Divine Word Missionaries

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A.1.1 The debt problem

As summarised by the SEDOS working group
(Missionary Religious Congregations, Rome)

The problem really began in the 1970's when the OPEC (Oil Producing Eastern Countries) raised the price of oil by over 400% in a very short space of time. A lot of money suddenly came into circulation and the oil producing nations wished to invest this money in European and American banks in order to gain interest on it. This large inflow of money on to the European and American scene could have triggered hyper inflation if the banks did not dispose of it quickly. Africa and Latin America offered the most attractive possibilities as regards investing this money. Hence, billions of dollars were poured into the “underdeveloped” nations, at 6% interest rate.

Unfortunately, a lot of this money went straight into the hands of dictatorial governments and instead of being invested in the country, was immediately sent back into European and American Banks so that it would create interest for these dictators. Some of the money was spent on grandiose projects that did little to benefit the receiving countries.

However, the day of reckoning came and these countries had to pay back the money that was supposed to have been invested in them. By this time, the interest on the money had risen to 23% and above. Many countries found that their GNP output could not even cover the interest repayments, so the banks, and other lending institutions, called in the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to regulate the economies of these defaulter countries so that their economies would now be geared towards paying back the interest repayments. Money that should have been going into education, health, agriculture, etc., was going towards re paying the debt. This has created a catastrophic situation in many countries. Many have taken to the violence of the gun in order to try and get some power back into their lives.

The debt problem has become a great noose around developing countries' necks. It affects us as missionaries because most of our Congregations are involved in medical, educational and social works in these countries. Our work is going nowhere unless we somehow tackle this problem of the debt, and other con-sequent corruption, at local and international levels.

John Skinnader, CSSp

A.1.2 What is the world bank?

Created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1994, the WB is comprised of five agencies that make loans or guarantee credit to its 177 member countries. The WB manages a loan portfolio totalling US$140 billion and in 1995 loaned a record US$20.8 billion to 100 countries.

What is the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?

Also created at the Bretton Woods Conference, the International Monetary Fund sup-plies member states with money to overcome short-term balance-of-payments difficulties, usually tied to implementation of severe structural adjustment programmes (SAPs).

A.1.3 What is the Struc-tural Adjustment

Programme (SAP)?

SAP is an economic reform programme based upon neo liberal principles of free market and privatisation, designed to stabilise an imbal-ance economy and restructure its orientation and operation.

Under the guidance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, a country under-going SAP must implement specific reform policies and meet specific targets if it is to re-ceive approval for further loans and grants.

  •  Stabilisation of the economy through short term monetary and budget arrangements that aim to calm things down by curbing inflation rates and curtailing enormous budget deficits.
    1. Monetary:
      1. Devalue currency (encourage exports, discourage imports)
      2. Increase interest rates (encourage savings)
      3. Curtail interest rates (slow down inflation)
    2. Budget:
      1. Cut services (trim budget, impose fees in health, education sectors)
      2. Retrench workers (increase efficiencies)
      3. Privatise state companies (promote productivity)
  • Restructuring the economy through long term market and trade arrangements that aim to make the economy more efficient through market operations, privatisation and liberalisation.
    1. Market:
      1. Decontrol prices (effect market forces)
      2. Restrain wages (prevent wage spiral-ling)
      3. Remove subsidies (save money spent on consumption)
    2. Trade:
      1. Eliminate trade barriers (introduce competition)
      2. Promote export orientation (earn foreign exchange)
      3. Invite outside investment (promote diversification and competition)

Peter Henriot, SJ, Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection,
PO Box 37774, Lusaka, Zambia 16/09/1996

A.1.4 Sub Saharan Af-rica's debt profile (US$ mn)

  1980 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1996
total debt 84,049 190,260 194,799 192,781 197,886 212,416 223,298
exports %
90.9 225.7 239.4 235.6 251.9 265.7 269.8

