Thursday, Apr 15

Saving the Earth through vegetarianism

March 31, 2019 | Charissa Tulinao

Volunteers share how they became vegetarians and how their lives transformed. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

Story Highlights

  • On March 31st, during the three-day Volunteers’ Camp in the TCGLC, Sta. Mesa, participants learn about vegetarianism and its benefits to the environment and to our health.


It is vital to the foundation to impart vegetarianism especially during these time when man-made and natural disasters continue to threaten our mere existence.

During the three-day Volunteers’ Camp in the Harmony Hall of the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus in Sta. Mesa, participants were able to listen to the sharing of three volunteers about their experiences as vegetarians.

The aspiring participants were able to learn about the effects of the production of livestock to the environment and the effect of consumption of meat for their health.

While most of the volunteers were once meat-eaters, Liam Ngo, an 8-year old son of a volunteer has been a vegetarian all his life.

One of the precepts of Dharma Master Cheng Yen is to not kill and the 8-year old embodied this as he shared his will to encourage the participants to become vegetarians to completely eradicate killing for food

He also explained that limited clean water is compromised and wasted because of meat production and instead of acquiring it for ourselves, we are almost left with nothing.

Volunteers hope that his experience as a vegetarian at a very young age could inspire many to do the same.

As a vegetarian for 23 years, Carmen Sy believes that being part of the foundation should equate to being able to personify compassion as it is what we strongly uphold. For her, we could achieve this by refraining from killing animals for meat.

Sy emphasizes that she doesn’t want to force anyone to become a vegetarian, but she would just simply encourage them to try.

“I will tell [them] to try on a different mindset. [By] looking at life, our calamities nowadays and [to] be closer to nature because it’s only with nature…. the natural laws of life that would really give us ease and peace to exist in this world,” said Sy.

Having known Tzu Chi through partnerships and projects, Maria Gonzales joined the camp and is delighted from the teachings she is accumulating from the sessions. She believes that a lot more should be able to learn from Dharma Master Cheng Yen.

Gonzales sees the difference of applying values such as compassion in charity work because it correlates to sincerity to which the recipients should properly receive.

She supports vegetarianism as she condemns the agricultural industry of mass production and inhumane treatment to animals.

To further promote vegetarianism, volunteers prepared meat-free meals for the participants. This will serve as a way for them to know more about accessible vegetarian food.

Through the continuous efforts and hard work of the volunteers and kitchen staff to provide these meals, they hope to inspire the participants to live a vegetarian lifestyle that could help save the environment.

  • Monica Sy led the session for the morning’s vegetarianism talk. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • Maria Gonzales (left) listens to the volunteers during the session. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • Volunteer Carmen Sy shares her journey through vegetarianism with the participants. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • The 8-year old Liam Ngo discusses the amount of water wasted to produce meat in an effort to encourage the participants to become vegetarians. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • Participants enjoy the sessions and partake in the small exercises led by the volunteers. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • Vegetarian meals are prepared and serve during the three-day Volunteers’ Camp. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • To encourage the participants to become vegetarians, well-prepared food is served. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • Before lunch, participants pray with the volunteers. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】