MC (m): The challenge of change on a global level can be great, but the benefits do not only provide great motivation, but also to the answer to many of the crises facing us. Our next speaker, Dr. Patrick Brown, is a professor of biochemistry at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, U.S.A. He's received numerous awards, including the American Cancer Society's Medal of Honor, and is an elected member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine. So please put your hands together for Patrick Brown.
Dr Patrick Brown (m): Well, first of all I want to thank the WPF and the organizers for inviting me to this meeting, and putting it together. I've certainly learned a tremendous amount today. It's hard to really add much to what we've already heard. I'm going to try to slip in a couple of sort of factual points. One of the challenges that we have to wrestle with when we talk about making possible changes to diet or agriculture for environmental reasons is that we still need to feed the world population.
And those animals that humans are raising for food, they make up about 20% of the biomass, the animal biomass on the surface of the planet, and feeding them requires more than 30% of the land area of the planet. Now, one of the corollaries of devoting 30% of the surface of the planet to raising animals is that, historically, land that was covered with forest or scrubland or savanna or prairies had to be cleared so that it could be used for grazing or crop cultivation to produce feed crops to feed the animals.
And this is a map showing the areas that have been converted, again from their original vegetation, to farmlands for cultivating crops. The red and yellow represent areas where feed crops are the primary crops being raised, and you can see that in most of the developed world in the northern hemisphere, the crop cultivation isn't crops to feed humans; it's to feed that huge population of animals that we bring along with us. In order to produce that land for farming and grazing, clearing of the land released a massive amount of carbon into the atmosphere that was originally in the plant biomass, in the soils - 150 billion metric tons, historically. Each year, as of this year, we produce about 9 billion metric tons of carbon released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.
So basically, if you if you do the math, simple math, the historical land use change amounts to the greenhouse gas equivalent of 17 years' worth of fossil fuel emissions. The portion of that land that was cleared for animal farming represents 12 to 13 years' worth of fossil fuel emissions. And the happy ending is that what this means is actually something, a point, that wasn't really addressed when we talk about the need for rapidly doing something that will address greenhouse gases, not over the next hundred years but over the next decade or two. This provides a means for very rapid actual reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the opportunity is sort of illustrated by this graph that you've probably seen a hundred times, and every time you look at it, the striking thing is it's just shooting up. This represents atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over a period of 30 or so years.
That's what draws your eye, but what I want to focus on is that it's not continuously going up. In fact every year during the spring and summer in the northern hemisphere, where there's the greatest amount of vegetation, the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere shoot down actually very rapidly. Basically, that's because plants convert carbon dioxide into biomass, and we have, by clearing land for agriculture, there's a huge opportunity cost in terms of that activity. Any land that we allow to recover its normal vegetation will immediately be soaking up CO2 and converting it into biomass and soil carbon stores effectively.
The problem here is that these periods where the CO2 is being pulled out of the air are more than matched by the CO2 generated by burning fossil fuels. But if we could take advantage of this CO2-lowering ability by allowing more lands to convert CO2 into biomass, that would allow potentially a very rapid lowering of CO2 concentrations. And we have, effectively you could say, if we took all the land that was currently used for animal farming and immediately just said let it revert to its native cover, effectively we would get like 12 years' worth of complete negating the carbon dioxide rises from fossil fuel burning. Okay, And, of course, there's the methane story, which you already heard a lot about.
Now, when I talk about this subject with my colleagues, the first question I always get is, “Well, even if you could imagine that happening, then you'd have the problem of producing enough protein to feed the world, and that would probably require more land to be cleared for farming.” Well, that's actually nonsense. It turns out that the current world production of just four crops - soya beans, corn, wheat and rice - that require less than 4% of the Earth's surface area to produce, contain more protein and calories than all human beings eat today, every year, and way more protein and calories than they need to eat; but that's another story. So, there's an interesting opportunity: replacing meat with plant-derived sources of proteins to the degree that you would reduce the land area required to feed the population and allow recovery of biodiversity and carbon capture ability; reduce it by more than 80%.