Terms used in describing debt situation

  • Commercial debt: owed to private banks, such as Barclays, Chase Manhattan
  • Bilateral debt: owed to donor governments, such as Zambia owing to United Kingdom
  • Multilateral debt: owed to international financial institutions (IFIs), such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank
  • London Club: organisation among commercial banks
  • Paris Club: organisation among major do-nor countries
  • Washington Club: IMF and World Bank
  • Commercial lending: standard bank rates
  • Concessional lending: low interest rates with long pay back period
  • G 7: major industrialised countries of U.S, U.K, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, Italy
  • G 77: group of 120 plus developing countries
  • G 24: group within G 77
  • HIPC: heavily indebted poor countries
  • SILIC: severely indebted low income countries, with debt stock to export ratios of over 200% (28 of the 36 are African)
  • Conditionally: conditions set as targets to be met to assure continuance of loans
  • (E)SAP: (Economic) Structural Adjustment Programme

Peter Henriot, SJ, Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection,
PO Box 37774, Lusaka, Zambia 16/09/1996

A.1.5 Debt relief (1996)

In late June, the leaders of the Group of 7 industrialised countries, - the U.S., UK, Ger-many, France, Italy, Japan, and Canada - approved the objective of comprehensive debt relief for poor countries with unsustainable debt burdens, including reduction of debts owed to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

We are encouraged that the major creditor nations, along with the World Bank and the IMF, agree on the need for a solution to the debt burden of the most heavily indebted poor countries. We are concerned, however, that little progress has been made on these central issues which emerge from the proposals being developed by the World Bank and the IMF.


The countries with the most severe debt bur-dens need relief immediately, not three to six years from now as the proposal states. U.S. officials acknowledge that the three to six - year requirement for eligible countries to be-gin Structural Adjustment Programs is too long, and they appear to have some support from other member countries. But they have not yet proposed an alternative.

A related issue is the sequence of multilateral and bilateral debt relief. Originally, the World Bank and IMF were going to offer multilateral debt reduction only after six years and only after the country had already received the maximum debt reduction from its bilateral creditors. The U.S., along with the financial institutions should provide debt relief concurrently with bilateral creditors. This issue has not been resolved.

Financial Co-responsibility

We believe that the major bilateral and multi-lateral creditors, which include individual governments as well as the World Bank, IMF and regional development banks, should share the cost of debt reduction.

The U.S. and other creditor nations in the Paris Club of donors currently provide some bilateral debt reduction to eligible countries. At the G-7 meeting, the participants called on all members of the Paris Club to provide more debt reduction to the most heavily indebted poor countries, but they did not discuss how they would do so.

The World Bank says it will contribute $ 500 million for the first year, more in later years. We are encouraged by their offer.

If it can get the approval of $ 85% of its members, the IMF will sell 5% of its gold stock, invest the proceeds, about $ 2 billion, and use the income to replenish an existing loan fund for the poorest countries (called ESAF - the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility) We favour the sale of gold, and we strongly believe that the IMF should contribute grants for debt reduction, not new loans. Though the IMF says that a new ESAF would help indebted countries refinance their debts over a longer period and lower interest rates, the indebted countries need the deep reduction that could come only from outright grants. Ger-many, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Finland are among the principal donor countries op-posing gold sales; most of the other G-7 members are working to convince them to go along.


We believe that conditions attached to debt relief should not hurt the poor but should in-stead be linked to poverty reduction . We understand there may be some movement on this issue.


We believe that creditors should expand eligibility for debt relief to more of the 41 highly indebted poor countries than the 8-20 currently proposed. The list of countries eligible for debt relief is based on assumptions made by the World Bank and the IMF regarding future growth and the ability to repay outstanding debts. At a minimum, the World Bank and the IMF should be prepared to cancel the unsustainable debt burdens because of changed external circumstances. We understand that there may be some movement on this issue as well.

A.1.6 Jubilee 2000: Charter (Ann Pettifor, U.K.)

