March 31, 2000
Subject: Green Files #9: Endorse Platform for World Bank to Stop Funding Oil, Mining and Gas + Call for Meditation on April 15 + Little Elian confirms on TV he got help from a dolphin + GREAT NEWS: MONSANTO fined $250 Million by the FDA!!! + News From The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods + Be careful with scented candles + Phil Peacock from the UK needs help to save Orang-utans + The seed
Here is another compilation of important environmental news.
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
NOTE: Here is first an important initiative to support. 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.
Please take a few minutes to read this and think about what you can do to help this invaluable initiative.
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
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 (email@example.com, or fax 202/783-0444).
The deadline for replying is April 3, 2000.
The statement is included below.
Thanks for your support.
Friends of the Earth-US
CALLING ON THE WORLD BANK GROUP
TO PHASE OUT FINANCING OIL, GAS AND MINING PROJECTS
In this era of globalization, there is a growing awareness that environmental protection and economic development must go hand in hand. Nowhere is the incompatibility of environmental destruction and poverty alleviation more evident than in the World Bank Group's investments in the extractive industries: oil, gas and mining. As the world's largest development institution, and one of the major vehicles for economic globalization, the World Bank now stands at a crossroads: perpetuate poverty and pollution through extractive industries, or alleviate poverty through environmentally and socially sustainable development.
The undersigned organizations and individuals call on the publicly financed World Bank Group to phase out of financing destructive oil, gas and mining projects. The Bank's support for these extractive industries underscores its record of environmental and social destruction. Oil, gas and mining projects enable wealthy multinational corporations to extract resources and profits from poor countries, leaving poverty in their wake. They fuel global climate change, pollute the environment and lead to deforestation. Even worse, extractive industries have further entrenched corrupt and dictatorial governments, and exacerbated human rights abuses.
Oil, gas, and mining embody an unsustainable model of economic development that has failed the world's poor in the 20th century. There is no reason for the World Bank Group to finance these sectors in the 21st. The World Bank Group devotes a significant share of its portfolio to extractive sectors (in 1999, 40% of the World Bank Group's portfolio -which includes IFC and MIGA - went to oil, gas and mining projects). An environmentally and socially sustainable approach would include investing in new industries, clean technologies, environmental protection, job creation and education. The World Bank Group should establish an immediate ban on new exploration in pristine, frontier ecosystems (a ban more than 200 organizations from 52 countries called for at the Kyoto climate change meeting). Finally, we call on the World Bank Group to develop a plan for a complete phase out of financing oil, gas and mining projects. The transition away from these sectors should be developed in a participatory manner, be based on renewable energy-based systems and ensure the livelihoods of local communities.
Ten Reasons the World Bank Group Should Stop Financing
Oil, Gas, and Mining Projects in Poor Nations
1. The Poor Often Pay the Highest Price
The environmental destruction and social upheaval that accompany oil, gas, and mining projects often harm the poor the most. The poor are the most likely to be forced off of their land and made homeless by these projects. They are the most likely to live in polluted surroundings and the least empowered to demand fair compensation or a share in the revenue from oil, gas and mining development. The poor are the most dependent upon local natural resources for their food and livelihoods, and the most likely to suffer when aid is diverted from social sectors to finance extractive industries.
2. Indigenous Communities are Jeopardized
Oil, gas and mining operations have devastated dozens of indigenous groups around the world, resulting in loss of their numbers, territory, livelihoods and cultural identity. From the Amazon Basin to Asia, these indigenous peoples' ways of life are built on age-old traditions and deep ties to and interdependence with the ecosystems where they live. As a result of these extractive industries, indigenous communities often lose their right to self-determination, their right to their land and livelihood.