In other words, we'd recover about 25% of the total surface area of the planet, we'd get back for whatever purposes we wanted to use it - carbon capture or solar energy or recreation, or just leaving it alone and letting it grow. That's a lot of land, okay. So, you don't need any meat or dairy products to completely satisfy the nutritional needs of the entire human population with current production. This is just last year, the American Dietetic Association, which is sort of the scientific organization studies nutrition in the US, had a position paper that stated that vegetarian diets, including vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate… may provide health benefits; and that's true for every stage of the life cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, athletes, you name it. No problem.
This is actually a wonderfully researched and written paper on climate change last year that modeled the economics of mitigating CO2 or other greenhouse gases to reach the target stabilization pathway that's more or less internationally agreed upon, even though no one is really doing anything about it. But the point that they make is that if you eliminated all animal foods from the diet, you would save 80% of the cost of stabilizing CO2 at the level that most governments, I think including the UK, have accepted as a reasonable target, and that amounts to tens of billions of dollars saved for the global economy. So you're actually talking about something that is a pocketbook issue for your constituents. Is it realistic?
You already heard a reference to the kind of historical model of tobacco smoking. Basically, what happened about 50 years ago was slowly society, including the political powers that be, accepted that smoking actually had net deleterious effect on the welfare of their societies and decided to take a variety of strategic actions to reduce smoking, the most effective of which, I think pretty much everyone agrees, are increasing the cost of it by raising taxes and making it harder to do by restricting places where you can smoke and so forth. But, at any rate, the effect has meant to take something - that actually, I think, has a lot of parallels to meat eating, namely, it's a completely unnecessary, but for many people, very pleasurable habit, that their people are reluctant to give up.
And another parallel is it's supported by a very powerful industry with very powerful lobbies, probably, in the British Parliament - certainly in the US Congress - that will do just about anything to try to prevent change. Nevertheless, it worked. Basically, I think that plant-based foods are more than an order of magnitude cheaper to produce nutritionally equivalent products than meat. It would be relatively easy to make it more economically advantageous for people to change their diets. And the last thing I want to mention is sort of another little economics thing, which is that one of the most price sensitive purchases that consumers make is purchases of meat. Meaning that, I think raising the price would have a real incentive effect for people's diets and for industries to develop, to provide, alternative foods that people could afford.
MC(m): Our next speaker is Anthony Kleanthous. What are the some of the practical steps we can take to bring about sustainable consumption and how can governments and industry facilitate this? Anthony Kleanthous is a Senior Policy Adviser on Sustainable Business and Economics at the WWF. He is founder of the Sustainability Consultancy “Here Tomorrow” and a registered adviser to the UK Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Please put your hands together.
Anthony Kleanthous (m): Thank you very much. Good afternoon, I know you've had a lot of data thrown at you today, a lot of information, and it's a very complex and very difficult issue fraught with dilemmas, I think, this whole question of eating less meat. And as a meat lover myself, I do recognize that it's , you know a very hard thing to countenance this idea that we all need to change our diets, but we do. It's very important that we eat less meat, and I'm going to begin with just a couple of charts, going right back up to the top and explaining why we need to take a systemic view on this. Not just to look at the way that we produce what we consume, but to ask ourselves, “Are we consuming the right things and are we handling the things that we consume in the right kind of way and what do we need to do to change?”
So I'll move on to talk a little bit about what the impacts of food consumption are, if you haven't heard enough of that already, and finally to talk about some of the responses and priorities that I believe we, as a society, should be placing and what we can expect from our politicians. I think the problem here is that our consumption of foods, of fossil fuels, of many of the things that we consider essential for daily life, is actually eating up our own planet. If this room were full of bankers, I'd be talking about principals and loans, and you know, everybody has savings.
What we are doing is we are spending our savings; we are not living off the interest that those savings accrue. And if you look at this chart here - WWF produces every year something called, “The Living Planet Report,” and there are two really key charts in there. The first one shows our global ecological footprint. So this is a measure, if you divided up everything that we consume and allocated a parcel of land to it, how much land or other resources, like atmosphere, would be required? And that little dotted line that you see running along the middle there, that represents one Earth.
