, which is very sparse and barren if there isn’t ice cover. This implies that not only is the Arctic very sensitive to CO2 levels, but that what we’ve observed thus far in the Arctic is a transient response, and that the Arctic hasn’t yet reached its equilibrium state.

VOICE: The research suggests that the significant changes resulting from the presence of increased CO2 in the atmosphere could not only harm species’ adaptation and survival but could even set off an unalterable process of ice-free warming. Related research has already forecast that continued melting of the Arctic tundra could trigger a devastating release of greenhouse gases such as the potent methane into the atmosphere, leading to runaway global warming.

Dr. Ballantyne (M): It implies that the Arctic is in store for much warmer conditions in the future, even if we were to stabilize CO2 levels at four hundred parts per million. And this warming will produce irreversible changes in our big ecosystems.

VOICE: Our appreciation, Dr. Ballantyne and associates, for your research that warns of future Arctic destabilization even without further greenhouse gas emissions. May we act quickly in mitigating climate change at all costs by adopting necessary Earth-preserving measures. In an August 2008 interview by Ireland’s East Coast FM Radio, Supreme Master Ching Hai urged for humanity to heed such scientific cautioning through the most effective actions to quickly rebalance the biosphere.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: According to the scientists, whatever they have predicted or prescribed about our critical situation is accurate up to 99%. They want us to change the way we live our lives by cutting down CO2 emissions. And the fastest way that individuals can do, without a lot of protocol and ado, is to be veg.

It’s truly critical now, as we have witnessed increasing disaster worldwide, due to climate change. We still have time, we still have a little time to change the course of destiny, thanks to the vegetarian population, old and new members that reduce the most karmic retribution in the shortest span of time.

Thus we have like an extended deadline before the no return point. But it’s not much. We must change fast to avoid much more damage to the Earth as well as loss of more lives and resources.


July 20, 2010

Whale experts warn of dire future for the species

A report presented at the recent International Whaling Commission's annual meeting revealed the presence of alarmingly high levels of toxic and heavy metals in sperm whales.

These findings were the result of a five-year study by US-based research and conservation group, Ocean Alliance, in which scientists analyzed tissue samples obtained without harming the whales that are found across the Earth’s oceans, including in very remote areas.

They found that the whales’ skin tissue contained levels of the toxic metals cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium that together were the highest ever found in marine mammals.

The researchers warned that the health of both marine life and humans consuming seafood could be at risk, particularly as the whales’ internal organs are likely much more contaminated. Moreover, the location of the contaminants in the tissue indicated that they were picked up while the whales were in polar regions, suggesting that the harmful metals have spread far from where they were emitted.

Of even greater concern is the fact that as mother whales pass the toxins on to babies, the situation becomes devastating for future generations. American biologist and Ocean Alliance founder Dr. Roger Payne stated, “The entire ocean life is just loaded with a series of contaminants, most of which have been released by human beings… I don't see any future for whale species except extinction. This is not on anybody's radar, no government's radar anywhere, and I think it should be.”

Dr. Payne and Ocean Alliance associates, we are grateful for your work, despite our deep sadness to know of the tragic perils facing the whales. Let us strive to protect the survival of our precious marine co-inhabitants by quickly adopting more conscientious lifestyles in harmony with the environment and all beings on our planet.

During an April 2009 videoconference in South Korea, Supreme Master Ching Hai, as on frequent occasions, reminded of the vital need to be better stewards of our ecosphere to safeguard the welfare of all life on Earth.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: We should all remember that we share this planetary abode, the water, the air, the resources, the food, all of nature, we share only. We should not be possessive of nature.

So, the best thing we can do for all the animals is to stop causing suffering to them, stop killing them, stop eating them, stop damaging all our habitats. Stop damaging our environment.

Be veg, go green and save their planet too, the planet of the animals.

It restores the balance of our oceans and forests and preserves our finite natural resources. This is truly the best way to restore our environment and ensure the highest degree of peace.

Thank you, sir, for your concern. Such a simple solution – being veg - that’s it.


Andean glaciers melting at rapid pace

Internationally renowned glaciologist Dr. Bernard Francou of the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) in France has been studying the glaciers of the Andes Mountains for more than 20 years.

Knowing firsthand of their rapid melt, he stated in a recent interview that if the climate warming of the past decades continues, it will be fatal for many of the Andes glaciers. Up to the early 20th century, the permanent snow line in the Andes Mountains had been stable at around 4,750 meters above sea level, receding to 4,950 meters by 1975.

However, with recently accelerated melt rates, the 2010 snow line has retreated to 5,100 meters, with glaciers throughout Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia having lost between 30 and 40% of their volume in the past 35 years.

With the glaciers’ disappearance comes major water supply problems for the region. Understanding the urgency of climate change, Dr. Francou has a simple message: “… The climate is our responsibility! We have to do everything we can to reverse this trend... Each person, from where they can.”

Dr. Francou and Institute of Research for Development colleagues, we are grateful for your dedicated study and call to action. Let us quickly join in doing everything possible through our lifestyle choices to cool the planet. Speaking in concern for humanity’s welfare, Supreme Master Ching Hai discussed the Andean glaciers during a September 2009 conference in Peru, with a suggestion for how to directly resolve both the regional and global problem of ice melt.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Peru is home to 70% of the entire range of Andean glaciers, with peaks that supply the country’s people with both water and hydroelectric power; however, these are all expected to disappear by 2015, just a few more years.

Dwindling water supplies have caused escalating tensions and even conflicts to erupt as many people, including disadvantaged farmers, don’t have enough water, or are struggling for their share.

So please, before the situation gets any more out of hand – let’s choose the vegan diet. The future effects will be greatly eased. Only then will we have a manageable situation.

Be veg, go green, so we can all save the planet.


July 19, 2010

Russia faces crop loss with severe drought

With the government’s declaration of a state of emergency across 16 regions, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for urgent efforts to help farmers survive a record period of dry conditions.