3. Leads to Forest Destruction and Biodiversity Loss
From Siberia's temperate forests, to the mangroves of Central Africa, to the rainforests of the Amazon basin, oil, gas and mining projects threaten precious forests and cause irreversible damage to ecosystems and biodiversity loss. Oil and gas exploration, mining and new roads (which are often an indirect result of oil, gas and mining exploration) currently threaten more than half of both South America's and Russia's frontier forests, according to the World Resources Institute. Coal mining in eastern India threatens to destroy the last remaining habitat for the endangered tiger. Much of this exploration and mining is taking place in pristine, frontier forest areas.
4. Toxic Contamination of Communities
Oil, gas, and mining operations are significant sources of ecological degradation even in wealthier nations with stronger environmental protections. In poorer countries with weaker environmental standards and less oversight capacity, the likelihood of oil spills, toxic emissions, and contamination is greatly increased, and governments and communities are less equipped to limit the damage. Between 1982 and 1992 Shell's subsidiary in Nigeria spilled about 1.6 million gallons of oil in the Niger Delta, most from leaking pipelines. Spills, gas flaring, improper disposal of waste, and mining accidents result in toxic releases that can be dangerous and even deadly to humans, and can poison groundwater, farmland, livestock and marine resources, the very resources on which the poor depend.
5. Negatively Impacts Women
Women often bear a disproportionate amount of the costs of extractive projects in their communities. Women are often not included in the Bank's consultation process for projects, even though they are responsible for the welfare of their family. Often men are hired to work in the extractive industries, leaving women behind with an increased workload. Their customary responsibilities are made even more difficult as the natural resources upon which they and their families depend, including clean drinking water and fuelwood for cooking, are polluted or degraded by these extractive industries.
6. Extractive Industries Often Tied to Human Rights Abuses
From forced relocation, to the brutal, and sometimes deadly, suppression of those who dare to demand fair compensation or clean-up, the drive for profit from fossil fuels and minerals has all too often led to human rights violations by governments and corporations. Witness the struggle in Nigeria by the Ogoni people to demand the clean-up of the pollution on their land by the oil industry, or the demand of the Amungme in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, calling for fair treatment and compensation from the largest gold and copper mine in the world. The rights of individuals and communities are often sacrificed in the search for profit by these industries.
7. Ties with dictators and corrupt governments
Many of the countries with oil, gas and mining projects suffer from corruption and authoritarian regimes. Whether it is Russia, Colombia, Indonesia or Nigeria, repressive countries often form alliances with multinational corporations involved in extractive industries. For the last two years, Transparency International, a non-profit corruption watchdog, has identified Chad as the most corrupt nation in the world. In spite of this situation, the World Bank still claims oil development will benefit the poor in these countries, and is ready to finance a multi-million dollar oil development scheme.
8. Supports Corporate Welfare
The multinational corporations involved in extractive industries often have profits that dwarf the size of many of the Bank's borrowing countries. In the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project, which the Bank is poised to finance, the lead company - Exxon - has annual profits that are four times the budget of Cameroon and 40 times the budget of Chad. Although earmarked for sustainable development and poverty relief, nine out of ten World Bank fossil fuel projects benefit transnational corporations based in wealthy countries. These multinationals are wealthy and do not need to tap into preciously limited foreign aid. Furthermore, when the Bank subsidizes these corporate giants, it diverts much needed aid from programs that truly benefit the poor.
9. Extractive Industries Fuel Global Climate Change
Fossil fuels are the major cause of global climate change and must be phased out. Climate change is already wreaking havoc on the poorest in developing countries, and threatens to only worsen their situation. The World Bank Group should be leading the way to assist countries in a transition towards a more renewable energy economy and maximizing energy efficiencies, not tapping into the last remaining resources for the dirtiest, most climate-destabilizing fuels. Today the World Bank spends 25 times more on fossil fuel projects than on renewables. Rather than taking substantive action on climate change, and drastically reducing their fossil fuel lending, the World Bank is now launching a carbon trading scheme, which threatens to provide even more subsidies to the already heavily subsidized fossil fuel industry.
