Addressing Global Warming through reducing meat consumption

By : Vijai Singhal.

An Open letter to MPs and Senators.

3rd December, 2018

Dear Senators and MPs,

As you already know, addressing Climate Change is the most important issue for humanity.The recent results of the Victorian State elections have clearly proved that Australian people want positive action on climate change. It has already resulted in the dethroning of the past four Prime Ministers in Australia.

Hindu Council of Australia has been very actively involved in addressing this issue mainly from the point of view of reducing meat consumption, which is the most effective things people can do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and ensure food availability for the poor, as well as extending the values of respect and compassion for animals and is good for our own health. Hindu Councilhad launched its “Meat Free Day” campaign on 2nd October, 2008 – on Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday. We are now celebrating its 10th anniversary and Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th year of his birthday.

You know that as per UN FAO report: “Livestock’s Long Shadow”, animal-farming contributes more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than of all forms of transportation worldwide (18% vs. 13.5%). Under a business as usual scenario, the number of animals farmed worldwide is projected to double by 2050. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions would negate reductions from other positive changes (e.g. increasing automobile fuel efficiencies, switching to renewable energy etc). It is therefore necessary to take positive action to reduce meat consumption. This aspect of the problem is not getting the attention it deserves. At long last the recent IPCC report did emphasise the need to move to plant-based diet, improved farming practices and reduction in food wastage as being necessary to limit the GHG emissions.

It is also a big health issue, as you know WHO had released a report on 26 Oct 2015 that says that if you eat as much as 50 grams of processed meat (the equivalent of a few slices of bacon) every day – or a total of 350 grams a week – your risk of colon cancer goes up by 18 percent. Our average consumption is far too high. The resulting increase in health budget is becoming a big problem for the national government to balance its books as well. Moderating our consumption of meat and dairy products will lower the incidence of obesity, ischaemic heart disease and stroke, while cutting consumption of processed meat will reduce the incidence of colorectal cancers, resulting in the saving of billions of dollars in health budget.

We look forward to the support from Greens to highlight this issue as it effects so many aspects of our living.

Vijai Singhal

Director, Hindu Council of Australia

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Selling Burgers to eliminate world hunger and save the earth

By : Surinder Jain.

Amit Tiwari, founder of Soul Burgers fast food chain of restaurants in Australia, prides on selling tasty burgers with no animal meat in them. A burger without cruelty to animals (assuming killing is cruelty) and good for the environment (meat production is one of the major factors for climate change) is certainly good for the Soul, a soul burger.

Source : www.soulburgers.com.au

According to Soul Burger’s web site, plants are the future of meat! Although we make look at Amit and his Soul Burger joint as a fast food outlet, he doesn’t see it that way.  He sees himself and his burgers as leading a global movement in keeping animals out of slaughterhouses and off our menus. Plant-based foods also reduces the risk of chronic disease and are lower in calories than a typical meat burger.

Source : www.soulburgers.com.au

Amit Tiwari also believes that he is selling more than burgers. He sees himself on the forefront of fighting climate change as a global shift to a vegan diet will cut food related GHG emissions by 70%. Every plant based burger helps save the planet!

If cruelty and climate change were not enough, Amit also believes that his burgers can eliminate poverty. How? Well, by shifting to plant based foods, we cease contributing to inflated grain prices used to feed livestock, creating stronger food security in developing countries. He sees a shift to his burgers will thus help feed millions of hungry mouths.

Next time, I am out and about, I will eat Soul Burgers. It will help me stay healthy, help keep earth from becoming an inferno and will help me gain punya (merit) by feeding the poor.

You can read more about Amit Tiwari and Soul Burgers in this ABC News report.

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Giving Tuesday promoting vegetarian diet in New York schools

By : Kelley Wind, Giving Tuesday.
 

I didn’t think it could happen. I didn’t believe that a New York City public school would adopt a vegetarian menu… and then become one of the highest rated schools in the state. But I was wrong. 

 
When the school leadership and staff is fully on board, and there is a great partnership in place, the extraordinary happens. At PS 244, The Active Learning Elementary School in Flushing, Queens, health and wellness are woven into all aspects of the curriculum. And the students are thriving. Test scores are far above the state average, with PS244 in the top 11 schools in the state. Students are absent less, and teachers report they are more attentive after lunch. 
 
Our friend and partner, Principal Bob Groff, reached out and welcomed us into his school. And by working together with the NYC Office of SchoolFood, the menu went from vegetarian two days a week, to three days, and after we asked if they would consider a vegetarian menu, finally by 2013, five full days.
 
