The Himalayan $100K Challenge

“Liberation is the cessation of all suffering” – Gautama Buddha.

Dear Climate Healers,

The 7-day Himalayan Vegan Festival in three cities of Nepal, Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, Kathmandu, the capital and Pokhara, was perhaps the most inspiring and exhilarating event that I’ve ever attended. We landed in Kathmandu and stayed at the Moonlight hotel where an exotic, rich vegan buffet dinner awaited us. Unfortunately, even though I didn’t eat much, what I ate didn’t agree with my stomach and when I went in search of some fruits, it was too late as all the shops were closed.

When I came back to the hotel and appealed to the kitchen staff for some bananas, I noticed that our vegan buffet had been replaced with the regular buffet including yellow dhal and rice. I wished aloud that it had been offered to us, at which point the chef’s face brightened up as it dawned on him that healthy vegan food is merely their Nepalese indigenous food without all the exotic additions.

Veganism is a return home to who we really are. I am Vegan because I would not deliberately hurt an innocent animal unnecessarily, including myself and my own body. This is why it is important for us to consume healthy Vegan food and perform our daily “sadhana” routines of yoga and meditation to be good examples for others.

There were so many inspiring presentations and networking opportunities during the festival. The premiere of Maa Ka Doodh was well attended and the movie itself is a sure-fire Vegan maker for any Indian viewer with a conscience. Kudos to Dr. Harsha Atmakuri and the producers of the movie as it perfectly complemented Dolly’s The Land Of Ahimsa.

The only regret I had was that I couldn’t attend all the events that were on offer from my fellow speakers at the festival. The Indonesian contingent alone had over 50 speakers and delegates and the work that they have been doing in the largest Muslim country in the world is nothing short of groundbreaking. The World Vegan Organization in Indonesia even has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health in Indonesia!

During the second leg of the festival in Kathmandu, I was having breakfast with Jayesh Patel, former President of the International Vegetarian Union. He told me that he cites my Animal Agriculture position paper, but then quotes the greenhouse gas emissions contribution of animal agriculture to be 51%. I asked him why he does not use the 87% figure from my paper and he said that he was concerned that it is too high.

I explained to him why my 87% figure is actually a lower bound and that I stood by my work. If the world goes Vegan and the animal agriculture industry is shut down, our annual greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by at least 87%. After my explanation, he asked if I would consider offering a challenge to anyone to disprove my result so that the Vegan community would have confidence quoting the 87% figure.

I readily agreed. Indeed, the 87% figure does not even include all the CO2 sequestration that would occur in the oceans when we stop our bottom trawling depredations over 4 billion acres of the ocean floor each year. It also does not include the result of active rewilding work that we could do on the 37% of the ice-free land area of the planet that gets freed up in a Vegan world.

The natural CO2 cycle is 20 times larger than the human impact and nature is still routinely putting away more than half of our CO2 emissions. Just imagine how much nature can assist us if we actually work with nature to heal the climate, instead of against nature to HEAT the climate. Therefore, I publicly offer a reward of $100K to anyone who can scientifically prove that my 87% figure is too high.

This is the Himalayan $100K Challenge.

I appeal to the Vegan community to use the 87% figure to help promote the rapid advancement of a Vegan world for all. Here’s the video of a Press Conference I held at COP26 in Glasgow where I explained how the 87% figure comes about and why the mainstream focus on fossil fuel reduction to the exclusion of Veganism is actually dangerous. Only time will tell whether this mainstream focus is driven by sheer incompetence or if they’re trying to kill us.

With much love,
Sailesh on behalf of Akhil, Dolly, Pareen, Vega Cow & Climate Healer and the Climate Healers team.

From the Cow in the Room at COP26 to the Cow in the Oval Office
Greetings from Gandhi's Gujarat
Sailesh Rao
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