A Declaration for Human/Earth/Animal Liberation

 The sixteen leading causes of planet destruction shown in red...

The sixteen leading causes of planet destruction shown in red...

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.

Signed:

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.

Namaste,
Sailesh Rao.

 

The Courage of Vegans

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Plunge into battle, but leave your heart at the lotus feet of the Lord
— Bhagavad Gita

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.

 

The Environmental Impact of "Ahimsa" Milk Exceeds that of Beef

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"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.

A Public Vegan Policy

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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.

With Love,
Sailesh.

Animal Agriculture is the Leading Cause of Climate Change

Underlying surface complexity is a deep simplicity.
— Murray Gell-Mann

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:

http://www.climatehealers.org/.../end-times-for-the...

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:

https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm15/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/67429

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 Berkeley Principles

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“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 Moral Case for Vegan Utopia

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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?

 

 

End Times for the Scientific Cowspiracy

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There are three types of Scientists:
1) Vegans,
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:

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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:

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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.

The Greatest Public Health Crisis of All Time

We are in the midst of the greatest public health crisis of all time. No, it’s not the obesity epidemic or the diabetes crisis or the cancer crisis or heart disease, but the principal root cause of them all: our mass addiction to animal foods.

Consider the data: Our consumption of animal foods is clearly destroying our health. We have a socioeconomic system that has blithely poured billions of tons of toxic pollutants into the environment each year, which have bio-concentrated up the food chain destroying the health of animals. We are then persuaded to eat the flesh and secretions of those animals, thereby becoming chronically ill as we accumulate those toxic pollutants in our fat tissues. The pharmaceutical companies then swoop in to fix us with their pills, completing a nice business racket that is certainly not good for anybody.

Our consumption of animal foods is clearly destroying the planet. We are on track to wipe out almost all wild animals off the face of the Earth by 2026, mainly to support that consumption. As the WorldWatch Institute notes,

“The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease."

Our consumption of animal foods is clearly destroying the lives of the most innocent among us, nonhuman animals. It is not only the lives of the 70 billion animals that we raise and kill each year before most of them even reach puberty, but also the lives of innocent families in the ocean that we corral and kill using our software Big Data and our hardware GPS technologies. Shame on us!

Yet, even scientists and scientific organizations who have been reporting on the impact of animal foods are still consuming them. Just as Bill Nye indicates in the video above, they make it clear that they are distressed about their continued consumption, but they can’t seem to stop. This is the textbook definition of addictive behavior.

So, what would a 12-step program for animal food addiction look like? Perhaps the following list might work:

1. We admit that we are powerless over animal foods and our lives have become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a higher power can restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the higher power.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to the higher power, to ourselves and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have the higher power remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked the higher power to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all the beings that we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Attended vigils with the Save Movement to make direct amends to those who are being harmed.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our higher power.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other sufferers and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

If you have any suggested changes, please let us know in the comments below. Good luck to us all in these trying, but revolutionary times!

 

Why I Advocate Veganism

In a recent article entitled, “Why I Would Not Advocate Vegetarianism,” Dr. Sunita Narain summarizes her reasons thus:

“As an Indian (I underline Indian) environmentalist I would not advocate vegetarianism for the following reasons. One, India is a secular nation and the culture of eating food differs between communities, regions and religions. This idea of India is non-negotiable for me as it reflects our richness and our reality. Two, meat is an important source of protein for a large number of people, hence critical for their nutritional security.

Thirdly, and this is what distinguishes my Indian position from the global, meat eating is not the key issue, it is the amount that is consumed and the manner in which it is produced. A recent global assessment, for instance, finds that Americans on an average eat 122 kg per year per person and Indians 3-5 kg per year per person…

But the most important reason I, as an Indian environmentalist, would not support action against meat is that livestock is the most important economic security of farmers in our world.”

As an environmentalist of Indian origin now working out of the United States, I too would not advocate the lacto-vegetarianism prevalent in India today. India has the largest concentration of cattle in the world, with over 300 million heads, more than triple the cattle population of the US, on less than one-third the land area of the US. Considering that only 28% of the cattle in India are male, there are 140 million missing males who would be alive if India had not been culling them aggressively to promote its world-leading beef exports. Certainly, India cannot ban cattle slaughter while the dairy consumption continues unabated. Hence I advocate veganism worldwide, not vegetarianism. However, even considering vegetarianism in India, I would like to raise some issues with each of the reasons that Dr. Narain cites in her article:

Firstly, when it comes to culture, it is time for us, all over the world, to rethink what is appropriate in our changed environmental circumstances. This is why Dronacharya, the teacher of the Pandavas and Kauravas in our epic, Mahabharata, fights on behalf of the evil Kauravas in the battle of Kurukshetra. Dronacharya is symbolic of culture and habits, which when followed blindly, lead us to do evil, invariably.