So, in 1961 we were consuming about 60% of all of the resources that the Earth can renew within a single year. Now, come the middle of September, we've already used up all of the resources that the planet can provide to us in one year. So we're 50% above sustainability at a planetary level. And of course, closely linked to that, we are in the midst of one of the great mass extinctions this planet has ever known. We have lost 30% of the biodiversity on this planet in just 40 years. And in the tropics, we're talking about 60% declines in biodiversity. That is completely “uncountenanceable,” if that's a word. I mean, that just cannot continue. If it does, we won't have anything to eat and we won't have anything to fuel our economy.
Food is one of the three greatest impacts on our environment. This chart shows the share of foods and other areas of consumption in terms of our global ecological footprints. And housing is a big one, slightly bigger than food, according to this chart. Transport is smaller. Food is the second, some say the most, demanding product, ecologically speaking that we produce - 23% of our global ecological footprint, and by the way, about the same amount of our greenhouse gas footprint. In fact, if you look at the UK's emissions related to what we consume, not just with what we produce locally, but what we import from abroad, and you take into account the land use change, the clearing of forests for example, to support the meat and other products that we eat, that figure goes up from 20% of carbon emissions to 30% of carbon emissions. And within the food chain, all the way from primary production all the way through to consumption, agriculture accounts for 40% of those impacts, which doesn't mean that we should just focus on production by the way, because what we consume multiplies each one of those impacts.
And, as we've heard today, you know meat and dairy really are the primary concern here. They account for 60-80% of direct agricultural impacts - around three quarters of all the land use change in the world. We've heard about 1 kilogram of beef taking up so much water, and so much more carbon dioxide than plant-based materials. It takes up a lot more land as well, because you have to spread the cows out and the other animals out. And 80% of the world's soya is consumed by animals. Now, what does this mean? Practically speaking on the ground, it means that biodiverse habitats like this, the “Cerrado de Brazil,” which contains 5% of the world's biodiversity, is being turned quite rapidly into landscapes that look like this.
This is intensive soya production, and it is there essentially to feed our insatiable appetite for meats and for dairy products, because this grain is fed to cows and it is fed to pigs and it is fed to chickens. So we are responsible for taking up about 400 square meters of this land ourselves every year. This is the Cerrado as it was a few decades ago only, and this is what it looks like today, and we're still talking about 5% of the world's biodiversity. So imagine the destruction that we have wrought up until now. We have to stop that destruction, and we have to ask ourselves: Are the diets that we aspire to and have become used to eating in rich, industrialized nations, like our own, the way forward?
This is a typical American family and what they consume within a week. It is absolutely loaded with processed foods and with meats. Now, I don't personally subscribe to the view that the reason poor people start eating more meat when they get rich is because they want to be like Americans or like the British. I just think you know it's a luxury part of every culture. When you get rich, it's a status symbol. It's something you consider very special, you eat more of it; of course you do. And as the world gets richer, as we grow our population to 9 billion people, and as the average income is set to rise, our impact is going to rise accordingly.
If we do move towards these high-meat diets like we have in the West, if the whole of the world does that, we're going to need more like three planets to support us, rather than the one and a half or so that we're currently eating our way through. But, if we are prepared to switch to diets more like they have in Malaysia, which is much lower in processed food, in meat and in dairy products, but is still a very healthy diet, we can get ourselves back down more like to one-planet living. We did a study recently in association with the Food Climate Research Network that actually ran scenarios looking at the different solutions: efficient use of energy, changing the way that we consume, changing production methods, changing the way we generate electricity.
And we asked to what extent could each of these scenarios lead us towards 70% reductions in carbon emissions by 2050, which is what we believe are required. And the fact is, you can't lose any of them, really. You know, You've got to do all of them. And consumption - which at the moment really is an unmentionable word across the Atlantic, if not quite so much here - we've got to start thinking about it. So, where should we focus our priorities? Well, obviously we have to eliminate waste. I mean, we waste around 40% of the food we produce at the moment. That is ridiculous. And by the way, the spoilage of food is one of the reasons why famines occur.
I also have been to Ethiopia and I've seen what happens straight after the harvest; there is an abundance of food. The problem is that a few months down the line, without refrigeration, without decent transport to take that food to market, it's gone, and people begin to starve. We need to eliminate waste completely, because we need to mimic nature and there is no waste in nature. Secondly, we have got to reduce our meat and dairy consumption, and in particular, we need to avoid processed meats, which are much worse for the environment and much worse for health.