  1. To liberate the poorest nations from the burden of the backlog of unpayable debt owed by their governments to other governments, to international financial institutions or to commercial banks.
  2. To achieve such liberation, and a return to sustainable development, through the unrepeatable one-off remission of unpayable debts of the poorest countries by the year 2000.
  3. To provide a focus and catalyst for harmonising and mobilising international co-operation, support and actions to promote and achieve this Charter’s aim.
  4. To promote an understanding among creditor nations that responsibility for high levels of indebtedness rests with creditors as well as debtors.
  5. To correct the perverse operation of the international financial system the poorest countries are transferring scarce resources to rich countries and institutions in surplus.
  6. To promote economic and social justice and fundamental Human Rights.
  7. To promote economic self-determination
  8. To promote the maintenance of international peace and security; help remove causes of conflict and movement of population.
  9. To regain resources that have been diverted corruptly.

A.1.7 First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty

The UN General Assembly decided (1996) that the theme for the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty shall be, “Eradicating poverty is an ethical, social, political and economic imperative of humankind.”


  • Recommends that the causes of poverty be addressed in contexts such as environment, food security, population, migration, health, shelter, human resources, development, fresh water, including clean water and sanitation, rural development and productive employment, and by addressing the specific needs of vulnerable groups, all of which should aim at the social and economic integration of people living in poverty.
  • Decides that the themes for 1997 and 1998 shall be ‘Poverty, environment and development’ and ‘Poverty, human rights and development’ respectively; the themes for the remaining years of the Decade will be decided every two years, commencing in 1998, at the fifty-third session of the General Assembly.
  • Reaffirms also the agreement on a mutual commitment between interested developed and developing country partners to allocate, on average, 20 per cent of official development assistance and 20 per cent of the national budget, respectively, to basic social programmes, and notes with interest the consensus reached at Oslo on 25 April 1996 on this matter.
  • Urges the international community to re-duce, as appropriate, excessive military expenditures on and investments in arms production and acquisition, consistent with national security requirements, in order to in-crease resources for social and economic development, in particular, to poverty eradication programmes in developing countries, particularly African countries and the least developed countries.1

A.1.8 Model of a pro forma letter for the World Bank and IMF

The following model is a letter campaigning to cancel the Debt:

Mr. Wolfensohn,
The World Bank HQ
1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
Mr. Michel Camdessus,
IMF Managing Director
70019th Street, N.W.
Room 12 510
Washington, DC 20431

Dear …

We are a group of Religious/Missionary Congregations who are deeply concerned about the debt problem which continues to be a noose around the necks of developing countries. The debt burden costs lives, as vital resources are drained from basic services to pay overseas debts. In a country like Uganda, which is making tremendous efforts to get back on its feet again after years of civil strife, the spending on health is about $2.5 per capita compared with US$30 per capita on debt payments.

We had hoped that the Spring Meeting of the World Bank and IMF would have followed up the World Bank acknowledgement that a number of low income countries had serious, un-sustainable debt problems. The statement from the bank called for a concerted and comprehensive approach to deal with the debt of the poorest countries. However, as you well know, the proposals put forward by the World Bank were not accepted at the meeting. Instead the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) was strengthened which effectively means that debts are recycled over a longer period of time only adding to the woes of the debtor countries.

We demand that the Multilateral Debt Facility, already put forward by different NGO's, be implemented and that the debt burden of the poorest countries be substantially or totally reduced by the sale of IMF gold reserves, by the World Bank reserves and by the net income from interest re payments. Only by doing this can we see any hope for developing countries to truly develop.

Sincerely yours,


A.2.1 The greenhouse effect2

The Good effect

“The greenhouse effect, when functioning normally, keeps our planet warm. Natural gases in the atmosphere form a blanket which allows sunlight to reach the earth’s surface, but prevents heat from escaping (much like the glass in a glass-house). This gas blanket traps heat close to the surface, and warms the atmosphere.”

