Monday, September 29, 2008

Kawan Melayu dan Diet Berasaskan Tumbuhan (Bhgn 2)

Seorg lagi pengetua sekolah asrama menambah bhw pemakanan diet vegetarian sebenarnya berkaitan dgn kerohanian kita, dan kalau kita ingin meningkatkan tahap kerohanian (kealiman) atau kesucian kita dgn Allah, pemakanan daging perlu dikurangkan atau dihentikan. Ia bergantung kpd betapa mendalam amalan ibadah seseorg. Kata beliau “BILA KITA MAKAN DAGING, HATI KITA MENJADI LEBIH KERAS.”

Puan pengetua juga menambah bhw ladang ternakan amatlah kotor dan banyak mencemar kawasan air petempatan. Sumber-sumber air ini juga merupakan sumber air minuman dan pembersihan para penduduk di sekitarnya.

Dan baru beberapa hari yg lepas, seorg kawan Melayu saya, Alia beritahu hasratnya utk lebih mengamalkan pemakanan tumbuh-tumbuhan. Dia ingin cuba berhenti makan daging lembu dan ayam. Kawan saya ini juga bersetuju bhw daging perlu dikurangkan khasnya kalau seseorg mengidap penyakit kanser.

Tidak pernah saya dengar ttg sebarang rawatan kanser yg tidak memerlukan pemakanan daging dihentikan. Alia bersetuju dan memberitahu bhw adik dia juga didiagnos dgn suatu tumbesaran, dan doktor juga telah suruh adik Alia supaya kurangkan pemakanan daging.

Dan terdapat seorg lagi pemuda Islam. Beliau mengatakan bhw dia sebenarnya amat suka memakan sayur-sayuran. Dia tidak memakan daging atau apa saja yg berkaki empat. Dia juga bersyukur krn ibu bapanya amat memberi sokongan ke atas amalannya yg sihat itu dan tidak pernah menyusahkannya.

Nampaknya ramai juga kawan-kawan Melayu kita yg menyokong dan merupakan vegetarian, atau amalkannya secara ‘part-time.’ Gembira utk mendengar kisah-kisah kawan Melayu ini.

Di sini saya ambil kesempatan utk menyatakan sokongan saya terhadap amalan mereka ini yg mulia dan penyayang. Semoga sihat, gembira dan damai sentiasa. Semoga dilimpah rahmat Syurga.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kawan Melayu dan Diet Berasaskan Tumbuhan (Bhgn 1)

Sebenarnya terdapat ramai kawan-kawan Melayu yg berminat dgn diet berasaskan tumbuhan atau sedang mengamalkannya. Kebelakangan ini, saya samada bertembung dgn kawan-kawan yg membincangkannya atau dengar drpd kawan Melayu yg nyatakan minat mrk.

Menarik. Memang tidak biasa kita dengar tentang kaum Melayu yg suka dgn makanan berasaskan tumbuhan. Seorg kawan pencinta alam beritahu bhw, semasa dia menyebarkan risalah-risalah ttg isu kecemasan pemanasan global dan manfaat makanan vegetarian, dia bertemu dgn seorg pengawal (Melayu) sekolah yg menunjukkan tangannya kpd kawan saya dan kata “Tengok, tangan dan kulit saya sudah sembuh, sejak saya menjadi vegetarian. Saya memang bersetuju” (bersetuju bhw makanan berasaskan tumbuhan adalah sangat penting dan bermanfaat kpd kesihatan manusia.)

Seorg lagi pengetua Melayu sekolah menengah pula tak henti memuji kebaikan diet berasaskan tumbuhan. Beliau kata bhw amalan ini haruslah bermula dari rumah dan para ibu bapa harus sedar dan pupuk tabiat pemakanan yg baik ke atas anak-anak mrk dari kecil, utk kesihatan diri dan alam sekitar.

Seorg lagi pengetua Melayu sekolah asrama menambah bhw pemakanan diet vegetarian sebenarnya berkaitan dgn kerohanian diri, dan kalau kita ingin meningkatkan tahap kerohanian (kealiman) atau kesucian kita dgn Allah, pemakanan daging perlu dikurangkan atau dihentikan. Ia bergantung kpd betapa mendalam amalan ibadah seseorg. Kata beliau “BILA KITA MAKAN DAGING, HATI KITA MENJADI LEBIH KERAS.”

(Akan disambung lagi...)