Central parts of Russia as well as the Volga region, southern Urals and Siberia have been enduring extreme heat since June, with temperatures frequently reaching 40 degrees Celsius in the shade.

Nine million hectares of crops, representing a fifth of the total area sown have been destroyed thus far, making these the worst losses in 130 years. With grain supplies for cattle down by 50%, the government is working to prevent the desperate measure of a mass slaughter as concerns also rise that bread prices might soon increase in the country that is normally a major world grain exporter.

To help offset the severe financial impact to growers, which includes the threat of bankruptcy for some, President Medvedev has offered to extend US$1.3 billion in loan credit.

He stated, “This is a big problem. There has been no anomaly like this in our country for decades.

We need to figure out how we can preserve at least some of the crops.” Our respectful appreciation, Your Excellency and Russia, for your compassionate actions to help the nation’s farmers.

We are saddened to know of the drought’s significant effects as we pray for rain’s blessings and the improved welfare of the people. Let us all join in sustainable, Earth-saving actions to restore verdant conditions in Russia and the world. Supreme Master Ching Hai has frequently expressed concern for the critical and widespread dangers posed by such crises, as during a September 2009 videoconference in Peru, while at the same time highlighting the most comprehensive solution.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Some countries and communities have to cope with worsened drought situations. There is not enough water to raise crops or even to drink. Every child, family, and society will be affected in some way by this experience of trauma and tragedy.

The wisest action would be to fix the situation we have now and prevent further damage, then we won’t even have to worry about the future. All the leading scientists we have spoken to tell us one and the same: that we must handle it now, not tomorrow. The smartest way would be to stop the worsening of global warming by being vegan. It sounds very simple but it is the best solution, the most effective and the effect of it will be felt almost immediately.

Moreover, the problems we already face now – such as the warming atmosphere, water shortage, food scarcity, desertification - we can quickly eliminate by stopping meat production. Stop it now, no further! So please, before the situation gets any more out of hand – let’s choose the vegan diet.


Australian deforestation driven by livestock grazing

A recent report on a 20-year study commissioned by the Queensland government has revealed that 91% of all tree clearing has been done for livestock grazing. Leading the research team was Mr. Gerald Bisshop, retired principal scientist of the Queensland Department of Environment and Resources Management, and our Association member.

The study’s data collection through satellite imagery and field research has yielded a picture of forest devastation in which trees were torn from a vast 270-square-kilometer area in a state that once boasted the largest forested region in the country.

Gerald Bisshop – Retired principal scientist – Queensland Department of Environment and Resources Management, Australia, Vegan, Our Association member (M): None of these trees have been used for timber, it’s purely for grazing livestock. They might use the bulldozers to break them and burn them in a pile.

Or they might inject the trees with poison, they call that stem injection, to kill the trees, or they might use aerial poison to poison the trees from an aircraft. All of these kill the trees so that grass can grow to feed the livestock.

VOICE: A new paper by Mr. Bisshop includes a comprehensive evaluation of environmental risks across all of Australia, finding that livestock raising was the major factor in every area of impact.

Gerald Bisshop (M): We looked at what was driving deforestation; what was driving loss of biodiversity; what was driving soil degradation; what was driving soil loss in Australia; what was driving water quality loss in Australia and we found that there is a common cause. The common cause is land clearing for raising livestock.

VOICE: According to Mr. Bisshop, in Queensland, despite local tree planting efforts, 100 trees continue to be cleared for every tree planted. Thus, the solution to many of the environmental problems, as well as global warming, would be to stop clearing the land for livestock.

Gerald Bisshop (M): The re-growth in Queensland would quickly reverse the tree clearing. In other words, if the trees aren’t re-cleared then nature bounces back very quickly. So, we would see not only the emissions from the tree clearing stop, but we would see a reversal of that because the growing trees take up more carbon dioxide themselves.

VOICE: Our appreciation Mr. Bisshop and Queensland state for informing of this alarming link from deforestation to livestock raising. May governments and co-citizens quickly opt for the alternative of vegan food production and consumption to protect our Earth.

In an August 2009 videoconference in Thailand, Supreme Master Ching Hai emphasized as in previous times the need to safeguard the planet’s trees from clearing for livestock-related activities, especially to help stop global warming.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Forests also play a tremendous role in absorbing CO2. For example, the forests in the Pacific Northwest region of the US are able to absorb half of all the emissions of the state of Oregon, USA.

So we should protect our forests as well, especially from clearing for cattle grazing and for animal feed growing, because these activities even add back many times more greenhouse gases.

Most of the deforestation in our world is due to animal raising, taking up a staggering one-third of the entire land area on the globe!

So to be veg is a way to not only eliminate significant emissions, but to absorb even more carbon from the atmosphere.It is a true solution, yes, and it is the most effective way to save the planet.


July 16, 2010

Agricultural pollution ruins nature and harms health

The US state of Ohio is home to some beautiful inland lakes that attract millions of visitors every year. However, agricultural pollution runoff from fertilizers and manure is affecting both the environmental balance and the recreational appeal, as toxic algae has been found growing on popular destinations like Lake Erie and the Grand Lake St. Marys.

For the second consecutive year, state officials have had to post signs warning people and pets alike to avoid the visible surface algae that can cause gastrointestinal problems and skin irritation.

As a result, Grand Lake St. Marys in the western part of the state saw 50,000 fewer visitors this past year alone. A task force appointed by Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency determined that manure from livestock as well as agricultural applications of commercial fertilizers were the main source of pollutants that were catalyzing the algal growth.

These same substances are similarly affecting other countries. China’s state news agency recently reported that a gigantic floating mass of green algae covering some 200 square kilometers was headed towards Shandong province, posing a potential threat to wildlife and the region's tourism industry.

