VegFest Oahu to feature faith groups
Representatives from four faith groups will be available to share how their sacred texts reinforce the advantages of a plant-based diet at the second VegFest Oahu on Sept. 2.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
Representatives from four faith groups will be available to share how their sacred texts reinforce the advantages of a plant-based diet
at the second VegFest Oahu on Sept. 2.
The Interfaith Temple of Compassion program will be offered for the first time at the community festival, which drew 4,000 attenders last year. Michael Wall,
who manages the interfaith program, said a tent will be set up “where people can have a conversation with someone really passionate about their religion and a plant-based lifestyle.”
The festival from noon to 5:30 p.m. on the civic grounds at Honolulu Hale will offer some 50 booths featuring cooking demonstrations, vegan food from local restaurants and food businesses, wellness product vendors, health and environmental speakers, and entertainment.
Members of the Seventh-day Adventist, Baha’i, Vaishnava Hinduism and Seicho-No-Ie (one universal god) faiths will man the interfaith booth.
Vegans and the participating faith groups share three major concerns: mercy for animals, human health benefits and a sustainable environment, Wall said. “If we don’t treat the animals with compassion, it tends to inform our attitude about life in general,” he said.
“We are challenged on a community or environmental level by what’s happening with factory farming and on how we raise the animals,” he said. Wall cited a 2009 study by Worldwatch Institute as an example: “Livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of CO2 per year, or
51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions” (worldwatch.org/node/6294).
The representatives at the festival will be prepared to discuss sacred quotes connecting their faiths with vegetarian/vegan values. One example is Mantra One of
the Sri Isopanishad from Vaishnava Hinduism:
“Everything animate and inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside for his quota, and one must not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.”
Wall said interpreters explained that the text, when applied to diet, “infers eating low on the food chain (a plant-based diet),” which would a lead to “simple living, high thinking.”
Another example is a quote from the biblical book of Genesis (1:29) that Seventh-day Adventists believe God preferred people eat plants, the original diet of mankind, Wall said:
“Then God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food.”
Wall said he became a vegetarian about nine years ago and committed to becoming “fully vegan” some four years later, eating no animal-based products like dairy foods. “The real difference between (the two) is about nonviolence and compassion for animals.” A self-described interfaith advocate, Wall added, “There’s a part of me that feels very uncomfortable about violence towards animals” as their products are manufactured with methods that are not ethical or moral.
“Religious people talk a lot about love, caring and compassion, but if you want to have more peace in our hearts, we need to be more peaceful towards the beings and the creatures we share the planet with.”