The Damaging effect

The Greenhouse gases:

  • • Carbon dioxide (CO2): responsible for about 71% of the greenhouse effect. Every year, people add at least 6 billion tons of it to the atmosphere. Main sources of CO2: Burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, destruction of forests - which re-lease CO2 when they are burned or cut down.
  • • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): not only responsible for 21% of the global warming, but also destroy the earth’s ozone layer.
  • • Methane: 9% of the greenhouse effect. Produced by cattle, rice fields and landfills.
  • • Nitrous Oxide: responsible for 3% of the greenhouse gases: formed by microbes, breaking down chemical fertilisers and by burning wood and fossil fuels.
  • • Carbon monoxide, CFCs and other gases: come from ground-based pollution caused by motor vehicles, power plants, oil refineries.

Ozone depletion

What are CFCs?

“CFCs have many uses because they are relatively non-toxic, non-flammable, and do not decompose (easily) ... Because they are so stable, they will last for up to 150 years. The CFC gases rise slowly to about 25 miles where the tremendous force of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation shatters the CFC, freeing the chemical element chlorine. Once freed, a single atom of chlorine destroys about 100,000 molecules of ozone before settling to the Earth’s surface years later. Three percent, and perhaps up to five percent, of the global ozone layer has al-ready been destroyed by CFCs”

A.2.2 Hazardous waste

Waste not...

Advanced nations manufacture some 70,000 different chemicals, most of which have not been thoroughly tested ... Careless use and disposal of these substances contaminate our food, water and air, and seriously threaten ... the ecosystem on which we depend.

Haste makes waste

Chemicals have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. We enjoy the convenience of such chemically derived products as plastics, detergents and aerosols and yet we are often unaware of the hidden price tag associated with them. Eventually they find their way into water and/or the ground via landfills, drains, or sewage sludge.

It comes back to us ...

Although consumers rarely make the connection between the everyday plastic products and packaging they buy and the growing problem of toxic pollution, many of the chemicals used in the production and processing of plastics are highly toxic ... In an EPA ranking of the 20 chemicals whose production generates the most total hazardous waste, five of the top six are chemicals commonly used by the plastics industry.”

Floating garbage

“No one really knows how much plastic is fouling the oceans. But a recent report ... estimated that up to 350 million pounds of pack-aging and fishing gear alone may be lost or dumped by fishermen and sailors each year. Millions of pounds more may come from individuals, private boats and factories.”

The Wrong Package

The burgeoning solid waste problem reflects a trend in lifestyles ... that emphasise shopping convenience, quick preparation and consumption, and easy disposal. Since 1960 the waste generated by packaging has increased more than 200%.

A.2.3 Acid rain

How do we get it?

Sulphur and nitrogen oxides, pollutants re-leased by coal-burning electric power plants or motor vehicles, are spewed into the atmosphere. There they are changed chemically ... and they fall back to Earth as acidified rain or snow. This destroys plant and animal life in streams, damages forests, and even erodes buildings.

Highly charged argument

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is the primary component of acid rain in most regions, and electric utilities are responsible for approximately 65% of the total SO2 emissions. Therefore, large reductions in electric utility SO2 emissions (are necessary). Electric conservation is one way to achieve this.

A.2.4 Vanishing wildlife

Extinctions are accelerating worldwide. Our planet is now losing up to three species per day. That figure is predicted to be three species per hour in scarcely a decade. By the year 2000. 20% of all Earth’s species could be lost forever.

Nearly all of Africa’s elephants will be gone in 20 years if the present killing rate continues.

A.2.5 Saving energy and water, saving the earth

  • If you burn less oil, coal or wood, there will be less carbon dioxide and other green-house gases emitted into the atmosphere, and global warming will be slowed down.
  • If less coal needs to be burned at an electric power plant, there will be less acid rain, less strip mining and less air pollution.
  • If less electricity is needed, there will be less nuclear waste, fewer uranium tailings left exposed at mines, fewer power plants built and irradiated, and less chance of future Chernobyls.
  • Less gasoline burned means less smog and greenhouse gases.
  • Less oil extracted from the earth means less disruption of wildlife for drilling, less off-shore oil drilling, and less chance for disastrous oil spills.

Don’t go with the flow

You could take a shower every day with the water you might waste by letting the tap run while you shave and brush your teeth.

