Below are some articles written by the pathshala students on veganism and related topics
Not only does the dairy industry cause immense pain to the tortured animals like cows and chickens, but it also leads to a large amount of water consumption, land degradation, climate alterations, and gas emissions. While it only takes one acre of land to produce 40,000 lbs of cherries, potatoes, and other fruits and veggies, one acre of land can only produce 250 lbs of beef. At the same time, there is more land necessary to maintains animals rather than planting fruits and vegetables. 70% of water is used on farming and of that, the water that is used to clean waste is dumped into the ocean which pollutes the water and kills many sea creatures. From a Jain standpoint, the cows and chickens which produce milk or eggs receive horrible treatment and are forced to live in confined areas where they can’t even move. Most of the time these animals are beaten by the farmers and the cows are continuously kept pregnant to maintain milk production. The calves are then sent to slaughter houses. While many Indians may question the health aspect of becoming a vegan, it is proven that dairy products are not necessary for the survival of a human after the stage of a baby. There are many alternatives to dairy such as soy and almond milk, soy cheese, and various other products from whole foods or central market. By converting to veganism, you would be saving the environment as well as shedding the karma that each soul acquires by encouraging the dairy industry.
– Shivani Daftary
Methane is an odorless and colorless gas made by anaerobic bacteria on land and deep in the ocean. It is the 2nd most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere second to CO2. Natural gas and petroleum systems are the largest source of CH4 emissions from industry in the United States. Domestic livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats produce large amounts of CH4 as part of their normal digestive process. Methane is generated in landfills as waste decomposes and in the treatment of wastewater. Upgrading the equipment used to produce, store, and transport oil and gas can reduce many of the leaks that contribute to CH4 emissions. Methane can be reduced and captured by altering manure management strategies at livestock operations or animal feeding practices. Not eating foods that promote this industry to grow will also help. Emission controls that capture landfill CH4 are an effective reduction strategy. Also, reducing the amount of waste that you produce can decrease the size of landfills over the years.
– Reena Maheshwari
Even though 75% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, only 2.5% of it is fresh and 2/3 of that it frozen. This makes water an extremely precious resource, something that many people fail to understand. A huge number of large rivers including the Colorado, Rio Grande, Ganges, and Nile are no so over tapped by humans that they discharge little to no water into the sea for months. In addition globally our water use has been growing at twice the rate of population growth in the last century and here in the United States, twice the global average is used. Over tapping also causes countless freshwater species to die and they are becoming extinct at twice the rate of saltwater species. Clearly, over using water is a huge crisis and measures must be taken in order conserve water. Vegetarianism is actually very beneficial in conserving water; livestock accounts for more than half of all the water consumed in the United States.
– Prachi Shah
The Jain Society of North Texas’ (JSNT) high school age youth (Pathshala Group 6), with the help of Joseph R. Otterbine,an M.S. Applied Environmental Anthropology Candidate from the University of North Texas, recently held the JSNT Environmental Fair. The Fair brought a Jain lens to bear on energy and electricity, veganism, transportation, water usage, and methane production. The youth decided on these topics and researched them thoroughly. They split into five groups and prepared presentations, visuals, and takeaways (e.g. vegan brownies [yummy!] , pamphlets, fact sheets, water usage calculator, etc.) for their booths at the fair.
The Fair started with time for the community to walk around and see the booths, followed by a presentation from Dr. Pankaj Jain (University of North Texas) on the topic of Dharma and Ecology.
After his short lecture the community members were urged to visit the five different presentations at the booths set up around the hall. The community was extremely receptive to the
youth’s efforts and proud of all the work that they had done in putting together all the intricacies of the Fair. When it came to the scheduled end of the Fair, some community membewer asked for more time to explore all the work that the youth had done!
This event was successful because the youth wanted to do it, and OWNED it!
This enthusiasm was palpable in their presentations, their attitudes, and interactions with the community. The Fair got the Jain Society of North Texas to look at environmental issues and how they, as Jains, are poised as natural environmentalists.