As in the United States, China’s State Oceanic Administration cites agricultural runoff as one of the major causes of pollution responsible for the algae.

Meanwhile, in Guatemala in 2009, the natural splendor of the breathtaking Lake Atitlan was struck by a deadly algal bloom that experts said was the result of pollution and climate change, which halved the number of visitors and devastated businesses.

In response, Guatemala’s government is taking measures including helping 80% of the farmers in the lake's watershed to convert to organic farming over the next three years.

Our sincere thanks to regional and national governments for responding to the environmental crisis as well as to farmers who are embracing the life-sustaining organic methods.

We look forward with hope to the restoration of the beauty and vibrancy of lakes and oceans as human adapt the organic, vegan lifestyle that eliminates such harmful pollution.

During an October 2009 videoconference in Germany, Supreme Master Ching Hai cautioned of animal agriculture’s role in these unnatural algae problems, urging for a comprehensive solution for the environment.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Along with the waste are chemical fertilizers runoff used on crops fed to animals which have been documented by scientists to cause dead zones as well as toxic algae outbreak, those green moss that grow in the water.

One such event just occurred in Brittany, France, where a majority of the country’s livestock and a third of the dairy farms are located.

On the Brittany coast, this waste and chemical runoff coming into the sea causes outbreaks of toxic algae, which emit the lethal, deadly gas hydrogen sulfide.

So, recently in news we heard of a horse that died within half a minute of stepping into the algae and now the health concerns of over 300 people are being investigated for the same reason around that area.

Making all of this worse is the fact that animal waste is largely unregulated - meaning that there is nothing to stop these events of contamination that can cause illnesses or even death for massive numbers of animals and people.

So, to return ourselves and our world to a purer state, we have to stop the killing of innocent animals. Stop it now. Stop it now and turn to the merciful way of life. The natural way of life that God intended us to live, which is the vegan diet. This will restore the conscience of every person who adopts such a lifestyle as well as the planet itself.


July 15, 2010

Human hunting of large mammals may have triggered cold period

A team of US researchers have newly theorized that when 80% of the population of large-bodied mammals in the Americas was hunted to extinction following the arrival of humans some 13,000 years ago, the resulting sudden decrease in methane emitted naturally by the animals may have been the primary catalyst for the dramatic Younger Dryas event, a sudden planetary cooling that lasted for at least 1,000 years.

Until now, the onset of the Younger Dryas “cold snap” was known to be sudden, but its cause has long been a mystery. Supreme Master Television spoke with one of the study’s authors, Dr. S. Kathleen Lyons, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution in the USA.

Dr. S. Kathleen Lyons – Resident Research Associate, Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution (F): Approximately 13,500 years ago was when humans arrived in North America, and within 2,500-3,000 years, by 10,000 years ago, the last of these large mammals had gone extinct.

My co-authors and I all believe that human hunting was primarily responsible, because if you look at the pattern and the timing of the extinctions across the globe, what you find is that on every continent where there was an extinction of these large mammals, it’s coincident with the arrival of humans, but not necessarily coincident with climate change.

VOICE: Dr. Lyons and her colleagues’ findings suggests that the decrease in atmospheric methane as the populations of giant hunted mammals declined was significant enough at that time to disrupt the planet’s temperature and cause a relatively short ice age.

Dr. Kathleen Lyons (F): The extinct mammals could have been producing anywhere between 9 and 25 teragrams of methane each year. Corresponding to the time that mammals went extinct, we do record, from ice cores, a drop in methane that’s then coincident with the Younger Dryas cold snap. And what we found was that the rate of the change in methane at the Younger Dryas is significantly higher than at any other time over the last 500,000 years.

VOICE: Our appreciation Dr. Lyons and colleagues for your research showing how such drastic human actions could have far-reaching tragic consequences. At this fragile time on our planet, when raising livestock for killing is creating a similar ecological imbalance, may we turn to virtuous lifestyles in harmony with other species to preserve all lives on Earth.

In various discussions, Supreme Master Ching Hai has connected past human behavior with current times to urge for fast and proper environmental action.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: We see the pattern is that no society can last long if they refuse to sustain the lives of their own members and fellow beings; I mean, including all the beings, like animals and trees. Or, if they destroy the environment they live in, then that society cannot live long. The real problem is our meat consumption, the tendency of mass killing that we have made a part of our lives. It is not normal.

We cannot earn a living or sustain a living by death. So, if we don’t eliminate meat consumption, we could never reach even a low, low impact on the environment, no matter what else we do.

We must stop the most inefficient, unsustainable, life-destroying practice of murdering animals and stop it now. Stop it yesterday. The animal-meat industry has to go - be it animals from the air, the land or the sea.


Chadians chew on leaves to stave off hunger

A combination of climate change effects and the worst drought in 50 years has led international charity Oxfam to forecast that approximately two million people in Chad will be facing hunger this summer.

Chadian Farmer (F): For the last 10 years, all of our hard work in our fields has produced nothing. Because there has been little rain, so we have to buy maize from the market.

Dr.Marzio Babille – UNICEF Representative in Chad (e): Unprecedented impact of lack of rainfalls has accelerated vulnerability in malnutrition rates.

Zara Hassan – Chadian Farmer (F): Nothing grows here. The sand has taken over and there is nothing left. The soil has gone and the land is now covered with sand.

With lands left barren by desertification, a process driven in part by deforestation for fuel as well as overgrazing by increased livestock populations, the region’s limited resources have been further strained by Arab herders moving south in search of water and food for their animals.

Increased tensions over shortages have even led to violence in some cases. Chief Engineer Nekarambaya Kamndo of eastern Chad’s Am Dam District noted vastly decreased rainfall in recent years as well as a change in landscape and climate.

He stated, “The desert is advancing. The sand is moving onto the streets like it hasn’t before. And it’s very hot. I’ve never known it so hot.”

