Pith Instructions on Mahamudra from Mahasiddha Tilopa: The Ganges Mahamudra Upadesha
Learning from the Teachers Video 1: Four students ask Zasep Rinpoche meditation questions — resting the mind in a natural way in Mahamudra; foundation practices; being your own Guru, and meditative “realizations.”
Four Questions the Buddha Would NOT Answer and Why: Is the Cosmos Finite in Space?; Is the Universe Finite in Time?; Is the Self Different From Body?; Does the Buddha Exist After Death?
Advice from the Teachers Video 10: Struggling with Visualizing Your Heart Bond Yidam. How to Choose One, How to Improve Clarity and Concentration.
BW Interview with Geshe Thubten Sherab: Skillfully Teaching Traditional Tibetan Buddhism for Western Students
Video Buddhist Advice 9: How Can Advanced Vajrayana Students Simplify and Manage Commitments and Practice? Answered by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Thich Nhat Hanh’s Translation: The Sutra on the Eight Realizations of the Great Beings “Torches That Help Light My Path”
Movie: Walk With Me — Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village on the Big Screen: “Mindfulness is to always arrive in the here and now.”
Inspired by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, Galgamani Art Project Aims Personalize the Tibetan Prayer Wheel: Interview with Micha Strauss
Prayer Wheels Growing in Popularity; Benefiting Sentient Beings and Practicing Right Livelihood: Interview with Shea Witsett of The Prayer Wheel Shop
Wheel of Dharma: Why Prayer Wheels May be the Ideal Buddhist Practice for Busy People; Benefits to Self and Sentient Beings: What the Teachers Say
This is the Great Happiness: Mangala Sutta, The Sutra on Happiness, the Tathagata’s Teaching
Wealth Deities: Generating Karma for Prosperity by Practicing Generosity
Purifying Negative Karma Advice Video: How to Purify Obstructions and Defilements with Vajrasattva Practice and Other Buddhist Meditations, Answered by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
How a Home Retreat Helps Busy People Manage Time and Save Money; How to Do It, and Why it is Necessary
Buddhist Teacher Advice Video 7: Keeping Motivated in Your Daily Practice, Answered by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
8 Rights: The Noble Eightfold Path — the Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching
BW Interview: Theodore Tsaousidis, a Teacher Who Focuses on Healing Practices in Tibetan Buddhism, Zen Meditation and Shamanism
EVENT: Lamrim The Stages on the Path to Enlightenment Lecture Series on Thursdays at Gaden Choling Toronto
Scientific Buddhist: Why Incense is More Than Just a Pleasant Backdrop to Meditation; Research Reveal Brain Health Benefits
Teacher Advice Video 6: What Advice Would You Give to a Student New to Buddhism as Starting Practices? — — Answered by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Female Enlightened Manifestations and Female Teachers and Lamas — Wisdom in Action; Reader Poll and Interview with Lama Shannon Young
EVENT: Geshe Thubten Sherab Weekend Teachings March 24-28, 2017 in Greater Toronto Area: Lama Tsongkhapa Meditation Practice and Lamrim
The Science of Mantras: Mantras Work With or Without Faith; Research Supports the Effectiveness of Sanskrit Mantra for Healing — and Even Environmental Transformation
Mama Buddha Tara: Compassionate Action; Stories of Tara the Rescuer
Happy Losar: How to Bring in the Auspiciousness of the Fire Bird and Celebrate the Traditions and Fun of Tibetan New Year of the Rooster. Tashi Delek!
BW Interview: Emma Slade Gave Up a Career in Finance to Become A Buddhist Nun After a Traumatic Incident; She Went On to Author Set Free and to Spearhead Fundraising for Special Needs Children in Bhutan
Happy Dakini Day! An Introduction to the Wisdom of the Female Enlightened Dakinis in Buddhism.
Illness and Cancer Advice: Video, Buddhist Teachers Answer  — — Advice for students with aggressive illnesses such as cancer, supportive practices Medicine Buddha and Black Manjushri (with full Medicine Buddha Sutra)
A Great Teacher Has Passed: The Learned and Inspiring Gelek Rimpoche of Jewel Heart International Passed Away
Karma is Not Fate: Why Karma is Empowering
Scientific Buddhist: Peer Reviewed Studies Demonstrate Buddhist Metta Loving Kindness Meditation Can Slow Aging, Increase Brain Matter, and Decrease PTSD and Schizophrenia —Ten Benefits of Compassion
Video: Students Ask the Buddhist Teacher: What advice would you give for a student who is dealing with the loss of a pet? Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
“Get Away From Her!”: Like Ripley in the movie Aliens, Palden Lhamo, the Terrifying Enlightened Emanation of Tara, Drives Off Your Inner and Outer Demons and Obstacles
Using Mindfulness to Combat Memory Loss, Early Alzheimers or Dementia: Helpful Video Advice from Buddhist Teacher Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, with the full Satipatthana Sutra
Video: Celebrating 40 Years of Dharma Practice in Remote Tasmania! One of the oldest Dharma centers in the West Commemorates with Retreat, and a Party
Vegetarianism Should be a Global Priority: New Research from World Resources Institute Demonstrates Devastating Environmental Impact of Meat Industry

