March 16, 2000

Subject: Green Files #7: US to propose tighter organic food rules + Organic Standards Revisited: Beyond the Niche Market of "USDA Organic" + Endorse Platform for World Bank to Stop Funding Oil, Mining and Gas + EU Halts Franken Crops + URGENT ACTION ALERT - STOP NAVY PLANS TO RESUME LFAS TESTS! + Smart Planet, Foolish Choices

Hello everyone

Here are some other important facts and campaigns that I recommend to your attention.

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000




Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000
From: Peaceguy <peaceguy@peaceday.org>
Organization: www.peaceday.org
Subject: Organic Rules by US Government

Hi Jean,

I don't know whether you got this or not but it does show how government can be
changed,....

May Peace Prevail On Earth,
Don

---

US to propose tighter organic food rules

From stories in Reuters/N.Y. Times/AP

WASHINGTON -- The Clinton administration has decided to propose a ban on
genetically engineered grains in any food labeled organic.

The move is part of an administration effort to create the nation's first
official definition of "organic." New regulations will be formally unveiled
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The guidelines will also ban
pesticides on crops labeled organic, bar the use of sewage sludge as
fertilizer, prohibit irradiation and tightly restrict the use of antibiotics
in farm animals.

In addition to trying to satisfy a small but growing number of American
consumers who shop for organic foods, the rules are also seen as a way to
defuse trade conflicts with Europe.

Of the more than 275,000 comments received in response to the original
proposal in 1997, virtually all of them opposed those three processes, which
the Agriculture Department had considered allowing. The new rules indicate
an about-face in the department's attitude toward organic farming and
represent one of several steps it is taking to help the small and
medium-sized farmers who,
the stories say, have mainly been ignored or even discriminated against by
the agency for decades.

Dr. Margaret Mellon, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental
advocacy group, was quoted as saying, "This could turn out to be the most
important rule the U.S.D.A. has issued in 20 years. The Agriculture
Department's policies have made small farmers an endangered species."


NOTE FROM JEAN: This is an excellent news but, as I wrote to Don, the battle is only beginning! Please take the time to read the BioDemocracy News #25 below and you'll see why... I consider the following document so important that I decided to include it entirely despite its large size.

BioDemocracy News #25
March 2000

Special Joint Issue of Organic View & BioDemocracy News on Organic Standards
News and Analysis on Genetic Engineering, Factory Farming, & Organics

by Ronnie Cummins

BioDemocracy News and Organic View are publications of the Organic
Consumers Association www.purefood.org

Organic Standards Revisited: Beyond the Niche Market of "USDA Organic"

Quotes of the Month:

"I do want to point out that the fact that we are once again announcing
a proposed rule on national organic standards is a living example of our
democracy at work. The people spoke very loudly... It's a well known fact
that we received an unprecedented 275,603 comments during the first go
round... But let me be clear on a very important point. The organic
classification is not a judgment about the quality or safety of any
product... Just because something is labeled as organic does not mean it is
superior, safer or more healthy than conventional food. "

- Dan Glickman, Secretary of US Department of Agriculture, March 7, 2000.

"There's been no research to give consumers any confidence that paying twice
as much for their [organic] food is giving them any enhancement in safety or
nutritional value."

- Michael Phillips, executive director for food and agriculture of the
Biotechnology Industry Organization. Los Angeles Times. March 8, 2000


Victory for Organic Consumers & Farmers: The USDA Surrenders

It's nice to win a victory once in a while. After being battered in
Seattle, bruised by the mass consumer rejection of proposed organic rules
in 1998, and unnerved by the growing controversy over genetically
engineered foods, the Clinton and Gore administration find themselves on
the defensive. Feeling the heat from consumers, the USDA has apparently
decided to call off its food fight--at least temporarily--with the nation's
10 million organic consumers, 6,000 retailers, and 10,000 organic farmers.
On Wednesday, March 8, the USDA formally surrendered to the organic
community by releasing a completely revised proposal for national organic
food standards and labels. The new 663-page ( www.ams.usda.gov/nop )
proposal incorporates nearly all of the recommendations made by the
National Organic Standards Board and organic activists, including a
prohibition on genetic engineering, sewage sludge, irradiation, and a
variety of other industrial-style agriculture practices.

