SEN Masthead

The Sacred Earth Network Newsletter

Issue #9

"Siberia is a stunning place," says SEN director Bill Pfeiffer. "It's not only the tortured land that TIME (4 September 1995) makes it out to be. People need to know how beautiful it is, then they'll be more inclined to save it. But we have to act fast."

As everywhere, change is racing to the former Soviet Union (FSU) and the present can be portrayed as both hopeful and optimistic, or bleak and barren. For a future that is positive and sustainable there needs to be a harmonious interaction between humans and the Earth which can embrace a diversity of ideas and culture. This vision held by the Sacred Earth Network is uniquely represented in this newsletter, our chance to explore new ideas and direction and to restate firm convictions.

Meeting the demands of the environmental challenge means more to SEN than a commitment to continue providing the cutting-edge telecommunications technology and services for which SEN has gained international recognition. Why the Sacred Earth Network? Why vegetarianism? Does technology embrace life or destroy it? What's the intrinsic value of a snow leopard? When will we trust the wisdom of women?

Many voices, a myriad of possibilities, a wilderness of consciousness, as varied and fantastic as the biota we seek to protect. In our new Reader's Forum we welcome your responses to these "questionings". Please take the opportunity to share your ideas, to co-create, toward a shared future of diversity and life.

On SEN's part we welcome new staff members Heather Holt, Dave Camoirano and Dmitri Tolmastsky. They are especially needed as we gear up for a more intense focus in the TransCaucasus and Central Asian regions with the Environmental Telecommuni cations Project (ETP). Given the SEN vision of genuine collaboration, activism and spiritual awakening, we are hopeful and optimistic.
- The Editors


Valeri Nanobashvili, Vano Vashakmadze and Levan Kalandarishvili (of Tbilisi, Georgia) planning the pilot phase of a SEN regional Trans-Caucasus initiative


 

Strong Roots and Tender Shoots: The ETP Cultivates Collaboration

Although continuing to develop and expand, it is with an empowering sense of maturity that the ETP carries out its sixth year of providing computer equipment, e-mail training and small grants to the Eurasian environmental community. Long-standing personal contacts and established procedures facilitate the most effective placement of these resources and encourage SEN and it's ETP partner, the Socio- Ecological Union (SEU), to undertake bold new initiatives. One high point of this past spring was Bill Pfeiffer's trip to the unprecedented "Eco-Forum 95" conference held in Kiev, Ukraine. Approximately 150 Eurasian environmental NGOs attended, representing 12 of the 15 former Soviet republics. This proved an enormously useful opportunity for SEN to build new connections, especially to more remote geographical regions. There were also numerous occasions, for past recipients of SEN's support to convey their gratitude for the substantive nature of support and the "friendly, non-bureaucratic" manner in which it was administered.

Immediately preceding the Eco Forum '95 conference, SEN and the SEU held an ETP training seminar for seven new recipients of equipment (see side bar).

With generous assistance from the Russian Amateur Radio Service, SEN and the SEU have instituted a three-month trial of wireless e-mail, now underway. RARS has installed a base station at the International Red Cross office in Moscow and temporarily placed a remote station in Ussinsk, Russia. SEN will monitor equipment for proper function, service and reliability as a relay point for environmental information. After the trial period, the SEN Equipment Grant Committee will reconsider placement of the remote equipment.

In another exciting area of the ETP, SEN's "in-country" staff continues to grow to support the needs of equipment recipients. Dmitri Tolmastsky (senmos@glas.apc.org) was hired as Equipment Grant Application Coordinator and Yaroslav Bykhovsky (senmos@glas.apc.org) is conducting an extensive evaluation of the ETP by soliciting feedback from equipment recipients. Although moving slower than expected the technical support team is expanding in numbers and scope. It is most active in Russia where "tech-team" members have offered on-site assistance and installed a record number of modems (20) during the first half of 1995 and a new member Alexander Danchenko is providing some much needed support in the Ukraine. The central office in Massachusetts has also grown with the arrival of Dave Camoirano, to work with Davis Chapman on technical matters, and Heather Holt, to assist Bill Pfeiffer with project management.