We provide cafeteria staff training and support. We get as many of the recipes to be fully plant-based as we can. At Family Dinner Nights, we offer children, their parents/caregivers, and school staff a free fully plant-based meal featuring recipes from the lunch menu, and a nutrition education presentation for the adults. And during our after school classes, students make their own healthy plant based recipes.
 
With your support this GivingTuesday, we can make the unbelievable happen in more schools across the country. I don’t doubt it anymore.

 
Here are three ways you can help TODAY:
 
1. Donate by clicking here.
 
2. Sign up for the RoundUp app, a way to donate your spare change. You link your credit and/or debit cards, and each purchase is rounded up to the  next dollar. You can put a monthly limit on your giving. If we get 24 people to sign up on Tuesday, we’ll get $1000 from RoundUp.

 3. Whether you can give or not, please share this email with your friends, family, and co-workers. Ask them to donate to support healthy food and nutrition education in schools, or to sign up for the RoundUp app.  
 
Thank you for your interest in healthy school food. Together, we can make a difference! 

 
Sincerely yours,
 
Kelley Wind
Program Director

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Clean and Healthy Planet, the Hindu way

By : Vijai Singhal.

Īśāvāsyam idaṁsarvaṁyatkiñcajagatyāṁjagat;

Tena tyaktenabhuñjīthā,

mā gdha kasya svid dhanam.

 – (Isa Upanishad, Verse 1)

“Everything animate or inanimate in this universe is pervaded by God. Take whatever you need for your sustenance without the sense of ownership. Do not covet the wealth of anyone.”

Consumerism is the basic cause of climate change. Our economic model is demand based. We are constantly pushed to buy more as we have a system of planned obsolescence which results in excesswaste. We can see in our Hindu literature that the emphasis is on need and not on demand. Mahatma Gandhi said: “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”Greed is the root cause of all our problems – environmental or economic.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a common measure of economic growth. However, GDP fails to account fully for the ecological damage that growth causes. By prioritizing economic growth, societies based on capitalism permit excessive consumption and with it comes excess waste. In 2012, the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan adopted the Gross National Happiness Index as their main development indicator.  This index measured‘Well-being and Happiness’ as a new economic paradigm. The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network which contains rankings of national happiness and analysis of the data from various perspectives, publishes an annual World Happiness Report. In their report, Finland ranks 1st, Australia ranks 10th, whereas India ranks 133rd. New Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. The Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi had launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) on 2nd Oct 2014, with the aim to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India. The objectives of Swachh Bharat include eliminating open defecation through the construction of nearly 73 million household and community toilets since the launch of the plan. The Indian government is also pushing the use of renewable energy, particularly solar energy.

Indian government is actively pushing the use of renewable energy. The International Solar Alliance, an alliance of over 121 countries with an aim to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and to promote use of solar energy was launched by the Indian Prime Minister Mr Modi at the India Africa Summit, ahead of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. India has built the World’s largest solar farm of 2GW capacity in Karnataka State and the Energy Minister, Mr PiyushGoel has declared that there will be no new coal-fired power stations planned in India beyond 2018. In Australia also the rooftop solar installations is edging to 2 million households mark but unfortunately the Australian government is dragging its feet in support of the coal-fired power stations.

There is a proposal that has been put forward to the United Nations for declaring 2018InternationalYear of Clean and Healthy Planetaiming to mobilize millions of people worldwide in a single day event to clean up illegal waste on World Clean-up Day on 8th of September, 2018.  Last year, ABC TV produced a three-part series – War on Waste, highlighting the amount of waste we are producing in Australia. We are wasting a massive 40% of food items. With persuasion by the program producer and public reaction to waste, both Woolworths and Coles have declared that they would be cutting down on the use of throw away plastic and reducing the food wastage. This is a positive development.

Healthy living and a healthy planet go hand-in-hand. Choosing a plant-based diet is the single most important thing one can do for the environment and for our own health. There is a strong push for using vegan or plant-based diet in countries like Australia, United Kingdom and the USA, where meat consumption has traditionally been very high. Australia has become the third fastest growing vegan market in the world witha recent survey showing there are 2.1 million vegan/ nearly vegetarian people in Australia. This is another positive development for the health of our planet.

The world’s poor people are the worst sufferers of the environmental pollution. As responsible members of the society it is our duty to live a simple and ecologically sustainable life style. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The rich must live more simply so the poor may simply live.”

  • Vijai Singhal

References:

 

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10th Anniversary of Eat less Meat campaign by Hindu Council

By:Vijai Singhal.

The Hindu Council was the 1st in Australia to launch the “Meat-free Day” campaign on 2nd Oct. 2008 to reduce Greenhouse gas emission. We took this campaign to ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change) and renamed it “Eat Less Meat” to appeal to people of multi-faith who are mostly meat-eaters. Lot has happened in last ten years. There is much more awareness among people of eating plant-based diet. There is lot more coverage in the main media. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of this launch Mr Vijai Singhal was interviewed at the Darpan Hindi Radio program at 98.5 FM 10-11 am this Sunday, 30 September 2018.

