Greetings of Peace!
My name is Tessa R. Salazar, a journalist in the Philippines.
I am writing to you not as a journalist but as a volunteer campaigning for support for the first-ever World Meatless Lunch (Fight Climate Change One Plate At A Time), a non-profit activity initiated by scientists, nutritionists, cause-oriented groups and concerned individuals that would be held on Oct. 1 (World Vegetarian Day) at Home Depot Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Happycow.net subscribers, their family and friends can also participate and show solidarity and oneness in their own countries, cities or towns by posting pictures of their meat-free dining tables on Oct. 1 at the World Meatless Lunch Facebook page and registering at the http://worldmeatlesslunch.org/ tracker.
The Philippine launch will be attended by chefs (who will take an oath to offer more vegan dishes); two vegan beauty queens; 150 students of Sophia School in Bulacan (a school in the Philippines that adopted a vegetarian diet in its school cafeteria), vegetarian-environment advocates, Kalikasan party list (composed of environment experts and advocates), a lawmaker-champion of Meatless Monday bill and proponents of Meatless Monday Philippines.
The issue linking livestock/meat processing to climate change has not been put to the fore, even with overwhelming evidence that the industry causes more global climate change than any other industry, as a staggering 45 percent of the Earth’s land area and more than 70 percent of the Amazon forest have been cleared for raising livestock and growing crops to feed them. Other industries may be favorite whipping boys of environmentalists and anti-global warming groups, but the bigger, more sinister climate change culprit is the livestock industry, with more than half of the annual worldwide man-made greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs, the necessary ingredient to climate change) attributable to the billions upon billions of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs, and poultry, and their processing.
The World Meatless Lunch will be the first in the world, and will be held in the Philippines (a country exceptionally gifted with botanical biodiversity, having over 250 varieties of vegetables). The theme of the World Meatless Lunch will be “Fight Climate Change, One Plate at a Time”.
Here’s the two-step process for joining the actual World Meatless Lunch:
1) Participate. Everyone should gather in one dining area and partake of a meatless lunch, meaning only vegetables, grains and fruits should be consumed (There should be no animal product whatsoever: no pork, no chicken, no goat/lamb, no beef/carabeef, no seafood, no fish, no crabs, clams and lobsters). The food can be prepared by employees themselves, or can be bought from known vegetarian restaurants (check out www.happycow.net, just type your location to find out the nearest vegetarian or vegetarian-friendly restaurants).
2. Validate. Show your group’s/company’s “proof of participation” in the WML by posting a picture of the group having the meatless lunch at the Facebook page of the World Meatless Lunch (https://www.facebook.com/pages/World-Meatless-Lunch/462697343751684) after clicking “like”. Participants may also upload their pictures in the World Meatless Lunch website (www.meatlesslunch.org). Please do not forget to indicate in the caption the name of the organization/department/division, the names of the participants, and the dishes served during the lunch.
Worldwide meat production and processing emits more atmospheric GHGs than do all forms of global transportation or industrial processes. This study (“The Greenhouse hamburger: Producing beef for the table has a surprising environmental cost: it releases prodigious amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases”), published in the February 2009 issue of the Scientific American, was written by Nathan Fiala, a doctoral candidate in economics at the University of California, Irvine.
WML founder Custer Deocaris, a DOST Balik Scientist, came up with local calculations using the International Energy Agency figures as his basis, and estimated that the amount of water used by 101 million Filipinos every lunch time based on the per capita meat intake would be around 40,622,913,794 liters. This would approximately be equivalent to 5.2 Ipo Dams (the water capacity of the dam is pegged at 7.5 million cubic meters). He also cited as references (to his calculations) the Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Sinks, the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Deocaris’ calculations also show that a meatless lunch by 97 million Filipinos would have been equivalent to 12,722,851 kg of CO2 saved (if all protein of the average Filipino diet with meat is replaced by soya during this meatless lunch).
It takes about 12,000 liters of water to produce one kg of beef, compared with just 850 liters to produce the same weight of wheat.
Deocaris also predicted that if climate change is left unchecked, “before 2050 arrives, Malacañang will long be underwater.”
According to the IEA, if nothing substantial would be done by 2017, it would be too late to reverse a 2-degree rise in average global temperatures by 2050.
On behalf of the WML founder Deocaris, may I also kindly request you to endorse the World Meatless Lunch among your vast network of friends, colleagues and partners?
I believe, with your help, we can make the first World Meatless Lunch a success, and thus take the necessary first steps toward reversing climate change by 2017, the deadline set by scientists and climatologists before our only habitable planet enters the point of no return towards climatic catastrophe in 2050.
Tessa R. Salazar
World Meatless Lunch