Our heartfelt sympathies are with the suffering Chadian people as we pray for the blessing of gentle rain and that our swift steps toward sustainable lifestyles soon relieve such inadequacies in Chad and other drought-stricken areas of our globe.

Speaking during an April 2009 videoconference in South Korea, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the tragic repercussions of food shortages, as well as the simplest and most efficient solution.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: All this is important because if humans are in shortage of food or of water, then conflicts, of course, will break out. When our family members are in danger of hunger or thirst, maybe we would do anything to bring food to them.

So reluctantly, some virtuous or good people might even go astray and cause conflict between neighbors and then, on a larger scale, it will cause conflict between nations. Scientists have documented that one serving of beef takes more than a thousand gallons of water to produce. By contrast, the vegan diet uses about one-tenth of that amount.

So, the best way to prepare for conflict is to take complete prevention.
The vegan diet will help us to achieve that goal, and almost immediately.


July 14, 2010

Whales exhibit human-like traits

Separate studies by experts such as American neurobiologist Dr. Lori Marino of Emory University, French neurobiologist Dr. Georges Chapouthier at Marie Curie University in Paris, and Dr. Hal Whitehead of Canada’s Dalhousie University have all affirmed the intelligence and sentient nature of whales.

Their findings suggest that whales are not only highly sensitive to situations of pain and suffering, but that they also experience other qualities previously thought to be exclusive to humans.

These include self-awareness and identity, complex communication, abstract thought, and a sophisticated matrilineal culture. Dr. Whitehead and colleagues observed that a whale communal song is learned by all males in an ocean and evolves over months and years.

In fact, whales’ brains contain cerebral areas specific for cognition and emotional processing – most likely evolved from social interaction.

This human-like quality of whales is also understood by Mr. Bryant Austin, a US photographer who has been entrusted by these immense beings to photograph them from as nearby as 6 feet. Mr. Austin recalled the first encounter that led to what is now his life’s work.

Bryant Austin – Founder and president, Marine Mammal Conservation Through the Arts, US photographer (M): I felt a gentle touch on my back, and I turned to look, and I was eye-to-eye with a 50-ton female humpback whale who was behind me. She’s bigger than a school bus, and she extended her 15 foot pectoral fin, which was like your arm, to reach out and touch me and let me know that she was behind me, that I ended up accidentally between her and her calf.

But she showed such great restraint not to bring me any kind of accidental or unintentional harm. And that’s when I was so struck, I was so close to a whale’s eye, and her expression in her eye was so calm and mindful. She was no longer a whale to me, it was a life changing moment.

VOICE: The photographic images of these whale individuals, who approach Mr. Austin on their own and gingerly reposition themselves as not so to accidentally hurt him with their sheer strength, are being used to raise awareness and concern about such destructive activities as whaling.

Bryant Austin (M): It just breaks my heart to think of a wild creature that’s so friendly, so inquisitive and so gentle to me, that my species is bringing so much suffering to them.

No future generations will have these opportunities and it’s really what we do right now that’s going to ensure that they will be here. Many may go extinct in this century for the first time in recorded human history if more isn’t done.

VOICE: We thank photographer Bryant Austin and the leading researchers for your further insights into the intelligence and sentient nature of these peaceful giants of the seas. May humanity swiftly awaken to respect all life forms and preserve the balance of our ecosphere.

Highlighting the importance of protecting lives to save the planet, Supreme Master Ching Hai has often reminded of animal species’ noble qualities and that they must not be harmed, as during an interview published in the December 16, 2009 edition of The Irish Dog Journal

Supreme Master Ching Hai: If we want to know what we are killing, scientists discover more every day about the intelligence and sensitivity of the animal kingdom. Whales for example are able to identify different fellow cetacean’s calls through the ocean waters; similar to how we humans can identify our friend’s voice across a crowded room.

Furthermore, they are very polite. They wait for their turn to speak. Believe this? Yet these same lovely sentient beings are hunted down with explosive harpoons that cause a slow, slow, slow and torturously painful death.

We cannot call ourselves animal lovers if we only extend that love to certain animals. So, please, everyone: switch to the wholesome, nutritious, and conscience-freeing vegan diet.

And with the whole world extending such compassion to animals and attracting immense blessing from the animals, our planet’s atmosphere, of course, would stabilize and even change to a more heavenly-like, permeated with feelings of peace and love.

July 13, 2010

Record heat in Europe and elsewhere in the world

Seven western European nations from Spain to Russia have been placed under severe heat warnings this week, with temperatures expected to reach up to 40 degrees Celsius, straining health facilities and power supplies.

With temperatures noted to be up to eight degrees Celsius higher than normal across the continent, the World Meteorological Organization has issued extremely hot weather warnings for most of Spain and Belgium as well as the western half of Germany and parts of the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, the United States East Coast is under the grip of a heat wave that has already claimed two lives and caused fires and power outages. Officials in locales such as New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have called on residents to conserve energy, stay hydrated, and check on vulnerable elderly neighbors and animal companions.

On the western coast of the United States, Washington and Oregon have also faced record-high temperatures recently, and even Canada to the north has reported near-record highs, with some municipalities in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec enveloped in unhealthy smog.

In Asia, wildfires have ignited in central Mongolia due to the prolonged heat and dry weather, claiming three lives and injured six others as of Tuesday, July 6.

Meanwhile, the Aulacese (Vietnamese) National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Center has reported temperatures reaching 48 degrees Celsius and the sparking of forest fires in northern and central regions with more of the same forecast for the near future.

In Formosa (Taiwan), this year's highest-ever temperatures have crowded hospitals and clinics with patients exhibiting heat-induced sicknesses and symptoms, with the number of stroke patients rising by up to 30%.

It saddens us to know of the lives lost to the extreme heat and we pray for the protection and resiliency of all those affected.