10. Increases Debt and Dependency of Poor Countries
Oil, gas and mining development commit countries to a path of indebtedness and dependency on external aid. Desperate for hard currency to service debts, poor countries exploit their natural resources at unsustainable rates, such as petroleum reserves or minerals, to export for foreign exchange. This costly development path fuels growing indebtedness, and the World Bank's policy-based lending encourages an unsustainable export-led growth strategy.
Ten Better Examples of Good Development
There is no shortage of alternatives to oil, gas and mining. Opportunities will vary between countries, but this is not an obstacle ensuring that foreign assistance directly responds to the needs of the poor and offer sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems. The starting point is for the World Bank Group to work with governments to establish a participatory process and consult with citizens and stakeholders in the borrowing countries to identify national development priorities for investment and financial support. It may not be appropriate for the World Bank Group to invest in each of these areas. But the bottom line is that where the World Bank Group is providing financial assistance to developing countries, it must limit its support to projects and policy lending that directly alleviates poverty and promotes environmentally and socially sustainable development. Some better development examples than what the World Bank is currently doing with the majority of its lending, include:
1. Support education and technical training.
Investing in human capital is the most important investment of all. A quality education empowers a person to defend their rights and to creatively employ their own resources. Basic education is a fundamental right and the foundation upon which an informed and dynamic citizenry is based, yet it is denied to hundreds of millions of children around the world. Primary education is key, especially for girls.
2. Promote healthy societies.
Easily preventable diseases continue to kill millions of people each year. In many countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, roughly one in four children will die before the age of five and diarrhea is a leading cause of death among toddlers. Responding to this scandal and waste of human and economic potential is a moral imperative that the world must face.
3. Support micro and small enterprise.
Supporting small and medium enterprises, as well as micro-enterprise initiatives, has obvious social advantages over the mega-projects that characterize World Bank Group lending. Smaller enterprises result in more employment per dollar invested, are more likely to reinvest earnings in the local economy and can be more easily targeted to benefit women and marginalized communities. From producing carbon filters out of coconut husks, to exporting organic foods to other markets, opportunities for promoting small and medium sized initiatives are endless.
4. Build strong agricultural sectors that respond to peoples' needs.
Agriculture is the lifeblood of many of the world's poorest countries. World Bank projects and policy lending have often been associated with accumulation of land in the hands of the few and the promotion of export driven agriculture that can ultimately undermine food security. What is needed is a more positive role in development in the agriculture sector that deals with land redistribution and land rights, sustainable agricultural practices and more appropriate technology development.
5. Deliver energy to the rural poor.
Roughly two billion people in rural areas lack access to electricity and other forms of energy. While the World Bank has a strategy to address these needs, it has never properly implemented it. Instead, financing is oriented toward industrial development and urban areas, thereby further impoverishing the rural poor. Drawing on advances in renewable energy, and existing production, the Bank Group could bring energy to millions of people in rural areas. In most cases, cost-benefit analysis shows that renewable forms of energy are the most viable way to reach remote, rural areas.
6. Improve the quality of life in urban areas.
Gridlock, pollution, crime and a declining quality of life are the products of overcrowded cities flourishing in the developing world. The World Bank Group could help counter-act this trend by directing more of its resources towards land-use planning, improved efficiency in building practices and pollution control. Better-organized transit corridors, especially public transit such as low cost ultralight rail vehicles, would reduce pollution-related illnesses. The World Bank Group could work to support innovative building practices and work with city planners to improve the design of urban areas. The Bank could also invest in more urban area pollution programs, the cause of so many health related problems.
7. Develop productive alternatives to deforestation.
Even by its own analysis, World Bank Group projects are often associated with accelerating rates of deforestation. More emphasis should be placed on developing alternatives to deforestation and promoting the sustainable use of certain forest resources. Innovative alternatives exist, such as emerging substitutes for wood products and non-wood paper production, or supporting eco-tourism and the sustainable harvesting of forest products such as rubber. Governments should be enabled to expand protected areas for conservation and sustainable use because forests are critical for the global environment and for generations to come.
