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#ClimateHope at #VegFestPilipinas2016

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The Vegans of Manila asked me why went vegan. Here is a post I wrote last year: https://shielarcastillo.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/wecome-to-the-rest-of-my-life/

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.VF_poster_blank_0810

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.

 

 


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Every Ekadashi

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Today is Ekadashi, and to me, that means fasting day.  I follow the Ananda Marga fasting calendar which prescribes full, dry fast twice a month. Since 1996, when I became a vegetarian, I’ve struggled to fast, with no success. I couldn’t for the life of me go beyond lunch without food or drink. But it all changed when in 2007, my partner in grime guided me towards fasting using this strategy:

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Biking on a budget

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At Ortis Jordan Port, Guimaras Island, a twenty-minute boat ride from Iloilo City.

I always think it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to enjoy what life has to offer. One can enjoy life simply, without the need for so much money or material things.

Our little family loves to go biking. And today, a holiday due to the birthday of Philippine National Hero Andres Bonifacio, is a perfect day to go biking to Guimaras, a neighboring island.  Continue reading


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Welcome to the rest of my life

What’s so special for me about tomorrow, September 21? I can think of a number of things.
First, it’s the birthday of my best friend, imaginal collaborator, and partner in grime Jagat Rubio. He will be leaving for Liwanag so there will be no celebration. Anyway, we’ve always been used to simple family dinners on birthdays, and not parties.
Second, anniversary of Martial Law. I’m a Martial Law baby. It was simply a fact of my life. Maybe it’s the reason why the moment I went to college, long after Martial Law has been lifted, I immediately became an activist. But that was a long time ago. The country is still trying to heal the wounds it caused, while I have moved to another struggle, that of the environment.
Third, it’s the International Day of Peace, so there will be a global energy collectively ideating for peace.

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Gamot Cogon School, helping heal the planet

Since we moved to Iloilo, my favorite afternoons are when I go to Gamot Cogon School as a parent volunteer after school monitor. The presence of an adult is needed for the kids left in school attending clubs, doing homework or remedial or simply waiting for their ride home. Not that they need any supervision. The kids are behaved and just do their work or play and a presence of a monitor is basically for emergency cases, which, thank God haven’t occurred. Continue reading