(Gambar di atas: Pelajar-pelajar Melayu di Sekolah Menengah Cochrane sedang menikmati burger vege mereka pada sambutan Hari Guru 2008, di mana kami dijemput oleh pihak sekolah utk menghidangkan burger vege dan kek vegan kpd sekolah tersebut.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Organic Cuba without Fossil Fuel (Part 4)


Part IV - The urban agricultural miracle

Today, Vivero Alamar (Alamar Gardens) is an oasis amid the monotonous array of perfectly rectangular apartment blocks of Soviet-style housing in the Alamar district of eastern Havana. It is a 27-acre organic farm set in the middle of a city of two million people. Founded in 1994 on a small 9-acre parcel of land, it has become a 140-person business [6] producing a steady harvest of a wide range of fruits and vegetables: lettuces, carrots, tomatoes, avocadoes, culinary and medicinal herbs, chard and cucumbers. After harvest the crops are sold directly to neighbours at a colourful farm stand. Vivero Alamar also sells a range of organic composts and mulches and a selection of patio plants. In 2005, this neighbourhood-managed worker-owned cooperative earned approximately $180 000. After capital improvements and operating expenses, it pays each worker about $500 a year; compared to the Cuban minimum wage of $10 a month. Vivero Alamar is just one example of the revolution in food production that has swept Cuba in the early 1990s and continues today. From Santiago de Cuba in the east to Pinar del Rio in the west, thousands of urban gardens are blossoming. Some 300 000 Cubans are busy growing their own fruits and vegetables and selling the surplus to their neighbours.

Although urban agriculture is totally organic, the country as a whole is not. But the amount of chemical inputs has been drastically reduced. Before the crisis hit in 1989, Cuba used more than 1 million tons of synthetic fertilizers a year. Today, it uses about 90 000 tons. During the Soviet period, Cuba applied up to 35 000 tons of herbicides and pesticids a year, today, it is about 1 000 tons
Like many small poor countries, Cuba remains reliant on export agriculture to earn hard currency. It is a robust exporter of tobacco, sugar, coffee, and citrues, and is selling a significant amount of the last three as certified organic [7]. Foreign investment in such ventures is on the rise. But when it comes to sustainable agriculure, Cuba’s most impressive innovation is its network of urban farms and gardens.

According to Cuba’s Minsitry of Agriculture, some 150 000 acres of land is being cultivated in urban and suburban settings, in thousands of community farms, ranging from modest courtyards to production sites that fill entire city blocks. Organoponicos, as they are called, show how a combination of grassroots effort and official support can result in sweeping change, and how neighbours can come together and feed themselves. When the food crisis hit, the organoponicos were an ad hoc response by local communities to increase the amount of available food. But as the power of the community farming movement became obvious, the Cuban government stepped in to provide key infrastructure support and to assist with information dissemination and skills sharing.

Most organoponicos are built on land unsuitable for cultivation; they rely on raised planter beds. Once the organoponicos are laid out, the work remains labour-intensive. All planting and weeding is done by hand, as is harvesting. Soil fertility is maintained by worm composting. Farms feed their excess biomass, along with manure from nearby rural farms to worms that produce a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Crews spread about two pound of compost per square yard on the bed tops before each new planting.

Jason Marks writes [6]: “Despite the tropical heat, it doesn't look like drudgery. Among organoponico employees, there is a palpable pride in their creation. The atmosphere is cooperative and congeniaL There is no boss in sight, and each person seems to understand well their role and what’s expected of them. The work occurs fluidly, with a quiet grace.”

Gardeners come from all walks of life: artists, doctors, teachers. Fernando Morel, president of the Cuban Association of Agronomists said: “It’s amazing. When we had more resources in the 80s, oil and everything, the system was less efficient than it is today.”

The hybrid public-private partnership appears to work well. In return for providing the land, the government receives a portion of the produce, usually about one-fifth of the harvest, to use at state-run daycare centres, schools and hospitals. The workers get to keep the rest to sell at produce stands located right at the farm. It is more than fair trade.

The City of Havana now produces enough food for each resident to receive a daily serving of 280 g of fruits and vegetables a day. The UN food programme recommends 305 g.

Joe Kovach, an entomologist from Ohio State University who visited Cuba on a 2006 research delegation sums up the situation: “ In 25 years of working with farmers, these are the happiest, most optimistic, and best-paid farmers I have ever met.”
Long queues of shoppers form at the farm stalls, people are shopping for quality and freshness, the produce is harvested as they buy, reducing waste to a minimum.