Our prayers that the equilibrium of our ecosphere may be restored as humanity strives to be more conscientious stewards on Earth. During a June 2009 climate change conference in Veracruz, Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke with concern once again for the dangerous conditions of global warming, while advising of the best action to halt climate change.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The past decade has twice, at least, seen the hottest average annual temperatures ever recorded in our planet’s history. So, we must cool the planet, first and foremost. And one of the most effective and fastest ways to reduce the heat in the atmosphere is to eliminate methane production. Methane not only traps up to 72 times more heat than carbon, it also goes away from the atmosphere much faster than CO2.

We can start by cutting down on the biggest methane producer in the world, that is, animal raising. So, to cool the planet most quickly, we have to stop consuming meat in order to stop the livestock raising industry.

If everyone in the world would adopt this simple but most powerful practice of an animal-free diet, then we could reverse the effect of global warming in no time.


Aral Sea serves as warning

The once fourth-largest inland water body in the world, Central Asia’s Aral Sea, has lost two-thirds of its volume in the last several decades. It has dwindled from being the size of Ireland to what are now several contaminated ponds.

Satellite images from the last 40 years reveal the extent of decline in the saltwater sea that is located between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently referred to its predicament as one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters, with overuse of contributory rivers by agriculture as well as global warming cited as the cause of its disappearance.

Dr Benjamin Lloyd-Hughes of the Walker Institute for Climate System Research at the University of Reading in the UK, stated: “Ultimately the disaster seen at the Aral Sea…are the combined effects of man and rising temperatures in those regions… the temperature has risen by over 1 degree Centigrade since 1970, which will have enhanced losses due to evaporation.”

Indeed, the vast water losses of the Aral Sea have created a local climate change effect, with summers becoming hotter and drier while winters are colder and longer. Global satellite photos have revealed similar patterns of once water-rich regions now facing the catastrophe of extended drought. Dr. Lloyd-Hughes mentioned Africa’s Lake Chad and the Toshka Lakes in Egypt as two examples.

Our appreciation, Dr. Lloyd-Hughes and other scientists for your candid observations of this urgent situation as we pray for the survival of precious places like the Aral Sea.

May humans everywhere adopt lifestyles that protect our own kind and the planet. During an August 2009 videoconference in Thailand, Supreme Master Ching Hai highlighted the actions needed to halt these alarming losses of the Earth’s vital waterways.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Many tens of thousands of rivers and great lakes are dying, dead, gone or going. And I don’t know how many more we must wait for to die in order for us to wake up.

The leaders of the nations must do something. The people of all nations must do something. Just be veg. Stop the meat, dairy, fish industry. Be benevolent.

Create a merciful energy that will envelop our world, that will emit mercy, love, protection for us and our children on this planet. Please take action now.


July 12, 2010

Drought drives Bolivians from their homes

A severe drought brought on by an unusually early dry season is plaguing the agriculture in many parts of Bolivia, forcing rural people to relocate to urban areas to escape starvation. Bolivian Rural Development Minister Nemesia Achacollo said the environmental and economic situation is critical as water shortages impact over 41,000 families in the departments of Chuquisaca and Santa Cruz. Potato farmers have said that their minimal harvests could only be used to make chuño, or freeze-dried potatoes.

Meanwhile, in Los Andes province’s Laja municipality, wells have run dry, leaving farmers with only the water from the Pallina River, which has been contaminated by runoff, with people now seeking treatment daily for illnesses from consuming dirty water.

We are immensely saddened to know of the plight of the Bolivian people. Our prayers for the blessing of rain as we strive to take the necessary eco-conscious measures to safeguard our precious resources and the lives that depend on them.

Expressing her ongoing concern for the welfare of Earth’s inhabitants, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke during a November 2008 interview with Ireland’s East Coast Radio FM of the climate refugees’ predicaments, as well as the need to take preventive actions.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: If we don’t have global warming, then no one would be a climate refugee. I ask everyone to please imagine if that were yourself in the refugee’s situation, experiencing all these troubles – insecurities, hunger, lacking all comfort, humiliation, undignified situation, uncertain of the morrows of your future and the future of your helpless children. Just imagine it. Then try to solve this tragedy by helping in whatever way we can.

And above all, and most urgently of all, be veg, go green to save the planet, to prevent such trauma and to build a bright future for the world, for our co-citizens.


Harmful pesticides fed to parasite-ridden farmed salmon

In its show “Risks on a Plate,” featured on the program “Exhibits,” the second largest French public television channel, France 3, recently revealed what it named as the shocking truth behind Norwegian fish farming, where toxic amounts of pesticides are being fed to farmed salmons to prevent sea lice, a practice that poses problems for both marine and human health.

According to France 3, one Norwegian salmon farmer revealed that the amount of pesticides fed to the fish was so high that he would not consume the fish himself. Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fishing, said he was revolted to know of this practice and soon after contacted his Norwegian counterpart about the matter. Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen explained that the pesticides are used only as a last resort, and that while they don’t seem to harm the salmon, it is “alarming” that other species in the same environment were affected.

Lice infestations, which have caused the perishing of more and more farmed Norwegian salmon in recent years, have originated primarily from the conditions of extreme crowding in feces-contaminated contained areas off the coasts. In 2009 the Norwegian salmon industry spent €60 million on anti-lice measures, with expectations that they might spend double that in 2010. In addition, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority noted that the lice have been rapidly spreading to wild salmon as well.

We thank France 3 and agencies such as the Norwegian Food Safety Authority for your concerned notification about this hazardous aspect of fish consumption. May humanity find safety in the organic plant-based diet with fish farms becoming history so that all marine friends can roam in freedom and health across the seas.

During a September 2009 videoconference in Peru, Supreme Master Ching Hai commented on still other problems caused by fish production practices, urging for a global solution to save not only human health but also the planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: In Chimbote, Peru, heavy pollution from 40 fishmeal manufacturers causes documented human illness and increasing oceanic dead zones, with the ground-up fish being fed to caged salmon, creating yet another environmental imbalance and sickness to humans.