8. Encourage the efficient use of water.
Water scarcity is a growing global concern, as well as an increasingly obvious potential source of conflict. Despite the shortages and its fundamental importance to life on earth, huge volumes of water are unnecessarily wasted each day. Bombay loses up to one-third of its water, and losses are as high as 50 percent in Manila. Similarly, irrigation systems that account for more than half of the water drawn for human use, can also be sources of great waste. The World Bank Group could improve quality of life by directing more of its resources to reducing leakage, improving water conservation and developing mechanisms to more efficiently employ existing irrigation systems.
9. Promote energy efficiency and renewable energy development.
Rather than promoting the exploration and production of fossil fuels, the World Bank Group should be concentrating its energy on capturing the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues that are annually lost through energy inefficiency. Investments in preventing heat loss and in co-generation processes that simultaneously produce both hot water and electricity, could save World Bank Group clients billions of dollars in the coming decades. Combined with energy efficient lighting and building techniques, this would reduce energy imports and possibly free up energy for export. Similarly, by supporting emerging markets in solar, wind and fuel cell technology, the Bank will be promoting energy that will not exacerbate pollution problems or global climate change.
10. Immediate Debt Cancellation and Recognition of Ecological Debt.
The dire problem of debt must be addressed. The World Bank Group should move forward this year on granting immediate debt cancellation to the highly indebted poor countries and develop a program for debt relief for middle income countries. These programs should include innovative approaches to protect and conserve more pristine, frontier ecosystems around the world. It should also be recognized that there is an ecological debt that must be reckoned with since Northern consumers have benefitted from cheap natural resources, including oil, gas and minerals, from the South. These resources have been extracted at a high cost to the environment and communities.
Subject: Re: Little Elian
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000
From: Larry Morningstar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Sananjaleen June Hughes" <email@example.com>
>Hi Larry - did you all catch the Diane Sawyer interview with
>the little Cuban boy a couple of nights ago. About the Dolphins
>poking him back in the boat when he fell out, and then she had
>him do drawings of it - Love and Joy,
Hello Dear One,
No, I missed this. Thanks for telling me!
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000
From: Robert Cohen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: GREAT NEWS
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\ \ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ / /
\ \ MONSANTO fined $250 Million. FDA sets five / /
\ \ year moratorium on genetic engineering: / /
\ \ http://www.notmilk.com/fdarecall.html / /
\ \________________________________________/ /
\ «¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥ /
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000
Subject: Re: GREAT NEWS- NOT TRUE! APRIL FOOL PARODY!
I regret to inform you that this is a Parody!
NOTE FROM JEAN: I failed to mention so far that I also run another e-list focussing solely on GM foods and plants. If you are interested in this topic, simply ask me to be added on that other GMO list. I have already compiled 12 large emails so far. Frequency 1 or 2 /week.
From: "The Campaign" <email@example.com>
Subject: More news from Boston + Take Action Packet
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000
Broadcast News From The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods
Dear Health Freedom Fighters,
The BIO 2000 conference of the biotechnology industry continues in Boston.
On Tuesday there was a panel discussion about labeling genetically
engineered foods. The first article below discusses this issue. For the
article, the reporter also interviewed Congressman Dennis Kucinich, primary
sponsor of the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act.
The second article below discusses Senator Edward Kennedy's endorsement of
the biotech industry that he made in a speech at the conference on Tuesday.
