We take green living seriously.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Vesak : Exhibition on Environmentalism & Vegetarianism

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Global Warming - A Fable From The Himalayas

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Sharkwater : The Truth That Has Surfaced



Sharkwater is a must see documentary of the year. It's well-filmed and equipped with excellent facts. Sharks are not merely just fish but their survival are very much connected to our survival on this earth. Please go and see this documentary and stop the corrupted shark-fin industry by not buying, eating or promoting it and most importantly pass the message on. Below is a more detailed review by Bro shian...

Movie-Dharma : Clarifying Murky "Sharkwater"

Outgrossing the opening weekend box office of "An Inconvenient Truth" and "March of the Penguins", "Sharkwater" is the labour of love of biologist and investigative reporter Rob Stewart, who undertook the dangerous mission of trailing the multi-billion dollar shark fin trade. Stewart literally risks "life and limb" in the process. This true-life documentary, which was made over five years in 15 countries, highlights the existence of corrupted governance and mafia rings in the industry. More importantly, it calls to attention the plight of the seas through the shark – one of the world’s most misunderstood animals. Stunningly filmed, this multiple award-winning film features invaluable lessons on the intricate balance and beauty of nature, and the urgency of safeguarding it.

Lest it be mistaken that this is another "monster" movie about sharks, nothing could be further from the truth. This is probably the greatest shark documentary in our time, which hopes to undo the horrific demonisation of sharks – that the famed "Jaws" trilogy and its many successors have popularised. As Stonepeace said, "One who demonises others demonises oneself." Sharks, as they turn out to be, are among the most important animals in the world. While there are only about 5 fatal cases of death by shark attack annually, there are about 100 deaths from elephant and tiger attacks. While sharks hardly bite humans, humans bite into every consumable meat they can find!

The very idea of a "man-eating shark" is bizarre because most sharks are so sensitive that they conscientously shy away from humans. From Stonepeace again, "A man is not meant for a man-eating shark, just as a shark is not meant for a shark-eating man." The speciesist attitude of humans towards sharks is definitely not a stand alone one. Whales too, had been "classically" demonised by the fictitious "Moby Dick". Relect deeper and you will realise how humans have baseless prejudice towards virtually every animal that we continually exploit and consume. As the film suggests, we like to have a monster in our midst... but we are already the monstrous ones among ourselves.

It is an often overlooked fact, that the great oceans, which make up two-thirds of the Earth's surface while being home to 80% of the planet's lifeforms, is the planet's most important ecosystem. Noteworthy too is that life began in the seas. Land life is thus dependent on the seas. Other than pollution being a source of destruction of ocean life, the more direct destruction would be the ongoing legalised overfishing of the world's major fishing seas. Worse than that, is illegal fishing that goes unchecked. By the time one finished watching the 89 minute film, some 1500 sharks would had been killed. The senseless definning and slaughter of sharks is also featured – for good reason. As Stonepeace put it, "The sight of blood and gore is only good for one thing – to prevent further blood and gore."

Why do sharks matter at all, you might wonder. From an interview with Stewart - "Phytoplankton (tiny plants) in the oceans provide 70% of the oxygen in our atmosphere, and are the greatest sink for carbon dioxide on earth. We’re now destroying the oceans, removing apex predators such as sharks, dredging the oceans; without considering that this atmosphere, our precious oxygen, and our hospitable planet, is all made possible because of life in the ocean that is part of a food chain. Food chains are sensitive, have taken hundreds of millions or billions of years to form, and we’re destroying it." Killing sharks can hasten global warming and its connected climatic crises – which leads to our doom.

Like every other animal upon closer look, sharks are truly amazing, mysterious and beautiful creatures. They have existed for more than 400 million years – even before the dinosaurs, and survived five major periods of extinction... before being cruelly decimated by more than 90% today – by recently "evolved" humans. Surely, humanity's humanity needs to evolve even further. Sharks are mainly killed for their fins. The ironical truth is that the fins, which are seasoned by chicken and such, are tasteless and void of health benefits by themselves. With prevalent sea pollution, seafood is more likely to cause disease! Instead of being a status symbol, the savouring of shark fin soup is an ignorant "ritual"!

Featured too are the heroic painstaking efforts of "The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society" - whose voluntary watchmen look over troubled waters – where marine life is fished illegally. Truly ecologically conscious and walking the walk, all the "shepherds" are vegan. As the Captain Paul Watson says – "Why did Al Gore's film Inconvenient Truth not mention the inconvenient truth that the slaughter industry creates more greenhouse gases than the automobile industry?... There is not enough fish in the world's oceans to feed 6.6 billion human beings and another 10 billion domestic animals. That is why all the world's commercial fisheries are collapsing... (Source)

Humans are not and have never been carnivores. A lion is a carnivore as is a wolf, as is a tiger, or a shark. Carnivores eat live animals. They stalk them, they run them down, they pounce, they kill, and they eat, blood dripping, meat at body temperature. Nature, brutal red in tooth and claw. I've never met a human that can do that. Yes we found ways to run down animals and kill them. In fact we've come to be rather efficient at the killing part. But we can't eat the prey until we cut it up and cook it and that usually involves some time between kill and eating."