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Australian Hindus help environment

Watch how Hinduism inspires Australian Hindus to help protect the environment.

 

 

 

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Hindus have more at stake on Climate change than many others

By:Surinder Jain.

Most other religions than Hinduism believe in one life and a judgement day thereafter. Hindus believe that we will be born again and again to inhabit the earth until we perfect ourselves. We Hindus therefore have a lot more at stake in keeping the earth from calamities like Global warming and Climate Catastrophe. While others may be doing it out of their goodness and for their children’s sake, we Hindus have to save the earth, out of necessity and for our own sake, in addition to goodness and for children.

According to ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change)[1], the three areas where religious leaders and people of faith can take steps to save the environment of the earth are:

  1. reduced use of transportation based on fossil fuels, ie, air and road transport
  2. shifting towards plant-based diets, away from meat-based protein
  3. energy efficiency and sourcing energy from renewables

Doesn’t it sound so Hindu a way of life that our ancient Rishis used to live. Using Bulls for energy & transport and eating vegetarian food cooked on cow dung fuel. Of the three Hindu ways of life that ARRCC has reaffirmed are essential to save the earth in which we are going to come back to live again and again, we can all easily implement the second, i.e stay vegetarian if you are and shift to less meat and away from meat based food. Hindu Council supports ARRCCs efforts for reducing meat-based protein diet.

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Did Indians bring technology of Fire, Farming and tools to Australia Four Thousand Years Ago

Genetic evidence suggests that just over 4 millennia ago a group of Indian travellers landed in Australia and stayed. The evidence emerged a few years ago after a group of Aboriginal men’s Y chromosomes matched with Y chromosomes typically found in Indian men.[…Read More…]

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Gargi Woman June Bullivant

Winner of Gargi Woman Award 2018 – (Academic Researcher)

By Bharathi R

JUNE BULLIVANT  has been awarded Hindu Council of Australia’s Gargi Woman Award 2018 for her outstanding contribution as Academic Researcher. The award consisting of a plaque was presented to her by Federal MP Julie Owens and by Mr Surinder Jain – Vice President – Hindu council of Australia.

June has earlier been nominated for the 2012 Women of the West Award for her commitment to providing educational opportunities and preserving the history of Western Sydney.

The Granville Historical Society is a resource centre which collects the history of the Granville and Parramatta local areas; provides historical information and photographs for the use of the community, for use for educational and family history; offers educational presentations to organisations and schools; and provides photographic displays for use within the Parramatta Heritage Centre.

She has played a lead role in the Society since 1988, when she and her husband founded the organisation as part of a Bicentenary Committee project

Over the years, She has served the Granville Historical Society in a number of roles, including as President, for three times. She currently serves as Secretary and Treasurer, and regularly writes grant proposals for upcoming projects.

Her role involves the preparation of PowerPoint presentations and to provide schools with interactive presentations that make the subject of local history more interesting. She is currently working on a virtual walk through Parramatta Park, which will be given to organisations and schools to share the local history of Granville and the Parramatta LGA.

She is also a delegate on the Parramatta City Council Heritage Advisory Committee, which works to protect Parramatta heritage sites – at present she is working to oppose the recent proposal to drill holes through the 1836 Lennox Bridge.

While proud of the fights she has been involved in over the years — saving Granville pool, upgrade of Granville station and saving heritage on the UWS Rydalmere site — she insists she is “no hero”. She worked tirelessly to keep  Parramatta Female factory alive.

JUNE BULLIVANT  has been awarded 2018 Gargi woman award for her outstanding contribution as Academic Researcher.

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Hindu Council organised a multi-faith Eco-Forum in 2011

Hindu Council organised a multi-faith Eco-Forum in 2011

Hindu Council helped prepare and launch the Hindu Climate Action Kit

Hindu Council has also been involved in ARRCC’s Advocacy work with the federal politicians in Canberra                                      

Association with Faith Ecology Network (FEN) FEN is an interfaith network of people connecting faith with ecological awareness and care. HCA has participated with FEN since 2008 as an active member of its Working Group, participating in its annual seminars, prayer vigils and other promotional activities.

Association with FoodFaith FoodFaith aims to build bridges across different faith, cultural and community groups through our shared learnings and practices of food and sustainability. Hindu Council has been associated right from the launch of the FoodFaith initiative in March, 2015.

HCA’s Shri Sai Paravastu and family has been involved in setting up the Community Garden in Lane Cove.

 

 

 

 

 

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