Urban agriculture nationwide reduces the dependence of urban populations on rural produce. Apart from organoponicos, there are over 104 000 small plots, patios and popular gardens, very small parcels of land covering an area of over 3 600 ha, producing more than the organoponicos and intensive gardens combined [1]. There are also self-provisioning farms around factories, offices and business, more than 300 in Havana alone. Large quantities of vegetables, root crops, grains, and fruits are produced, as well as milk, meat, fish eggs and herbs. In addition, suburban farms are intensively cultivated with emphasis on efficient water use and maximum reduction of agrotoxins; these are very important in Havana, Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Camaguey, and Santiago de Cuba. Shaded cultivation and Apartment-style production allow year-round cultivation when the sun is at its most intense.

Cultivation is also done with diverse soil substrate and nutrient solutions, mini-planting beds, small containers, balconies, roofs, etc. with minimal use of soil. Production levels of vegetables have double or tipled every year since 1994, and urban gardens now produce about 60 percent of all vegetables consumed in Cuba, but only 50 percent of all vegetables consumed in Havana.

The success of urban agriculture is put down to the average Cuban citizen’s commitment to the ideal of local food production [7]. There is so much for the world to learn from the Cuban experience, not least of which, agriculture without fossil fuels is not only possible but also highly productive and health promoting in more ways than one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Organic Cuba without Fossil Fuel (Part 3)


PART III - Rural agroecology and land restructuring

Agroecological methods were introduced into Cuba’s rural communities largely out of the necessity of coping without artificial fertilizers and pesticides; but this was also amply supported with substantial government resources, state-funded research, and fundamental policy shifts at the highest levels of government [1]. Agroecological farming in the countryside and organic urban agriculture were the key to stabilizing both urban and rural populations.
The agroecological methods introduced include locally produced biopesticides and biofertilizers substituting for the artificial chemical inputs, complex agrosystems designed to take advantage of ecological interactions and synergisms between biotic and abiotic factors that enhance soil fertility, biological pest control, and achieving higher productivity through internal processes. Other practices involve increased recycling of nutrients and biomass within the system, addition of organic matter to improve soil quality and activate soil biology, soil and water conservation, diversification of agrosystems in time and space, integration of crops and livestock, and integration of farm components to increase biological efficiencies and preserve productive capacity.
In 1993, the Cuban government unveiled a major reorganization of agriculture, restructuring state farms as private cooperatives. The new farms, which now make up the largest sector in Cuba agriculture) were called UBPCs or Basic Units of Cooperative Production, based on a growing perception that smaller farms would be more easily managed and better able to take on the sustainable agriculture practices.
The state retains ownership of the land, leasing it on a long-term basis, but rent-free. The cooperative, not the state, owns the production, and the members’ earnings are based on their share of the cooperative’s income. The UBPC also owns buildings and farm equipment, purchased from the government at discount prices with long-term, low interest loans (4 percent). Most UBPCs produce sugar at given quotas, limiting any other crops that they might produce, so they have little to sell in agricultural markets, which restricts their options and income.
In addition to the UBPCs, the break up of large state farms has freed large plots of land for other use, and land has been turned over to both private farmers and agricultural cooperatives.
Small farmers working on privately owned farms and in cooperatives have made major contributions to the successful implementation of agroecology in the countryside.
Agricultural Production Cooperatives (CPAs) were first created 20 to 30 years ago by farmers who chose to pool their land and resources to attain greater production and marketing and economic efficiency. Although the CPAs were of minimal importance then, they began to rebound in the early 1990s. The UBPCs were modelled after them, except that farmers in the CPAs owned their land.
The Credit and Service Cooperative (CCS) is an association of small landowners joining up with other small farmers to receive credit and services from state agencies. They may also share machinery and equipment, and thus are able to take advantage of economies of scale. CCS members purchase inputs and sell products at fixed prices through state agencies, based on production plans and contracts established with the state distribution system. Any production above and beyond the contracted quantity may be sold in farmers’ markets at free market prices. These small farmers have been the most productive sector in Cuban agriculture, outperforming both the CPAs and UBPCs. CCS farmers have higher incomes than members of other cooperatives.
While all farmers continue to sell a percentage of their produce to the state marketing board, farmers are now motivated to produce in excess of their agreed quota, which they can sell to agricultural markets, often at twice the contracted government price. They can triple or quadruple their income.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Organic Cuba without Fossil Fuel (Part 2): The Cuban Response