Stewart is vegetarian too. From the emagazine.com interview, "Yes, I’m a vegetarian for a number of reasons. Eating animals requires [at least] ten times the resources and drain on the planet than eating plants. I’m already incredibly privileged, and don’t think I should drain more of the planet, especially considering 8 million people die of starvation every year. There are also numerous health benefits, and it greatly reduces the chances of disease, especially the number one killers such as heart disease, stroke, cancers, etc. I also really appreciate animals, and I’m happier living with non-violence."

Echoing the urgency of saving the planet from ourselves and the truth of interconnectedness, even His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama offered a message of support for the "Sea Shepherds" – "I am happy to lend my support to those who, like the volunteers of the SSCS, seek to protect our oceans and our fellow creatures... And it is my hope that through understanding the interdependence of the world and all the beings that live in it, people will adapt their behaviour in such ways that the potential of our bounteous natural realm be nurtured and restored." The end of the film urges viewers to visit Saving Sharks. If you're not planning to watch the film, please visit to see how you can save the sharks, which is to save the planet too!

- Shen Shi'an

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Green Coffin Anyone?



Made from material such as recycled paper or chipboard, eco-coffins are easy on the environment as they spare trees from the axe. -- ST PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR

Ever think it's a waste of good wood for it to be buried or burned as coffins? Not only is good wood wasted, there is a lot of non-biodegradable materials like plastic-linings and plastic brass-effect handles. For some, plenty of steel, copper, bronze, and other metals are buried (and wasted) along with them. Coffins are also covered with lacquers which are toxic and these toxic chemicals eventually find their way into the soil just like embalming fluid does, polluting fertile soil.

Well, it's not too late to be environmental conscious. Nor is it too early to think of what coffin you will use when your time comes. Believe it or not, green eco-friendly coffins are in market now, readily available in Singapore as well. Please read the below report from Straits Times :

Going green - coffin style
By Tania Tan

MEDICAL doctor Tan Chek Wee believes in 'going green' - he wants to make his last journey a green one. 'I've told my family that I want an eco-coffin,' said the 52-year-old, who works part-time at three non-profit clinics.

Made from material such as recycled paper or chipboard, eco-coffins are easy on the environment as they spare trees from the axe.

These green eco-friendly caskets also burn up to twice as fast as ordinary wooden coffins, which means less carbon emission. Chipboard, for instance, burns about 10 to 25 per cent faster.

Over 16,000 regular wood coffins were used here last year, with each requiring about 80kg of virgin timber to construct.

'Since I want to be cremated, I prefer not to kill a tree in the process,' said Dr Tan.

For religions which allow it, cremations are strongly encouraged here due to land scarcity, said the National Environment Agency.

Religions including Islam and Judaism require followers to bury their dead.

Eco-coffins and so-called 'green funerals' have caught on among the environmentally conscious in the United States and Britain with some opting for woodland burial sites, and using freshly planted trees instead of headstones to mark graves.

Though going green in this manner may not have quite caught on here yet, Singapore-based TentTech has already sold about 100 of its green coffins.

Produced from waste wood or timber from tree branches instead of trunks, its caskets are a more sustainable alternative to traditional coffins, said Dr Ng Khee Yang, the R&D consultant of the year-old company.

'There just isn't enough forest to supply us with wood in the long run,' he said.

But demand for eco-coffins has yet to take off here, conceded Dr Ng. Undertakers agree.

Read the full report in Monday's (07 Jan 08) edition of The Straits Times.

It is probably the last thing you can do to be green in this life. Please opt for a green coffin!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Green Buddhism



Green things about Buddhism : Environmentalism & Veg*nism

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Food#03



Do check out this lovely new vegetarian cafe with vegan option.
Food#03 is located in Singapore, 109 Rowell Road. (check online for map) Serving tasty contemporary vegetarian menu with dessert, coffee and more.

Opening Hours: 5pm to 10pm (Closed on Monday) Friday: 3pm - 11.30pm Saturday & Sunday : 12pm - 11pm
Other Times by Appointment*.

For more info, www.food03.sg ; call 6396 7980.

See website for menu.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Video That Will Change Your Life (Maybe) - Global Warming

Saw this from Facebook under the Causes of Stop Global Warming, please take time to watch through.

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