Vegetarianism Should be a Global Priority: New Research from World Resources Institute Demonstrates Devastating Environmental Impact of Meat Industry

Yet another well-researched report reinforces the devastating environmental impact of the meat industry — as we previously reported in Buddha Weekly, in our feature “Five Ways Vegetarianism Could Save the World.” At the time we published the story a small minority of readers suggested our numbers were exaggerated. This report, together with several others, indicates we underestimated the devastation. The facts are not arguable — only a course of action to minimize damage is arguable.

5 Ways Vegetarianism Could Save the World; 5 Buddhist Teachings and Teachers Recommending a Vegetarian Lifestyle; 5 Reasons it’s the Ethical Thing to Do

 

Released this week, the paper found that even a minor shift away from animal products could cut agricultural land use by 2.5 million square miles and slash “billions of tonnes of carbon emissions over time.” [1] 

Our projections in Buddha Weekly’s previous story were more conservative than the new report. We had cited meat as using 23 times as much land as crops, while in fact as compared to maize or rice, meat uses 40 times more land.

According to the report, even a modest decrease in consumption of animal protein (as projected in their scenarios) would result in at least a 10 percent reduction in agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions, and 13 percent reduction in land used. More ambitious scenarios could literally save the planet.

Meat: 15 times more land and 8.3 times the carbon emissions compared to vegetables

For example, meat requires 15 times the land allocation as compared to fruits and vegetables, and 30 times that of soybeans.[2] Each million kilocalories consumed by people on the planet, contributes to unsustainable land use and extraordinary increases in carbon emissions. For example, for the same million kilocalories consumed, meat requires 10,000 m3 in land and generates 250 t CO2e. Compare that to just over 1,000 m3 of land for fruits and vegetables, generating approximately 30 tC02e. [See inset chart from report]

 

Data: Production of Animal-Based Foods is Generally More Impactful on the Planet than Plant-Based Foods. Comaprison "Per Million Kilocalories Consumed."
Data: Production of Animal-Based Foods is Generally More Impactful on the Planet than Plant-Based Foods. Comparison “Per Million Kilocalories Consumed.”

 

Meat, in other words, requires ten times the land and produces 8.3 times the pollution, as compared to fruits and vegetables. When compared to maize or rice, the multiple increases to nearly 40 times the land allocation (in other words, meat requires 40 times more land). Maize and rice also had the lowest carbon footprint, coming it at just over 10 tC02e (compared to meat at 250 t C02e)

One single change could save a planet: lower meat consumption

In other words, because of “overconsumption of protein” particularly meat — and aside from the $2 Trillion cost of healthcare (in 2012) — the impact to the planet could be devastating. In order to close the expected gap in food demand as populations grow, there would be insufficient land to support beef or poultry as a protein source for the majority of people. The pollution load would far outweigh any achievements made to date in global warming control to date.

 

Shifting diet patterns impact.
Shifting diet patterns impact.

 

The report studied three “diet shift” protocols designed to project advantages of each with regard to the issues. The highest impact or gain came from “Diet Shift 2: reducing consumption of animal based proteins”. They studied the projected impact on the United States, and then on a global scale.