Background. Even if you don’t do it, you probably know someone who leaves the water running while brushing his/her teeth, shaving or washing dishes. As water conservation goes, that’s not just a drop in the bucket. A household might save up to 20,000 gallons of water each year by following these simple guidelines:.

Did you know:

  • A running faucet (tap) probably uses more water than you think - as much as 3 - 5 gallons of water every minute it’s on.
  • You can use up to 5 gallons of water - or more - if you leave the tap running while you brush your teeth.
  • Washing dishes with the tap running can use an average of 30 gallons of water.
  • If you shave with the water on, you use an estimated 5 - 10 gallons each time.
  • If you wash your car at home, using a hose, you can use up to 150 gallons of water.

Simple things to do:

Brushing your teeth: If you just wet and rinse your brush, you use only 1/2 gallon of water.
Savings: up to 9 gallons each time you brush.

Shaving: If you fill the basin, you use only 1 gallon of water.
Savings: up to 9 gallons each time you shave.

Washing dishes by hand: If you fill a basin, you use about 5 gallons of water.
Savings: up to 25 gallons each time you wash dishes.

Washing your car: If you wash it at a self-service car wash, you use 50 - 100 gallons. If you use a sponge, a bucket and a hose with a shut-off nozzle, you use 15 gallons.
Savings in each case: Over 100 gallons.

A.2.6 Light right

The more electricity we use, for example, the more industrial emissions we generate, contributing heavily to the problems like the “greenhouse effect” and acid rain. There are several simple ways to “light right.” The most obvious is conservation - diligently turning lights off when they are not in use. But a less obvious - and more effective - method is to choose and use your light bulbs with energy conservation in mind.

A.2.7 Attention shoppers

Simple things to do

  • Paper or plastic? Think twice before taking any bag if your purchase is small. If every shopper took just one less bag each month, we could save hundreds of millions of bags every year.
  • Even better, bring a cloth bag when you shop.
  • For grocery shopping, use string bags. They are easy to carry and fold up conveniently.

A.2.8 Re-use old news

Newspapers are probably the easiest material to recycle, since they lie around the house anyway. Recycling them is a simple way to get into the recycling habit.

Save them

  • Don’t throw newspapers out with the garbage anymore.
  • Sort them. Magazines, with their slick pa-per and coated covers, are not easily recyclable.
  • Stack them. The key to a personal recycling programme is to have a place in your home where the newspapers always go.

A.2.9 Recycle glass

  • The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle could light a 60-watt bulb for four hours.
  • All glass bottles and jars can be recycled. But other types of glass, such as window panes, Pyrex and light bulbs, are made by different processes and can’t be combined with the cullet from which glass containers are made.
  • Glass produced from recycled glass instead of raw material reduces related air pollution by 20%, water pollution by 50%.
  • Disposable or “throw away” bottles consume three times as much energy as reusable, returnable containers.
  • Because glass takes so long to decompose, the bottle you throw away today might still be littering the landscape in the year 3,000.

A.2.10 Don’t can your aluminium

  • If you throw an aluminium can out of your car window, it will still litter the Earth up to 500 years later.
  • If you throw away 2 aluminium cans, you waste more energy than is used daily by each of a billion human beings in poorer lands.
  • In 1988 alone, aluminium can recycling saved more than 11 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to supply the res-dential electric needs of New York City for six months.
  • The energy saved from one recycled aluminium can will operate a television set for three hours.
  • Recycling aluminium cuts related air pollution by 95%.
  • Making aluminium from recycled aluminium uses 90% less energy than making aluminium from scratch.

A.2.11 Help protect the rainforests

Background: Some people consider the destruction of the world’s rainforests the most frightening of all recent ecological developments, because it is something they can measure. The tropical rainforests, located in a narrow region near the equator of Africa, South and Central America, and Asia, are disappearing so fast that by the year 2000, 80% of them may be gone.

