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Can Veganism Save the World?

Story ID:9149
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various USA
Year:2013
Person:Nguyen Thi Thuy
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Some of you may find the title- "Can Veganism Save the
World?" completely without merit or even foolhardy. Well,
I am glad to report that there are more and more people
giving this lifestyle more serious thought. Among them is
a famous film director and a caring philantropist. We will
meet them later.

REASONS FOR BECOMING VEGAN

I think many of us have already heard some of the reasons
for becoming vegan. Professor Colin Campbell's China study
maintains that a PLANT-BASED DIET would lesson the incidences
of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Sadly, this
important finding re our HEALTH issues doesn't seem to impress
those who subscribe to a lifestyle of "Eat, drink, and be merry,"
-no matter the cost or consequences to our health and longevity
later on.

But many of us have embraced this new lifestyle for a different
reason. We cannot abide the thought of FARM ANIMAL SUFFERING
in the cruel confines of CAFOs. This meatless, dairy-less,
eggless diet brings us peace of mind. We know that we are not
responsible for the suffering and death of our fellow living
beings -creatures of God as we who share our basic needs. And
I believe that the gentle, loving St. Francis called them our
brothers and sisters.

The third reason perhaps is the least thought of but an equally
powerful one. France's Nguyen Thi Thuy's wonderful post this
week on Facebook's Catholic Vegetarian brought it to the fore
with a great deal of positive information.

It started with a challenging question- HOW DO WE SAVE THE
PLANET AND FEED 9 BILLION PEOPLE? Our resources are finite and
even now, there are 868 million people stricken with FAMINE
worldwide because we are using water and grain resources to
raise animals for meat instead of using the grain for people
to assuage their hunger.

Sadly, too many of us with full stomachs seem to give nary a
thought to the hungry and starving of this world, but Bill
Gates, the philantropist has, and you will be surprised as I
that he is endorsing a VEGAN diet.

I wrote him a couple of years back asking him to help support
animal charities. Though the Gates Foundation was kind enough
to reply to my request, they said they couldn't help. But now
with the Bill Gates endorsement of veganism, they are indeed
helping the animals even though this was not their purpose.
Gates has come to the realization that the only way for the
whole world to be fed is by as many of us who can adopting a
vegan lifestyle.

On his blog he wrote "We need more options for producing meat
without depleting our resources." He is endorsing vegan foods-
even faux meats and eggs which he says taste good but don't
require vast amounts of natural resources for production.

If some of us don't care about our HEALTH or are not concerned
about ANIMAL SUFFERING, hopefully we will be moved by the pictures
of starving babies and children along with their hungry parents.

I have never forgotten the picture from the 80's of a Biafran
mother holding her starving, bony child. For people of compassion,
that should be reason enough to realize that the cause of this
suffering is using our grain resources to feed livestock instead
of hungry children. So USING OUR RESOURCES RESPONSIBLY is the
third reason for becoming vegan.

Most of us have never felt what it means to be really hungry,
and perhaps we should experience it so that we can do what
is necessary to address and prevent it.

Thuy's piece reminds us that one pound of meat requires nine
pounds of cereal (grain). Wouldn't it be better to save the
grain for the world's hungry? Isn't it about time we thought
of the greater good when chosing our foods to eat?


OTHER PEOPLE OF INFLUENCE

I was very surprised to learn in Thuy's post that more people
of influence are joining the ranks and they are seriously
recognizing that if we want to feed the world, there is only
ONE way and that is with a plant-based diet.

Other notable voices in this regard are those of James Cameron,
E.Williams and B.Stone, (Twitter co-founders) and Hubert
Reeves, (astrophysicist),

Michelle Kretzer wrote about James Cameron using an award
speech to tell everyone to go vegan. I bet they were suprised.
I certainly was.

When the National Geographic bestowed its "Explorer of the Year"
award to James Cameron for his solo dive to the deepest part of
the ocean (the Mariana Trench), Cameron seized the opportunity
in his acceptance speech to tell the explorers and scientists
gathered there to speak about something important to him and
that was "EATING VEGAN."

I am still not over this surprise that the Director of Titanic
and Avatar is a vegan. Of course, all of us vegans are delighted
too I am sure. One never knows who next will decide to become
vegan, but certainly Cameron's decision to do so is a big boost
for veganism. It is important that people of influence endorse
this compassionate and needful lifestyle.

Kretzer shares Cameron's poignant and heart-felt sentiment in his
speech:

"I've had an epiphany recently," he said. I want to challenge all
of you as people of deep conscience, people who are environment
stewards of the earth and oceans. By changing what you eat, you
will change the entire contract between the human species and
the natural world."

Well said. I'm so glad I became vegan over 30 years ago -thanx
to my beloved dog, Peaches. Do you have a Peaches in your life
or some other worthwhile reason to become vegan today?


OTHER VOICES FROM THE PAST AND THE PRESENT WHO ENDORSE VEGANISM

Dexter Scott king, son of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
told Vegetarian times in October 1995:

"I think everyone has the ability to stop a moment to think
and say: 'If I knew you, I would not eat you. And somehow, it's
really that simple.'" (He is still vegan today and his mother
Coretta King also became vegan before she died.)

Steve-O explained his feelings re veganism in an article
published in the Huffington Post entitled "Crazy for Vegetables."
He wrote: "I am convinced that of all the changes I made in my
life, adopting a vegan diet was certainly the best for me
physically, mentally, and spiritually. It has done me good in
all areas of my life."

If celebrities are "your thing," some are mentioned here - though
I believe you can find a more complete listing on the internet.

From a variety of celebrity fields embracing the vegan or vegetarian
lifestyle are: Avril Lavigne, Chris Martin, Mike Tyson, Brad Pitt,
Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Venus and Serena Williams, Victoria
Beckham, Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, Julia Roberts, and Richard
Gere. All are or were vegetarians or vegans.

And, of course, we can never dismiss the compassionate voices from
the past. All felt that the solution to eradicate and prevent famine
was to become vegetarian. They are: Plato, Socrates, Buddha, St.
Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi, Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci,
Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, George Bernard Shaw, Tolstoi, Voltaire,
and Laurent Huguelit (a Shaman).

A FEW INSPIRING QUOTES

"Nothing will be as beneficial to human health and increase chances
for survival of life on earth as the evolution of a vegetarian
diet."
Albert Einstein

"I think we are sleepwalking off a cliff if we don't do this."
James Cameron

"Let us preserve ourselves, the living beings, men, our health, our
spirtuality, peace, and the planet."
Hubert Reeves, Bill Gates, E.Williams and B. Stone