Should we not change the culture and habits that we acquired a millennia ago when there were 100 million human beings, now that there are 7.4 billion of us on our planet today and the planet is clearly being destroyed?

According to Prof. Anthony Barnosky, a paleo-biologist from UC Berkeley, the biomass of ALL the wild megafauna from 10K-100K years ago was 200 Million metric tons (Mt). Today, there are 7.4 billion humans, each weighing an average of 68 kgs, constituting a biomass of 500Mt for our one species alone, while the total biomass of ALL wild megafauna has been decimated to less than 40Mt. Clearly, the human population is too much for the Earth to support on a long-term basis. In addition, we are extracting almost FIVE times as much food for our domestic animals as we eat ourselves. This is like a weight-lifter lifting five times his weight above his head, discovering that he is on quicksand and that he is sinking. Knowing that his weight alone is too much for the quicksand to bear, what is the first thing that he should do?

Every child that I have ever posed this question to, answers, “Drop the weight!” How I wish adults were equally prescient, for even Prof. Paul Ehrlich is still a meat eater!

Fortunately, culture and habits are now being questioned everywhere. In a groundbreaking article in the Israel Times entitled, “Is Any Meat Today Kosher?”, Rabbi David Rosen concludes that the inherent cruelty in the animal agriculture industry and the lack of necessity of consuming animal foods renders only Vegan foods Kosher today. The purpose of “Kosher” (“Halal”) certification is to assure Jewish (Muslim) adherents that the food in question was prepared in accordance with the religious tenets of their faith, which include at its core, compassion for all creation. How can we deliberately kill innocent animals unnecessarily and deem it compassionate in our modern era?

Such questioning is occurring in India as well. I have witnessed the rise of Veganism in India over the past few years with unalloyed joy. After all, the core of Veganism is Ahimsa, the non-harming of all beings, which is surely the greatest conceptual gift that India has bequeathed to the world in all its storied history.

Secondly, it is now well established that an order of magnitude more protein can be produced on a given piece of land with plant-based foods than with animal foods. The American Dietetic Association has stated unequivocally that it is unnecessary to eat animal foods of any kind at any stage of our life cycle. Therefore, nutritional security is best achieved through the advocacy of a plant-based diet, not a meat-based diet.

Thirdly, contrary to what Dr. Narain writes, meat eating IS the key issue in all our global environmental crises. In a recent article, the Worldwatch Institute notes,

"As environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease."

There are two kinds of environmentalists: Vegans and those who haven’t understood the data
— Paraphrasing Dr. Kim Williams, who said that for cardiologists

We can’t simply blame the West for all this damage when India is the largest producer of milk and the largest exporter of beef on the planet. At its core, environmentalism is about choosing whether to base our relationship with other species on domination or on compassion. Should we murder hibernating bears or should we nurture wolf pups? With all her environmental alarms blaring, Mother Nature is asking us to recognize that animal rights are human rights!

Finally, I agree with Dr. Narain that our current socioeconomic system condemns a billion poor people to enslave and exploit animals at the behest of the rich, who then get chronically ill while ingesting bio-concentrated doses of toxic pollution in the animal foods they eat. Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund reports that 52% (58%) of all wild vertebrates got destroyed between 1970 and 2010 (2012). At that rate, we will wipe all wild vertebrates off the face of the Earth by 2026! But surely, we don't have to continue with this socioeconomic system until all life dies? Surely, we can put our heads together to devise a software/hardware upgrade of the socioeconomic system so that the 2.0 version is sustainable, uses less than half the Earth, has built-in equity among all humans and in which we begin with an attitude of service and humility, not exploitation and domination, towards our fellow Earthlings.

Indeed, we better devise this Global Civilization 2.0 in a hurry! At Climate Healers, this is precisely what most of our resources are focused on today!

Namaste,
Sailesh Rao

Time to Get Serious...

 Photo by Marilyn Cornelius, taken at the Op ML protest outside Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership training in San Francisco, Nov 2012.

Photo by Marilyn Cornelius, taken at the Op ML protest outside Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership training in San Francisco, Nov 2012.

Imagine going to a doctor with a persistent mild fever and a lump the size of a coconut by the side of your head. The doctor examines you and says that the lump is cancerous and causing your fever, but the best he can do is to limit your fever to 2C!

Would you then plead with him to limit your fever to 1.5C? Or would you ask him about the cancerous lump?