Picture of Camo and Heather
SEN's newest team members, Heather Holt and Dave Camoirano

In Moscow, Susan Cutting (sen@glas.apc.org) continues to provide tireless devotion to the ETP. She recently finished a proposal to Apple Computer to improve communications possibilities in the Lake Baikal area.

News of the Sacred Earth Network and the ETP continues to spread. Two nationally recognized American magazines, Internet World and In Context, highlighted SEN's work with environmental telecommunications in Eurasia. We were equally pleased to learn of the Ust-Kamengorsk, Kazakhstan broadcast of a video about the Snow Leopard Lover's Club which highlighted their use of e-mail to help save snow leopards.


 

2nd Quarter New Users

Adegeya Socio-Ecological Union
Maikop, Adegeya Republic, Russian Federation
maikop@glas.apc.org
Provides news and information on non-sustainable forestry and other biodiversity issues in protected territories of the northern Caucasus. Also conducts environmental assessments and organizes summer "eco-camps" for students.

Children's Center for Ecological Research
Pavlovsk, Russia
lavria@glas.apc.org Subject: For Pavlovsk
Conducts student environmental monitoring in the region. Also lobbies local government for policy changes.

Fund for the 21st Century
Kishenev, Moldova
iorgu@fund.xxi.moldova.su
Comprised of 18 journalists working closely with other environmental organizations throughout Moldova, the Fund publishes the environmental newspaper "Future and Present," and runs the ecological station "Radio Euro-Flash."

Gaia Youth Ecological Organization
Sebastopol, Crimea
geya@envinet.kiev.ua
Monitors Black Sea waters and coastal vegetation in collaboration with the Simferopol Chapter of Ecology and Peace. Also develops an environmental curriculum for local schools, prepares environmental education seminars and runs ecological expeditions.

Joy Division
Samara, Russia
joydiv@glas.apc.org
Prepares newspaper articles on regional environmental issues and helps organize "actions" to protest environmentally threatening industries.

Jungle Youth Ecological Organization
Derzhinsk, Russia
dart@infotel.nno.su Subject: For Pinyaev
Organizes ecological expeditions and summer eco-camps, for students, to conduct research projects on biodiversity and pollution.

Khingan Socio-Ecological Union
Birobidzhan, Russia
Hingan@hingan.khabarovsk.su
Researches the effects of fire on the region's forests, works with representatives of local nature reserves on biodiversity preservation and organizes environmental education programs for local schools.



Kitchen Activism

When traveling in Eurasia, SEN members are often asked why they don't eat meat. While we could certainly offer a variety of good reasons like improved health, compassion for animal suffering and saving money, as environmentalists, it is the facts about resource depletion which are especially compelling. These truths illuminate the significant interrelatedness of present environmental urgency and personal responsibilities.

Consider the waste of water and land. In the U.S., over half of all water consumption and more than half of all agricultural land goes to beef production. On average, each and every day, a meat--eater's diet requires 4,000 gallons of water to sustain; a vegetarian's diet only 300 gallons. Land which feeds a single meat-eater can feed about 20 vegetarians. Pollution from organic wastes and inorganic pesticides, the by-products of livestock and feed production, contributes to significant and long-term soil and water degradation.

The situation in other countries is acute -- like Brazil, Costa Rica and Indonesia -- where virgin forest cleared for grazing is a leading cause of deforestation, pesticides are doubly toxic and fertile topsoils unprotected by the forest canopy are quickly eroded. Domestic livestock also contribute significantly to the production of greenhouse gases detrimental to the ozone shield. Finally, there is the incredible consumption of fossil fuels: petroleum products (feeding agricultural machinery) that produces one pound of beef could produce 40 pounds of soybeans: If only 10% of U.S. citizens stopped eating meat, oil imports would no longer be necessary. Through dietary change an individual can profoundly reduce their impact on the environment. Daily.

For more information read and test the recipes in May All Be Fed (William Morrow and Co., NYC, 1992), or contact EarthSave (earthsave@igc.org). For on-line info, contact Bobbi Pasternak (bobbi@clark.net) and request her guide to electronic mailing lists of interest to vegetarians. Mention your Internet capabilities (like FTP or WWW) and she will include addresses for those sites, or go to http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Vegetarian/ for links to a wide variety of materials and discussion groups.