Since tens of thousands of people in the State of Massachusetts make their
living in the biotech industry, it is not surprising that Senator Kennedy
Everyone reading this e-mail is encouraged to send Senator Kennedy a letter
asking him to support S. 2080, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know
Act. A form letter to Senator Kennedy can be found at:
It is easy to get discouraged when we hear some our nation's most prominent
politicians supporting biotechnology. But just because they support
biotechnology does not mean they won't support the labeling of genetically
THE KEY ACTION IN GETTING CONGRESS TO SUPPORT THE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED
FOOD RIGHT TO KNOW ACT IS TO FLOOD THEIR OFFICES WITH FORM LETTERS SENT BY
The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods will be printing up
250,000 copies (or more) of our new "Take Action Packet" next month. The
Take Action Packet contains an educational tutorial about genetically
engineered foods and five form letters addressed to Congress and the
Presidential Candidates. The Take Action Packet will be distributed in
thousands of natural food stores and other outlets throughout the United
States. We will be able to deliver these 24-page full color magazine-style
Take Action Packets for only 25 cents each in lots of 100. (This price will
Members of The Campaign will automatically be mailed a copy of the Take
Action Packet when we receive them from the printer late next month. To
become a member of The Campaign, go to:
Our goal is to generate one million letters to Congress in the next seven
months. The combination of The Campaign's new Take Action Packet and our
popular web site should be able to provide the means to accomplish our one
million letter goal. We feel this volume of letters will be enough to cause
Congress to pass the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act into law.
PO Box 55699
Seattle, WA 98155
Web Site: http://www.thecampaign.org
Panel Discusses Biotech Food Labels
c The Associated Press
By LAURA VOZZELLA
BOSTON (AP) - Food industry leaders expressed concern Tuesday that labels
identifying products with genetically modified ingredients would scare
``It looks like the surgeon general's warning on cigarettes,'' Gene
Grabowski, spokesman for Grocery Manufacturers of America, told a gathering
at the BIO 2000 convention.
Specifically, Grabowski referred to ``a square warning label'' that would be
required on biogenetic foods under a bill introduced in Congress by Rep.
Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.
Whether they know it or not, Americans fill their shopping carts each week
with genetically altered foods. Soda, crackers, breakfast cereals, cheeses
and many other products are made with sweeteners, fats and grains derived
from modified crops.
Sixty percent to 70 percent of all processed foods on supermarket shelves
contain some genetically modified ingredient, Grabowski said.
While some European countries have either banned certain biotech crops or
mandated labeling of biogenetic foods, the federal Food and Drug
Administration has not imposed similar restrictions in the United States.
Some of those gathered at the Boston convention said they were worried that
the labeling called for under Kucinich's bill could deter people from buying
products that the industry claims are safe.
But Kucinich said big business cannot be trusted to put public safety above
``Tobacco companies were telling people for years and years that there's no
problem with tobacco and all of a sudden we found out differently,'' he said
from his office in Washington.
``In a democracy, people have a right to know and government has a moral
responsibility to ensure the purity and safety of the food supply,''
Kucinich said. ``We can't abdicate that responsibility to global
corporations whose goals may be limited to profit orientation.''
No one at the conference spoke in favor of labeling, but some said that if
it comes to pass, they hoped the information would not be presented as a
warning. Several people suggested that since most processed foods contain
genetically altered ingredients, it would make more sense for non-biogenetic
foods to be labeled as such, just as organic foods are today.
Whether or not they prevail in Congress, biotech advocates said the folks
they really have to win over are consumers. Unlike Europeans, Americans on
the whole have not voiced strong opposition to genetically altered foods.
But they expressed concern that anti-biotech activists, like the ones who
staged colorful street protests outside the Boston convention this week,
might make headway with the public.
Susan Harlander, vice president for biotechnology development and
agriculture at Pillsbury Co., told convention participants to use ``your
own, small sphere of influence'' to spread the word about the benefits of
``Talk to your own child's class. ... Talk to your mother,'' she said.
``Only one side is out there now.''
Kennedy Backs Biotech Industry
c The Associated Press
By STEVE LeBLANC
BOSTON (AP) - The biotech industry received a pledge of political support
from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who said genetic engineering can dramatically
improve people's lives.
``We want to work with you to make sure we are going to have decisions and
judgments based on science,'' Kennedy told about 1,500 chief executives and
researchers gathered at the BIO 2000 convention Monday. ``Too often when
decisions are being made, they are based on philosophy or ideology.''
