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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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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Meat produced from plants – is it OK for Hindus?

By : Surinder Jain.

Hindus are vegetarians primarily because of cruelty involved in producing meat which is done by killing a live animal. Inflicting pain on a living beings binds negative karma and continues our cycle of death and rebirth.

Pain inflicted on a being in killing it increases with the number of senses possessed by the being. Plants can only feel touch and have one sense and thus feel less pain than a being like a cow with five (touch, taste, hearing, vision and smell) senses. To reduce the cruelty for their taste, many devout vegetarians shun all life forms but plants. Others shun plant food which requires the plant to be killed in order to obtain the food, like root plants potatoes. They limit their diet to fruits and pulses etc which can be obtained without killing the plant.

As technology advances, meat (or what looks and tastes like meat) is being produced from plant based sources.

Also, some labs are doing genetic engineering to grow particualr type of meat in a laboratory dish from cells of an animal.

How would you as a Hindu respond to such food, is it OK or should it be avoided?

Here is an article about meat produced from plants :


A new generation of meat

(sunfedfoods.com)

Sunfed meats are made from premium yellow pea protein, they cook, feel and taste just like animal meat but are healthier, both for you and the planet.

Good Clean Food

With just a handful of all natural wholesome ingredients, and clean water-based proprietary techniques, we turn protein-packed pulses into delicious meaty goodness. That’s it! 

INGREDIENTS
Water, Pea Protein, Rice Bran Oil, Pea Fibre, NZ Pumpkin, Natural Yeast Extract, NZ Maize Starch.

Soy Free. Gluten Free.
Preservative Free. GMO Free.

Good Health

HIGH PROTEIN   HIGH IRON   HIGH ZINC
(62% more protein than fresh lean skinless chicken breast)

HIGH PHOSPHORUS     HIGH POTASSIUM
SOURCE OF FIBRE   SOURCE OF MAGNESIUM
SOURCE OF B VITAMINS
LOW CARB

Cholesterol Free. Trans Fat Free.

Read more about their meat free meat with the following links :

https://www.foodprocessing.com.au/content/ingredients/news/chicken-made-of-pea-protein-selling-out-in-supermarkets-211625223

https://idealog.co.nz/venture/2018/02/if-you-plant-it-they-will-come-sunfeds-shama-lee-tackling-meat-industry-new-zealand

AUSTRALIA

Meat of the future: from lab to plate

 

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Hindu Council connects with UWS students for Diwali

Hindu Council of Australia has made contact with University of Western Sydney (UWS) students and had a low key Diwali sweets distribution with them on 8th November 2018. UWS is one of the premier Universities of Sydney and has over 6,000 Indian students many of them from India, studying in it.

Soup

The University holds a light soup and bread session for its Parramatta campus students every Thursday evening at 6pm which provides free food and a place to mingle for all its students. The food distribution is managed by Parramatta Mission and is attended by about 30-40 students every week.

Hindu Council put up some posters about Diwali and supplied Kheer and Diwali sweets. The Mission agreed to our request to have vegetarian only soup and bread for the day. About 50 Australian, Asian and Indian students visited the soup kitchen. There was a visible smile on the faces of Indian students familiar with Diwali and their happiness could be seen beaming from their faces.

Kheer for Students on Diwali Soup Day

One of the students from Gujarat who has been in UWS for two years came up to me and asked if she can touch my feet as she needs blessings of an elder on this new year day. She touched my feet and her act touched my heart.

Students project of Hindu Council aims at connecting University going students with the existing Hindu Community here and to provide emotional support to overseas and away from home students. Bhupinder Chabra and Reshma Krishnappa are helping with this initiative.

Hindu Council Volunteers at UWS kitchen for Diwali

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ARRCC members pledge for eating less Meat

By : Surinder Jain.

ARRCC – Australian Religious Response to Climate Change is a multi faith network committed to action on Climate Change. Hindu Council of Australia has been a member for more than ten years and has recently celebrated 10th Anniversary of its Eat Less Meat campaign.

Members of ARRCC in Sydney met on 13th October 2018 to celebrate 2018 Week of Living the Change. It is a week in which members make personal commitments on making changes in their lives that will help the environment.

IPCC has recently identified three major causes of climate change and they are

  • Fossil fuels
  • Transport and
  • Agriculture

and the solutions to alleviate the effects are

  • Use renewable energy
  • Cut down on transport that have a large carbon foot print and
  • Eat less meat.

It is the first time that climate change activists have come out openly and boldly to declare that Meat production is one of the major causes of climate change. Studies show that if we take all the action we need to take on fossil fuels and transport but neglect to do anything on Meat production, we will end up failing in stopping the catastrophic consequences.

YET, most climate change enthusiasts are hooked onto the first two and not paying due attention to the third cause of Meat being the final culprit. Perhaps because, it is easy to tell others to stop coal mining. It is happening somewhere far away and affects those few thousand jobs in rural hinterland only. To change our travel habits is somewhat more personal but a matter of pride and a little inconvenience. The technology and encouragement to do so is here and now and we can actually do it with small sacrifices.

However, to change one’s food habits and taste is very personal and perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. It involves the livelihood of not a few thousand Australians but of millions of Australians who produce meat and are also the backbone of rural and national economy. No one seems to have defined a transition path for these proud farmers to help them change from Meat to Plant based food production. It needs to be done on an urgent basis.

If we take Meat out of Australian diet, we will be left with a very poor, unbalanced diet which can be a cause of many deficiencies. Hindus who have been vegetarians for thousands of years and have adopted their cuisine and living style to a vegetarian diet and are thriving (there are over a billion in India alone) have a special responsibility to keep Australian cuisine healthy and balanced as they move towards lesser meat consumption.