This killing of other beings must be stopped for humanity to evolve as a civilization. The benefits of doing so are manifold. Besides the restoration of health, biodiversity will be allowed to thrive, planet equilibrium restored, along with the easing of our own conscience and our capacity for elevated consciousness. All these are the fruits of a more compassionate diet.


July 9, 2010

Study raises concern over carbon dioxide sequestering

A report recently published in the journal “Nature Geoscience” warns that despite current proposals by governments to invest billions in the technology to slow global warming, carbon storing may have risks that far outweigh its benefits.

Authored by Professor Gary Shaffer from the Danish Center for Earth System Science, the study questions the effectiveness and long-term impacts of carbon capture and storage (CCS) methods, both in the ocean and underground.

The report observes that storing carbon in the ocean could lead to increased acidity and a high risk of leakage due to ocean currents and storms. This practice could also result in large dead zones while disrupting the food chain and affecting deep sea life. Underground storage, on the other hand, could be severely compromised from leaks occurring as a result of natural disasters such as earthquakes.

Professor Shaffer calls on society to limit the source of carbon emissions rather than relying on CCS, saying, “The dangers of carbon sequestration are real and the development of CCS should not be used as a way of justifying continued high fossil fuel emissions.”

Thank you, Professor Shaffer and associates, for reminding of the unknown factors and potentially devastating consequences of carbon storage. Let us turn instead to quickly adopt sustainable ways that ensure the restoration of harmony and balance on Earth.

Supreme Master Ching Hai has frequently reminded that the solution to global warming requires only conscientious lifestyle choices rather than technological advancements, as during an interview published in the July 12, 2009 edition of the Irish Sunday Independent.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The natural landscapes of grassland and forest are more effective to absorb CO2 than carbon capturing technology, according to the UN Environmental Program. Besides, it’s risky, I think. It’s not tested yet. You know, What if the carbon leaks back into the atmosphere again in a concentrated amount like that? You know, When we capture them year after year, decade after decade, and then something happens, and it leaks up, then what do we do? (Yes.) So, with the vegan diet, we eat what’s best for our health, for the animals, for the environment, and nature will do the rest to restore the balance and save our world.



July 7, 2010

Global methane from the livestock industry underestimated

Through recalculations based on a new approach, US researchers from the University of Missouri have concluded that the amounts of methane emitted from the waste on dairy and pig farms could be underestimated by as much as 65%.

US factory farms, which house thousands of animals at a time in one building, are often forced to dispose of the overwhelming quantities of waste in manure “lagoons,” open and untreated cesspits holding up to millions of gallons of liquid waste.

Although these livestock waste lagoons generate toxic methane gas as a byproduct, they are rarely measured due to the technical difficulty and high costs. As a result, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been estimating the emissions of this potent greenhouse gas based on a certain United Nations formula. However, the scientists found that the lagoons generated methane more rapidly than calculated by the UN formula.

This, combined with other equation updates, suggested the current methane emissions could be up to two-thirds higher than estimated. In addition, the report stated that other farmed animal operations may in fact be producing methane pollution beyond the threshold currently required for reporting to the EPA such as livestock farms with less than 3,200 dairy cows or 34,100 pigs. The harmful effects of livestock manure on environment and health due were further described by US investigative journalist David Kirby in an interview.

David Kirby – Award winning US investigative journalist, author of “Animal Factory” (M): There are all the gases that come up off the lagoons, that come out of the barns themselves, and that come from the spray fields, where when they have to get rid this liquid waste. Of course, if the wind comes, well that’s great for the farmer, because he’s just gotten rid of several hundreds of gallons of liquid that just flew away out in the air.

The lagoons themselves give off gas, and they emit methane, which is very hazardous to human health; hydrogen sulfide, which can cause neurological disorders, depression, anxiety, even suicide, aggression – hydrogen sulfide is a horrible thing to be exposed to; and ammonia.

VOICE: Our appreciation, Mr. Kirby and University of Missouri researchers for your factual observations that help quantify this harmful greenhouse gas. With such serious considerations as these, may governments and individuals make the urgent and necessary shift to low-emission, humane plant-based agriculture to save the planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai has conveyed on many occasions her concern for the environmental impact of animal farming, as during this September 2009 videoconference in South Korea.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The animals and their waste also produce very potent greenhouse gases, like methane and nitrous oxide, even other toxic gases. Methane is up to 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And nitrous oxide is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Respected scientists recalculated and found that the meat industry is actually producing more than 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Meat is the number one cause of global warming. So, the number one solution is to stop producing it. Logical, yes? So, we all have to be vegan. That is what the science is clearly telling us right now.


Eminent scientist places humankind on brink of mass extinction

During a rare interview, venerated Professor Emeritus Dr. Frank Fenner of Australian National University known for his key role in the global elimination of smallpox, stated that population growth and climate change are pushing many animal species, including humankind, to a likely vanishing point within 100 years.

Dr. Fenner joins other scientists who have described the Earth as ushering in the “Anthropocene” time period, a term that refers to an era of human-driven climate change. Saying that humans since the Industrial Age have had more of an effect than any previous ice age or even comet impact, Dr. Fenner stated that global warming would be the primary cause for humanity’s demise. He added that while mitigation efforts could slow the course to some degree, its likelihood of being halted has been countered by people’s unrestrained consumption habits along with delays in meaningful action thus far.

Dr. Fenner’s grave view is shared by other acclaimed scientists, including Britain’s Dr. James Lovelock, who fears that it is too late for human survival.

However, others, including Australian expert human ecologist Dr. Stephen Boyden, are still cautiously optimistic. As stated by Dr. Boyden, “Some of us still harbor the hope that there will come about an awareness of the situation and, as a result, the revolutionary changes necessary to achieve ecological sustainability.”