It began with a nation-wide call to increase food production by restructuring agriculture. It involved converting from conventional large-scale, high input monoculture systems to smaller scale, organic and semi-organic farming systems. The focus was on using low cost and environmentally safe inputs, and relocating production closer to consumption in order to cut down on transportation costs, and urban agriculture was a key part of this effort [2-5].
A spontaneous, decentralized movement had arisen in the cities. People responded enthusiastically to government initiative. By 1994, more than 8 000 city farms were created in Havana alone. Front lawns of municipal buildings were dug up to grow vegetables. Offices and schools cultivated their own food. Many of the gardeners were retired men aged 50s and 60s, and urban women played a much larger role in agriculture than their rural counterparts.
By 1998, an estimated 541 000 tons of food were produced in Havana for local consumption. Food quality has also improved as people had access to a greater variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Urban gardens continued to grow and some neighbourhoods were producing as much as 30 percent of their own food.
The growth of urban agriculture was largely due to the State’s commitment to make unused urban and suburban land and resources available to aspiring urban farmers. The issue of land grants in the city converted hundreds of vacant lots into food producing plots, and new planning laws placed the highest land use priority on food production.
Another key to success was opening farmers markets and legalising direct sales from farmers to consumers. Deregulation of prices combined with high demand for fresh produce in the cities allowed urban farmers to make two to three times as much as the rural professionals.
The government also encouraged gardeners through an extensive support system including extension agents and horticultural groups that offered assistance and advice. Seed houses throughout the city sold seeds, gardening tools, compost and distribute biofertilizers and other biological control agents at low costs.
New biological products and organic gardening techniques were developed and produced by Cuba’s agricultural research sector, which had already begun exploring organic alternatives to chemical controls, enabling Cuba’s urban farms to become completely organic. In fact, a new law prohibited the use of any pesticides for agricultural purposes anywhere within city limits.
The introduction of a diversified market-based system for food distribution has spurred increased agricultural productivity [1]. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that between 1994 and 1998, Cuba tripled the production of tubers and plantains, and doubled the production of vegetables, which doubled again in 1999. Potatoes increased from 188 000 tonnes in 1994 to 330 000 tonnes in 1998, while beans increased by 60 percent and citrus by 110 percent from 1994 to 1999.
Anecdotal information suggests that thousands of families have left cities and large towns to make their livelihood from the land. Other information suggests that thousands of unemployed – including rural migrants – have found employment in urban agriculture.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Organic Cuba without Fossil Fuel (Part 1)

posted by Guest On Planet:

Dear Pencinta Alam

Cuba's success in organic farming without fossil fuels, is something we Malaysians & Malaysia Agriculture Ministry should look into, at a time when we are so worry about the fuel hike and the country's fuel resources which affect our economy so much.

Somebody has done it successfully, we only need to copy & modify the method where necessary.

May this article reach the hearts of the DOERS !

