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Positive Notes.

A place to callhome In a cottage by the sea, groups of shiny-eyed children bussed in from inner-city homeless shelters find fun, tranquility and a temporary respite from crowds, noise and city traffic. A Home Away From Homelessness [HAFH, Fort Mason, Building 9, San Francisco, CA 94123, (415) 561-5533] is the living dream of writer and children's advocate Jeannie Kortum-Stermer. The house, a converted Army building that once housed the base commander of Fort Cronkhite, is located on Golden Gate National Recreation Area land in the Marin headlands north of San Francisco. Since 1994, the Beach House has allowed homeless children to roam wild, safe and free. A hundred kids, from 5 to 10 years old, arrive from 13 shelters each month. The organization's San Francisco office helps homeless families find emergency food and clothing and hosts special holiday celebrations and nature field trips. Volunteers and donations are needed and welcome.

Solar charging station If you're gonna ride an electric bike, you're gonna need a charge. Zap Bikes, manufacturers of the silent speedy pedal-helpers, rose to the challenge by installing solar electric-bike chargers in a plaza in Sebastopol, California. This gives new meaning to the phrase "Hop on your bike and grab some sun." [www.zapworld.com]

Millennial decade of non-violence: Twenty Nobel Peace Prize Laureates have sent a petition to the United Nations calling on all member-states to declare the year 2000 "The Year of Education for Nonviolence." The laureates -- including Elie Wiesel, Aung San Suu Kyi, Shimon Peres, Yasser Arafat, Nelson Mandela, Tenzin Gyatso (the Dalai Lama), Desmond Tutu, Lech Walesa, and Mikhail Gorbachav -- have asked that the first decade of the new millennium be devoted to global education in non-violence -- in schools, businesses, and through the media. The goal is a world for children that is free from physical, psychological, socio-economic, environmental and political violence.

Marsh on! San Francisco's Crissy Field, a former military airfield located east of the Golden Gate Bridge, is being transformed into a lush and exciting shoreline park. In mid-November, a temporary earthen dam was breached, allowing seawater to flood a newly restored saltmarsh. Opening ceremonies included traditional dances and songs performed by native Ohlone dancers. Wasting no time, several species of shorebirds were seen working the marsh while it was still under construction, early in the fall migration season. ["Renewing Crissy Field," a full-color booklet, is available from the National Park Service at (415) 561-4730.]

Recycling mountains of Macs Colorado-based Technology Recycling LLC is working hard to recycle the growing heaps of obsolete US computers. The company, which is active in 60 US cities, charges $35 to collect and process old computers. Disabled workers, hired at "significantly more than minimal wage," dismantle the computers and recycle the used components. These jobs can open doors to future high-tech employment. [(800) 803-5442, www.techrecycle.com]

Reefballs revitalize Funny-looking concrete balls Swiss-cheezed with holes are all the rage in threatened reef areas around the Caribbean. The ReefBall Coalition [(800) 831-5731, reefballcoalition@innova. net] molds these cement sea-life habitats on land and then submerges them offshore to encourage rehabilitation of damaged reef areas. Reefballs have been used successfully on Dominica and around the Turks and Caicos Islands north of the Dominican Republic. The enterprising folks who run this project have turned this labor of love into an exciting vacation for volunteer reefball-casters, who pay for a week's stay at a hotel and participate in reefball workshops and reef monitoring by boat. Future ReefBall projects are in the works in Jamaica, Cancun and the Dominican Republic. A great idea for a constructive, guilt-free tropical vacation!

Tea for toucans South America's yerba mate tea is a gold mine of nutrients that has sustained the native populations of Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina for centuries. The Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products company (GSRP) imports Guayaki Yerba Mate from the Paraguay's Guayaki Biological Reserve, home to 272 species of birds and 36 mammal species. The tea is grown, harvested, and processed by the indigenous Guayaki (a subgroup of the Guarani tribal nation) who are guaranteed "fair trade" payment for their work. Because it is cultivated beneath the canopy of the rainforest, GSRP claims that Guayaki Yerba Mate is the world's "only sustainable, organic and shade-grown mate." With Guayaki Yerba Mate, you not only get a fine cup of energizing brew, you also help protect the rainforest and its inhabitants -- flora, fauna and homo sapiana. GSRP also offers eco-tourism trips to the reserve. [888-GUAYAKI; fax (805) 545-8111; www.guayaki.com, guayaki@thegrid.net]

Take the prize At Global Green USA'S 4th annual awards ceremony in Santa Monica, California last October, Mikhail Gorbachev's Green Cross International presented its Green Cross Millennium Award to five extraordinary individuals and groups. The awards for corporate, individual, international, entertainment and founders' leadership were presented to Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm, David Suzuki, The Natural Step, Alexandra Paul, and Pat Mitchell (President of Time Inc. TV/CNN and of Global Green USA). A special tribute in memory of Raisa Gorbachev named her as a person who "helped end the Cold War, creating a more peaceful and sustainable world ... Mrs. Gorbachev's love turned fear into hope." [Global Green USA, 227 Broadway, Suite 302, Santa Monica, CA 90401.]