And we need to eat locally in-season fruits and vegetables, far greater proportions to those in our diets. Reducing meat and dairy consumption, particularly intensively produced imported and processed meats, consumers need to have the right products available to them on the supermarket shelves. They need to be responsibly produced; they need to be clearly labeled; they need to be appropriately priced, and by “appropriately priced,” I mean the true cost of producing these foods should be reflected in the end price; they need guidance on how to choose it, buy it, store it, cooking it. Up to half of the carbon emissions go into cooking the foods.
And we need some political leadership. We have to vote in politicians who are prepared to face up to these very obvious and very urgent and very important challenges. So, for example, we need to change dietary advice to the public so that it's not just saying how much protein we need, how much fat we need, but where we should derive this stuff from and what the effects are going to be on the environment. We need to shift the way that we pay our taxes and charge our taxes, away from things like hard work, for example income tax. Why not shift that onto taxing highly polluting, highly damaging environmental activities? There doesn't need to be a change in the overall tax system, we just need to send the right signals in the right directions.
We need to stop subsidizing intensive agriculture at… You know, it's crazy that a packet of popcorn costs less than an ear of natural corn. You know why is that? It's because oil is free, and if producing food is about turning oil into food, which is what it's become, it makes no sense just to allow people to extract oil from the ground and pollute the atmosphere without charging them for it. So we need to shift our subsidies, we need to shift taxes, we need to purchase responsibly. And finally, we need to work with the retailers and the processors altogether.
We have a process at WWF called, “Tasting the Future,” where we've actually invited people from governments, all but one of the big supermarkets are there, big food producers, academics, people from civil society, and we are working together to look at the systemic barriers: “What's actually stopping us doing this?” and “Why can't we even talk about it?” And now we're talking about it. We're working on solutions and I very much hope to be standing here in a year or two's time and showing you some of the results of that work. And if it does work, hopefully we can turn this, back into this on an ongoing basis. Thank you very much.
MC(m): Our penultimate speaker is Pat Thomas. One of the best-known initiatives for reducing our emissions footprint through reduced meat consumption is Meat Free Mondays. Pat Thomas is Meat Free Mondays' scientific advisor, former editor of the Ecologist.
Pat Thomas (f): Thank you. I agree with Anthony, there's been an awful lot of information today - lots to take in, lots of predictions, lots of scenarios and graphs and charts and facts to digest - but to my mind, the one thing that's missing is the public, the end user, the consumer.
People like you and me who, when we're finished setting the world to rights today, could be dragging our groceries home on the bus or the tube, or looking forward to doing the big Saturday shop, and wondering what to cook that will inspire peace to break out at the dinner table. And that need for peace at the dinner table becomes increasingly tricky when you start saying to people, “You know what, you need to eat a whole lot less of your favorite food from now on,” it's a big ask, but if you don't ask, you don't get, and so we are asking, at Meat Free Monday And I need to acknowledge here that Meat Free Monday is just one of a number of meat reduction campaigns all over the world, from America to Australia, from Brazil to Belgium.
In the UK, the idea coalesced after our founder, Paul McCartney, read “Livestock's Long Shadow.” But, even while recognizing that Livestock's Long Shadow falls in some cases spectacularly short of making the sort of sensible recommendations that will alter its figures substantially and produce a sustainable global food system, it was a revelation. Paul's interest and commitment in this area is well established. He is, famously, a vegetarian; he is an organic farmer; he is a campaigner for animal rights, and yet what he was reading wasn't written by vegetarians or organic farmers or animal rights activists; it was written by scientists working for an international agency, people who had no real personal or ethical investment in whether or not any of us ate meat or not. He knew we had to do something and he also knew it was not going to be an easy sell.
As nations get richer, meat consumption, rather like oil consumption, is seen as a sign of progress and a sign of affluence. It's not unlike owning a big car - eating a lot of meat sends a cultural message, the finer points of which we barely even question, that say, “Look how well I'm doing. Look how well I can afford to feed my family.” But in the last few years, a convergence of research in the fields of environment, climate change, and health have shown that being a “meat guzzler” is just as unsustainable as being a “gas guzzler.”
