How can you solve climate change today?
Dr Sailesh Rao firmly believes that converting to veganism is the only way to heal the planet and stop climate change. And so, he considers it his duty to induce people by every honest means to go vegan. He made an emotional and data-infused case for veganism as the solution for climate change as the speaker at Ecological Society’s 6th Prakash Gole Memorial Lecture on 30th November. Dr Rao is the founder and executive director of Climate Healers, a non-profit dedicated towards healing the Earth's climate.
An eminent ecologist and ornithologist, Prakash Gole founded the Ecological Society in 1982. He developed the one year program that the Society has undertaken for the last 22 years. His contributions in ecological economics and nature restoration are widely acknowledged. He authored several books, articles and monographs, Prof Gole has conducted long-term experiments in nature restoration.
In 2018, ecologist-turned-agricultural scientist Dr Debal Deb joined us and spoke about agro-forestry and the importance and variety of indigenous rice.
Dr Rao’s project Vegan World 2026 is a result of the promise he made to his granddaughter that there will be more animals on Earth by the time she turns 16 than when she was born. Currently, 37% land is used for animal grazing, which could be returned to the forest if we turned vegan. He also insisted that veganism is the solution to the current mass extinction and the health crisis.
Dr Rao proposed the Auarius Money game which uses a measure of our ecological footprint allowance to “implement radical equality and promote a mindset of abundance, rather than scarcity”. You can read more about it here -- https://www.climatehealers.org/that.
The talk sparked a debate among the audience, many of them Ecological Society alumni. Is veganism the only way to reversing climate change? Would all the land freed up from animal agriculture be returned to nature? Everyone went home thinking about their food choices.
More about Dr Rao: A systems specialist with a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, Dr. Rao worked on the internet communications infrastructure for twenty years after graduation. During this period, he led the transformation of early analog internet connections to more robust digital connections. In 2006, he switched careers and became deeply immersed, full time, in solving the environmental crises affecting humanity. Dr Rao is the author of two books, Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies and Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis, and an executive producer of four documentaries, The Human Experiment Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, What The Health, and A Prayer for Compassion.
Photos by Tushar Sarode and Shatakshi Gawade