 

Central Asian E-mail Sites

Stretching from the Caspian Sea in the West to China in the East, the five republics of Central Asia have inherited from the Soviet Union an environmental and public health crisis of enormous proportions. Consequently, effective communication among regional, national and international environmental and social organizations is a priority of the highest order. It is clearly indicative of the dedication of their members that the groups listed below achieve as much as they do while contending with seemingly insurmountable financial and logistical difficulties. Their urgent need has led SEN to make a special commitment to this area to establish a regional communications center, to be located in Ashgabad, Turkmenistan. SEN, in conjunction with the local group, Catena, is currently pursuing funding for this project. Watch this space for further developments!

 

Kazakhstan

Akmola

ecostan@glas.apc.org
Yuri Rubezhanskiy
natural radioactivity; nuclear issues; effects of nuclear testing; agrochemicals; pesticides; ecological education

 

Almati

ecoalmati@glas.apc.org
Sergei Solyanik, Sergei Kuratov
ecological information; environmental law; Aral Sea; forestry; environmental economics
ecostan@glas.apc.org Sb: for Ecofund
Viktor Zonov
ecological information exchange
ecostan@glas.apc.org Sb: for Takenov
Zharas Takenov
environmental education; cartography; alternative communities
isarata@glas.apc.org
Steve Wolff, John Sturino
network@glas.apc.org
Vadim Nee
environmental information exchange
polex@aebexc.alma-ata.su
Alexandr Polykov
ecojournalism; environmental law

 

Dzhambul

ecostan@glas.apc.org Sb: for Dzhambul
Alexandr Zagrebelny
ecojournalism; publish "Rodnik"

 

Karaganda

karaganda@glas.apc.org
Kaisha Atakhanova
environmental education; eco-monitoring; biodiversity; zoology; amphibians; ecological information; nuclear issues

 

Ust-Kamenogorsk

eco@irbis.east.alma-ata.su
Oleg Loginov
snow leopard; biodiversity conservation

 

Kirghizstan

Bishkek

emil@aleyne.bishkek.su
Emil Shukurov
biology; environmental management
erkin@cpart.bishkek.su
Erkinbek Kaybekov
ornithology
igor@cct2.bishkek.su
Igor Moskin
root@aacadem.bishkek.su
Ivan Vasiliev
radiation issues; eco-monitoring; nature conservation actions; radiation safety
root@academ.bishkek.su
K.P.Jumaliev
root@cdilim.bishkek.su
Emil Sultanbaev
environmental education; development of information network; NGO development

 

Tadjikistan

Dushanbe

isarata@glas.apc.org Sb: for Tyutin
Mikhail Tyutin
ecological information; ecotourism; eco-monitoring
pamir@glas.apc.org
Yury Skochilov
environmental education; environmental monitoring; mining
umeda@glas.apc.org
Anvar Buzurukov
mining; environmental monitoring; environmental education
umeda@glas.apc.org Sb: for Savvateev
Vladimir Savvateev
environmental education
geoeco@glas.apc.org
Ali Babaev
geology; geoecology

 

Turkmenistan

Ashgabad

catena@glas.apc.org
Andrei Aranbaev
water pollution; chemistry; air; soil environmental education; sustainable agriculture; environmental impact assessment

 

Dashkhovuz

zatoka@glas.apc.org
Andrey Zatoka
Aral Sea; water quality; ecotourism; nuclear issues; nature reserves; biodiversity; environmental education

 

Krasnovodsk

flam@glas.apc.org
Alexei Karavaev
ornithology; zapovednik; ecology; biodiversity protection

 

Uzbekistan

Bukhara

bukhara@glas.apc.org
Elena Mukhina
biodiversity protection; nature reserves; ornithology

 

Fergana

fergana@glas.apc.org
Ibragimzhun Domuladzhanov
waste management; environmental education

 