And so, 18 months ago, Meat Free Monday was born in the UK. Our strategy is simple: we provide information, but we also provide inspiration. We do not browbeat, we do not harangue. We provide support through our various media outlets. We provide amazing recipes for people to try, some of them by very well known chefs, and in this way, changing your diet becomes as much an act of joyous kitchen experimentation and creativity as it does an act of climate activism. And perhaps most importantly, you don't need to be a vegetarian or a vegan to belong. Meat Free Monday is an inclusive campaign that encourages everyone to weigh the evidence for themselves and to do their bit, and it's working.
Our supporter base is growing daily: our Facebook site is a lively community for sharing thoughts, support and recipes. We've even taken the campaign to a special session at the European Parliament to make a plea for meat reduction to be taken seriously as a policy goal. At its Bavarian headquarters, sports manufacturer Puma offers its 10,000 employees an opportunity to go meat free on Mondays. Supermarket Ocado promotes our message to its customers via its website. The Hard Rock Café now has a special Meat Free Monday menu. In the US, the cities of San Francisco, Washington DC, and Baltimore are joining Sao Paulo in Brazil, encouraging people to go meat free one day a week, and many of these people are responding to the climate imperative, but of course there are health benefits too.
According to modeling carried out by the British Heart Foundation for Friends of the Earth in the UK, eating meat no more than two or three times a week would prevent 31,000 premature deaths through heart disease, 9,000 from cancer, and 5,000 from stroke in this country. Even former President Bill Clinton has publicly cut meat from his diet in order to improve his health. People who are reducing their meat consumption are making an ethical decision. They're also making a rational decision to protect the future. They are not waiting for the government to act, but this doesn't mean that government is exempt from action. Indeed, government is at risk of falling dangerously behind public opinion in this area.
Research for DEFRA in 2006 found most people unwilling to reduce their consumption of meat and dairy in order to cut their environmental footprint. But in a few short years, this attitude has changed Substantially. Now, nearly 40% of us in the UK are calling ourselves meat reducers or meat avoiders, and this in just a few short years. We are the ones with the simple common sense to say, “If you find out that something you're doing is bad for you, stop doing it.” Government must act and government can act as a thought leader, for instance, making sense of the huge flood of data that is coming in every day, even if it doesn't like where it's leading.
And it has a duty to act on that data in the same way that it has a duty to act on the data about climate change, and government must also lead by example. There is an early day motion, EDM 669 before the government at the moment, which asks for the houses of parliament to have one meat free day a week. There is a great deal of work to do in this area. Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest we get started. Thank you.
MC(m): Thank you very much. We now have our last speaker, and we do appreciate it has been a long day with a lot of speakers, but they've all been good. There's an awful lot of food for thought in those speeches. So, here is our final one. This is Wally Fry, who is the owner of Fry's Vegetarian Food Company and nominee for the 2010 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the World Award, which is no mean feat. So, Mr. Fry, over to you.
Wally Fry (m): Thank you. Good afternoon, everybody. I come to you from a slightly different point of view. We've heard a lot of very, very expert information being delivered to us today. Today, it's more about a personal story that I've been asked to speak about, and maybe by delivering that story, some industrialists or some people may derive inspiration also to embark on a similar route.
So, this story takes place over some 24 years, and way back then, my wife and I had an awakening of the intellect, and we could see these graphs and figures already 24 years ago, and we decided to do something about it. So my name, as they've already said, is Wally Fry. I'm the CEO and the co-founder of Fry's Vegetarian. We're a manufacturer of vegan, frozen meat analogues, or alternatives, if you like to call them that.
Twenty-one years ago, my wife Debbie and I - she's sitting in the audience over here -quit the construction industry by closing our rather successful construction company and starting a quest to develop meat alternatives with a view to supplying friends and organizations, aligned with our burning desire to curb mass slaughter and factory farming for the very reasons we've seen today, being the basis of much harm to the environment. We were, I believe, divinely inspired, to the extent that, without any formal education or experience in food formulation, we were able to develop a small range of absolutely unique products, quite amazingly delicious, and very sought after by all who ever tried them. From our construction office, we strived to make 7 kilograms of products a day for friends and family.