Kennedy spoke just hours after protesters dumped 30 gallons of ``genetically
altered'' soybeans outside the convention center, where biotech executives
and researchers are holding the largest gathering of its kind to discuss
developments in the industry.
The industry is exploring ways of altering genes to create, for example,
lifesaving medicines, pest-resistant foods and animal organs suitable for
Kennedy, D-Mass., promised to work with the industry to help get new drugs
to market. But he warned the industry's scientific breakthroughs need to
reach as many people as possible.
Outside the convention center, biotech opponents kept up their criticism.
About 200 protesters gathered at a supermarket next door, protesting the
sale of genetically engineered food.
Elisabeth Disterhoft, a 19-year-old student from Bard College in New York,
handed organic apples to passers-by.
``The American people need to know what they are eating and have a say in
what they are eating,'' said Disterhoft, dressed as a butterfly. ``We have
no right to go into Mother Nature and mess with this stuff just because we
can. The technology is going way ahead of the ethics.''
On the Net:
Biotechnology Industry Organization: http://www.bio.org/welcome.html
For protesters, the Alliance for Biointegrity: http://www.bio-integrity.org
Please visit The Campaign's web site at http://www.thecampaign.org
To subscribe send an email to:
in the BODY of the message.
From: "Darina Stoyanova" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Be careful with scented candles
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000
Here is smth that I think is useful to spread around
if you have not done it already.
Blessings for the Light you send,
Just beware of this hidden problem
To all potential and already buyers of scented candles.
Something which you may wish to know....
For those who like scented candles, read By Charles
When Cathy Flanders, 41, of Plano, Texas, started
burning candles for their pleasant smell in the spring
of 1997, it never occurred to her she could be
poisoning her family.
Three years, a serious illness and a lawsuit later,
Flanders has a lesson to share with anyone buying
scented candles: Watch out for metal wicks.
Lead emitted by this type of candle is a serious
health hazard. "Candles are fast becoming one of the
most common unrecognized causes of poor indoor air
quality," says Diane Walsh Astry, executive director
of the Health House Project, an American Lung
Association education project in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Flanders' woes started when Cathy was shopping at
a clothing store and spotted some candles whose labels
promised to fill her house with the pleasant
fragrances of "winter" and "spring." Within six months
of burning the candles, she noticed soot damage around
her house. But Cathy didn't pinpoint the source of the
problem until after Ron Bailey of Bailey Engineering
in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, analyzed the Flanders'
candles and discovered lead emissions.
Around that time, 11-year-old Andrew Flanders' grades
dropped precipitously. His teacher wondered if he had
attention deficit disorder. When blood tests revealed
an elevated level of lead, the Flanders promptly sent
him to live with his aunt. "The lead deposits in our
home are such that we could not sell the house if we
wanted to," says Flanders. As for the candles, the
doctor ordered a total ban. Testing revealed the lead
level in the Flanders' home to be 40 milligrams per
square foot -- 27 times the limit allowed in Housing
and Urban Development homes.
The Flanders aren't the only ones falling victim to
pleasant-smelling candles with toxic wicks. Candle
sales in general have skyrocketed in recent years,
according to the National Candle Association in
Washington D.C., from $500 million in 1995 to $2.3
billion in 1999.
Part of the candle craze may be due to new interest in
aromatherapy, a type of alternative medicine in which
odors are used for relaxation or to treat illness.
Ironically, the very candles sometimes used for
aromatherapy can cause serious health problems. The
chief culprits are candles with wicks made with metal
cores. "Some candle makers use metal-core wicks
because cotton wicks are often limp and fall over into
the wax, extinguishing the flame," explains Jerome O.
Nriagu, Ph.D., a professor of Environmental Chemistry
at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who has
studied the effects of scented candles. Lead
poisoning can lead to behavior changes and damage
internal organs, especially the kidneys. Cathy's
husband, Kip, had his gall bladder removed because of
an illness he blames on the candles.
