born Indian author, scholar of ancient India and visiting Professor at IIT Gandhinagar wrote,
”Two of India’s longest texts, Mahabharata and Ramayana, are nothing but attempts to capture dharma’s meanings and nuances.”
But in fact, they are more than that. Like any good epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata convey the truth at multiple levels, not just the literal but also at a symbolic level.
In 2013, Paul Chatlin had a problem. A big problem! One of his arteries was 100% blocked and two others were 65% blocked. His heart was enlarged, its right side thickened and he couldn’t walk 10 steps without feeling excruciating chest pain. Fortunately for him, his cardiologist was mentored by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn in medical school. He presented him with two treatment options:
1) Triple Bypass Surgery; or
2) Plant-Based Nutrition
Paul chose Plant-Based Nutrition and thus began his journey of recovery to robust health. Soon after he made this choice, Paul attended a plant-based cooking class hosted by the Esselstyns. It cost him $975. He tried to have Blue Cross/Blue Shield reimburse him for the class and was denied. He escalated his insurance claim all the way to Blue Cross/Blue Shield headquarters, pointing out the absurdity of them willing to cut a check for $125,000 for triple-bypass heart surgery, but not a $975 check for cooking classes. But Blue Cross/Blue Shield denied the claim and asked him to contact the legislature for any hope of future change in claim policies.
You see, Blue Cross/Blue Shield had no “code” for cooking classes!
This is the system we live in. It has no “code” for a cure, but plenty of “codes” for pills and procedures to make money off our diseases.
This is the same system that has no code for solving climate change, species extinctions, ocean dead zones, tropical deforestation or desertification, but plenty of codes for wildfire fighting and disaster reconstruction. The root cause of these environmental catastrophes is our unsustainable lifestyles, which were conceived when the earth’s bounty seemed virtually infinite compared to human demands on the earth. We now know that this is not true and that in fact, human impact on the earth’s biogeochemical cycles has been substantial ever since the agricultural revolution began.
For the first 12,000 years after the agricultural revolution began, humans deforested vast swathes of land for growing crops and for animal husbandry. This caused the Earth to warm and the climate to change even more than all our fossil fuel burning over the last 200 years. However, this earlier climate change turned out to be good for life as it prevented the earth from going back into another ice age 6000 years ago. It also kept the earth’s temperature remarkably constant for 10,000 years as if it was set on a thermostat. Then over the past 200 years, human activities have caused the earth’s temperature to increase by about 1 deg C, kicking the thermostat out of equilibrium and dangerously close to runaway increases through positive feedback loops. However, in the process, we developed all the scientific tools and technologies we need to understand and consciously fulfill our role as the “Thermostat Species” of the planet.
To solve climate change, we need to bring the earth’s temperature back to its safe zone without causing harm in other respects. There are only two things we can do, starting today, that fit this description:
1) Go Vegan; and
2) Burn less Fossil Fuels.
Please note that my emphasis is different from that in mainstream circles, where these two steps are usually framed as:
1) Eliminate Fossil Fuels; and
2) Eat less meat.
The latter framing leads to inaction, since in my experience, everyone already thinks they are eating less meat than someone else they know. Secondly, a total elimination of fossil fuels is almost impossible for people to achieve today. Therefore, this mainstream framing promotes apathy, which serves to maintain the current economic system based on consumption and growth. In contrast, millions of people have already gone Vegan and millions of people are already burning less fossil fuels by becoming more conscious of their consumption patterns. This changes our lifestyle to one of conscious simplicity, which is precisely what we need to become sustainable.
Vice President Al Gore once wrote that climate change is an outer manifestation of an inner crisis that is spiritual. In other words, climate change is a symptom of our disconnection with our true nature and purpose. In order to solve climate change, we, humans, need to assume our rightful place in the ecosystems of the world as the Thermostat species and reconnect with our true nature, which is pure compassion. And given the urgency of climate change, we need to make these changes in a hurry. The best way to achieve that is to get the religious/spiritual community mobilized and fully involved at the grassroots. We cannot depend on Al Gore, Bill McKibben and the mainstream establishment to promote Veganism and conscious simplicity.
They have no “code” for that.
Gore and McKibben are merely salesmen for the “triple bypass surgery” so that we may continue with our destructive lifestyles - until we die of stroke or cancer.
It has been empirically established that when 10% of the population acquire a strong new ethic contrary to the majority, the majority will tip over to that new ethic quickly.
Veganism is the ethic that it is wrong to deliberately hurt innocent animals unnecessarily. The nice thing about Veganism is that an estimated 99.5% of the people on the planet subscribe to this ethic in their hearts already.
The other 0.5% are sociopaths.
Unfortunately, the other 0.5% control our political and socioeconomic systems and they have acculturated the majority of us to override this heartfelt ethic with our minds. They do this with their control of the mainstream media, telling us outright lies about protein and calcium, frightening us into doing the opposite of how we feel.
But lies fade, norms change and cultures evolve. I believe that the tipping point for our cultural evolution will occur this year when at least 10% of us consciously acknowledge that:
1) it is wrong to deliberately hurt innocent animals unnecessarily;
2) it is wrong to throw male baby chicks in a grinder;
3) it is wrong to take away babies from their birth mothers;
4) it is wrong to trash billions of tons of plastic in the ocean annually;
5) it is wrong to kill insects indiscriminately with pesticides;
6) it is wrong to pour herbicides on our food crops in order to harvest them;
7) it is wrong to promote food addiction in our children to known Group 1 carcinogens, sugar, oil and salt;
8) it is wrong to deliberately make people sick in order to profit from their chronic diseases;
9) it is wrong to pour 250 billion tons of toxic chemicals into our environment; and
10) it is wrong to subsidize animal foods and fossil fuels to the tune of trillions of dollars annually.
Perhaps if we do a random survey today, not just 10%, but a majority of humans would agree on these statements already! This is why the Economist magazine has already anointed 2019 as the Year of the Vegan! Tipping us over into acknowledging that our sociopathic civilization needs a major overhaul is the easy part.
The difficult part comes next. In his book, “Awareness,” the Jesuit priest, Fr. Anthony DeMello, states that the three most difficult things for human beings to do is to:
1) return love for hate;
2) include the excluded; and
3) admit that we were wrong.
One or more of these difficult things have to be done by the majority of us over the next 7 years if we are to take back our power and create a thriving Vegan World by 2026. This is a tough ask, but what choice do we have if we wish to prevent Year Zero?
The alternative is simply unthinkable!
I wake up every morning and meditate for an hour before beginning my day. That hour-long meditation grounds me and makes me more effective in my work throughout the day.
I consider my work as that of a fire fighter. The Earth is on fire, literally so in places like California. The ultra conservative UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated that if we continue with business as usual, then within the next 11 years, by 2030, we will likely have triggered catastrophic climate change. The World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Reports show that if we continue with business as usual, then within the next 7 years, by 2026, we will have killed virtually all wild animals on Earth. Dr. Kim Williams, the former President of the American College of Cardiology, has estimated that if we continue with business as usual, then the American health care system, which operates on a disease promotion and maintenance model rather than a disease prevention model, will likely be bankrupt within the next 7 years, by 2026.