Nukus

dmitry@nukus.silk.glas.apc.org
Dmitry Koshkin
water quality; hydrogeology; Aral Sea
nukus@glas.apc.org
Yusup Kamalov
Aral Sea; ecojournalism; health issues; water quality
oral@glas.apc.org
Oral Ataniyazova
Women's health issues
phge@nukus.silk.glas.apc.org
Albert Shapiro
water quality; hydrogeology; Aral Sea

 

Tashkent

tashkent@glas.apc.org Sb: For Eremus
Elena Melnikova
environmental education
tashkent@glas.apc.org
snake@silk.igc.org
Oleg Tsaruk
nature reserves; biodiversity; rivers; pollution


 

Women and Earth

Women, as front-liners in biological reproduction, often literally bear the results of an unhealthy environment. Scholar Natalia Mirovitskaya (nataliam@env.duke.edu) poignantly recognizes the innate connection between environmental health, women's health and healthy children. "Because of woman's unique role in biological reproduction, her body becomes a barometer of environmental stress. Miscarriage and abnormalities of offspring are frequently early signs of the presence of lethal toxins in the biosphere."

Revealing how women's bodies have truly become barometers is the example of Karalpakia, Uzbekistan, where the levels of pesticides in mothers' breast milk is so high that doctors warn against breast feeding. In the Chauvash Republic of Russia, people living in the area of the gigantic Khimprom chemical production complex are exposed daily to contaminated air, water and agricultural produce and suffer increased rates of human immune deficiencies, birth defects and infant mortality. Here and throughout Eurasia the cycle of destruction is brought full circle as unhealthy children are born to unhealthy mothers.

The relationship between degraded environment and poor human health is further illustrated by many hospitals, which can be seen as microcosms of the biosphere, where Eurasian women are often forced to bear young under conditions which threaten infant's health and their own. Women are often denied birth companions and visitors and are ignored by health care providers up until the moment of birth. Hospitals are frequently unsanitary and without hot, running water for bathing. Women in labor can expect to be led into a room full of women already in the painful throws of birthing. Infant mortality rates are higher than those in China. And women in the former Soviet Union also run a surprisingly high risk of dying in childbirth.

Many Eurasian women suffer from a lack of agency and choice in regards to their reproductive capacities. Like polluted water and leaking radiation, it is a condition of their environment that poses a serious threat to their health and that of their children. Far from being the catalysts for change, the often terrible clinical conditions for giving birth -- or having an abortion -- are simply "dealt with". Life goes on. Or it doesn't.

One problem that is standing in the way of a popular movement for women's rights is a widespread cynicism about feminist ideology fostered during Soviet times. Propaganda portrayed western feminists as capitalist dupes. At the same time, Soviet women found themselves saddled with double burdens of home and work with little opportunity to improve their situation. But today, women may be coming to a collective unity in other ways. In "Perostroika for Women?", Mary Zirin describes a variety of social and environmental initiatives which have provided women with a forum and a voice to express concerns, build coalitions and press for change.

Women are now integral to the efforts to build civil society out of chaos in the disintegrated Soviet Union. Women like Elena Mukhina (bukhara@glas.apc.org) of Uzbekistan, who has made environmental protection her life's work, also have an understanding of women's issues. Mukhina is a zoologist, environmental activist and a mother who now lives in Tashkent. "I have a big interest in feminist organizations and experience. My own experience has shown that participation of women in the solution of 'men's business' is very uneasy... My specialty -- zoology -- was traditionally 'men's problems.' Even now when there are many women zoologists and botanists we see big differences between estimates of our work and our abilities."

Women are the primary nurturers in families and have long been occupied with caring endeavors. At the same time, women have been excluded from leadership positions. Women's voices have been muted. As in the United States, in Eurasia this has often meant the lack of a caring ethos in public policy. If a true reversal of the legacy of environmental degradation is to be achieved, the previously ignored voices of women -- professionals, mothers, activists -- must no longer be silenced. Equal rights and voice for women must be included in the environmental agenda.

Woman and Earth was extracted from a larger report titled "Women and Earth: Eurasian Women in the Post-Soviet Environmental Movement," by Heather Holt. It is the culmination of a senior research project at the University of New Hampshire (1995). Requests for the report or bibliography should be made through the Sacred Earth Network.