Nriagu measured the lead released from metal wicks of
14 brands of candles. He found that burning four
metal-wick candles for two hours can result in
airborne lead concentrations that pose a threat to
human health. People with weak immune systems,
including children and the elderly, are particularly
"Besides breathing lead fumes, children can be exposed
to even more lead that is deposited on the floor,
furniture and walls because they often put their
hands in their mouths," says Nriagu. After similar
research in Australia, lead wicks in candles were
banned there in September 1999. But despite the
urging of experts like Nriagu, the candles are still
legal in the United States. Not all candles-or even
all scented candles-cause hazardous pollution. But since
labels won't tell which ones are safe, Astry and other
candle experts offer this advice:
1) Watch out for shiny metal wire inside the wicks of
candles. Opt for pure paper or cotton instead. Keep
wicks trimmed to one-quarter inch for more complete
combustion, and keep candles out of drafts. Windiness
blows more toxins into the air and causes inefficient
2) Watch out for slow-burning candles with additives.
(These candles often feel greasy to the touch.)
Instead, look for pure beeswax candles, which emit
3) For aromatherapy, put a few drops of scented oil in
a defuser - a tray made to fit on a lightbulb. Or you
can put the drops into some boiling water.
4) Don't use candles in jars when the candle leaves a
soot ring on the jar's lip. The soot may be an
indication of lead dust.
From: "Peter Quiller" <Peter.Quiller@btinternet.com>
Subject: Phil Peacock needs help to save Orang-utans
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000
I apologise for raising yet another issue when you have so many to contend with already! Thank you for keeping up such a high standard of information. I am astounded by how much you do and achieve worldwide.
You are such a good campaigner that I am passing on to you some information that came my way this week. I hope you don't mind? This is something that I have ever sympathy with and yet I am at a loss where to begin to help.
I was telephoned the other day by a chap called Phil Peacock, who is a friend of my daughter and a singer-songwriter. He told me a terrible story about the Orang-utans in Indonesia [9,000 killed last year apparently] and that he is trying to raise public awareness about their plight. He has written a song about the whole thing and any money he raises from the sale of tapes etc. goes towards helping the animals. He managed to get some support from UK TV personality, Michaela Strachan, but between the two of them they could not interest any really powerful pressure group to do a damn thing about the on-going problem with the Orangs.
I am informed that the full story runs like this - some wealthy billionaire logger has done a deal with the Indonesian authorities to plant rice in every area he strips of trees. The idea being to give food to those people who are starving, which sounds most laudable at first doesn't it? However, what this person failed to tell the Indonesians was that rice won't grow in the places he is clearing. To date an area the size of England and Wales has been devastated. The poor are therefore no better off and are being left to fend for themselves and they are doing this by killing the Orangs to eat! Meanwhile the habitat goes down the tubes.
Is there anything you can do, or suggest for this poor guy? He is desperately trying to raise money to rescue the animals.To date he has raised £400 here in the UK, but it takes £500 to rescue just one Orang-utan! Phil's local telephone number is - UK code followed by 0181-364-6620 should you want to contact him direct, or point someone in his direction who may be able to help him?
I apologise if this has already been dealt with by your good self, but I have seen nothing reported in the UK recently and would like to see these Orang-utans given a fair chance of survival. I would ask that anyone who knows anything about this, to please pass on the information you may have.