Today, 22 years down the passage of time, we will strive to produce 7,000 tons of our food products, exported to some 17 countries in the world. These products, by the way, are sold both in mainstream and in smaller organic type shops. Now, this directly relates to the saving of hundreds of thousands - no, possibly millions - of factory farmed animals from slaughter. And I guess this small measure of success qualified me to speak on the subject of why and how I believe industry can successfully change to accommodate the ethos of environmental compassion.
Now, from those humble beginnings, where Debbie, my partner and my rock and my wife, and I ran that factory single handed, weighing ingredients, operating machines, packing products and freezing them, washing up the small factory, and even loading of refrigerator transport. The passion for the moral cause was so strong, and the love for what we were doing so huge, that great financial and physical hardships were overcome. Today, the whole family, all of whom are vegetarians by the way, are involved passionately following the same cause. We now employ some 350 staff members, all lovingly producing 15 product lines, which are approved by the vegetarian and vegan societies of the United Kingdom.
They're approved Kosher Pareve, which means it contains no milk and no meat. They are approved Halal. They're approved Shuddha, which is an approval by the Hindu Association, meaning “pure,” containing no flesh. And not only is it approved by all of the above, but it is produced from 100% GM-free crops - we make absolutely sure of this. It contains no added preservatives or artificial colorants. And all of this takes place in our world-class energy efficient factory, where our management systems and facility are certified ISO 22000, which is a worldwide recognized food safety endorsement. As a matter of interest, we've just heard about Meat Free Mondays. Fry's Vegetarian are now the initiators and the drivers and the soul funders of the Meat Free Monday campaign in Southern Africa.
It's doing very well by the way; it's gaining momentum like wildfire. We have heard much of the facts and figures and scientific studies and dedicated work from our esteemed and learned speakers. It would thus be improper for me, an ordinary person, like me, to suggest ways and means with factual analysis both economic and environmental, for modern-day industrialists, by way of advice.
But what is interesting though is that the financial credit crunch can be so closely aligned with the pending environmental credit crunch that industrialists and businesses alike would do well to note that, according to reliable sources - and we've had some of it a moment ago - we are currently in debt to the planet to the extent that we need about 1.4 Earths to fund our activities and have crossed our credit boundaries with biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, and fresh water use and land system changes. We've already crossed those boundaries.
The time has, therefore, come for industrialists across the spectrum - not only in food production - to make changes. I'm acknowledging though, that food production is of major concern. Now, the intellect is part of our humanness that differentiates us from animals and trees. An intellectual is not an academic, by the way. The American Red Indians, for example, were powerfully intellectual, yet they were not academics. The intellect is part of consciousness, which, if we listen to it, tells us the difference between right action and not so right action. I'm referring to right and wrong in the universal sense of the creation of all living organisms, not in terms of laws laid down by politicians governing our social behavior. It is a human gift of reasoning, supposedly helping us from following blindly the trends and tendencies and actions of other humans, even when they are leading us down the road to ruin.
Now, how does this relate to industry? Our minds desire profit, and in so doing mind power dominates the intellect in exercising our rights to free will. But if this discerning intellect is allowed space to speak to us industrialists - I say “us” because I am one - it will show us that pollution we are causing; that forest we are destroying; that river strangled by effluent; those gases that come from the cars we build; those cows, sheep, and pigs and chickens in their factory farm horrors; those polar bears drowning; those rhinoceroses shot dead to take the horns for what scientific benefit no one knows; that packaging we churn out that will not easily degrade; that globalization that requires us to fly all over the sky polluting as we go, and so on, and so on. Give your intellect the space to speak and it will show you all of this and more. We humans have the intrinsic knowing that we are wrongly doing these things, without our esteemed scientists always having to point it out to us.
Now, if each industry in the world, every large scale manufacturer, looked at their processes in the true light of day, and listening to the intellect and not the mind spinning profit, money, and power stories. If each one started a pilot plant or project bearing the planet in mind - and there is no short term gain here I'm afraid - I'm convinced that through the power of a more aware consumer, and the environmentally friendly plants and their goods would soon become the mainstream, and we'd be dumping our old nasty environmentally destructive ways on the garbage heap of bad human endeavors.