"When we look into the sky it seems to us to be endless. We breath without thinking about it, as is natural. ...and then you sit aboard a spacecraft, you tear away from Earth, and within ten minutes you have been carried straight through the layer of air and beyond there is nothing! The "boundless" blue sky, the ocean which gives us breath and protects us from endless black and death, is but an infinitesimally thin film. How dangerous it is to threaten even the smallest part of this gossamer covering, this conserver of life." --Vladimir Shatalov, Cosmonaut (USSR)



 

Book Review: The Way It Is

Corbin Harney's The Way It Is (Blue Dolphin Publishing, 1995) proposes a model of spiritual activism for the nuclear age. An elder and spiritual leader of the Western Shoshone people, Harney offers a clear vision of the nuclear industry's continuing legacy of personal and planetary injury and the transformational healing powers of global awareness and local action.

The Shoshone Nation once stretched across the West, as far north as Montana and south to Colorado and southern California. In 1863, the U.S. Government and the Shoshone signed the 'Peace and Friendship Treaty of Ruby Valley,' which designated Shoshone land in eastern Nevada, parts of Utah, Idaho and southern California. In 1951, Harry Truman illegally seized large tracts of Shoshone land for use by U.S. government agencies like the Department of Energy (DOE). While the government has signed no less than 370 treaties with the indigenous people of Turtle Island (a Native American name for North America), every one of them -- including the Treaty of Ruby Valley -- has been broken.

Between 1951 and 1986, 100 atmospheric and 540 underground nuclear bombs have been detonated at the DOE's 1,350 square mile Nevada Nuclear Test site, only 60 miles northwest of Las Vegas. In Utah, Idaho and Montana, in communities downwind of the test site, the incidence of cancer, leukemia, thyroid disease and birth defects is extremely high, the results of radioactive releases into ground water and atmosphere.

Since 1985, Corbin Harney has been working to stop the U.S. government's testing of nuclear warheads on Shoshone land. As a medicine person for the Shoshone, Harney leads Sundance and sweat lodge ceremonies. He practices his medicine with prayer. He prays to the Earth for the health and healing of the land and it's inhabitants and the protection of Shoshone sacred sites and burial grounds. As an organizer of anti nuclear protests and gatherings at the test site, he welcomes people from all over the world who come to participate in the Western Shoshone's struggle for social and environmental justice. "As protests got bigger and bigger, thousands of people came from England, Germany and Russia to support us. [M]ore people started to realize how dangerous it is and how the people are being affected by it..."

In 1993, Corbin Harney traveled halfway around the world to Kazakhstan, where another group of downwinders successfully shut down a Soviet nuclear test site that has widely poisoned land, water and life. Harney participated in the First Congress of the Global Anti Nuclear Alliance, a conference held on the anniversary of the first Soviet nuclear detonation, at the USSR's main test site in Semipalatinsk. After 42 years and 563 nuclear explosions, the Kazakh activists shut down the test site in 1991. The people of the region continue to suffer. The Kazakh Minister of Health calls Semipalatinsk "our place of weeping and our place of sorrow."

Communities near nuclear facilities around the world must contend with the horrible consequences of radiation contamination. The Shoshone and the Kazakhs have created the Nevada-Semipalatinsk Non governmental Anti-Nuclear Movement to initiate a global comprehensive test ban and to educate the public about the harmful effects of nuclear technology. If nuclear proliferation is not halted, nothing will be left uncontaminated by this invisible threat. There have been close to 2,000 nuclear tests worldwide since 1945. France has recently detonated the first of eight planned nuclear weapon's explosions in Polynesia.

Harney writes, "I hope that we all can work together as a people to put a stop to it... Something keeps me moving in that direction, to shut it down. They shut down nuclear testing in Kazakhstan, Russia... The United States and Great Britain still want to test in this part of the country, the French government has done extensive testing in Polynesia and the North Koreans, Chinese and others are continuing to test - and that's dangerous for us all... Wherever we are, we're going to be drinking the same water that we're drinking here and breathing the same air. There's no other planet that we can move to. This is our only home."

