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Най-добрият начин за възстановяване биоразнообразието на нашата Планета - Откъси от дискусии на Върховния Учител Чинг Хай - част 2 от 2

2018-07-22
Lecture Language:English,Japanese (日本語)
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“(When a hamburger arrives on my table, what does it involve in terms of climate change?)

There are a lot of scientific reports made about the costs of meat eating, so I’m sure you are asking for the sake of people who may not be aware. So, please, allow me to state some of the costs of what we are dealing with for the next time one is about to eat a hamburger.

The cost of a hamburger appears to us as cheap, but without the enormous subsidies involved in the meat industry, the real monetary cost of a hamburger would be much higher, much higher, at least US$12. There are so many costs and resources involved for that one hamburger that you are asking about, from the field to the plate, and all the processes in between. From burning the precious forests to growing the corn and soy to feed the cows, to making the fertilizer and watering these feed crops, to giving the cows huge amounts of healthy land and water, hormones and antibiotics are also forcefully fed to the cows, and we will eat all that. Then, the transport over long distances here and there and finally to the slaughterhouse, to freezing the meat so that it does not rot as it is supposed to, then finally, it has to be cooked before reaching the plate - and cooked well because, for example, the US Department of Agriculture found that 89% of beef hamburger patties contained traces of the deadly E. coli bacteria. Eighty-nine percent of the beef hamburger contains traces of E. coli. There is more that goes in the hamburger than what you think you see. Here are just a few examples.

Destruction of land: First, land must be cleared to raise the cows. For one hamburger, there are 55 square feet of destroyed tropical rainforest, which is an equivalent of 75 kilograms of CO2, or driving your car for 5 days straight.

Also, biodiversity loss. In the process, we lose up to 30 plant species, 100 insect species – I mean the beneficial one as well - and dozens of birds, mammals, etc.

Now, it contributes to hunger. Some of the deforested land is used to grow grains. Oftentimes, poor families are forced off their land in the process. One hamburger costs 4 pounds of grain that was consumed by the cow - that’s about 3 loaves of bread or 8 plates of spaghetti that could have fed a number of hungry people. So, another cold cost of a hamburger is human starvation.

Now, we have topsoil loss: For one hamburger, 10 pounds of topsoil for farming are eroded and lost for hundreds of years, a very serious problem.

Now, greenhouse gases. Next, one hamburger alone is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. The methane gas emitted for that piece of meat alone weighs approximately 4.7 ounces, but it has the same heat-trapping effect as 6.8 pounds of CO2, because methane is very potent.

Water waste: not only land and food, but water is also required in huge amounts. Just one hamburger costs 625 gallons of clean water, or it would cost you about 45 showers. A month and a half or two months without taking a shower, for one hamburger alone. Imagine that! On a side note, one cow in his lifetime before slaughter, uses enough fresh water to float a large naval ship. Imagine that again! Just one cow.

Now, we have fossil fuel waste. One hamburger costs thousands of miles of transportation, all the way from the pasture to the feedlot, then all the way to slaughterhouse, and then to the market. So, no matter if you try to buy your food locally to save emissions or not, you can’t win if you eat meat. There is much more greenhouse gas that goes into this hamburger. In fact, one hamburger uses up 6.5 pounds of fossil fuels, or about a quarter gallon of gasoline. That’s over 16 times the amount needed for one full, nutritious vegan meal.

Now, we have health hazard. There is also the cost in lives. In just one hamburger patty, there are pieces of dozens, or sometimes even hundreds of individual cows, all their flesh mixed together. And, you’re getting more than what you think you’re buying. You’re buying a health hazard. There is saturated fat which causes heart disease and stroke, there are also extra things, such as growth-inducing hormones, traces of antibiotics that are fed regularly to the poor cows. The actual bacteria that are resistant to those antibiotics, these resistant bacteria are called superbugs. So, the added cost here is a multi-fold risk to our health. There are even more costs after the hamburger is eaten. For example, a woman loses 28 milligrams of calcium after eating just one hamburger, which weakens her bones. And there is rampant risk of potentially deadly E. coli infection, as beef is a primary source of this bacteria. And again, there are risks of heart disease, cancer, mad cow disease, bird flu, pig disease, swine flu and other meat-related diseases.

We also have other human costs like the poor families being pushed off their land for cattle production; the adults and children of the world who are perishing due to hunger; the grief and sorrow of the families who lost loved ones due to meat-related diseases, etc., etc.

As for the bigger picture of how much meat eating is costing our planet – the cows in such unnaturally huge numbers, more than 1 billion on the planet, are responsible for more than 50% or even far more, of total greenhouse gas emissions on Earth. Nitrous oxide, which is 300 times more potent than CO2, is being emitted in vast quantities from the fertilizers required to produce the food crops for the cattle. The livestock industry produces at least 67% of all the world’s nitrous oxide emissions.

So, a hamburger, as you can see, is clearly unaffordable, not only in global warming, but also in deforestation, soil erosion and desertification, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity – not to mention the negative health and bad karmic (retribution) consequence prices we also have to pay – and loss of lives, precious lives.”

“Furthermore, I would mention a few of the problems the United Nations and others have noted are coming from livestock raising and meat consumption.

First, depleted land and forests: according to the United Nations, livestock is the main reason for deforestation and the loss of our vital trees, which in turn is causing tragic declines in natural biodiversity. Livestock raising is also among the top factors in degrading our lands through soil erosion and pollution, as well as climate change.

Second, wasted resources: for every kilogram of animal protein produced, livestock are fed about 6 kilograms of plant protein. The US livestock population currently consumes more than 7 times as much grain as the entire American population.

Third, wasted water: with current droughts and water shortages already affecting millions and only expected to get worse, worse and worse, scientists have found that each person eating a meat and dairy based diet uses around 4,500 gallons of water per day, compared to 300 gallons per day for a vegan diet. This also means that 1 pound of animal protein requires 100 times more water to produce than 1 pound of grain protein. Over the course of a year, the vegan diet saves approximately 1.5 million gallons of water per person.

Fourth, wasted energy. Now, the artificial indoor environment of the factory farm and slaughterhouse use massive amounts of energy. In fact, it takes 8 times as much fossil fuel to produce animal products as to produce plant food.

Fifth, environmental contamination. The United Nations has also recognized livestock as inflicting some of the biggest damage to our dwindling water supplies. Just to give you an idea of the scale: one dairy farm alone with 2,500 cows produces as much solid waste as a city with over 400,000 residents. This waste, which sometimes contains bacterial contaminants such as E. coli, ends up in waterways that affect drinking water and aquatic life. Along with the waste are chemical fertilizers runoff used on crops fed to animals which have been documented by scientists to cause dead zones in the ocean as well as toxic algae outbreaks, those green moss that grow in the water.”

“Being veg is beneficial for any kind of spiritual advancement. In fact, all the wise, ancient teachings of sages since time immemorial have highlighted the importance of a benevolent plant-based diet. It is a fundamental requirement of a spiritual practitioner. The concept behind forgoing animal products is ahimsa – meaning nonviolence. By partaking of a vegan diet, we also avoid the bad retribution of killing and thus it will not burden and obstruct our spiritual journey. Being vegan simply means that we protect all the animals. 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. This loving attitude also creates a more peaceful atmosphere that brings greater comfort to all beings. At peace with ourselves in the knowledge that we did not cause anguish or pain to our fellow animal brethren, we will have the inner tranquility to pursue our spiritual endeavors wholeheartedly.”

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