Animal-based foods account for Nearly 85% of production related greenhouse gases (USA)

“We found that producing the food for the average American diet in 2009 required nearly one hectare of agricultural land and emitted 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (C02e), before accounting for land-use… Animal- based foods accounted for nearly 85 percent of the production related greenhouse gas emissions and early 90 percent of agricultural land use. Beef consumption alone accounted for nearly half of the US diet-related agricultural land use and green house gas emissions.”[3] [Inset Chart ES-3]

 

Per Ton Protein Consumed comparison.
Per Ton Protein Consumed comparison.

 

Taken another way, given the projection of a 70 percent food gap, if you consider the same factors — land use and carbon emissions — against a ton of protein produced, meat requires just under 110,000 m3 of land and would produced 2,500 tCO23 versus wheat or rice, averaging 20,000 m3 and only 500 tC023.

Compassion: The cost in suffering: 3,000 animals die each second to feed America

We had previously cited in our last report 56 billion farmed animals killed in the US alone each year, to reinforce our argument that the case for lowering animal-protein consumption wasn’t just about carbon emissions and land use:

“Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed each year by humans — 10 billion land animals in the U.S. alone. 3,000 die each second. [5] This does not include countless fish. Billions of animals suffer and die painfully — animals who, according to scientists, are sentient and feel emotions. [4]. Put another way, each person who eats meat, is directly responsible for the lives of an average of 95 slaughtered animals each year. [5]”

 

Sentient animals around the world feel happiness, pain and suffering. Here are two happy friends.
Sentient animals around the world feel happiness, pain and suffering. Here are two happy friends.

 

We had also made this rather direct illustration: That restaurant steak on the plate could represent 9,000 liters of water, 40 kilograms of poop (waste), 4 kilograms of feed and more emissions pollution than a car might create on an hour-long drive to the restaurant.

To reinforce the compassionate argument, we also cited a previous report from influential scientists clarifying that “all non human animals… are conscious beings” from our previous story>>

Prominent Scientists Declare “All Non Human Animals… Are Conscious Beings.” The Dalai Lama Protests Chicken Slaughter. An Orangutan Won Non-Human Rights Over Zoo Keeper. What Do the Teachers Say About Non-Human Compassion?

We challenged readers: “The advance in non-human rights begs the question, from a Mahayana Buddhist perspective, when we promise to liberate all sentient beings — or not to kill — just who do we include? If our definition includes all beings down to insects and octopuses, how do we reconcile our dependence on “lower” beings for survival?”

 

The environmental consequences of excessive meat production will be felt even in the short term.
The environmental consequences of excessive meat production will be felt even in the short term.

 

70 percent food gap by 2050 as population nears 10 billion

“Building on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations (FA0) food demand projections, we estimate the world needs to close a 70 percent ‘food gap’ between the crop calories available in 2006, and expected calorie demand in 2050,” concludes the report. The gap stems from both population growth and changing diets, with the global population expected to be nearly 10 billion by 2050, “two-thirds of those people projected to live in cities.”

 

Protein consumption exceeds estimated daily requirements around the world.
Protein consumption exceeds estimated daily requirements around the world.

 

The combination of growing wealth and “Multinational businesses … increasingly influencing what is grown and what people eat” are considered factors in the growth of an appetite for meat. “Together, these trends are driving a convergence toward Western-style diets, which are high in calories, protein, and animal-based foods. As calorie intake increases, health issues and costs grow as well.” The report ads “Overconsumption of calories… especially protein” as people grow wealthier, “widens the food gap, driving unnecessary agricultural impacts” and possibly devastating environmental impact.

While in the past, the issue was mostly solved through “increased agricultural production” this growth in population makes that largely unsustainable as long as meat is a dominant food choice.

 

Factory farming requires extensive land, water and natural resources.
Factory farming requires extensive land, water and natural resources.

 

NOTES

[1] “Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future, installment 11, April 2016 http://www.wri.org/sites/default/files/Shifting_Diets_for_a_Sustainable_Food_Future_0.pdf

[2] Data chart inset

[3] Page 7 of report.

[4] “5 Ways Vegetarianism Could Save the World” Buddha Weekly http://buddhaweekly.com/5-ways-vegetarianism-save-world-5-buddhists-teachings-teachers-recommending-vegetarian-lifestyle-5-reasons-ethical-thing/

 

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