After twelve years of intensive study, I have come to the conclusion that only compassion can quench the Earth’s fire. The widespread adoption of compassion will automatically reduce our demands on the Earth and channel our daily efforts to alleviate the suffering of other beings. To become compassionate is to come home to who we really are, which is nothing to be afraid of. Indeed, an incredibly joyful transformation lies ahead of us, when we find the courage to make that journey home collectively.
Truth is sustainable. Lies are not. Therefore, in order to become sustainable, we must face up to all the lies that we have been telling ourselves, our societal and personal denials. The most consequential of all such denials is not climate denial as the mainstream media would have us believe, but the denial of our own compassion. Compassion denial is the denial of the suffering of other beings and the suppression of our natural urge to alleviate that suffering. This is the denial of our own true selves, which is pure compassion.
Compassion for all life is at the core of all religious teachings because compassion for all life is infinitely sustainable! Conversely, deliberate institutionalized cruelty to any part of life is unsustainable. The fact that we are leading unsustainable lives implies that such deliberate, institutionalized cruelty is fueling our current lifestyles. To become sustainable, we need to engineer a truly Compassionate Civilization in which such institutionalized cruelty is absent. Furthermore, we have to engineer and adopt this Compassionate Civilization within the next 7 years or face dire consequences.
Just as I begin each day with an hour of meditation, rest and reflection, I begin each year with a week of rest and reflection, resolving to grow more into my true, compassionate self during the course of the year. I started doing this last year, thanks to Dr. Shelley Ostroff, who introduced me to her brilliant “7 Days of Rest and Reflection” initiative. I truly believe that this made me more effective in my work during the year 2018. Such effectiveness is especially needed over the next 7 years, when we, as a species, are being called upon to mature quickly from our adolescent to adult selves, from our caterpillar phase to our butterfly phase and create a Vegan World by 2026. The start of a New Year is the perfect time to reflect on the limits we place on our compassion and to widen our circle of compassion until it embraces all life.
For 2019, Dr. Ostroff asks us to take stock of our relationship with the Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Climate, Biodiversity and the Web of Life, respectively, during the first 7 days of January, and to resolve to do better in the coming year.
On Jan 1, let us reflect on our relationship with the Earth, specifically, the critters in the soil, and resolve to nurture them with love and respect. Without their tireless work, we would not have nourishing food to eat. Let us reflect on our relationship with the farmed land animals who are exploited mercilessly and slaughtered. Let us reflect on our relationship with wild animals who are driven away from their forest homes and killed so that we can consume more meat and dairy. Let’s resolve to go Vegan and end these cruel practices.
On Jan 2, let us reflect on our relationship with Water, specifically, the algae, plankton, frogs, fishes and whales in streams, rivers and the ocean. Let us resolve to go Vegan and put an end to their institutionalized killing with satellite geo-location, Big Data software and miles long drag net technologies. Let us resolve to clean up our plastic and chemical pollution of their aquatic homes.
On Jan 3, let us reflect on our relationship with Fire (Energy), specifically, our fellow humans and pets, whom we embrace to give and receive warmth. Let us reflect on the deliberate cruelty we inflict upon our fellow humans in the form of poverty and the institutionalized promotion of well known artery clogging, diabetes inducing, Group 1 carcinogens as food. Let us reflect on the deliberate cruelty we inflict on our pets in animal shelters and science experiments. Let us seek and bestow forgiveness to heal our relationships with them. Let us also resolve to be truly mindful of the energy we use during the course of the year.
On Jan 4, let us reflect on our relationship with Air, specifically the insects and birds who pollinate the flowers and spread seeds far and wide. Let us resolve to stop using insecticides which kill the insects which kill the birds who feed on those insects. Let us reflect on the chickens, ducks and turkeys who live short miserable lives in our factory farms, before meeting the butcher’s knife. Let’s resolve to go Vegan and end this cruel practice.
On Jan 5, let us reflect on our relationship with the Earth’s climate and the immense responsibility we shoulder as the “Thermostat Species” to maintain it for all life. As any climate scientist can tell you, there are only three things we can do to alleviate climate change which don’t have negative consequences in other respects:
1) Go Vegan;
2) Rewild the land that’s freed up from animal agriculture; and
3) Burn less fossil fuels
Let’s resolve to take these three steps and reverse global warming without any further delay.
On Jan 6, let us reflect on our relationship with the incredible Biodiversity on our planet and how it is being devastated by our actions. The number of species that have gone extinct already will require a few million years to reappear in other forms to fill the ecological niches they left behind. It is well past time for us to halt the extinction of species and to nurture the species that still remain. And the best way to do that is to Go Vegan.
Finally, on Jan 7, let us reflect on our relationship with the Web of Life on which we depend entirely for our own lives. The web supplies us with all that is nourishing, food, water, oxygen and makes possible the lives of all the other species we are co-dependent on. And for that we should be truly grateful!
Vegans are a diverse bunch. Some Vegans are enthusiastic about lab grown meat and some, not so much.
From an ethical perspective, Veganism is about abolishing animal slavery/objectification and respecting all life. To understand the situation of lab-grown meat from the standpoint of ethical Veganism, I like to put myself in the shoes of the victim and see how that feels:
I imagine that a group of aliens have taken over the Earth and like to eat humans for food. I finally manage to persuade the most progressive among the aliens to stop enslaving, objectifying and eating humankind. However, some among the aliens ask if they could take a few cells from my body instead and use that to grow my meat in the lab, because they really, really like to eat the meat of human beings for food. It's a matter of taste, tradition and fond memories of their childhood days for them.
How would I feel about this?
Personally, I don't think I would be too happy about this. From a practical standpoint, I would be concerned that if they had a power outage in their industrial facilities for making lab grown meat, they would revert back to eating me and my friends again, even if the lab grown meat movement is wildly successful.
I would be concerned that as long as my body is falsely considered as "essential food" by the aliens, a subset of them would find it cheaper to grow me and my friends directly instead of growing my meat in the lab.
I would be concerned that many of the aliens would see me as the "real meat" and consider the lab grown stuff as "fake meat". Therefore, the lab grown meat might be used as a means to perpetuate the continued enslavement and oppression of human beings for food by the Alien Meat industry.
Finally, I would be concerned that lab grown meat wouldn't address the fundamental root cause of the factory farming and oppression of humans by the aliens: the systemic promotion of Greed, Animal foods and Selfishness (GAS) among the aliens, which is also causing tremendous inequity, injustice and ill health among the aliens themselves.
Therefore, I would urge the aliens to abandon the idea of lab grown human meat and develop all the necessary infrastructure for a nonviolent plant-based Vegan world instead.
What do you think?
From all available facts, I estimate that the world will be largely Vegan by 2026. The rate at which wild animals are dying out and the rate at which the climate is worsening will force humanity to do that which is minimally necessary, which is to go Vegan by 2026. At the moment, this may seem like a pipe dream but that's because the explorers of our species in the US have not been taking a lead on tackling these existential problems. In fact, the US government is busy pretending that climate change is not happening and it is the only national government other than the Vatican to have not signed on to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity…
But this will all change soon because America truly is the home of the brave…
The Hindu Epic, Mahabharata, is the gospel of change. Every character in the epic symbolizes a human characteristic and it contains stories, essentially case studies, on how we can nurture our uplifting tendencies and overcome our degrading tendencies towards personal and social change.