Corbin Harney has written a powerful open letter to all who will listen. The Way It Is reveals to us the ancient wisdom of Shoshone culture through the words of a holy person working to protect his place and people; Earth and us. Get a copy of The Way It Is and donate it to your library!--

Jeremiah Wallack
MediaRites@aol.com


Corbin Harney, Shoshoni spiritual leader and anti-nuclear activist


"The task that lies before the environmental movement is to remind us of the joy and nobility that come from honoring our bond with the earth." --Theodore Roszak



Why Deep Ecology?

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." --Albert Einstein


Two women, one from the industrial belt in the Ukraine and the other from the Ural Mountains, are hugging.They have spent the day at ISAR's May 1995 EcoForum not only discussing the chemical pollution problems in their respective cities but feeling them. They have listened and been held by other Eurasian activists working on the entire array of environmental issues. A renewed sense of hope and power is in the air. Svetlana Kravchenko, a well respected environmental lawyer, later commented on the process, "This is the most important work we can be doing." The Russian saying that "true friendship is born out of common suffering" had once again been proven true.

Often the staff at SEN is asked why deep ecology is so important to us. Why does it stand at the center of what we do? In one way the answer is very simple and in another, complex. The simple answer is that deep ecology recognizes the profound inter connection and inter-dependence of all beings. It is not an ideology- it is a fundamental truth of existence. Many Native Americans say "all my relations" at the end of their prayers to affirm this world view.

The problem, and more complex response, is that Western mechanistic thinking, developed over the past 500 years, has marginalized the very core of human experience. It has helped solidify a sense of self that is isolated from creation and doesn't feel this intrinsic interconnection of being. Words like "consciousness," "heart" and "intuition," although readily understood, are hard to quantify within the current materialistic paradigm. Somehow these realms are seen as too esoteric to merit serious discussion within the "Halls of Reason and Science." Psychology, authentic religious experience, and spirituality are reserved for chuckles in the laboratory and boardroom.

However, to quote Bill Devall and George Sessions in their book Deep Ecology, "With the today's "new physics" this picture of reality [which began with Descartes and Newton] has been shattered.... The idea of discrete material, subatomic particles, is being abandoned for the view of nature as a constant flow of energy transformations." [See the Tao of Physics by Fritof Capra for a thorough scientific explanation - Ed.]

One of the premises of the SEN philosophy is the recognition that many indigenous cultures lived sustainably for thousands of years by placing primary emphasis on their relationship with the land and the spirit behind the land. Through rituals, vision quests, and shamanic healing, the non analytical mind and heart are placed at the center, instead of the fringes of society. Economic life is simply not the defining factor of human existence. John Seed (jseed@peg.apc.org), one of the major proponents of deep ecological thinking, says "If we consider that they (indigenous peoples) find it necessary to guarantee that connectedness by performing such ceremonies, how much more we, living such denatured lives, must need to do this."

The industrial world, while bringing humanity technological innovation and medical breakthroughs, has reduced the worth of each human being to his or her economic output. Consequently, the human species is facing the most severe crisis it has ever known. There has never been another point where we have had the capacity to destroy most of complex life on the planet.

Given this reality, a pressing question for SEN these days is what is the most important activity to emphasize beyond e-mail communications. In a manner of speaking, SEN's Environmental Telecommunications Project (ETP) has been about making connections between people. At the same time, SEN's successful deep ecology workshops, while less known, may have more lasting impact because they facilitate a persons basic need to re-connect with nature. We are not researchers or lawyers. Our expertise is in networking and team building. Enhancing human-to human communication and human-to nature connection is the long term vision of SEN.

In past issues we've alluded to teaching deep ecology. Actually, "teach" is a misnomer. We strive to create the space for wisdom to come forth from the land, each other, and our inner selves, rather than dictate this knowledge. Here are some of our successful undertakings:

* Earthstory Gatherings and Winter Activist Weekends - to practice community building skills, overcome the isolation we all experience, and share our ideas and inspiration.

* Gender and Deep Ecology Workshops - five day intensive programs to explore how our gender identities and roles aid and/or inhibit our efforts to act in defense of the Earth.

* Council of All Beings Workshops - built around the Despair and Empowerment process (see below), this set of experiential exercises and rituals allow the participants to step aside from their human selves and consider different perspective on what is happening to the planet.