A massive, unprecedented consumer backlash in 1998 over the USDA's first
proposed regulations shook up the USDA and forced them to back off on plans
to degrade organic standards and allow biotech and corporate agribusiness
to take over the rapidly growing organic food market. US organic food
sales this year will likely reach $8 billion--a sizable bite of the $350
billion total annual sales of the nation's supermarkets. At current growth
rates organic production will constitute 10% of American agriculture by the
year 2010.

Besides backing off on the "Big Three" (genetic engineering, sewage sludge,
and irradiation) the USDA bureaucrats bowed to grassroots pressure and
basically agreed that any product bearing the label "USDA Certified
Organic" will have to be produced without toxic pesticides or toxic
"inert ingredients"; that antibiotics, growth hormones, and rendered animal
protein can not be administered or fed to animals; that factory farm-style
intensive confinement of farm animals will not be allowed; and that no
synthetics or chemicals will be allowed in organic production without the
approval of the National Organic Standards Board. In addition the USDA
basically agreed to leave the preexisting system of private and state
organic certifiers intact; to allow accredited state and private organic
certifiers to uphold higher standards than the USDA; and for licensed
organic certifiers to be able to display their logos or seals on the front
label panel of organic products. Finally the USDA backed off on their
previous proposal to outlaw "eco-labels" which might imply that a product
was organic.

Despite major improvements in the current proposed USDA organic standards
over what was put forth in 1998, there are a number of problems and
shortcomings in the lengthy March 8 document. Among the most obvious
problems are the following:

* So-called "natural foods" with less than 50% organic ingredients will be
allowed to list their organic ingredients on their information
panel--usually on the back of the package--even though the non-organic
ingredients of these products may be genetically engineered, irradiated,
derived from sewage sludge, or produced with pesticides, growth hormones,
or antibiotics.

* Manure from factory farms will be allowed to be used as a fertilizer on
organic farms.

* Although the proposed regulations on organic animal husbandry require
"access to outdoors," no clear definition of what constitutes "pasture" are
offered, nor does the USDA delineate exact space or spacing requirements
for humane housing and outdoor access for poultry, pigs, cattle, and other
animals.

* Although the USDA claim they don't intend to impose economic hardships on
organic certifiers and farmers, the added costs of USDA oversight will fall
heavily on small certifiers and farmers. The USDA should provide
accreditation services to organic certifiers free of change as well as
subsidize the costs of any farmer who wishes to become certified as
organic. Beyond this the USDA should allocate funds to pay farmers a
premium price for their products during their "transition to organic" phase
as an added incentive for the majority of farmers to begin making the
transition to sustainable and organic farming practices.

* Although genetic contamination of organic crops by "genetic drift" from
farms growing genetically engineered crops is one of the most serious
environmental threats to organic agriculture, no residue limits for genetic
contamination are delineated in the USDA's proposed federal regulations.
The USDA must hold biotechnology patent holders and seed companies
accountable and financially liable for the environmental and economic
damage inflicted on organic farmers and producers caused by genetic drift

Proposed Rules Versus Final Rules: Consumer Vigilance & Comments Required

Although organic consumers and farmers should be proud of the fact that our
collective grassroots efforts have forced the government to adhere to high
standards in these proposed rules, we need to keep in mind that the March
proposed rules are not final regulations. After a 90-day official comment
period--which ends June 12--the USDA could bow once again to pressure from
corporate agribusiness and the biotechnology industry and issue a set of
weaker final rules, filled with legal loopholes and exemptions. For this
reason it is important once again for us to flood the USDA with thousands
of comments--which can be sent either by email (go to the USDA website
listed above); by fax (703-365-0760); or regular mail (Keith Jones,
National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-TMP-NOP, Room 2945-So., Ag Stop 0275, PO
Box 96456, Washington, D.C. 20090-6456). When sending comments by fax or
regular mail identify your comments as referring to docket number
TMD-00-02-PR. Please demand that the USDA deal with the five problems we've
noted above, but stress first and foremost that the USDA should not weaken
the provisions outlined in the March proposed rules in any manner
whatsoever.