A tropical rainforest is technically defined as a forest in the tropics which receives 4 to 8 metres of rain per year. Beyond that, it is nature’s laboratory for all kinds of plant, animal and insect life. The world’s tropical rainforests are critical links in the ecological chain of life that makes up the planet’s biosphere.

Did you know

  • Although rain forests make up only 2% of the earth’s surface, over half the world’s wild plant, animal and insect species live there. In a typical four-mile square patch of tropical rainforest you would find: over 750 species of trees, over 1500 different kinds of flowering plants, 125 different mammals, 400 kinds of birds, 100 reptiles, 60 amphibians and countless insects - including 150 types of butterflies. And only 1% of these species has ever been studied!
  • 80% of all Amazonian deforestation has taken place since 1980.
  • One in four pharmaceuticals comes from a plant in a tropical rainforest. About 70% of plants identified by the National Cancer Institute as being useful in cancer treatment are found only in rainforests; 1,400 rainforest plants are believed to offer cures for cancer.
  • One third of the world’s remaining rain-forests are in Amazonia.
  • Latin America and Southeast Asia have already lost 40% of their tropical rainforests.
  • Deforestation contributes to between 10 and 30% of world-wide CO2 emissions. In 1987, rainforest fires (one method of clearing) pumped about 518 million tons of carbon into the air, roughly 1/10 of the total world fossil fuel combustion for that year.

What happens to rainforests

  • The world’s rainforests are being depleted as a result of several developments: agriculture and population resettlement; beef cattle ranching; major power projects like dams, hydroelectric plants and the roads that go with them, and logging.
  • The soil in rainforests is not rich; only about a two-inch layer contains any nutrients. Most of a rainforest’s nutrients are stored in the vegetation. When a rainforest is converted to, say, cattle grazing, the soil is grazed out within two years. The cattle operation must move on, but it leaves be-hind a desert.

A.2.12 Plant a tree

Background: Trees can, over time, remove large quantities of carbon dioxide (the main “greenhouse gas”) from the atmosphere. This makes planting a tree an effective way to fight the greenhouse effect. And it is easier than you might think.

Tree Talk

  • 10,000 years ago, before agriculture, more than 15 billion acres world-wide were covered by forest. Today barely 10 billion acres are forested. Between mid-century and 1990, the forested surface of the earth was reduced by roughly 25%.
  • The interdependence between trees and human and animal life could not be more fundamental: we require oxygen and pro-duce carbon dioxide (CO2); trees and other plants require CO2 and produce oxygen. Any significant loss in forested land directly affects the Earth’s atmosphere for other forms of life.
  • By consuming CO2, trees mitigate the “greenhouse effect”. It is estimated that each mature tree consumes, on average, about 13 lbs. of CO2 per year.
  • When trees in a forest die naturally or are responsibly harvested, the trees are re-placed and there is no net loss of CO2 to the atmosphere. But when a forest is burned or clear-cut, much of the CO2 is lost and not recaptured. So on balance, the forests we lose (net loss) accounts for about 25% of global CO2 emissions.
  • By providing shade and evaporative cooling, trees also affect local temperature - again, urban trees even more than rural ones. Clusters of urban trees shading a home can cool ambient air temperature by 10%, reducing local energy demand (for air conditioning) by 10 to 50%. Moreover, the energy saved reduces global warming by about 15 times the amount of CO2 absorbed by those trees.

Simple things to do

  • Consider talking with neighbours to see if you can begin a neighbourhood or community-wide planting effort. You will be surprised at how much “native intelligence” you can uncover.
  • Don’t just stick a tree in the ground and ignore it. Like other growing plants, trees need a little care for the first two years - including water, vertical support and mulch.


  • Planting trees has a cumulative effect; each tree you plant will provide benefits for years to come. For example: If only 100,000 people each plant a tree this year, the trees will still be absorbing over a mil-lion pounds of CO2 annually in the year 2010. But if the same people plant a tree every year from now until 2010, the trees will absorb over 20 million pounds of CO2 in that year.

A.2.13 Carpool to work

If you are interested in cutting back your driving, you may have to take matters into your own hands. Thus far, the best solution is car-pooling. You can share a ride no matter where you live and work.