For a slide show of the event please see http://www.dfwjains.org/
and keep reading this post to hear more about about environmentalism and energy use in a state traditionally known for its economic dependence on oil from these amazing Jain students. And for more on veganism, methane and water use, see the next post… Continue reading
In the late 1990s, the Jivdaya committee actively promoted veganism. It was clear that animal sanctuaries, the traditional institutions for Jains to give money in India to express their ahimsa, was not addressing the root of the problem of animal suffering and slaughter. I have posted some of the material from this era on this site.
This year was have a newly approved JAINA committee to represent these views and link them with our growing awareness of environmental choices that we make that can hurt or help animals and other living beings. Dubbed the Ahimsak Eco-Vegan Committee, our objective and goals follow.
The Ahimsak Eco- Vegan committee, as an expression of ahimsa, support veganism which we understand to mean not eating, wearing, or using animal products, because we object to both animal suffering and animal killing. We do not support animal use that is supposedly “humane” and we do not support the marketing of animal products labeled as “humane”.
The Ahimsak Eco- Vegan committee, as an expression of ahimsa, supports the reduction and elimination of activities contributing to harm of all life, global climate change and destruction of the planet.
- Promote local education and implementation of initiatives in support of ahimsak diet (veganism) and lifestyles (eco-friendly and non-use of animal items in clothing or other use)
- Move towards fully vegan and eco-friendly YJA and JAINA conventions events
- Publicize activities and provide global leadership for the Jain lay, scholar and ascetic community toward an ahimsak diet and lifestyle
- Provide health related education to the community on a plant based diet and conduct research benefitting our community and contributing to scientific knowledge on benefits, risks and risk mitigation of the modern vegetarian and vegan diet as consumed by Jains in North America.
Based on the combined work of 15 Jain Center of Greater Boston volunteers and his own personal stories, Sanjay provides a compelling case for Jains to become vegan as the true expression of vegetarianism based on ahimsa.
Sudhanshu and Sanjay gave two excellent powerpoint presentations at JCNC this weekend as part of the 13th Anniversary celebrations. Here are the links.
Ahimsak Life Style
Today we fed turkeys and goats, played with dogs and rabbits and learned about the animals that are rescued and supported at Harvest Home Sanctuary. It was Harvest Home Sanctuary‘s Toast for the Turkeys event.
It felt like American version of the Jain panjrapol (our traditional animal shelters in India), with activities that transformed a very American holiday 0f suffering for turkeys into ahimsa for animals .
Please consider supporting Harvest Home Sanctuary or Farm Sanctuary, with shelters in CA and NY, by sponsoring a turkey and/or supporting the shelter animals year round. Visit these shelters! You will be touched by the animals and the humans that care for them.
One Saturday morning, I wandered towards my local farmer’s market and was happy to see a vegan bake sale to supply me with goodies for my friends and family and support the Harvest Home Sanctuary, which rescues animals, at the same time.
That Saturday, as I continued to shop in my market, I noticed that in addition to the numerous stalls filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, bread and other treats, there were a disturbing few stalls of of raw milk and local meat on sale. And then I circled back to the Harvest Home volunteers to chat some more.
As I got to know these lovely volunteers, they informed me that where I live, in Oakland, CA the planning commission has initiated a plan to make slaughter of animals in residential neighborhoods legal, as part of a plan to encourage healthy local eating. While many vegetarians and vegan fully support efforts to grow plants, we are opposed to allowing animals to be killed, for the sake of our own family’s exposure to slaughter and because we’d rather not have an sanctioned, legal, killing of animals in our neighborhood. For more details on the initiative go to noslaughter.org. To sign the petition directly, click here (note there is an option not to display your signature publicly in order to maintain your privacy). Besides Oakland, other cities around the country are watching and if this passes, you could have the same problem where you live, so make your voice heard!
As Jains we have a tradition of opposing the building of slaughterhouses. In recent times, one of our sadhus was imprisoned in U.P. Our opposition to backyard killing is consistent with our peaceful tradition of activism. Now all your paryushan activitism requires is a click and some typing on your computer.
Read on for more background….