The warring cousins in the epic, the Pandavas and the Kauravas, are our uplifting tendencies and our degrading tendencies, respectively. The five Pandava brothers, all born of immaculate conceptions, are the result of our disciplined mind (King Pandu) and our discriminating intellect (Kunti and Madri). They represent righteousness (Yudhishthira), strength (Bhima), courage (Arjuna), kindness and compassion (Nakula and Sahadeva). The one hundred Kaurava brothers, all cut from the same lump of flesh, are the result of our blind mind (the blind king, Dhritharashtra) and our blindfolded intellect (the blindfolded queen, Gandhari). They represent the degrading tendencies in ourselves, beginning with material desire (Duryodhana).
Before the battle begins, God in the form of Lord Krishna, has a long conversation with Arjuna (Courage), imploring him to fight the battle and not succumb to apathy. This is the Bhagavad Gita, the gospel of action. Without courage, none of us can overcome our degrading tendencies and fight the battle for personal and social change. But it isn’t just fear that we need to overcome in order to effect that change. Overcoming fear opens up just the Root Chakra, while there are six other chakras that need to be opened in order to truly effect that change.
The second chakra, the Sacral Chakra, is opened when we overcome our guilt associated with that change. The third chakra, the Stomach Chakra, is opened when we overcome the shame and the fourth chakra, the Heart Chakra, is opened when we overcome the grief associated with that change. Next is the Throat Chakra, which is opened when we acknowledge the lies that we have been telling ourselves and the sixth chakra, the Third Eye Chakra, is opened when we see through our delusions, the lies that others have been telling us about that change. Finally, the seventh chakra, the Crown Chakra, is opened when we let go of our attachments to our previous behaviors.
Please note that in order to open all seven chakras, we need to welcome the negative emotions associated with overcoming the chakras, something that our current culture discourages us from doing. But when all seven chakras are opened and we truly embrace the change, then Lord Krishna can begin to play beautiful music through us. This is why Lord Krishna is usually depicted playing a flute with seven open holes. The flute represents each of us with all our chakras opened.
Climate change calls for this personal and social change. We are called to change our relationship with each other and with nature, while engineering a new regenerative civilization in which ordinary people lead their ordinary lives and the planet thrives. Our current materialistic civilization is like the Titanic in which ordinary people lead their ordinary lives and the planet dies. It has already hit the iceberg and it is sinking rapidly, flooding the lower decks. The people from the lower decks are caravaning up the stairs and those in the upper deck are threatening to throw them in jail or shoot them up. Meanwhile, the cocktail parties in the upper deck are being rudely interrupted by wildfires, floods, hurricanes and extreme weather (Would you believe that it is colder in Austin, TX, in November than it is in Toronto, Canada?). Those of us privileged to be in the upper deck of the Titanic must originate the necessary changes.
The task is immense, but as Lao Tzu said, “When we are loved deeply, we find the strength (Bhima) and when we love deeply, we find the courage (Arjuna).” Our children, grandchildren, the animals and our beautiful Earth give us the deep, mutual love connection that we need to perform this task.
Let’s get to it.
“Mahishasura was a bad Demon. He had received a boon from Lord Brahma that no man could defeat him and therefore, he became very arrogant. He went around destroying the planet, killing the animals and the Gods were powerless to stop him. They pleaded with Lord Krishna to intervene and he said that even he couldn’t stop him. But Goddess Lakshmi could, because she was not a man, but a woman. She descended on Earth as “Durga (Kimaya)” and battled with Mahishasura for 9 days and 9 nights. On the 10th day, she defeated him and put him in a headlock until he cried for mercy. He promised to change his ways, be kind to the animals, and help regenerate the Earth again!”
This is the Vegan version of VijayaDashami, the celebration of victory on the 10th day (or the victory over the 10 bad qualities), that our granddaughter, Kimaya, loves. Kimaya has wished that the world will be Vegan by 2026 and I consider it our sacred duty to fulfill that wish.
Five thousand years ago, during the time of Lord Krishna, in the Dwapara Yuga, milk was considered as nectar. Perhaps this was because milk provided the vital nutrient, Vitamin B12, containing the trace mineral cobalt that is not readily available to us, the only species on the planet that routinely washes its food before eating it (Vitamin B12 is naturally found only in soil bacteria and it was discovered in 1948). Milk was considered as Ahimsa (nonviolence towards all beings), since the cows were truly treated as members of the family. And milk was part of a regenerative agriculture that used cow dung to recycle nutrients back to the soil. Therefore, five thousand years ago, it made sense that Lord Krishna loved milk and especially, butter.
Today, in Kali Yuga, only the demon Mahishasura could possibly love milk! Milk is poison, not nectar, as it contains a concentrated dose of the 250 billion tons of environmental toxins that humans have been pouring into the air, water and soil annually through our industrial processes. Milk is Himsa, the opposite of Ahimsa, as the mother cow is the most tortured being on the planet. The worst thing you can do to a mother is to take her baby away from her and the dairy industry routinely does this to the mother cow within 48 hours of her baby's birth. If the baby is male, the industry kills him for veal. If the baby is female, the industry reserves her for future torture. Then, it rapes the mother cow within two months of her baby's birth and impregnates her again. It milks the mother three times a day, usually with a machine that sucks her teats dry in 1 minute flat. After torturing her daily for 4 years, the mother cow becomes thoroughly exhausted and then the dairy industry grinds her up into hamburger patties. This is Himsa or premeditated cruelty, plain and simple!
Finally, milk is destroying the planet. It is taking away food from wild animals and thereby killing them off. If you are paying less than $15 a gallon for milk, then you are more complicit in the deliberate cruelty and less complicit in the planet destruction. If you are paying $15 a gallon or more for milk, then you are more complicit in the planet destruction and less complicit in the deliberate cruelty. Either way, the demon Mahishasura is not out there, but within us. It is time to let Goddess Durga, or our own “Kimaya”, slay that demon within us. In the Vegan version, let her put that demon in a headlock within us.
The American Dietetic Association has said that it is unnecessary to consume milk or animal foods of any kind at any stage of the human life cycle. Therefore, during this auspicious time of VijayaDashami, may Lord Krishna, the apostle of Love, reign supreme in our hearts, as we kick our dairy habits.