Organic Cuba without Fossil Fuels –
And Passed With Flying Colours

Part I - Cuba 1989

Cuba is where agriculture without fossil fuels has been put to its greatest test, and it has passed with flying colours. The year 1989 ushered in the “Special Period” [1] a scenario that will hit some countries in the not too distant future unless they prepare for it right now.
Before 1989, Cuba was a model Green Revolution farm economy, based on huge production units of state-owned farms, and dependent on vast quantities of imported oil, chemicals and machinery to produce export crops. Under agreements with the former Soviet Union, Cuba had been an oil-driven country, and 98 percent of all its petroleum had come from the Soviet bloc. In 1988, 12-13 million tons of Soviet oil were imported and of this, Cubans re-exported two million tons. In 1989, Cuba was forced to cut the re-export in half and in 1990, oil exports were cut entirely as only 10 of 13m tons promised by the Soviet had been received. At the end of 1991, only 6 of the promised 13 m tons was received, and the short fall in oil began to severely affect the nation’s economy.
While oil was critical, other losses were also important, as 85 percent of all Cuba’s trade was with the Soviets. Cuba exported 66 percent of all sugar and 98 percent of its citrus fruit to the Soviet bloc, and imported from them 66 percent of its food, 86 percent of all raw materials, and 80 percent of machinery and spare parts. Consequently, when support from the Soviet bloc was withdrawn, factories closed, food scarcity was widespread and an already inadequate technology base began eroding.
The collapse of the Soviet bloc and the tightened US trade embargo exposed the vulnerability of Cuba’s Green Revolution model, and it was plunged into the worst food crisis in its history [2].
In early 1990, a survival economy was put in place as 100 000 tons of wheat normally obtained through barter arrangements failed to arrive and the government had to use scarce hard currency to import grain from Canada [1]. The price of food went up and bread had to be rationed. Overall, food consumption was said to decrease by 20 percent in calories and 27 percent in protein between 1989 and 1992.
To make matters worse, Cuba’s efforts to reverse the trend of rural-urban migration over the past decades failed to stem the increasing tides of rural migrants to the cities, especially to Havana. In 1994, 16 541 migrated to Havana from all over Cuba, more than any year since 1963. By 1996, the figure had reached 28 193, at pre-revolution level. Shortages of food and medicine and gasoline were driving people to the capital.
Policies to stop the inflow were put in place in 1997, but not before the population density in the capital reached 3 000 inhabitants per square kilometre.
Cuba was faced with a dual challenge of doubling food production with half the previous inputs, with some 74 percent of its population living in cities. Yet by 1997, Cubans were eating almost as well as they did before 1989, with little food and agrochemicals imported. Instead, Cuba concentrated on creating a more self-reliant agriculture: a combination of higher crop prices paid to farmers, agroecological technology, smaller production units, and most importantly, urban agriculture. Urbanisation is a growing trend worldwide. More people now live in cities than in the countryside. By 2015 about 26 cities in the world are expected to have populations of 10 million or more. To feed cities of this size require at least 6 000 tons of food a day [1].

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A heart-tugging story from China about a dog which bit off its tongue and died after a thrashing by its owner goes to show that animals do have emotions and are capable of expressing their feelings just like you and me.

Apparently, the Tibetan mastiff had been in a dogfight and to teach him a lesson, its owner beat it in front of the other dog and it must have felt ashamed and so killed itself to keep its dignity.

This story brought back to mind an incident which I personally witnessed which proved the fact that animals do feel pain, fear, joy and all the emotions that we humans also possess.

My family lived near an abattoir and we were not allowed to trespass into its vicinity. But like all naughty and curious kids then, my siblings and a few friends threw caution to the wind after having seen lorry loads of pigs, goats and cows being sent there for slaughter. One fine day, curiosity and the adventurous spirit took over and we dared venture into forbidden ground! What I saw and heard was not pretty and had remained in my subconscious mind till today.

The terrified squealing of the pigs being prodded with sharp metal rods to get them out of their holding pens were ear-splitting. Electrical probes were applied to their foreheads to stun them before the butchers plunge a long sharp knife into their throats. And I don't have to tell you what it was like when the blood gushed out and the poor animal gave its last squeal of help before it was roughly cast aside to thrash out its last moments of life. The scene repeated itself and we kids literally were rooted to the ground and shivering with fright at what we had seen. We couldn't run fast enough to get out of the place!

If that was not enough to make us all go home and have nightmares for many nights to come... a small lorry with a cow on it stopped right in front of our tracks. The driver tried to get it to come down from the lorry but it refused to do so. What was so amazing then in my child's mind was, the cow actually knelt down and tears were running down its eyes! Oh no, it knew that it was going to be killed and it must have felt fearful of what was ahead. Otherwise, how do you explain the tears and the sad mooing? It was really a disturbing and revolting experience for us all.

Ever since then, I vowed never to go near an abattoir... I don't want to subject myself to such sights ever again. I cannot imagine how the animals must have felt when they sensed that their time was up and to be killed so inhumanely so that we will have meat on our dining tables!

Just a few days ago, I read a short response in The STAR by Professor Dr Zulkifli Idrus who is the Director of the Research Management Centre at Universiti Putra Malaysia. He was referring to an earlier article on the feeding of zoo animals
(STAR TWO dated 1st Sept, 2008). The good professor expressed his concern over the report that live chickens were being fed to the pythons at the Sunway Wildlife Interactive Zoo in Kuala Lumpur.

This is exactly what he had to say and I quote :
" Studies have shown that exposing animals to a potential predator can evoke both STRESS and FEAR REACTIONS. Even the smell and sound (in the absence of visual contact) of the predator is enough to cause physological changes in the animal. Thus, it is an inhumane act and should not be condoned. It must be stopped immediately. Such practice would send a wrong message to the general public, particularly children, on the proper treatment of animals."