Industrial Agriculture Takes Over the World: Must Organic Remain a Niche
Market?

The main problem with "USDA Certified Organic," as outlined in the proposed
rules, is not so much what the government says, but rather what they
deliberately ignore or fail to say. There's not a word in the new organic
standards about the evermore obvious dangers of industrial agriculture and
genetic engineering. Not a word about the 80 million cases of food
poisoning every year in the US resulting directly from the filth, disease,
and chemical contamination inherent in factory farming and industrialized
food processing. Not a word about rampant pesticide contamination and
hormone-disrupting chemicals in our food supply. Not a word about tons of
antibiotic drugs on factory farms being routinely fed to animals to make
them grow faster, which end up as residues in non-organic meat, poultry,
eggs, and dairy products--giving rise to dangerous drug-resistant strains
of salmonella and campylobacter.

In the USDA proposal there's not a word about billions of pounds of
pesticides and nitrate fertilizers contaminating more and more of the
nation's municipal water supplies. Not a word about the nation's food and
water-related cancer epidemic (48% of all males and 38% of all females in
the US can now look forward to getting cancer), or the even deadlier toll
resulting from heart disease and obesity--directly related to Americans'
overconsumption of junk food, meat, and animal products. Not a word about
the growing international call, endorsed by the British Medical Association
among others, for a global moratorium on genetically engineered foods and
crops. Instead the US Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman once more
repeated the Big Lie of Biotechnology and Corporate Agribusiness on March 7:

"Organic does not mean it is superior, safer, or more healthy than
conventional food. All foods in this country must meet the same high
standards of safety regardless of their classification."

On the sustainability front, there's not a word in the proposed organic
regulations on reducing "food miles." Not a word on how the average
over-processed, over-packaged, chemically and genetically-contaminated food
product in the US has traveled 1500 miles (burning up incredible amounts of
non-renewable energy and releasing climate disrupting greenhouse gases into
the atmosphere) before arriving at your supermarket. There's no mention of
the fact that recent statistics indicate that the single greatest cause of
global warming and climate destabilization may be industrial (i.e
non-organic, non-sustainable, non-locally produced) agriculture. Likewise
there's not a word in the new National Organic Program about the urgent
necessity of preserving biodiversity, in terms of food crops, animal
breeds, and wild species.

The US and Global Farm Crisis: Organic Niche Markets Are Not Enough

Finally the proposed organic rules have little or nothing to say about the
life or death economic crisis currently confronting American farmers and
rural communities. Likewise the USDA is silent on the frightening
implications of the further industrialization and globalization of
agriculture for the world's two billion small farmers and rural villagers.
The bottom line is that no one today is making any money in agriculture
except for the transnational corporate giants who control farm commodity
prices, agricultural input prices, seeds, patents, and retail food sales.
In other words Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Monsanto, Dupont, Cargill, Coca-Cola,
Tyson, Con-Agra, Kraft, and Archer Daniels Midland are making billions
while family farmers in the US and all over the world are going bankrupt.
In America today, 94% of the average farm family's income comes from wages
earned off the farm. Even as far back as 1990 the USDA admitted that 70% of
the nation's two million farmers were not earning enough income to support
a family. In the state of Minnesota, for example, it is estimated that 8%
of all farmers will be driven into bankruptcy or forced to give up farming
in the next 12 months.