Our thanks for your candid views, Drs. Fenner, Lovelock and Boyden. We sincerely pray for the quick awakening and sustainable actions that are necessary to preserve lives on our planet.

Deeply concerned for humanity, Supreme Master Ching Hai has often spoken of the actions needed to remedy the perilous state of our globe, as during a December 2008 videoconference in California, USA.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The cost of not doing anything is immense. I do not want to elaborate on this. I do not want to imagine it.



Halt land clearing to preserve biodiversity

During the recent international Climate Adaptation Futures Conference that ended Thursday, July 1 in Brisbane, Australia, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Chief Scientist Dr. Joseph Alcamo urged for further tangible goals to protect biodiversity loss.

His call followed a vote by UNEP nations earlier in June to establish a new intergovernmental platform on biodiversity and ecosystems, in light of the gravity of such issues as they are linked strongly to human survival. In the face of alarming declines of animal and plant species worldwide due to human activities and climate change, Dr. Alcamo added that an ideal strategy would be to focus on setting limits for human impacts to entire ecosystems, rather than attempting to protect individual species based on their chance for recovery.

He suggested, for example, reducing land-use changes such as deforestation to protect habitats. According to Dr. Clive McAlpine, environmental researcher at the University of Queensland, land clearing through deforestation has been observed to have a large impact on Australia’s biodiversity.

Prof. Clive McAlpine – Researcher in landscapeology, environment and climate change, University of Queensland (M): When you look at landscapes like in Western Australia, Southwestern Australia, New South Wales and Victoria and then Queensland, that amounts to some areas having less than 10% or even 5% of native vegetation remaining. There’s very extensive clearing in those areas and that’s had major impacts on biodiversity and also for catchment hydrology and for feedbacks on climate.

VOICE: Professor McAlpine explained that the foremost reason for Australia’s rapid and dramatic removal of trees has been for agriculture and livestock grazing.

Prof. Clive McAlpine (M): Trees compete with grasses for moisture and nutrients. As a result, farmers have gone out to larger areas to convert that into new crops and pastures.

VOICE: To save the environment, Professor McAlpine emphasized that it is vital to restore wildlife habitats and address such land use issues along with climate change.

Prof. Clive McAlpine (M): If we focus beyond climate change and greenhouse gases without looking at land use, including beef cattle grazing and other forms of livestock grazing, then we’re still going to have problems further down the track. So we need to address them all collectively and try and get to some sort of sustainable land use in the future.

VOICE: Many thanks, Professor McAlpine for your insights on the interrelatedness of deforestation, biodiversity loss and livestock grazing. May wise government policies and individual actions together prevent a further demise of the remaining ecosystems on which we all depend.

In an interview published in the September 2009 edition of The House Magazine, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the very issue of how livestock agriculture is impacting the ecosphere.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: On land, meat consumption is responsible for vast regions being cleared for grazing crops that are fed to livestock. With these activities essentially robbing our biodiversity, there has been an alarming rise in the disappearance of plants and animals. Besides the land being cleared for livestock raising,the livestock itself causes further biodiversity loss due to potent greenhouse emissions, which accelerate global warming.

The answer to all this, you know is quite clear. Stop the meat consumption. Stop it yesterday. This will eliminate the so-called need for livestock raising, which will immediately return immense amounts of land to natural sustainability or to natural growing methods that allow biodiversity to be replenished. This is the way we need to go, and fast.


July 6, 2010

Western Antarctic ice shelf found to be disintegrating

In just the past several years, estimates of Antarctica’s melt rate, translating to sea level rise, have gone from nearly zero to becoming more significant and growing. Scientists most recently have found that Western Antarctica is contributing approximately 10% to observed global sea level rise, with one of Antarctica’s largest glaciers being a significant source. In an effort to identify the causes and risks, a team led by the British Antarctic Survey sent an unmanned submarine beneath Western Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier to measure ice melt in terms of the ocean water’s salinity, temperature and oxygen concentrations.

The submarine unexpectedly found that the glacier was no longer connected to an underwater ridge that had been slowing the flow of ice into the sea. Instead, warm sea water has been entering the cavity created over the ridge and eroding the glacier from below. The Pine Island Glacier is thus one of the continent’s fastest melting and is thinning four times more quickly than it was 10 years ago.

These findings confirmed concerns that this glacier is actually a weak point in the region’s integrity, and that a real collapse of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet could add five meters to sea level rise.

Our thanks, British Antarctic Survey and scientists, for these factual though alarming observations of West Antarctica. Let us all awaken to the importance of taking urgent steps to address our vulnerable environment and restore the Earth’s balance. Ever concerned for humanity’s welfare, Supreme Master Ching Hai has often spoken of global warming’s threat to our survival while at the same time reminding of how to avoid calamity, as during a November 2009 videoconference in Washington, DC, USA.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: 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 melt – 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.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: 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. Being vegan worldwide is the advancement of compassion that will uplift and unify all cultures, and create a harmonious Eden on Earth.


Tensions running high in water scarce regions

The British risk consultancy firm Maplecroft recently released an index evaluating clean water supplies in 165 countries, in an effort to help support responsible business stewardship when investing in water-scarce areas.

The report cited the most vulnerable nations as being in the continents of Africa and Asia, with Somalia, Mauritania, Sudan, Niger and Iraq among the most resource-depleted.

However, the Australia, the United States and even countries in Europe such as Bulgaria, Belgium and Spain were also cited as showing signs of water stress. The report highlighted the pressures of population growth and worsening climate change leading to shifts in rainfall and drying reservoirs and rivers, which aggravates existing water shortages and affects farming, industry and household activities.

In addition, tensions could arise over decisions about water being allocated from dams and upstream rivers in water-scarce areas, with regions such as Pakistan, Egypt and Uzbekistan already seeing related internal and cross-border conflicts. American journalist Steven Solomon, author of “Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization,” has observed that the resource continues to be used wastefully even as the world’s supplies are diminishing.