Did you know

  • One-third of all private auto mileage is racked up commuting to and from work.
  • The average commuter car carries only 1-3 riders (passengers).
  • If each commuter car carried just one more person, we would save more than 600,000 gallons of gas a day and prevent more than 12 million pounds of carbon dioxide from polluting the atmosphere.

In the Netherlands, for example, 80% of train commuters get to the station on a bicycle; in Denmark, about 30% of all trips are taken on bicycles; and Japan even has bicycle parking garages in urban areas.

A.2.14 Eat low on the food chain

Did you know

  • According to Diet for a New America, if Americans reduced their meat intake by just 10%, the savings in grains and soy-beans could adequately feed 60 million people who starve to death, world-wide, each year.
  • To produce 1 lb. of beef, we need 16 lbs. of grain and soybeans, 2500 gallons of water, and the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline.
  • Believe it or not, cows may be contributing to the greenhouse effect. According to one estimate, the world’s 1.3 billion cows annually produce nearly 100 million tons of methane, a powerful “greenhouse gas” which, molecule for molecule, traps 25 times as much solar heat as CO2.
  • 220 million acres of land in the US have been deforested for livestock production. 25 million acres (an area the size of Austria) in Brazil, and half the forests in Central America, have been cleared for beef production.
  • 20 pure vegetarians can be fed on the land needed to feed one person who eats meat.
  • Growing grains, vegetables and fruits uses less than 5% as much raw materials as does meat production.

Simple things to do

  • The simplest thing - even if you are a con-firmed meat-eater - is to cut down the amount of beef you eat.
  • Experiment with occasional vegetarian meals. You will be amazed at how much you can grow in even a tiny plot. Herbs, leafy greens, fruits and even corn can be grown quite handily in most urban set-tings.
  • Support local “farmer’s markets”. Locally-grown produce is typically fresher, cheaper, and less laden with pesticide residues than produce shipped long distance.


A.3.1 A programme for peace education

  1. Attitudinal changes and firm option for peace. Study "holistically”, know relevant data; appreciate different points of view, meditate issues; peaceful thoughts; Karaniya Metta Sutta; be prepared to give some time for peace, while others are giving life in violent conflict. A supreme effort to save human lives and our country. Never give up however difficult, whatever the ad-verse effect; because ours is a spiritual conviction based also on the dignity of human life. Be not ashamed to be for peace. Be openly for a just peace; be clear, vocal, audible, visible....shirts, badges!
  2. Form peace groups: for study action; preferably multi religious, multi ethnic, in neighbourhood, village, city, district, nation... network. Seek support of respected persons; alone, we can do little.
  3. Meetings, seminars country wise; exchange views, strengthen one another in resolve. Spread peace message throughout country. Have clear idea of possible solutions. Be concrete, realistic. Evaluate.
  4. Develop methodologies: role playing, drama. art, song, poetry, essays, posters, handbills; healthy competitions in speech, drama. Bodhi Pujjas, prayer, vigils, fasts. Share, Celebrate peace: e.g. Good Friday a triumph of peace, giving one's life non violently; Islam is peace, Mahatma Gandhi memorial, Martin Luther King; world peace, human rights days; peace liturgies. Social service: refugees, injured, prisoners, widows and orphans.
  5. Take action in an ongoing way to create public opinion: at each stage in the drama of our own history. Every session must lead to some action. Action forms peace workers in experience and conviction. Types of action: letter writing to the press; to President, Opposition leader, MPs, political par-ties, local religious leaders, school principles; democracy is a process of educating our rulers. Hitherto they have failed us badly. Lobbying Petitions, signature campaigns, slogans, pledges, telephone links; Peace marches.
  6. Media: Publications, articles, scrap books of individuals, groups, documents, leaflets, books, resource centres, data collection; cassettes, slide music presentations, videos.
  7. Try to ensure own funds by sharing expenses and voluntary savings; e.g. give up smoking. Our peace work should not depend only on others.