The implicit assumption in USDA agricultural policy is that the 10% or so
of American small farmers who eventually switch over to organic production
over the next decade will probably survive, and even, in some cases,
prosper. The remaining 90% of US farmers will either be forced to sell
their land or consolidate their operations into giant biotech and chemical
intensive factory farms, leaving them the option of becoming tractor
drivers or tenant farmers. The implications for public health,
biodiversity, and a sustainable climate and environment of having organic
and sustainable agriculture remain nothing more than a small "niche market"
alongside a monstrous North American network of biotech and industrial ag
factory farms is not reassuring. Applied on a global scale this chemical
and genetically engineered driven model of agriculture will be literally
catastrophic.

Food Agenda 2000: Transforming American Agriculture

The growing US and global citizens movement against genetic engineering and
corporate globalization can draw inspiration from the fact that America's
organic community woke up, got organized, and forced the USDA to maintain
strict organic standards, at least for the moment. This is an important and
historic victory for citizen action, comparable in significance perhaps to
the US anti-nuclear movement stopping the building of new nuclear plants in
the late-1970s. Our common victory in this Save Organic Standards campaign
underlines the effectiveness of mass-based public education and
mobilization in this new era of computer-based information and global
internet communications. But of course this unprecedented rebellion of
granola eaters, organic farmers, environmentalists, animal protection
advocates, and health conscious soccer moms is just the beginning.

The challenge over the next months and years will be to see if organic
consumers, environmental organizations, farm activists, churches, and
public interest groups can build upon this tactical victory and begin
making headway in the bigger battle--driving genetically engineered crops
off the market all over the world, beginning to phase-out the most
dangerous practices of industrial agriculture, and jump-starting the
conversion of the majority of the world's agriculture to organic methods as
soon as possible. To do this means we'll have to organize a mass base of
support in every local area and state, form national networks and
coalitions, and then link up with our counterparts all over the world. We
and our allies, from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to the Consumers
Union and the National Family Farm Coalition, have already started to do
this, but we've still got a long road ahead. If we're going to see 30% of
more of American agriculture go organic before the end of the decade we're
going to have to build up a powerful nationwide network of organic
consumers. If we're going to drive Frankenfoods off the market, and clean
up the mess of chemical-intensive agriculture we'll need a lot of political
clout.

JOIN THE CAMPAIGN!

We invite you to join the Organic Consumers Association in our campaign to
transform America's food and agriculture system:

(1) Volunteer to help organize an OCA chapter in your local community. Send
us an email to <campaign@organicconsumers.org>

(2) Volunteer to help distribute OCA petitions--which we call our Food
Agenda 2000--in your local community. Again send an email to
<campaign@organicconsumers.org>

(3) Make a tax-deductible donation to the OCA. You can do this by credit
card off of our website www.purefood.org or by sending us a check
to our office: OCA/6114 Hwy 61/Little Marais, MN 55614

(4) Circulate this newsletter to your friends and tell them to subscribe by
sending an email to <majordomo@mr.net> with the simple message subscribe in
the body of the text.

Editor's Note: We're happy to announce that we now have 30,000 subscribers
to BioDemocracy News and Organic View. But this is just the beginning. We
need your help to spread the OCA message far and wide. Join Us!

And finally don't forget to send in your comments to the USDA on the
proposed national organic standards by June 12. Stay tuned to OCA website
www.purefood.org and our newsletter for further developments.

### End of BioDemocracy News #25

Ronnie Cummins
BioDemocracy Campaign/Organic Consumers Association
6114 Hwy 61
Little Marais, Mn. 55614
Tel. 218-226-4164
Fax 218-226-4157
email: alliance@mr.net
www.purefood.org




Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000
From: "Andrea Durbin" <ADurbin@foe.org>
Subject: Endorse Platform for World Bank to Stop Funding Oil, Mining and Gas

PLEASE FORWARD TO OTHER NETWORKS FOR ENDORSEMENTS * DEADLINE IS APRIL 3 2000

Dear Colleagues

Next month, April 16-17, officials at the World Bank and IMF meet in Washington, DC for their spring meetings. Many organizations and grassroots groups are organizing large protests and demonstrations to take place during that meeting.