When you ask him about the lump, suppose the doctor says, "Oh, that cancer will grow! I will make sure that it doubles in size as quickly as possible!"

Wouldn't you run away from such a doctor?

But that's precisely what our world leaders have been doing in the context of climate change. They are all exercised about the fever that the Earth has contracted while they are studiously ignoring the cancer that is our consumer society, because they are stuck in a growth-oriented socioeconomic system that is based on consumption as an organizing value and competition as an organizing principle. They either don't know how to get unstuck or they are too frightened that they would lose their private plane privileges in an environmentally benign socioeconomic system.

Even the man who inspired us on this path, former Vice President Al Gore, is too frightened to talk about the cancer while he is truly exercised about the fever. And in such a craven political setting, the newly elected US President, Donald Trump, is rightly pointing out that if we are all pretending that the cancer doesn't exist, why don't we also start pretending that the fever doesn't exist?

Why, indeed?

Because reality keeps intruding upon our reverie?

Because billions of human lives are at stake?

Because trillions of non-human lives are at stake?

It is time to get serious.

Our mission is to heal the Earth's climate, not maintain it precariously in an advanced state of disrepair. Since the system cannot support such healing, the system will be changed.

Mewar Angithi Deployment - Phase I

After conducting real world cooking tests in ten different households of four villages in Rajasthan, India, we completed the deployment of approximately 1000 Mewar Angithis (MA) in these villages through our ongoing collaboration with the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), Udaipur. The cooking tests showed that, by and large, the women were able to reduce their wood use by 40% using the MAs. They also noted a significant reduction in smoke during the cooking using the MAs. Unfortunately, our particulate measurement hardware failed in the field and we were not able to quantify the reduction in smoke.

Over time, as the women adjust to the more efficient burning of firewood that the MAs facilitate, we expect the savings to asymptotically improve towards what was observed in lab tests at MPUAT.

The four villages were all located in the Kumbalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary of Udaipur district in Rajasthan:

Karech, with 268 households per 2010 census,
Kyarakhet, with 121 households,
Cheetrawas, with 144 households, and
Reechwara, with 368 households

The revenue village of Reechwara includes four villages, Reechwara, Char Ka Khet, Sakariya and PeepalSarai. 

We conducted meetings in each of these villages to seek the blessings of the villagers, especially the elders, for the deployment. And in each and every village, we were told that the deployment would be welcomed by the women of the village.

We also conducted extensive surveys of women heads of households in 100 representative homes in the four villages to assess current economic and social conditions prior to the deployment. We will be conducting follow-up surveys in these households in January 2016 to assess the impact of our deployment and to evaluate the condition of the MAs after roughly six months of use.

The 1000+ MA units for the deployment were manufactured locally in Udaipur by Sagar Metal Fabricators using 2mm thick High Carbon Stainless steel sheets and laser cutting machinery.

 

The Mewar Angithi: A $1 Device that Transforms a Traditional Chula into a High Efficiency Cook Stove

 The Mewar Angithi: A $1 Device that Transforms a Traditional Chula into a High Efficiency Cook Stove

The controlled use of fire, and more specifically cooking, is a fundamentally human creation that has allowed us to become who we are, an ingenious tool-wielding species that dominates over all other species on Earth. And yet, our infatuation with fire, and specifically cooking, is projected to be the central reason for our ecological Icarian downfall in the near future, unless we take remedial action soon.

The Environmental Message of Deepavali

The Environmental Message of Deepavali

Sanathana Dharma, meaning "Universal Righteousness" and popularly known as Hinduism, is truly the science of enlightenment. At its core, it is based on the simple principle, "Let Go." Its fundamental premise is that every human being is entitled to be enlightened, to reach that natural state of perfect happiness or "Ananda." While happiness itself is boundless and therefore, the quest for perfect happiness is eternal, the lifelong journey on that quest is surely the ideal human experience.

The Khadi Movement of the 21st Century

The Khadi Movement of the 21st Century

Gandhi was fighting for the independence of India. We are now fighting for our survival and for the survival of our children and grandchildren.

Gandhi inspired the people of India to make that one simple change, to take that voluntary step of changing their clothes. We need to inspire people in rich societies - specifically, all people who have access to the internet - to take that voluntary step of changing what we eat, to go vegan.

The Meat Moderates

The Meat Moderates

Unless the "Meat Moderates" abandon their plateaued positions and switch over to veganism, the vegan revolution will not occur and the deforestation of the Amazon and the Congo will continue apace. Just as the civil rights revolution could not occur fifty years ago until the "White Moderates" showed up at the Washington Mall and supported civil rights wholeheartedly.