It is undisputed that humans killed 60% of wild animals from the pre-historic era to 1970. We killed another 52% from 1970 to 2010. That percentage increased to 58% from 1970 to 2012. At that rate of killing, in this system and culture of normalized violence, we are on track to kill off virtually 100% of all wild animals by 2026, especially as multinational corporations deploy big data software technologies to continue with their mindless killing for short term profits. All of these statistics were corroborated in a massive independent study that found 83% of wild mammals were killed between the pre-historic era and the present time. The two independent kill counts check out mathematically:
(1-0.6) * (1-0.58) = 0.4*0.42 = 0.168 = (1-0.83)
The Year ZERO theory or rather, calculations, are simple statistical extrapolations based on the available data. The relevant reports are below:
For the kill statistics from the pre-historic era to 1970:
For the kill statistics from 1970 to 2010:
For the kill statistics from 1970 to 2012:
For the combined kill statistics on wild mammals:
Please read these scientific reports, weep, wipe your tears and then join us to work on solving this existential crisis. There is no question that this Titanic of our global civilization, based on normalized violence, is sinking. The refugees from the lower decks are already arriving on our borders and how long can we cage their kids in concentration camps in the Texas desert, while throwing cocktail parties on the upper decks of this Titanic, as we plan our future Mediterranean cruises?
This is not the time for cherry-picking statistics so that we can continue with our selfishness, greed and apathy, the three major environmental problems that Gus Speth identified. Instead, please join us at the Vegan World 2026! Conference and let us get to work manning the life boats, saving as many wild animals as possible, while this Titanic of a global civilization sinks. As we state in our "Awakening to Survival : 2026" declaration, the least that any responsible NGO can do is to adopt a public Vegan policy. When our mindless killing is causing us ALL to die, shouldn’t we stop the killing first? Please note that every time you order a cheese pizza, you are ordering a hit on wild animals, not just on the poor cow that you are exploiting!
Why is this even controversial?
I especially call on the Climate Reality Project, NRDC, 350.org, Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (for Heaven's sake!) to adopt a public Vegan policy without any further delay.
Please find the courage to join the right side of history!
A global change to a nonviolent Vegan lifestyle is becoming more and more urgent today. In our Prevent Year ZERO campaign, we show that if things don't change, humans are on track to kill virtually 100% of all wildlife by 2026, mainly to support our dairy and meat consumption. At the Montefiore Cardiac Wellness Conference, Dr. Kim Williams, the former President of the American College of Cardiology, said that if things don't change, Medicare will be bankrupt by 2026 within the US health care system. At the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate scientists predict that if things don't change, we will trigger cataclysmic climate catastrophes by 2030!
This means things WILL change!
Indeed, change is the only constant in the Universe. Later this month, a dedicated group of amazing individuals are coming from all over the world to attend the Vegan World 2026! Conference in Phoenix to put some cohesiveness and structure around this change. The aim of this Conference is to accelerate the adoption of Veganism with the goal of achieving a largely Vegan World by 2026. This will be a historic gathering to initiate a process for creating an open source “Best Practices” or “How To” manual for a system of normalized nonviolence, to be available for widespread deployment in a Vegan World, no later than 2026.
We have done this before. In the early 1990s, the Internet was a hodgepodge of hardware and software technologies and the user experience was not very good. While the Internet promised a major change in human lifestyles from the Telephony era, there were many doubters during that time. Newsweek carried an article in 1995 saying that the Internet was going nowhere, that no one would want to buy things off the internet or read articles and books on the Internet. Back then, the prevalent Internet technologies used analog data communication methods and were quite slow and unreliable, which didn’t make for a good user experience. I remember having to dial up using a voice band modem and download emails from a server every two hours. Even when continuously connected to the server, my web browser invariably showed a hour glass as the web pages loaded slowly.
Around that time, however, superior digital communication methods were becoming available due to advances in silicon technologies which could speed up Internet communication links by orders of magnitude and make them robust. A dedicated group of engineers came together under the auspices of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) to work out how best to connect computers and switches using these digital communication methods and open-source software technologies, so that Internet user experiences improved considerably. We met every 4 months in “Plenary Conferences” where we made decisions on technical issues and checked each other’s work to ensure that every part of our specifications worked together seamlessly. We had interim meetings in between Plenaries if there were urgent issues that needed resolution. We had “Working Groups” on major aspects of the Internet communications protocol and “Task Forces” within each working group to iron out the details of each communications channel - one for copper wiring, one for fiber, etc. We formed “Study Groups” with the intent to get approval for future Task Forces from the Working Group through a Project Authorization Request process. We wrote “interoperability specifications” or rather, “How To” manuals for the nuts and bolts of the Internet and made them freely available to the general public.
The IEEE created a robust process for ensuring the integrity of our work product. Attendees at the plenary conferences were expected to behave as members of the IEEE and not as employees of corporations. Anyone could attend and vote on the technical decisions, provided they were members of the IEEE and of the Working Group. By 2003, in 8 short years from when the Newsweek article was published, the Internet exploded and became an integral part of our daily lives. Businesses adopted our specifications as “IEEE Project 802 compliant” became a sought-after stamp of approval for equipment procurers.
There are close parallels between the internet of the 1990s and the Vegan movement today. Globally, we are poised to transition our lifestyles from an unsustainable Carnist culture of normalized violence to a sustainable Vegan culture of normalized nonviolence. Many doubters abound. The mainstream media mainly ignores and even marginalizes the Vegan movement as a fringe phenomenon. Even the scientific community largely ignores the efficacy of the Vegan lifestyle, viewing a culture of normalized nonviolence as unattainable. However, superior organizational methods have now become available due to advances in cryptography and software technologies and it is now possible to create systems of governance that don’t require huge concentrations of power. It is these concentrations of power which lead to corruption and normalized violence at the hands of imperfect human beings. A system that avoids concentrations of power would be far more robust than one which depends on imperfect human beings to fill powerful roles.
During the Vegan World 2026! Conference, we will decide on “Working Groups” to tackle every aspect of the new system of normalized nonviolence. We will decide on how often we should meet and how we can ensure continuity and participation from diverse communities. We will explore questions within each Working Group and identify potential “Task Forces” and form “Study Groups” to delve into possible solutions. We will work out processes for ensuring the integrity of our work products, even with diverse participation from across the globe.
A Vegan World by 2026 is the moonshot of our generation. President Kennedy delivered his moonshot address at Rice University in Houston, TX, in 1962 and challenged that we land a man on the moon by the end of that decade, in 8 years. Our scientists responded to this challenge and Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins landed on the moon in 1969, 7 years after the speech was delivered, a year ahead of schedule.
Likewise, we are determined to realize a Vegan World by 2026, 8 years from when we launched this campaign in 2018. How soon will we accomplish our objective? Please join us and help make it happen!
About 3 years ago, I was visiting India on a project field trip when the main news in New Delhi was the spate of farmer suicides occurring on a daily basis. And I was shocked to discover that the farmers were committing suicide because they had harvested a bumper crop of potatoes! The price of potatoes plummeted and many farmers were dumping their potatoes by the side of the road instead of taking them to market in New Delhi. They were then drinking pesticides and killing themselves because they couldn’t repay their debts.
We live in a socioeconomic system that depends on scarcity and it tries its best to turn natural abundance into artificial scarcity. Globally, 7.5 billion human beings consume about 1.5 billion tons of food annually. However, we procure almost 9 billion tons of food, six times as much food as we really need. But we turn this natural abundance into an artificial scarcity through Animal Agriculture. We feed nearly 7.5 billion tons of food to our animals and in return, they give us less than 190 million tons, a nearly 40 fold reduction in dry weight. Since animal foods are scarce, we compete over them and in fact, around 9 million people actually die of starvation each year, despite the fact that we are procuring 6 times as much food as we really need!