* Earth Experiences and Strategies for a Sustainable Future - college courses designed to introduce deep ecology thinking in an academic setting.

These activities commonly draw upon some combination of the following elements:

* Despair and Empowerment - A theory and process developed by Joanna Macy to help us move through denial, numbness and despair to a place of creativity and empowerment to work for change.

* Sharing Circles - A structured listening process where each person in the circle has the undivided attention of everyone for a period of time.

* BRETHwork - a powerful technique which uses our breathing to access parts of our consciousness that are normally blocked from us. We use this opening to release old behavior patterns and build a stronger connection with the nature around us.

We use these (and other processes) because they assist participants in recognizing and challenging basic assumptions while asking deeper questions. It's our firm conviction that if the environmental movement does not become a healing movement, strongly encouraging the alteration of the current value system (which puts profit before culture and nature), then it will not fulfill the deepest longing needed for a truly sustainable future.

- Bill Pfeiffer (info@sacredearthnetwork.org) and Davis Chapman (davis@sacredearthnetwork.org)

[For on-going Deep Ecology seminars led by Eurasians contact Golubka at golubka@glas.apc.org]


A deep ecology process underway at the May Eco-Forum in Kiev


"Nature has been limitlessly kind to us, having helped humankind appear, stand up and grow stronger. She has generously given us everything she has amassed over the billions of years of inanimate development. We have grown strong and powerful, yet how have we answered this goodness?" --Yuri Glazkov, Cosmonaut (USSR)

 


 

Reader's Forum: Is High Tech... Natural?

Introducing the SEN Reader's Forum, an opportunity to voice your opinion -- to rage or philosophize -- on complex issues, perhaps hotly debated, significant to us all. The inaugural discussion was triggered by a letter recently received from Peter Benson, a Russian technical translator living in Maryland, who advocates technological innovation for alternative energy production. Mr. Benson inadvertently addresses a paradoxical dilemma at SEN: Is high-tech... natural?

It is well-known that activities at SEN are intensely focused on leading edge communications technologies serving an international environmental arena. Yet these efforts often seem to contradict the deep ecology philosophy we so staunchly believe in (see page 8). We cherish the wild and the "undeveloped" and work passionately to promote and protect it. SEN uses computer facilitated communications to help protect the Earth; we support all efforts to redefine the role of technology and to stop the abuse against the Earth. But, as Davis Chapman says, "I am a human being, I am part of the problem." There is, obviously, a spectrum.

Following the excerpts from Peter Benson's letter are a few thoughts by SEN staffers. For the next Reader's Forum we would very much like to hear from others, Eurasian members in particular. Please mail or e-mail us your thoughts.

From Peter Benson (PJB6@aol.com): "In my experience, those concerned with social issues...give little or no attention to the benefits to Earth's ecology of establishing human civilization in free space. Just for starters, there are such unlimited oceans of energy right over our heads in space that the current environmentally disastrous 'choice' -- between fossil fuels and nuclear energy -- is simply a myth... [t]here are practical alternatives... From space, orbiting colonies can capture solar power by the gigawatt and beam it back to Earth's surface by tight microwave beams. The technology exists now to do all this and there are people who are doing it.

I especially call to your attention the First Millennial Foundation (mtsavage@pipeline.com or http://www.millennial.org), which is planning to establish large colonies in tropical ocean waters, operating ocean-thermal power plants and exporting their generated power -- both as electricity and as clean burning hydrogen for vehicles [and various forms of seafood produced as by products] to the rest of the world.

These floating colonies are the first step in plans to colonize the space near Earth... [using environmentally clean electromagnetic catapults in place of the dinosaurs of chemical rockets]. As you well know, organizations working people-to people can do a lot more with a lot less than can any bureaucracy. If any of your members, Russians especially,are interested in the solutions at hand in space to our environmental and social problems back on Earth, I would be glad to hear from them.

"Technology and human beings were created by the Earth and the spirit-force designing the whole show," says Bill Pfeiffer. "From all reports to date, our planet seems to be a free-will zone (no visits from outer space cops... yet) and humans have a choice of using technology to embrace life or destroy it. Which will we choose?"