He estimates that within 15 years, 3.5 billion people will be living in countries unable to feed themselves mainly because of water. Leading water expert and former advisor to the European Commission Dr. Riccardo Petrella has also cautioned of this threat. The Lisbon Group on Institutions and Public Policy founder and author of “The Water Manifesto” shared his thoughts about water as a shared resource.

Dr. Riccardo Petrella – President of the International Committee for a World Water Contract, former European Commission and UNESCO advisor (M): In the past, our societies are civilized because we accepted the idea that water was a public good, a common good. There are 265 major water basins in the world. 263 are trans-national. So if you want to have access to water, if you want to benefit agriculture, industry, tourism, your own wellbeing, and last but not least, particularly life; to drink, to have your own sanitation system, etc., water is a common good.

VOICE: Dr. Petrella went on to express his wish that these essential resources of the planet would be sustained in the public interest, managed by communities with international rules to protect water resources from exploitation and pollution.

Dr. Riccardo Petrella (M): Water is natural, belonging to everybody, it’s an heritage of life. Amongst the rights, I include as well the right of the Earth. Water is part of the life on the Earth. We have not produced the life on the Earth. We don’t produce forests. So when you destroy a primary forest tree, you cannot reconstruct it. You cannot reconstruct the biodiversity. Once you have destroyed biodiversity, you have destroyed it, full stop. So water is life, is belonging to the human social rights to life. And therefore, the public authorities should act coherently with this principle.

VOICE: Our appreciation Dr. Petrella and the Maplecroft organization for helping us to understand our growing vulnerability due to water scarcity. May people across the planet unite in sustainable lifestyles that conserve this precious resource for a safe and peaceful world. Ever concerned for humanity, Supreme Master Ching Hai has often suggested the actions needed to prevent water and related crises, as during a video message for a June 2009 climate change conference in Mexico.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: We can stop water shortage. While droughts are plaguing more populations, we cannot afford to waste water. Meat production uses massive amounts of water, as you know.

So, if we want to stop water shortage and to preserve precious water we have to stop animal products.

Adopting a plant-based diet can halt as much as 80% of global warming, eradicate world hunger, stop war, promote peace, and it will free up the Earth’s water as well as many other precious resources, offering a lifeline for the planet and for humanity. In short, it will very quickly halt many of the global problems facing us right now.


July 2, 2010

Salmon farms leave waters tainted and devoid of life

A recent study by German researchers from the renowned Max Planck Institute’s Dynamics and Organization Department found that salmon farming creates environmental disaster, worse even than previously understood.

The team had been navigating waters off the coast of Chile to study communication among whales when they came across a series of oceanic salmon farms. Analysis of water samples in the region found them to be shockingly empty of life. Team leader Dr. Heike Vester also observed that they were clouded by fish feces and uneaten food, and emitted a sharp odor of chlorine.

Moreover, nets surrounding the farms were trapping and strangling sea lions and other marine life, while acoustic measurements revealed that engine noise from supply vessels and other machinery used to feed the salmon was interfering with the communication systems of whales and porpoises.

Dr. Vester and Max Planck Institute team, we appreciate your work in revealing the ecological threat of salmon farms. Let us join in new awareness to restore the oceans’ natural balance by choosing sustainable lifestyles that support all life. Supreme Master Ching Hai has often highlighted the need to preserve living environments for both land and sea, as during a May 2009 video conference in Togo.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Fish farms are like on-land factory farms. They have similar problems environmentally, with impacts that include polluting the bodies of waters. The farmed fish are contained in big netted areas off the ocean shores with uneaten food, fish waste, antibiotics, or other drugs and chemicals that pass into the surrounding waters where they harm our ecosystems and pollute our drinking sources.

Depleting wild fish stocks also. Fish like salmon that are eaten by humans are usually fed huge amounts of other fish like anchovies. This practice also endangers sea animals, like sea lions and birds.

Fish are God’s creations that we should also care for, respect, protect, not to eat. Once we start thinking in this way, we are in a better position for ourselves, for the fish and for the planet.


July 1, 2010

European scientists warn of link between climate change and infectious disease

A recent report by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) signals the risk of more illnesses as global warming creates conditions for disease-bearing insects to mature faster and produce more offspring.

The EASAC, chaired by Dr. Volker ter Meulen, is comprised of 26 national science academies of the European Union member states. Dr. ter Meulen, a virologist at Germany’s University of Würzburg and president of the Germany Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, cited the mosquito, which is known to transmit a number of diseases including yellow fever, West Nile virus, dengue fever, encephalitis and chikungunya. In particular, chikungunya, a viral infection that causes fever and joint debilitation, has already been diagnosed in over 200 people in Europe.

In addition, rising temperatures provide new habitats for insects, also known as vectors, to spread.

Dr. ter Meulen stated, “… We have had a higher temperature over the last 20, 30 years, which is documented. These higher temperatures provide for the vectors and the viruses to grow faster and produce more. More vectors, more virus, and this will cause more disease.”

Our thanks, Dr. ter Meulen and European Academies Science Advisory Council scientists for this important message and report. May humans unite with all swiftness to stop global warming and restore stable conditions to our cherished planetary home. During a 2008 videoconference with our Association members in the United States, Supreme Master Ching Hai explained the most direct way to stop the warming of the climate and its related detrimental effects.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: And some places may have more mental illness, and all kind of other illnesses, and diseases go where they have not been before even. Like mosquitoes, they migrate into different areas where they have not been before because the climate is warmer.

So it depends on how many people join the vegetarian diet. The more vegetarian people, the less killing of the animals, the more time we have to rescue the planet and the lives on the planet.

So everybody has to join to into the vegetarian diet, and stop the killing, stop the harm to other people and the animals and save energies every way possible and go green wherever possible.