Since Animal Agriculture uses 83% of the food that we extract from Nature, it is the #1 cause of global deforestation, rainforest depletion, soil degradation, water pollution, desertification, ocean dead zones, ocean acidification, water scarcity, chronic diseases, premature deaths, food insecurity and yes, even climate change. And yet, Animal Agriculture is one of the most heavily subsidized industries patronized by governments of every stripe, throughout the world. Processed meat, which has been labeled a Group 1 carcinogen by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) alongside asbestos, cigarette smoke and plutonium, is still served to children in school lunches throughout the world, subsidized by our governments.
What is going on? Why would our governments deliberately subsidize an industry that is killing us, killing innocent animals and killing all wildlife?
In 2014, researchers at the World Wildlife Fund released a report saying that between 1970 and 2010, in just 40 years, the population of wild vertebrates decreased by 52%. Then two years later, they released a second report saying that between 1970 and 2012, the population of wild vertebrates decreased by 58%. From these two data points, we can perform a simple math calculation to tell us that at the current rate of decline, 100% of these wild animals will be gone by 2026, just 8 short years from now.
This is Year ZERO, the year when all wild animals are gone. Year ZERO is fast approaching because we live in a system and culture of normalized violence. All over the world, humans are destroying original forests to make room for grazing animals or to grow crops for feeding animals. Then humans are using sophisticated geo-locating technology to catch and kill the last remaining schools of fish. And finally we are pouring 250 billion tons of toxic chemicals into the environment each year, which kill the insects which kill the birds who eat those insects. So we are attacking wild animals in the water, on land, and in the air. And this leaves them no room to survive.
But when they die off, we will die. Which brings us again to the question: why would our governments deliberately subsidize an industry that is the leading cause of death, disease, destruction and mass extinction, possibly even our own?
We co-produced three documentaries just to find out: The Human Experiment in 2013, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret in 2014 and What The Health in 2017. In the Human Experiment, we found that governments are not regulating the toxic chemicals in our industrial products and effluents. Worldwide, we are pouring an estimated 250 billion tons of toxic chemicals into the environment, seven times as much as all the CO2 we are pouring into the atmosphere. And virtually nobody is talking about it. These toxins then work their way up the food chain in the environment and get concentrated in the animal foods we eat. In Cowspiracy, we found that non-profit organizations and the government don’t want to talk about the environmental impact of animal foods. In fact, our governments actively encourage us to eat more animal foods as we go up the economic ladder. Is this because these animal foods are a mechanism to inject the toxic chemicals into our bodies which then make us sick? Finally, in What The Health, we found that health care organizations and the medical industry fix the symptoms of our chronic diseases with pharmaceuticals and medical procedures without telling us that if we stopped eating animal foods, we could cure most of those diseases. At every step in this process, corporations are making money off all this death, disease and destruction. They are literally factory farming people, not just animals, and milking us for corporate profits. Our governments are actively supporting this cruel, factory-farming system because this three-part process of 1) poisoning the environment, 2) sickening people with bad foods and 3) treating them with pharmaceuticals and invasive procedures comprises around 80% of the global economy. This is the normalized violence at the core of the current system and Animal Agriculture is the key industry that keeps this system of normalized violence together.
Who is behind this? We looked up the voting shareholders of Big Ag, Big Banks, Big Chemical, Big Defense, Big Energy, Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Media and we kept finding the same four Financial holding companies: Fidelity, Vanguard, State Street and Black Rock. These are private holding companies worth an estimated $15T and together with all the mutual funds they own, they control over $50T of wealth in the economy. This is the “Corporatocracy” running the human factory farms.
Is there nothing that we can do about this?
Indeed, there is plenty we can do about this because all the power that they have comes from us! But we need to be strategic in our actions.
Imagine that you are walking down the street and you come across a man beating a dog with a stick. Would you not take the stick away from the man before applying balm to heal the dog’s wounds?
We are in an ecological emergency and our governments and the Corporatocracy are flogging the biosphere for short-term profits. While we demand that they stop, we need to be strategic about our response when they just ignore us.
Firstly, we need to take away their stick! Over a century ago, when Mahatma Gandhi faced British colonial oppression in India, he started the Khadi movement, where he pleaded with the people of India to change from British clothes to Indian made cotton “Khadi” clothes. It was a simple act that anybody could do, but it was a substantial act because it impacted the largest industry in England at that time. Gandhi wrote in the Navjivan magazine in 1926:
“I consider it my duty to induce people, by every honest means, to wear Khadi.”
Within a dozen years, the Khadi movement bankrupted the textile mills in Manchester and forced the British Colonial empire onto its knees, begging to negotiate with Gandhi.
Today, we need to change what we eat, not what we wear. This is the one simple act that anybody can do, but it is a substantial act that is already shaking the very foundation of our system of normalized violence. Therefore, the Vegan movement is the exact 21st century global equivalent of the Khadi movement of early 20th century India. It has the true potential to bankrupt the largest industry in the world at this time and force governments to actually care for people and the planet instead of catering to the Corporatocracy. We need to go Vegan and create a system and culture of normalized nonviolence in which people lead their ordinary lives and the planet thrives. To paraphrase Gandhi today,
“It is our duty to induce people, by every honest means, to Go Vegan!”
Secondly, we need to organize to clean up the atmosphere, purify the water and rewild the land that is freed up from animal agriculture, thereby restoring the biodiversity, health and vitality of the planet. Many efforts along this line have already been happening, for example, the ecological restoration of the Refugio de Los Angeles in Costa Rica from what was once a cattle farming ranch, and the Rancher Advocacy Program in Texas where former cattle rancher, Renee King-Sonnen is helping fellow ranchers transition from animal agriculture to plant-based agriculture and farm sanctuaries.
However, these efforts have been sporadic so far because there is no money in it within the current system. This is why Buckminster Fuller said,
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
That new model is Vegan World 2026! with the goal to turn the whole world Vegan by 2026. Join us for the Vegan World 2026! Conference on Oct 26-28, 2018 in Phoenix, AZ, as we work to co-create an open-source system of normalized nonviolence and deploy it in order to Prevent Year ZERO from ever occurring. As Shelley Ostroff writes,
”When national and international governments fail, how can citizens of all nations unite and collaborate in an organized way to ensure a thriving future for all life?
In the face of escalating global crises, the failure of our social systems, mass awakening, and widespread access to global communications technologies, citizens worldwide now have an unprecedented opportunity to respond and organize effectively at a global level.”
In the Great Turning, Joanna Macy outlines three dimensions of the Great Transition from an industrial-growth, ownership society to a life-enriching, stewardship society:
1. Block that which is destroying us.
2. Create something new to replace it.
3. Change our story and relationship with the Earth.
Unfortunately, we have many villains to pick among that which is destroying us: inequality, fossil fuels, capitalism, pollution, etc. However, there is one villain that hardly anyone ever talks about: animal agriculture. And as far as villains go, animal agriculture can don the mantle of a SuperVillain.