"I'm disappointed with the lack of humility by scientists in general," says SEN's Dave Camoirano (camo@igc.org). "People seem to think they're more powerful than nature. They wield technology as if it were a toy. We're pulling on nature like a rubber band and nature's going to snap back one day."

"Tech disconnects: Can you name a single techno-entity which fosters a deeper re-connection of spirit with earth? Case by case, moment by moment, only consciousness and scale separate use from abuse. What is missing is spiritual maturity," says co-editor Keith Snow.


 

Huge Thanks to the following supporters:

C.S. Mott Foundation
Earth Trust Foundation
Eurasia Foundation (US AID)
Gaia Trust
ISAR (US AID)
Rockefeller Philanthropy Office
The New-Land Foundation
Weeden Foundation
Whole Earth Center
Trust for Mutual Understanding
Hunt Foundation

Sheryl Akyol
Tamia Anderson
John Bell
Peter J. Benson
Glenn Bibler
Hank Birnbaum
Abraham Blank
Charlie and Susan Blank
Bob Blum
Allison Bragg
Rae Brown
Cindy Buhl
Michael Buttrill
Jay Cardenale
Andy Cohen
Bernard Cohen
Carole K. Combs
Jim Cook Rich Cusumano
Richard Day
Stephan Doering
Paul Eagle
Marilyn Elie
Sarah Elston
Melissa Everett
Lynn Fine
Lou and Judi Friedman
Tod Frueh and Susan Rossman
John Goodrich
Peter Graves
Tom Green
Alison Greene
Dr. and Mrs Bruce Greyson
Dawn Griffin
Leesa Hubbell
Terry Hunt
Alan Hunt-Badiner
Ted Hunter
Laura Huntsman
Mark Jensen
Eric and Brenda Johnson/Horrigan
J. Gwynfryn Jones
Ichiro Kato
Stephen Kaye
Burt Lazarin
Steve Levin
John Lund
John McGovern
Robert Meadow
Harriet-Rose Meiss
Susan Metz Professor Philip P. Micklin
Rosemary Mix
Arvia Morris
Cory Munson
Warren and Marcia Nute
Bobbi Parmet
Dr. Ernest Partridge
Cathy Pedevillano
Marianne E. Perten
Heart Phoenix
Theresa Piacentini
Patrick Powers
Heloise Rathbone
Peter and Eileen Robertshaw
Lynda Sayre
Bob Schloss
Linda Schmechel
Nancy Seifer
Bill Starkey
RG Steinman
Paul Tainsh
Andrew Taylor
Elaine Ulman
Carol Vesecky
Jim Walker
Virginia and Tom Wall
Hannah D. Wasserman
Martha E. Weeks
Conrad Willeman
Cheryl Wissick
Susan Wobst
Dennis Wolkoff
Greta and David Zornes


The purpose of the SEN NEWSLETTER is to provide a forum for emerging ideas and solutions to environmental problems. Our particular focus is on collaborative efforts with environmentalists in the former Soviet Union, especially on biodiversity issues. We rely on electronic telecommunications because it has proven to be the most efficient and inexpensive method of encouraging international cooperation. Whenever possible we publish the electronic mail addresses of groups and individuals with whom we work.

The SACRED EARTH NETWORK is an international organization of environmentalists who believe humanity must quickly restructure its relationship with the Earth. We strive to empower people to work in defense of the biosphere by providing training and support in the use of inexpensive, decentralized communication systems. Once these electronic bridges are in place, we provide information and professional exchanges to strengthen organizations and deepen ecological awareness. We are united by a common belief that the Earth is a miraculous, interconnected living system.

May our efforts help awaken this sense of awe in all people.

The SEN Eagle

Issue #9 was produced by Keith Snow, Bill Pfeiffer and Dave Camoirano. Editorial assistance by Paul Eagle and Diane DePuydt. Russian translation by Roman and Irina Yakub.

Subscriptions:

The SEN Newsletter is published twice a year in both English and Russian. A subscription includes membership in SEN and costs $25. Send a check payable to "Sacred Earth Network." SEN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

 

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Revised July 16, 1997