Friends of the Earth-US, in consultation with other groups, has prepared an NGO platform statement that calls on the World Bank to shift out of financing oil, gas and mining projects and to announce an immediate ban on financing these projects in pristine, frontier areas. Over the years, it is evident that investments in the extractive industries cause significant and irreparable harm to the environment, the poor, indigenous communities, and contribute to the crises of global climate change. All too often, these projects are associated with human rights abuses and the companies build alliances with authoritarian governments to protect their corporate interest.

We have developed this platform to call a halt to this kind of financing. The statement also calls on public funds to be used for public good, while recognizing that it may not be appropriate for the World Bank to be involved in financing these projects either. What is important is that civil society sets the development priorities for their country, not by bankers in Washington, DC.

We ask for your organizational endorsement and for your assistance in circulating this statement to other organizations.

To endorse, please send your name, organization and country to Sara Zdeb (szdeb@foe.org, or fax 202/783-0444).

The deadline for replying is April 3, 2000.

Thanks for your support.

Andrea Durbin
Friends of the Earth-US

NOTE from Jean: I made their complete Platform statement available at:

http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000/EndorsePlatform.htm

I believe the cumulative impacts of the World Bank financing of oil, mining and gas exploration and developments adds a tremendous burden on our already overtaxed ecosystems. The planet can simply no longer afford such investments that only lead to the wholesale destruction of the little that remains of our planet's forest cover, home to a treasure-trove of species vital for the future of this world.




Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000
From: dj <djhewitt@jps.net>
Subject: EU Halts Franken Crops

From: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,34877,00.html

EU Halts Franken Crops
Reuters
9.Mar.2000

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Union will keep its de facto moratorium on the approval of genetically modified crops in place at least for another six months.

An EU committee was supposed to decide on Thursday whether to approve the marketing and sale of three new genetically modified crops in the 15-nation bloc but instead postponed a decision until the summer.

"There was insufficient information so we decided to postpone the decision," an EU official told a news briefing, referring to the possible approval of two GM varieties of rapeseed and one variety of fodder beet.

EU environment ministers agreed to a de facto moratorium on new GM product approvals last June pending a new EU directive, which will tighten up approval criteria.

Every member of the committee, made up of scientific experts from the EU's member states, believed the decisions would have to be delayed mainly because the companies filing for approval had submitted key information late, the official said.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth was quick to welcome the delay, calling for no further market approvals under the current regulatory system.

"The fact that the regulatory committee has once again failed to approve these GM crops is a boost in the battle to stop GMO pollution of Europe's fields and food," Gill Lacroix of FOE said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Greenpeace also called on the commission to reject the crops on the grounds that they could not be safely controlled and if planted, would spread "unchecked" and corrupt "natural" crops. No new GM crops have been approved in the EU since April 1998 due to consumer fears about their safety.

This has angered life science companies and the United States, which says its exports of bulk commodities to the EU are being blocked because GM crops grown widely by U.S. farmers are not approved for use in the bloc.

Copyright 1999-2000 Reuters Limited.




Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000
From: Light Worker Center <light@ilhawaii.net>
Subject: URGENT ACTION ALERT - STOP NAVY PLANS TO RESUME LFAS TESTS!

Hawai`i County Green Party Challenges Navy Plan to Resume Testing Low
Frequency Active Sonar System - Call for Congressional Action

Legal Challenge to Further Testing

According to an email received by Marsha Green, Ocean Mammal Institute,
from Dr. Robert Gisiner, Office of Naval Research, the United States Navy
is now planning to conduct further tests of the Low Frequency Active Sonar
System known as SURTASS LFA. The correspondence between Dr. Greena and Dr.
Gisiner is posted at ttp://www.ilhawaii.net/~light/gisiner.html

These tests will probably target Sperm Whales in the Azores as the primary
species. A search may be made for the very elusive Beaked Whales in the
Azores or Dominica. The Navy may return to Hawai`i for further testing on
Humpback Whales.