Thank you Professor Dr Zulkifli for pointing this out. Hopefully, many people will be awaken to the fact that killing an animal or causing it to be killed is the worst act that a rational human being can do to another being that also has the right to live its life here on earth.

We don't need to satisfy our appetite at the expense of another life. Adopting a kinder, ethical and eco-friendlier diet will be the first step to take if we can come to terms with our perception of how a truly moral person should conduct his life with regard to our animal co-inhabitants. Saving our poor animals from being abused and ill-treated will ultimately mean that we are saving ourselves at the end of the day.


For further reference on Professor Dr Zulkifli Idrus' statement:

To read about the dog that took its own life:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shun meat, says UN climate chief

"Beef-lovers have been urged to cut back their consumption because cattle have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions and eat large quantities of cereals and soya, which could be used to feed people."

Source: The National (UAE)
Also read: Shun meat, says UN climate chief (BBC News)

Most people looking to reduce their contribution to global warming think about taking fewer car journeys or replacing a gas-guzzling 4X4 with a smaller runabout.

Few would consider cutting their meat consumption – but one authority on climate change has suggested we do just that.

Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has said that meat production contributes close to one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Pachauri, a vegetarian, told media recently that cutting meat consumption was “something one could consider” to help the planet.

Initially, he suggested people should give up meat for one day a week before trying to make further cutbacks.

His calls are echoed by Joyce D’Silva, ambassador for a UK pressure group called Compassion in World Farming.

Ms D’Silva says when four members of a family each have a quarter-pound beef burger, they create as large a quantity of greenhouse gases as a 100km car journey, when the contribution made by the production of the meat is taken into account.

It is beef production that concerns environmentalists most, partly because cattle generate large quantities of methane through their wind and manure.

In fact, more than one-third of the world’s methane, which is 20 times as damaging as carbon dioxide in terms of global warming, is said to be produced by cattle, including those used for milk.

The animals release the gas constantly because of the bacteria in their gut that help them to digest cellulose, the carbohydrate that makes up much of the cell wall of plants.

A report released in 2006 by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), titled Livestock’s Long Shadow, detailed a host of other environmental concerns.

Two-thirds of global emissions of ammonia, which causes acid rain, are said to be produced by livestock, while hormones used to help the animals grow faster can pollute drinking water.

According to Ms D’Silva, beef production is particularly inefficient when it comes to the use of resources.

It takes 7kg to 10kg of feed to produce 1kg of beef, she says, compared with just 2kg of feed to produce the same quantity of chicken.

“Actually, one third of the world’s cereals and 90 per cent of the world’s soya goes to animal feed rather than human food. It’s not a good way to use up the world’s scarce cereal grains,” Ms D’Silva says.

Cattle ranching and soya production to feed cattle often take place on deforested land, and this deforestation is thought to be the most significant way in which meat production contributes to global warming.

In addition, large amounts of carbon dioxide are generated by the transportation involved in meat production and in the production of fertilisers used to grow animal feed.

Overall, the FAO blames the meat industry for nearly 10 per cent of global carbon dioxide.

According to Ricardo Uauy, Professor of Public Health Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, average daily meat consumption around the world should be cut from 100g now to 90g by 2050.

This reduction is necessary, he says, just to stabilise emissions as the world’s population continues to grow and more people start eating.

At present, Professor Uauy says, meat consumption varies wildly around the globe, with some countries such as Argentina getting through 300g per person each day while in others an average of just 20g is consumed.

If the biggest meat-eating nations cut back significantly, Prof Uauy believes, it would allow developing countries to increase the amount they eat to “sustainable” levels.

“There should be a decrease in the rate of rise [of meat-eating in developing countries] and a ceiling of 80 to 90g,” he says.

Prof Uauy says this would lead to health, as well as environmental, benefits, because studies with red meat indicate that consuming more than about 60 to 90g per day can increase the risk of colon cancer. In fact, apart from very young children, Prof Uauy insists people can easily live healthily without eating meat at all.

“There is nothing in meat that makes it essential,” he says. “Other foods provide protein and iron. The most appropriate ones are legumes and beans.

“In the Middle East, maybe rice with lentils and chick peas is good. That’s the way we’ve eaten for ages, with just small amounts of meat.”

As for those who do not want to give up their meat completely, Prof Uauy believes they should consider switching from beef to other forms of meat, such as chicken, that have “much less” of an impact on the planet because the animals require smaller amounts of feed per kilogram of meat.