In peace, joy and love,
MY RESPONSE WAS:
Thanks Peter for putting this request and need to my/our attention. I'll pass it on immediately to the list. A few days ago I saw on Discovery Channel (from the U.S.) an hour-long program with actress Julia Roberts baby-sitting and playing with very young orang-utans in an orphanage in a remote forest of Indonesia. In the course of the program we learned more and more about the plight of these extremely intelligent primates - and saw nice Julia having an encounter of the very close kind with a large grown up male orang-utan. Yet there was not much explained as to how anyone could be of any assistance to help lower the pressure exerted upon them by deforestation, poaching and killing for the meat and enslaving young orang-utans as pets. Like the tigers, the elephants and nearly every other great mammals on Earth, the combination of population growth, short term economic gains if not outright greed, poaching, and the ever expanding encroachement of civilizations into every last pristine corner of the planet currently seems to be dooming them all to extinction sooner or later -- and us all soon after. The only thing I feel that may save the Earth is a global spiritual awakening of a high order - one by one by one and so on - and fostering by all possible means the sense of Unity with and responsibility for all Life on Earth.
From: Monica Willard <MBWillard@aol.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000
Subject: Your Earth - The seed
From: email@example.com (Suzanne Elston)
With thanks to Dr. Rosalie Bertell...
Your Earth - Friday, March 31st, 2000
Last autumn, on a cold and dreary November day, my daughter and I
planted a secret. With the wind at our backs and the rain drizzling
down our necks, we dug a tiny garden and filled it with tulips and
crocus bulbs. As we dropped each bulb into the ground, my daughter's
eyes widened with delight.
"We mustn't tell Daddy what we've done, Mama", she said, anticipating
my husband's response this spring. "He'll be so surprised when the
flowers just show up out of nowhere. It will be our little miracle."
Our garden sits at the end of a long driveway. Over the winter, we
would stand by it as we waited for Sarah's school bus to arrive.
Every now and then she would look toward the garden, and then give me
the kind of knowing wink that only a six year-old can give. "Just
wait", she would say.
Now that the spring weather has arrived, Sarah checks the garden
every day for that very first sight of green. Each time she returns
"Where are they Mama?" she asks plaintively. "Why aren't they
At first I tried to tell her that it wasn't time yet - that the bulbs
would grow when the soil got a little warmer and the days got a
little longer. But as the tulips in the garden near our house
continue to push their way out of the soil, I'm beginning to wonder
if our secret garden will grow at all.
"They're just a little slow because it's their first year", I tell
her, trying to reassure myself in the process. "They'll come up soon.
I just know it."
But deep in my heart, I'm not quite so sure. It's only a handful of
bulbs, but the thought that our tiny garden may not grow fills me
with a kind of dark dread. I find myself wondering what would happen
if the bulbs didn't grow - if spring didn't come at all?
It's a fear that I have lived with for many years, every since I
asked Dr. Rosalie Bertell, noted mathematician and environmentalist,
what she thought the environmental movement was all about. She
thought about it for a while and then quietly said, "I think that the
whole purpose of the environmental movement is to save the seed.
Everything that's ever going to live in this world, whether it's a
tree, or a plant, or a fish, or a baby, all into future time, is all
present right now in the seed."
And then she added: "If we damage that seed, there is no place else
to get it. It is our most precious possession, and we have got to
think in terms of the seed, because that's the future."
It was a chilling statement. I realized then that all it would take
is one silent spring - one season of no birth - and life as we know
it would end. No growth, no food, no life - it really is that simple.
As a result, the failure of a handful of tulip bulbs has a much
greater meaning for me. It's just a silly little thing, but it
I was still pondering the fate of our secret garden when my husband
and I went to see the movie "Erin Brockovich" last week. The movie is
based on the true story of a young woman who tries to help the people
in a small desert town affected by ground water pollution. One family
in particular has a number of serious health problems. The woman has
uterine and breast cancer, and her husband is fighting Hodgkin's
disease, but they haven't yet connected their illnesses to poisoned
water. In one scene, the woman is standing in her living room,
watching her daughters play in the swimming pool when all of a sudden
she starts screaming at her daughters to get out. At that moment she
gets it. She had to see the threat to her children - to her seed -
before she'd finally acknowledge what was happening.
This morning, before I sat down to write, I took one more walk out to
the garden, but the bulbs have yet to grow. Maybe, just maybe,
they'll sprout their tiny little leaves tomorrow.