If the Navy returns to Hawai`i to follow up on the 1998 tests on Humpback
Whales, Dr. Gisiner's email states that the Navy would like to achieve
received levels (the intensity received by the whale) of 160 to 180
decibels (dB). In the 1998 tests off Hawai`i, very few whales received
levels reaching 140 dB. The proposed new levels would, therefore be 10,000
times more intense than the levels causing whales to leave the 1998 testing
area, which also happens to be a favorite breeding and calving area for the
Humpbacks. (The decibel scale is logarithmic - 150 dB is 10x as intense as
140 and 160 is 100x as intense as 140)

These levels would also be from 5,000 to 500,000 times more intense than
the 125 dB exposure which traumatized a swimmer in the water in 1998.

On February 29, environmental and cultural organizations joined an elected
official in filing a suit challenging the Navy's preparations to deploy
this system in 80% of the world's oceans. A release explaining that suit
is included below.à

(CLIP)

Communicate your protest to:

Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig
1000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20350-1000
Telephone: (703) 695-3131
Fax: (703) 614-3477

THE SURTASS LFAS THREAT

The Surveillance Towed Array Sonar System (SURTASS) Low Frequency Act (LFA)
Sonar is an extraordinarily powerful system the Navy seeks to deploy in 80%
of the world's oceans. One observation about the potential effects of this
system on marine mammals, such as whales, comes from the United States
Marine Mammal Commission:

U.S. Marine Mammal Commission - Annual Report for 1997

Page 169 - Low Frequency Active Sonar

"the possible effects could include:

death from lung hemmorrhage or other tissue trauma;

temporary or permanent hearing loss or impairment;

disruption of feeding, breeding, nursing, acoustic communication and
sensing, or other vital behavior and, if the disruption is severe,
frequent, or long lasting, possible decreases in individual survival and
productivity and corresponding decreases in population size and productivity;

annoyance and subsequent abandonment or avoidance of traditional feeding,
breeding, or other biologically important habitats and, if suitable
alternative habitats are not available nearby, decreases in both individual
survival and productivity and in population size and productivity;

psychological and physiological stress, making animals more vulnerable to
disease, parasites, predation; and

changes in the distribution abundance, or productivity of important marine
mammal prey species and subsequent decreases in both individual marine
mammal survival and productivity and in population size and productivity."

(CLIP)

For further information about the law suit and the SURTASS LFA threat,
visit http://go.to/lfaslawsuit or
http://www.ilhawaii.net/~light/lfaindex.html.

The opening of this additional front in the legal arena means that
financial support to pay the expenses of the litigation is even more
needed. To make a tax deductible contribution, you can make out a check to
"ISF/Stop LFAS." To contribute funds for unrestricted use, you can make out
a check to "Stop LFAS." Send your contribution to: Stop LFAS, P.O. Box
944, Hilo, Hawai`i 96721.





AND TO CONCLUDE ON A LAUGHTER NOTE...

Swami Beyondananda Sez:
Smart Planet, Foolish Choices

© 2000 by Steve Bhaerman

I had a dream that the Earth wasn't feeling well and went to see a doctor. Doc," said the planet, "I'm feeling depleted. My water tastes funny, I have terrible-smelling gas, and there's this premature bald spot in my ozone layer. I figure I must be running some kind of fever, because I've been awfully warm lately. And I'm getting those tremors more often."

"Hmm," said the doctor. "About how long have you been having these symptoms?"

"Not long. Just for the past hundred years or so. But recently it's gotten worse, especially those violent flares up around my hot-spots."