The meeting was presided over and addressed by Thea Ormerod who invited everyone to make a commitment to make a change in their lives that will reduce their carbon foot print. This was followed by an address of Mr Atmarama Das (Andre), Director Govinda Valley Retreat. He explained how he got revolted by having to work on a fishing boat chopping fishes and on coming to the shore forever became a vegetarian and joined Hare Krishna movement. The movement taught him that we are not the owners of this creation or even a small piece of it.

This was followed by an address by Rev John Buchanan, Minister at the Presbyterian parish of St Peter’s, North Sydney. Rev John read from the bible that we are stewards of God’s creation and it is our duty no to let it deteriorate and that is why we must fight the climate change.  Reverend told the audience that he has not become a vegetarian but has reduced his meat consumption. The third speaker Gillian Reffell from the Sydney Buddhist Center spoke about her struggle to balance her life with her carbon foot print.

The meeting was followed by other people present their making pledges to reduce their carbon foot print and was followed by a Reflective Interfaith Ritual.

Thea gave following information to help people make pledges to reduce their own carbon footprint :

Pledge

Kgs of carbon saved every year from going into atmosphere

Always use public transport to work 920 Kg/year
Avoid Air travel except for emergencies 460 Kg/year
Replace all home lights by LED 470 Kg/year
Make at least half of my meals meat free 470 Kg/year
Eat meat no more than once a week 640 Kg/year
Eat 5 vegetarian meals each week 690 Kg/year
Adopt an entirely plant-based diet 1,300 Kg/year

Hindu Council of Australia was represented by its directors Vijai Singhal and Surinder Jain. Hindus have a lot more at stake with climate change. We, after our death will come back in a new birth an this process will continue until we attain Liberation. Ensuring that earth remains livable is not only a noble thing to do but is also the only thing to do to our home for many many centuries and eons to come.

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Breaking Bread with Indian Chapati in Sydney Food Festival

By:Surinder Jain.

Hindu Council of Australia participated in Breaking Bread with other Australian communities as an initiative of Food Faith during the ongoing Sydney Food Festival at Hyde Park Palms on 9th October 2018.

Food Faith is a not for profit organization promoting environmental and social sustainability. Sharing of bread and then breaking it to eat – Breaking Bread – is its initiative to bring communities together.

Hindu Council of Australia brought Indian Bread (Chapatis) which were distributed among more than a hundred people present there along with a Kangaroo grass bread from Staple Bakery, a Challah (Jewish bread) from Our Big Kitchen and Rustic panini from Bread and Butter Project.

The session started with an aboriginal elder explaining the value of Kangaroo grass seeds as a staple food for first Australians and as a staple crop before colonization of Australia. Other speakers talked about role of bread in religious ceremonies, how food and bread has changed over the years, ongoing research by universities on less popular slow going grains and how food can be a source of sustainable charitable businesses.

Judy Friedlander explained the concept behind the Breaking Bread initiative.

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Meat Free campaign promoted by Radio Sur Sangam

Mr Vijai Singhal, director of Hindu Council of Australia was interviewed at Radio Sur Sangam 99.9 FM by Nitin Madan on the topic of 10th Anniversary of the launch of “Meat Free Day” campaign on 2nd October 2008.

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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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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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PM of New Zealand and MPs stop those trying to help save the environment

Beef lobby of New Zealand, if it has its way, wants to deny people choice of their food including food free of beef and free of animal products. Hindus avoid eating beef.

When you are in an airplane bound to your seat for 12 hours or more, with no near by restaurants, fully dependent on whatever food is on the menu of the air lines and available with the air hostess, politicians asking air lines not to keep food which does not include beef would be a disservice to consumer choice of food. Coercing people to consume beef instead of vegan alternatives, for a fast buck, is sure to hasten climate calamity.

The beef lobby led by MP Mark Patterson, of the ruling New Zealand First Party, strongly opposes its national carrier Air New Zealand’s decision to serve the vegan burger and considers it as a “slap in the face” to the country’s $6bn red meat sector. 

Air New Zealand is the flag carrier airline of New Zealand. Based in Auckland, the airline operates scheduled passenger flights to 20 domestic and 31 international destinations in 19 countries around the Pacific Rim and the United Kingdom. First class passengers to Los Angeles route are offered a plant based, meat free, environment friendly choice of food.

Beef production has a very high impact on the environment. According to some studies, one Ton of beef production requires almost 17,000 cubic liters of water, (m³ water/ton)[28]. Compare that with 2,500 for rice and about 1,500 for wheat.(wikipedia). Denying consumers choice of ethical food and promoting alternative food high on green gas production chart is a “slap in the face” to the voters who have elected their representatives to look after personal rights and the environment.

However, the strong beef lobby is up in arms. It sees ethical food alternatives to its violent to animal (assuming killing is violence), beef industry as a threat to its existence. 

Peters at the ASEAN Summit in the Philippines in 2017

Acting PM of New Zealand, MP Winston Peters who has been running the country since 21 June while Prime Minister Jacinda Arden is on maternity leave, is also opposed to selling beef alternatives. He said “Some of the taxpayers are the farming industry who want to ensure they get top end of the product market offshore and our airline should be its number one marketer.”

The Vegan Burger, is made using wheat, coconut oil, potatoes and “magic ingredient” heme. Compared to cows, the vegan product uses 95% less land, less water and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions, according to the company Impossible’s website.

You can [read more about the news here …]

credit:wikipedia

 

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