Today is my birthday and I’m doing nothing for Mother Earth. If you know me, I know you would wonder why. Why do nothing when I have dedicated my life to do what I could for her? Why do nothing when last year I had a successful a green gifts for Gaia birthday wherein I asked my friends to plant trees instead of buying me gifts? And in response, my friends gave all sorts of wonderful gifts for Mother Earth in celebration of my birthday. One friend updated me this afternoon about the Spanish Plum that she planted for me last year. She said it is now three feet tall. It will be taller than me next year. Sweet! I even had a mangrove planting celebration with Climate Reality colleagues last year. And now I’m doing nothing?
While helping fellow climate reality leaders prepare for our local event in line with the 24 Hours of Reality, I was assigned to write something about my own climate action, so I decided to write about tips on how to become vegan. Here is what I submitted:
A couple of months ago, I celebrated my first year as a vegan. Since I was a vegetarian for 17 years, I didn’t have much of a difficulty. It was such a breeze that I asked myself why I waited so long. I guess the Philippines is really a late bloomer in this global movement. But as people always say, better late than sorry, or did they say it another way?
This year, I’ve been seeing a small but noticeable shift. A lot more people are going meatless, and others are even going vegetarian. But being vegan is still the diet destination for many seekers. Good thing the Vegans of Manila organized the very first vegan festival in the country to spread everything good about this way of life.
They invited The Climate Reality Project to share about climate change. Rodne Galicha, TCRP Philippines Branch Manager sent me to give this talk, knowing that as vegan I would be able to relate climate change to raising animals for food, and the vegan alternative.
The first half of my talk was mainly Nobel Laureate Al Gore’s updated An Inconvenient Truth presentation, which I always get new versions of since I did the Climate Leadership Training under him in Jakarta in 2011. The second half focused on veganism as a solution that we all can engage in more than three times a day. Here are the three main points I raised in the talk:
First, that our global food system, how human consume so much meat, aggravates the climate crisis, and emitting greenhouse gases even more than the transport sector.
Second, healthy vegan meals can have 30 times smaller carbon footprint than their meat versions. So shifting to plant-based diets helps lower our carbon “foodprints.”
Third, we are facing a crisis of planetary proportions. There is simply no more time for business as usual. Such a crisis calls for radical solutions. Humans, as the cause of anthropogenic climate change, must also be part of its solution. It calls on us to transform our lives so soften our impact to the planet. For me, being vegan is a sure-fire solution to such a massive concern.
The event was really inspiring. I talked to the merchants, asked about their products and tried some awesome food. There were a lot of people interested about the goings on, buying and trying things, and enjoyed the concert, so I was sure we were not just preaching to the choir. I stayed on till they closed for the night. The next day, I saw a post that the crowd was ‘insane’, they probably heard about the wonderful first day and flocked to Eastwood.
VegFest had part two in Lucky Chinatown the next weekend, but I was already back to Cebu at that time. I saw photos and read social media posts. It was all feel good and positive vibes. There is hope after all. Humans who caused climate change will also save the day, I just feel this #climatehope.
I love this tiny green island sorrounded by the sea! That’s all I can say about Guimaras Island in Western Visayas, Philippines. It’s only a stone’s throw away from where I live, an hour away in fact, and another 20 minutes by boat. So my little family visited again after Christmas, and stayed at our friend’s Vegetarian Bed and Breakfast place called ‘Balay Bato’. We had collective meditation after a glorious kiirtan. Then we binged on their lovely indigenous vegan dishes and watched Play for Change videos. The kids played their Magic Cards and goofed around with the cat and dog who we befriended on our last visit.
I wanted to give this post the title “The Story of Me Falling In Love With India And Its Hospitality”, but then I would have to add, Apologies to the German Girl who wrote an article of the same title.
Trying to keep it simple, I came out with this.
The story of me falling in love with India is the story of ‘I knew I love you before I met you.’ Since I was young, I have always been fascinated by photos of starkly beautiful women with piercing eyes, wearing wonderfully coloured sari. It has always been in my bucket list of countries to visit: England, Egypt, and India.