In his celebrated bestseller, "How Not To Die", Dr. Michael Greger describes how switching to a whole-foods, plant-based diet can prevent and even reverse 14 of the 15 leading causes of human deaths in affluent nations. In fact, the carnage due to the animal agriculture industry is so egregious that 40 million people die of these 14 leading causes world wide, almost 7 times as much as the 6 million people who die of starvation each year. Likewise, in her book, "Doughnut Economics," Kate Raworth identifies the 16 leading causes of planet destruction and to one-up Dr. Greger, we can show that all 16 of these 16 causes can be mitigated and reversed if humanity would switch to a whole-foods plant-based diet. Therefore, the environmental costs of animal agriculture are enormous and it is the SuperVillain that is trying to destroy us. We need to block it.
Twelve of us gathered at the Zen Spirit resort in Costa Rica over a magical July weekend and crafted a declaration for Human/Earth/Animal Liberation called "Awakening to Survival : 2026" to do just that. Here's the text of the declaration:
We envision a world of love, unity and abundance, but this requires us to change course at this perilous time.
Since 1970 more than half of wild animals have been killed. At the rate we are killing wildlife, we will have virtually no wild animals left by 2026. This loss means whales, penguins, monkeys, koalas, tigers, eagles, giraffes, none of these animals would be left, except in zoos.
This is the biggest crisis of our lifetimes because it threatens our very existence. This horrific milestone will mark an ecological turning point. Year Zero will present unimaginable extreme weather on a scale that the human race has never experienced: extreme drought, massive wildfires, flood events, etc.
That extreme weather will in turn trigger political and societal disruption and chaos as millions are displaced and become refugees.
From cities to rural areas, land and homes will become uninhabitable.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of global deforestation, habitat destruction, wildlife extinction, ocean dead zones, soil degradation and climate change, because it is resource intensive and highly inefficient. Animals eat almost 40 times what they produce as meat, dairy or eggs. 83% of agricultural land is currently used for raising farm animals for food.
The good news is more than 80% of the food that humans consume is already plant-based. Less than 20% of the food humans eat is meat, dairy and eggs. When we reduce that percentage to zero by 2026 we will have made substantial progress towards reversing climate change, wildlife extinction and deforestation, thereby preventing Year Zero.
It is totally unnecessary to eat animal foods for health or survival. Following a plant-based lifestyle can reverse and prevent fourteen of the fifteen leading causes of death, including cancer and heart disease. Due to the increasing variety of plant-based food options, it is now easier than ever to go vegan.
Therefore it is totally unnecessary to exploit, enslave, torture and kill animals or to engage in institutionalized animal abuse. We reject a system of forced breeding, mutilation and killing of animals. We demand this system of normalized violence be replaced by a system of normalized non-violence. We commit to supporting this vision to assist in the joy and wellness of all beings through a vegan lifestyle.
For all the above reasons, we are committed to achieving a Vegan World by 2026.
Our Guiding Principles are:
1. All animals have the inalienable right to live free of exploitation, forced breeding, torture, and slaughter.
2. We reject the idea that religious beliefs, cultural traditions and economic arguments are valid reasons for denying them these inalienable rights.
3. We believe in the intersectionality of these basic rights with the inalienable human rights.
4. Compassion for all life is infinitely sustainable.
Our Demands are:
1. Governments stop subsidizing animal agriculture and start promoting organic plant agriculture.
2. Media report the truth about animal agriculture’s devastating impact on human health, the environment, and our fellow creatures.
Our Pleas are:
1. Environmental, conservation, health, animal welfare and religious organizations adopt a public vegan policy.
2. Consumers stop buying animal products.
Maribel Anglada, Mundo Vegano
Denise Bitz, Founder and President, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue
Donna Dennison, That Snarky Vegan Girl
Renee King-Sonnen, Executive Director and Founder, Rowdy Girl Sanctuary
Marilyn Kroplick, President, In Defense of Animals
Carol Manetta, Executive Director, REAP
Gustavo Pacheco, President, Mundo Vegano
Mariette Papic, Holochain and JustOne Organics
Jaine Rao, Climate Healers
Sailesh Rao, Climate Healers
Jane Velez-Mitchell, Jane Unchained
Gary Wirkkala, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue
This declaration for Human/Earth/Animal Liberation commits us to create a Vegan World by 2026, just 8 short years from now. The inaugural Vegan World 2026 Conference is co-hosted by Arizona State University and it will be occurring on Oct 26-28, 2018, in Tempe, AZ, USA. You are welcome to join us and help co-create the new system and culture of normalized nonviolence in the life-enriching, stewardship society of the future. Vegan World 2026 is an audacious goal akin to the moonshot of the 1960s, and when we achieve this goal, I'd wager that it will be even more exhilarating than the moon-landing!
As for the third dimension in Joanna Macy's framework, we can embrace the "Thermostat Species" hypothesis and change our story and relationship with the Earth. To summarize this hypothesis, humans have been playing the role of a thermostat species on planet Earth since the dawn of the Agricultural revolution. After several bouts of ice ages and interglacial periods over the past 3 million years, with all the attendant suffering as ecosystems wax and wane, Earth spawned a cerebral species to implement planetary-scale homeostasis - Homo Sapiens. For 10,000 years, humans unknowingly maintained the temperature on Earth at the set value and prevented the return of another ice age, mainly through deforestation. Then, since the dawn of the industrial revolution, we have been creating the tools and technologies we need to maintain a constant temperature on Earth without any further deforestation. In the process, we have allowed the Earth's temperature to increase from its set value by 1 deg C. Science is now telling us to return the temperature back to the set value through reforestation as a matter of survival for all life on Earth. To do so, we have to accomplish the moonshot of our generation - a Vegan World by 2026.
In the 2014 documentary, “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret,” we saw how the heads of non-profit organizations and government officials are conspiring to hide the true environmental impact of animal agriculture. Those who are engaged in this global “Cowspiracy” are not evil. They simply lack Courage.
It takes Courage to buck the system. It takes Courage to change yourself, to bring your compassion to the fore and to act on it. It takes Courage to face facts squarely and tell the truth. Courage is the most important of all human virtues for without it, none of the other virtues can be effective. In the epic, Mahabharata, Lord Krishna counsels Arjuna, who represents Courage, to fight the battle against evil. What good is Righteousness (Yudhisthira) without Courage, Strength (Bhima) without Courage?
Courage is in short supply amongst our “leadership” today. We are conditioned from birth by “Attention Engineers” and Psychologists employed by Corporations to live in fear. It is only people bathed in fear who can make up a compliant consumer society. When such people comprehend the planet’s dire environmental circumstances in which we are on track to destroy all wild life by 2026, they shut down. They cling to the system that put them in positions of “leadership”. They dissemble and pretend not to understand that Compassion for all Life is the only way out of this mess.
It takes Courage to Go Vegan. It takes Courage to Bear Witness. It takes Courage to do Open Rescues. I’m eternally grateful for the Courage and compassion on display within the Vegan community. It is with Courage that we can co-create Vegan World 2026 instead of the fear-filled, gun-toting, Mad Max, racist hell-hole that our “leaders” are shepherding us towards. Shame on them!
We have the capacity to lead much healthier and happier lives without harming and unnecessarily using and exploiting innocent animals and “other” humans. But it takes Courage to manifest it.