“The idea is that in the case of beef, [consumption] should be lower. There are more effective ways of getting animal protein. It’s disproportionate in terms of what you put in,” he says.

Prof Uauy himself tries to eat beef only once a week and as a result he allows himself a slightly more generous portion when he does actually tuck in.

“From the standpoint of colon cancer, there’s a benefit from having it less often. It’s not just the total amount, but also the frequency,” he says.

However, greenhouse gas emissions from the beef industry could decline even if consumption fails to decline, thanks to new technologies being developed.

Scientists in Australia and New Zealand have created a grass that causes cows to produce less methane. The genetically engineered grass suppresses an enzyme and this in turn makes the grass more digestible.

Some experts have suggested that the overall effect could be to increase the amount of methane produced by each cow, although milk production is improved. This means that the quantity of methane generated per litre of milk declines.

In the UK, the government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs aims for close to one third of the country’s milk producers to be trying out low-methane technologies within seven years.

Prof Uauy is sceptical about the potential for technology to reduce the contribution of cattle to global warming.

“The issue is that you have animals that are, by definition, ruminants – they take up grass and ferment it. That’s where methane comes from,” he says.

“You can make animals consume corn instead but then you make it harder [on the environment] because you have to produce the corn.”

Friday, September 12, 2008


Experts in the medical profession have acknowledged the painful fact that many of our present day so-called lifestyle ailments are caused, not by bacteria and viruses, but by STRESS. How a person manages his daily life with regard to his personal/physical wellbeing, relationships with family and friends, career and business has a lot to do with one's health. Any of these aspects of one's life can result in stress which inadvertently contributes to one's well-being.

So, it is with this in mind that I am sharing with you this TIMELY ADVICE from one of the most successful man that walk this planet.... BILL GATES.... and hope that it will help you take stock of your life as well. Do someone a favour and pass it on...

The Moment you are in Tension
You will lose your Attention
Then you are in total Confusion
And you will feel Irritation
Then you will spoil personal Relation
Ultimately, you won't get Co - Operation
Then you will make things full of Complication
Then your blood pressure may raise Caution
And you may have to take Medication
Instead, try to understand the Situation
And try to think of a Solution
Many problems will be solved by Discussion
This will work out better for your Profession
Don't think it's my free Suggestion
It's only for your Prevention
If you understand my Intention
You will never come again to Tension

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Save the planet by changing your diet

Here's an article published inThe Canadian National Newspaper

Save the planet by changing your diet

Will becoming a Vegan/Vegetarian actually help to save our Planet?

With the recent reports over the past year, and growing, according to a report made by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2007.

It states that the animal industry and farming of billions of Animals per year, is the main contributor for the "Green house gases that is produced by the dung "Methane gas" from billions of farm animals each year -- Which Al Gore has not yet addressed.

Animal agriculture is the major contributing factor for Global Warming.

It is the number one reason for the deforestation of our forests and rainforests, destroying our planet and natural energy/resources, water, land and our air polluting it. YouTube LINK

According to this one report: "Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems," Henning Steinfeld, senior author of the report, said when the FAO findings were released in November.

Livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent, reports the FAO. This includes 9 percent of all CO2 emissions, 37 percent of methane, and 65 percent of nitrous oxide. Altogether, that's more than the emissions caused by transportation.

The latter two gases are particularly troubling – even though they represent far smaller concentrations in atmosphere than CO2, which remains the main global warming culprit. But methane has 23 times the global warming potential (GWP) of CO2 and nitrous oxide has 296 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide.

Methane could become a greater problem if the permafrost in northern latitudes thaws with increasing temperatures, releasing the gas now trapped below decaying vegetation. What's more certain is that emissions of these gases can spike as humans consume more livestock products.

"Arguably the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products," writes Noam Mohr in a report for EarthSave International.

Changing one's diet can lower greenhouse gas emissions quicker than shifts away from fossil fuel burning technologies, Mr. Mohr writes, because the turnover rate for farm animals is shorter than that for cars and power plants.

It is a lot easier and quicker and practical to cut down or cut out animals products right away than to go out and buy a fuel efficient car, getting solar panels, or wind energy right away. People just cant afford it, they have to save for it and it takes time to do these things. Plain and simple solution, is the way to start with the easiest most effective method you can do today. Cutting down the consumption of animals products or, cut it out.

Recent reports are confirming that if we seriously consider cutting animal products from our diet, we will be actually saving our planet Earth