In India today, the first cars that run on compressed air are soon to roll off the production line. Mom-and-pop family farm produce is soaring in popularity in the world. Some brave fruit juice producers, in order to cut down on PET and UHT packaging, are piloting bulk dispensers in retail shops. Bottled water producers would do well to follow this trend, where so many alternatives to PET exist by bulk or home filtration. Manufactures would do well to invest as we are in water recycling, thus minimizing use and never creating waste water. Compostable packaging is now available; food producers and manufactures would do well to link into this new innovation. Investment by industry in solar and wind power. The removal of nasty chemicals used in the food industry to generate better profits.
A new concept is like a seed, planted in the warmth of your house. The seed cannot be taken straight out of that atmosphere until it is strong enough to be planted where it has to withstand the outer elements. So too with a new concept, it cannot just be pulled out like a conjurer pulls a rabbit out of a hat. It takes time to give it substance and form. It has to be tried out with the few before it can be given to the many. It takes great patience and love to do it. It takes dedication and devotion, and this process is what is taking place at this time with the new age. The new age is upon us. It is very new and many new ideas and concepts are being born, and each one has to be tried out and understood, loved and cherished.
When you are at the spearhead of the new age, you must be willing to go ahead fearlessly and try out the newest of the new. The challenges are out there and easy to start implementing when the intellect pervades the boardrooms of big business. There must and will be a realization of a debt starting now to the call of our planet, or watch as your huge colossi grind to a halt anyway, as Mother Nature calls in her dues. My call is to fellow manufacturers to feel and understand the need to know that we are all part of the same universal energy in every living thing. If we harm it, we harm ourselves. If we help it, we help ourselves. Industry can change and it will. The only question is: Do you want to be a part of that change? When the moral cause is realigned with “help ever, hurts never,” profits and wellbeing will once again flow, although maybe in a slightly different paradigm. That, by the way, is also universal law.
My plea therefore, in closing, is this: let us awaken the intellect in industry, and by using it as our master instructor, start the environmental revolution, which will go down in history as a far greater thing than the industrial revolution ever was. I thank you all kindly for listening, and I humbly offer my gratitude to the World Preservation Foundation and Dods for the extreme honor bestowed upon me by asking me to speak here today. I thank you.
MC (m): Ladies and gentlemen, if you could put your hands together for the panel, and indeed for all the speakers that we've had during the day. In just summing up, I mean, this has been about a viable near-term solution to climate change. And having chaired a number of conferences on climate change, it's actually beautiful to realize there are actions you can take today that will have immediate effect, if we decide that is something that we want to do. And of course it's all about us as individuals: it's our choice and our chance to do something. It's then how we communicate and how we pass that message on. I'd like to thank the World Preservation Foundation and Dods for the day. I think it's been absolutely marvellous. I mean, a number of wonderful speakers, a lot of information for us all to take in, and it was in bite-size chunks. Again, on behalf of the organizers, a very big thank you to all of our speakers, and to you for being such a understanding, knowledgeable, and generous audience. Thank you.
Amir (Vegetarian)Conference participant(m): It was such a beautiful conference to attend, and a lot of facts and figures were provided to us. It reiterated the importance of us as individuals, as companies, as politicians to go and look at these viable solutions, especially the most efficient way being a vegan-based diet, which has the most amount of impact.
There are many, many benefits. There's the physical benefits and, of course, the spiritual benefits that come with following a vegetarian diet; and the expanding of understanding and realizing the importance of things is quite another benefit to it, too. There are many, many facets and aspects to it. And anybody who's become a vegetarian over time, the benefits come out more and more; it might start at the physical level but then it grows and blooms like a flower on other levels too.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: In the Western world, they say genius is a kind of nonstop working, nonstop trying only. So I want my disciples to know that. I am not better than them. I just try. I work all the time, never give in. So if anybody has no self confidence, I will teach them that they should have. That's why I tell them not to worship me, just follow my example, follow my teaching. Don't worship personality, because what I do, they can do.
Join us on Supreme Master Television on Wednesday, December 29, for Supreme Master Ching Hai's wisdom-filled lecture entitled “Success is Achievable through Nonstop Trying” on Words of Wisdom.
TODAY (Wed EP 1567) Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for our program “Success is Achievable through Nonstop Trying” on Words of Wisdom.