"Ahimsa" Milk is milk that is produced without any apparent cruelty towards the cows. However, when we extract the maternal secretions of cows, we are essentially exploiting them. Further, we can show that the environmental impact of "Ahimsa" milk exceeds that of beef and therefore, "Ahimsa" milk production is hugely detrimental to wildlife. Here is the calculation:
The water footprint of milk is 1000 liters for every liter of milk. However, the water footprint assumes that we are ruthlessly turning the cow into beef as soon as she becomes "unproductive" at the age of 6 years. During this shortened lifespan, she produces milk for only 4 of the 6 years.
"Ahimsa" milk production occurs without such killing and therefore, the cow would live for a full life span of 20-25 years. The male calves would also be allowed to live out their full lives. Then the water footprint of a liter of milk would be 10,000 - 12,500 liters. The dry weight of a liter of milk is 140 grams, which means that the water footprint of "Ahimsa" milk is 71,430 - 89,290 liters per Kg of dry matter biomass. Please note that the water footprint would be proportionally greater if the calves partake of a portion of their mother's milk.
The water footprint of beef is 2500 gallons per pound. Each pound of beef has a dry weight of 0.38 lbs. Therefore, the water footprint of beef is 2500X3.79X2.2/0.38 = 54,860 liters per Kg of dry matter biomass.
Hence, the water footprint of "Ahimsa" milk exceeds that of beef. Please Go Vegan as there is no right way to exploit another.
Dear Friends and Family,
At Climate Healers, we started the Vegan World 2026 campaign over a year ago in response to numerous scientific reports that wild animals are dying at an exponentially accelerating pace. At current rates of decline, the world is on track to reach Year ZERO, the year when 100% of wild vertebrates die off, by 2026, just 8 short years from now. This is an existential crisis.
In response, as part of the “Save the Animals, Save the Earth,” campaign, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue (BWAR) has been asking all animal rescue groups to adopt a public vegan policy for their organization, and to encourage other animal rescue groups to do the same. But why should Animal Rescue groups be the only ones to adopt such a public Vegan policy? Don’t religious groups, environmental organizations, health care organizations and even ordinary citizens like you and me also care about this existential crisis?
Therefore, we are pleading with every one to adopt a public Vegan policy. A public Vegan policy doesn’t mean everyone has to go vegan overnight. Rather, it means that we will only serve Vegan items at all our public get-togethers and functions. This is a powerful, symbolic act to raise our consciousness about the impacts of animal food consumption on animal cruelty, mass species extinction and climate change.
Your consumption of animal foods not only kills you directly through chronic diseases, but it also kills you, me and all life on Earth indirectly through the environment. Second-hand eating is second-hand smoking writ large and this gives every one of us the moral authority to ask others to cease and desist.
Scientists are a reticent bunch and this is hurting us all. James Hansen has spoken out about scientific reticence in a recent video from the UN Climate Change meeting in Bonn. But even James Hansen is reticent with regard to animal agriculture being the number one cause of climate change. Unfortunately, most scientists are engaged in a "Cowspiracy" as we pointed out here:
We know that animal agriculture has devastated at least 31% of the land area of the planet. The carbon sequestration on those pasture lands is estimated to be 53 Giga tons of Carbon (GtC) at present. If we just restore native forests on that land, as it used to have in 1800 before we deforested for animal agriculture, that alone would sequester 292 GtC on just 41% of the land. Despite the hype of Allan Savory and his followers, this 41% of the land only stores 27 GtC today, a measly 5.5 tons of carbon per acre, while native forests would store 53 tons of carbon per acre. The difference, 265 GtC (292 - 27) is more than all the carbon that humans have added to the atmosphere since 1750! Therefore, the Opportunity Cost of continuing with animal agriculture is HUGE. Please see the paper that we presented at the AGU Fall Meeting in 2015 for details:
Yet scientists don't count this Opportunity Cost of animal agriculture in their evaluation of the leading causes of climate change. They don't count the carbon loss from the land degradation occurring on 20% of the land area of the planet due to animal agriculture.
Why on Earth not?
Perhaps, it is just common sense that Animal Agriculture is the leading cause of climate change. Climate change is occurring because the atmosphere has 30% more carbon than it used to have in the pre-industrial era. Land holds THREE times as much carbon as the atmosphere. Animal Agriculture has caused most of the carbon stored on at least 31% of that land to be emitted into the atmosphere, through deforestation and overgrazing. Therefore, if we restore the carbon that used to be on that land by reforesting that land, we can literally reverse climate change.
We know that we can reforest all that land in short order because we are currently degrading and desertifying all that land in short order. Can we not do the opposite? Of course, we can! However, we need a different mindset and a different culture to do that. We need ranchers morphing into foresters. We need cowgirls morphing into "treegirls".
We need a Vegan World in short order.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man" - George Bernard Shaw.
As usual, Greenpeace is underestimating the disruptive nature of the Vegan movement! It is great that Greenpeace is finally doing something about the environmental impact of meat and dairy consumption, but targeting a 50% reduction in consumption by 2050 is quite lame for a campaign. Greenpeace is like the McKinsey experts who told AT&T in 1985 that by the year 2000, there will be 900,000 cell phone subscribers in the world.
The actual number was 109,000,000.
It is usually the "insiders" and the "experts" who can't come to grips with disruptive transformations such as the Vegan movement. I was privy to some of the high level discussion among the LGBT activists during their Marriage Equality fight and I see the parallels here. Greenpeace advocating for 50% reduction of meat and dairy consumption by 2050 is like a major LGBT organization advocating for a half-measure, Civil Union by 2050 on the false pretext that Marriage Equality is too "extreme" and will "never happen". Can you imagine?
But as Henry Ford said,
"If you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are usually right."
This is why we should begin with the positive mindset that a Vegan World is not only going to happen, but that it is inevitable. After all, every one of our excuses for not going Vegan have been peeled away:
In 2006, the American Dietetic Association stated unequivocally that it is unnecessary to eat animal foods of any kind at any stage of our life cycle. Therefore, we can no longer pretend that we need to eat animal foods for our well being.
In 2012, the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness stated unequivocally that animals are sentient beings, just like us. Therefore, we can no longer pretend that the animals we are exploiting don't suffer.
In its press release, Greenpeace's Executive Director, Bunny McDiarmid, was quoted as saying,
“What we decide to eat, as individuals and as a global society, is one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against climate change and environmental destruction.”
This raises a few questions:
1) What is the scientific basis for Greenpeace’s target to be just a 50% reduction by the year 2050? At Climate Healers, we have chosen our target to be 100% reduction, i.e., a "Vegan World", by the year 2026, based on the scientific evidence.
2) Is that 50% reduction with respect to UN FAO projected levels of global meat and dairy consumption in 2050? Please note that the FAO expects meat and dairy consumption to DOUBLE from current levels by 2050.
3) When did Greenpeace conclude that what we eat is "one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against climate change and environmental destruction"? The scientific evidence was available as early as the 1970s.