"Well, you definitely show signs of mineral loss and lack of oxygen. You've been overmined, and consequently you've been undermined. Looks like you got a pretty nasty case of People.

"People? Isn't that a benign condition?" the Earth asked.

"Well," replied the doctor, "it was, for many thousands of years. People lived in relative harmony with other organisms; and their numbers were kept in check. But there must have been some mutation because People are now the most dangerous parasite the Earth has ever known, consuming everything in sight, and leaving behind abnormal growth and toxic waste."

Naturally, the Earth wanted to know whether the condition is curable. "Yes, it is," the doctor said. "There's a warm solution anyone can make that will dissolve all toxicity. And that is -"

But I never finished the dream. Unfortunately, mg hotel radio alarm was set to a radio talk show and I was abruptly awakened by somebody's barking dogma. All day I pondered the dream. Yes, it was clear that People were indeed the problem. For one thing, there's already too many of us, and more of us arrive every day. Do you realize that if all the women of childbearing age on the planet were laid end-to-end, we'd end up with even more children than we have now? All it takes is for undulating and ovulating to occur at roughly the same time, and just like that you've sprung off some offsprings. No wonder we are eating our host out of house and home.

And our petrochemical dependency has fouled the air. If he were alive today, do you know what Franklin D. Roosevelt would say? First thing he would say is, "Boy, do I feel OLD! Geez, I must be l20 or something." Next he would probably say: "We have nothing to fear, but atmosphere itself." And clearcutting? It's clear-cut insanity! It's put us out on a limb, and we've continued cutting without noticing which side of limb we are sitting on."

That next night, I went back into the dream state with the intention of asking the Earth exactly what the doctor ordered. So naturally, I dreamed I was a talk-show host and had the Earth as my guest. I said, "You know, you're a pretty smart planet. But already, we humans have tried to outsmart you and have made some foolish choices. What do you suggest we choose instead?"

And the Earth replied, "Three things. Diversity, moderation and love." She elaborated on each of these, and I promised to convey her message to people everywhere. "Oh, and something else," the Earth told me, "I know that the military buzz cut has come back in style, but personally, I'm ready to let my forests grow long again. So I would appreciate it if you tell the folks that clearcutting is no longer in fashion, thank you."

So, mea culpa. You-a culpa. We all aculpa. Now what do we do it about it? We have been the problem and now it's time we applied the solution. Here is what the Earth suggested.

Diversity. The Earth was very upset about species loss and warned, "You are gambling with a paradise! What if I had put all my money on the dinosaur, where would we be today?" In diversity, we see that every species and indeed every individual is irreplaceable. I know this sounds odd, but each of us is one-of-a-kind. That's right. You are utterly unique - just like everyone else. When we truly get how extradordinarily odd each of us is, we will lose interest in trying to get even.

Moderation. The Earth has been fairly temperate, providing us with a pretty decent climate. But lately, with all the tempers flaring, the climate has become quite uncomfortable. We definitely need to moderate our consumption, and put our emotional energy to better use. Just think if we channeled our frustration by practicing tantrum yoga, we could save energy by using our anger to heat our home in the wintertime. And with our anger released, we would live like nomads - that's where I nomad at you, you nomad and me, and consequently, there is nomadness on the planet. When we live the nomad lifestyle, we are able to move more freely with a minimum of baggage - so we use up fewer resources.

Love. That was the part of the dream that I missed. Love is the solution that dissolves all of our problems. So here is the doctor's prescription: Every evening, diesolve all the stresses of the day in a warm solution of love. And in the morning, do the same to dissolve all fears and anxieties. Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself," and maybe now is the time to launch a blisskrieg the likes of which the world has never seen. It's a question of evolution: Can mankind treat man kindly? There's no better time to find out.

Copyright 2000 All rights reserved.

Visit Swami’s website at www.beyondananda.com to find out more about his funny and inspirational puns - especially his latest book “Duck Soup for the Soul” - or contact him at swamib@saber.net







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