4) Was Greenpeace deliberately underestimating the environmental risk of global meat and dairy consumption over the past four decades of its existence, even as the global consumption quadrupled? When we deliberately underestimate environmental risk, we are responsible for the suffering that results.
We would dearly love to have Greenpeace and other environmental organizations in the forefront of the Vegan movement so that they align their words with their actions and with reality. But we’re not waiting for them. From my study of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, I absorbed three important lessons:
1. The time is always ripe to do right.
2. Moderation is the worst response to injustice, worse than even participating in the injustice.
3. The world is in dire need of compassionate, creative extremists.
Going Vegan is not just a moral issue, but an ethical issue as well. The 74 billion land animals and 1-3 trillion sea animals being killed each year, the 200 species going extinct each day and the people suffering and dying from the ravages of climate change and poverty right now all wish that the whole world would go Vegan not by 2050, or 2026, but right away. Therefore, I think it is time for the Animal Liberation movement to formulate its own "Dallas Principles" as the LGBT Equality movement did nearly a decade ago.
I have started a Google Doc with a first cut of the "Berkeley Principles" to be finalized and signed during the Animal Liberation Conference in Berkeley in May. Here’s the first draft of the 8 Berkeley Principles:
1. All animals deserve to live free of human exploitation now. Delay and excuses are no longer acceptable.
2. We will not leave any part of the animal community behind.
3. We will not be divided and conquered.
4. Religious beliefs, cultural traditions or economic arguments are not a basis upon which to exploit animals.
5. The establishment and guardianship of animal liberation is a non-partisan issue.
6. Individual involvement and grassroots action are paramount to success and must be encouraged.
7. Success is measured by the growth of the Vegan movement.
8. Those who seek our support are expected to commit to these principles.
Please feel free to comment and edit the Google Doc and let us all become compassionate, creative extremists!
The statistics on wild vertebrates is telling. 52% of them, by total weight, disappeared between 1970 and 2010. That number was 58% by 2012. At that rate, all of them would be wiped out by 2026, in just 8 short years from now. There is no question that a Great Transition is looming in our immediate future.
In his magnum opus, “Why the West Rules For Now,” Prof. Ian Morris of Stanford University agrees that we are facing a stark choice today: between evolving towards Utopia or careening into oblivion. Whether we evolve towards Utopia or we careen into oblivion, the predictions indicated in the prescient 1972 book, Limits to Growth, would still be valid. Limits to Growth is the largest selling environmental book in history, having sold more than 30 million copies over the years. In 2010, Dr. Graham Turner, a scientist working at the University of Melbourne in Australia, compared the 1972 predictions in Limits to Growth with the actual data from 1970 through 2000 and found an almost exact match for one of the World3 model runs (please see above figure). That simulation predicted that human systems will transition from a growth-oriented paradigm to a non-growth oriented paradigm in the third decade of the 21st century, within the next few years. This change can occur voluntarily if we evolve into a Utopian society or it will be forced upon us if we continue on our present course of ecological self-destruction - into oblivion.
Take, for example, the question of human population. At present, approximately 130 million human beings are born each year, while just 50 million human beings die. In the World3 model run, the predicted peak in human population occurs around the year 2030 and then declines. This can occur in one of two ways:
1) We evolve toward Utopia with guaranteed, lived equality for all, especially women, and thereby cause a decrease in the human birth rate, OR
2) We continue on our present course of ecological self-destruction and cause an inevitable increase in the human death rate.
Our only ethical choice is to evolve towards a Vegan Utopia, where we genuinely transition our relationship with each other and with other life-forms from domination/control relating to partnership/respect relating. Imagine a Utopia where we actually solve climate change and restore the biodiversity of the planet by sequestering all the excess carbon in the atmosphere in recovering forests. We can do this on the 37% of the ice-free land area of the planet that is currently being used for grazing animals by the Global Animal Agriculture (GAAg) industry. Imagine a Utopia where we cause a decrease in the birth rate of humanity by guaranteeing lived equality for all, especially women. Imagine a Utopia where each of us contribute to the well-being of the Earth community in our unique ways without having to worry about where our next meal comes from.
Or we can continue to consume and invest in our present course of ecological self-destruction, where we are knowingly pouring 250 billion metric tons of toxins into the environment each year, while persuading people to consume animal foods which have bio-concentrated doses of these toxins. We, through our governments, promote the consumption of such unhealthy toxic foods, including known Group 1 Carcinogens, even to our school children. We institute global economic policies that are guaranteed to increase inequality. We engage in endless wars, drop bombs on marriage parties in “s**thole” countries and build walls to contain the migration of desperately hungry people from “failed” states. We let climate change run amok so that it becomes a tool to cause such “failed” states. The consequences of our actions, whether intended or not, is to deliberately increase the death rate until it exceeds the birth rate. It is a testament to the resilience of the human body that this shameful, attempted genocide of an additional 80 million people each year has not yet taken hold. But we, as consumers and investors, get to choose which of these two futures we want with every one of our actions.
How do you choose?
There are three types of Scientists:
2) Those who haven't read the data on Global Animal Agriculture (GAAg), and
3) Those who have read the data and are pretending not to understand it.
There is an enormous amount of data on the impact of GAAg at the FAOStat web site of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN). The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that our farmed animals consume almost FIVE times as much food as all humans put together. The above figure captures this data for three time instants in human history and it easily conveys the idea that going Vegan is the single most effective action that anyone can do to address our environmental problems. Indeed, even as long ago as 2009, Dr. James Hansen, the world's most preeminent climate scientist asked people to go Vegan to solve climate change:
Yet, a Cowspiracy seems to be widespread among the mainstream scientific establishment. Scientific conferences such as the AGU Fall Meeting still serve steak and other rich animal foods as the main course at their Annual Banquet dinners. If the largest gathering of climate scientists in the world cannot heed Dr. Hansen's simple advice, then how can these scientists expect the public to take their alarming pronouncements on climate change seriously?
Ecologists and environmental scientists are engaged in this Cowspiracy as well. In a recent paper published in the Bioscience magazine entitled, "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: Second Notice," with eight authors and 15,364 signatories from 184 countries, the only chart showing the impact of GAAg is the one below:
This chart does not accurately convey the data on the environmental impact of GAAg. Why did the authors deliberately choose one of the few data items on the FAOStat web site that trend lower than human population? In contrast, here's a more representative chart of the same FAOStat data from the Terrastendo web site:
The scientists could have picked any number of other data items (e.g., meat tonnage or total number of animals slaughtered) that would have accurately conveyed the reality of the impact of GAAg. Therefore, I have to conclude that they are engaging in a Cowspiracy to hide the real impact of GAAg. Since 15,364 scientists signed on to this paper, I have to conclude that this Cowspiracy is widespread in the scientific establishment. Indeed, I have seen similarly corrupt data handling and outright misinformation on the GAAg issue in websites such as Skeptical Science. The trouble with such corrupt data handling is that it casts a pall on the integrity of all other data analyses in these scientific resources.
Let's hold our scientists' feet to the fire and demand a high level of integrity in their public discourse. At the very least, all scientific organizations must embrace a public Vegan policy so that it sends the right message to the public as well as the participants.
Let's bring on the end times for the Scientific Cowspiracy.