Bohemian solidarity Last year, a mural celebrating Mayan culture was painted on a wall in the village of Taniperla in Chiapas, Mexico. In April 1999, the Mexican Army destroyed the mural, and Sergeo Valdez, its designer, spent a year in prison for painting it. In October 1999, the mural was reborn on a "wall of solidarity" in San Francisco's fabled North Beach beat poet's zone. The painting, adorning the side of the City Lights Bookstore, is one of several renditions of the banned mural that have been painted on walls around the world including Barcelona, Madrid, and Bilbao, Spain; Florence, Italy; Mexico City, Mexico and Oakland, CA. [Paz Sin Fronteras/Zapatista Mural Project, (415) 267-1822; City Lights Books, (415) 362-1901]

Greening governments Major building projects, such as a 7000-unit mixed residential/commercial development in LA, are specifying certified wood for such components as cabinetry and flooring. Municipal governments including those of New York City, San Francisco, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Ashland, Oregon, are specifying certified wood in government contracts where possible. Certified wood is obtained from non-endangered trees harvested via sustainable forestry practices based on the Institute for Sustainable Forestry's "Ten Elements of Sustainability." The certifying agent is a third party with no connections to the landowners or the lumber producers. The Ten Elements proclaim that: "Forest practices will respect, maintain and/or restore ... the forest ecosystem and its components.... Forest practitioners will address the need for local employment and community wellbeing and will respect workers' rights.... Ancient forests will be subject to a moratorium on commercial logging." [PO Box 580, Redway, CA 95560; 707-247-1101, fax 707-247-3555; email: info@isf-sw.org]

Sounds intriguing Zero 24-7 Web Radio, an innovative, independent Internet radio station, broadcasts Zero Population Growth's message over the Internet. Eclectic music, guests like Al Gore and Jane Fonda, and zero commercials: [www.zpg.org Once there, click on Zero 24-7 "to hear what you've been missing."]

Grassroots to treetops Yielding to righteous badgering from Earth Island's John Muir Project and the Religious Campaign for Forest Preservation, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) has become a co-sponsor of HR1396, the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act. The NRPRA, which would end timber sales in national forests, now has 70 co-sponsors in the US House of Representatives. [Rene Voss, Wild Rockies Infonet, 726 7th St., SE, Washington, DC 20003, (202) 547-9124, fax: 547-9210, rene.voss@mindspring.com]

Web-of-life website By the year 2050, one-quarter of all plants and animals could be doomed to extinction. A new Defenders of Wildlife website [www.kidsplanet.org] lets kids explore the wonders of wildlife and the problems of biodiversity loss. There's a bibliography for school projects, downloadable color illustrations of endangered species, and wild games to play. Tune your children in to this cyberspace world of wildlife activities (but don't forget to turn off the computer and spend some time outside!). [Defenders of Wildlife, 1101 Fourteenth St., NW, Suite 1400, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 682-9400, www.kidsplanet.org]

Cosmetics without cancer Neways is one of several innovative companies offering cosmetic and home-care products without the commonly-found carcinogenic ingredients. [For information and sample pack, www.neways.com/user/joeg]

Democracy is coming In the fictional documentary Democracy is Coming to the USA (directed by Walter Miale and produced by the Green World Center), a college student finds herself interviewing the likes of Noam Chomsky, Jane Goodall, Frances Moore Lappe, Ralph Nader and John Robbins (who play themselves). She learns disturbing facts about such atrocities as factory farms and institutional violence. The film's climactic festival proclaims "a new day, and a shift in the will of Heaven." The film's title comes from a Leonard Cohen lyric: "It's coming like the tidal flood beneath the lunar sway, imperial, mysterious, in amorous array: Democracy is coming to the USA." Green World Center also hosts a residential program/study retreat in the mountains near Quebec, for artists, scholars, teachers and others to work on everything from peace studies to nature writing to multimedia, cinema, philosophy and literature [www.greenworldcenter.org].

Cleaning a new leaf The Leaf Project's line of natural, eco-friendly cleaning products -- including Leaf Brand cleaning products, Ecolink solvents and Sentry Sanitary maintenance and janitorial products -- meet Green Seal, EPA and ISO 14000 criteria. A substantial portion of profits from New Leaf sales go to environmental education programs as well as activist initiatives of a number of environmental groups, including Earth Island Institute and the Rainforest Action Network.[(87D ECO-LEAF (toll free), www.leafproject.com]

Clean-car pledge Californians are accelerating the change to Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs) by signing the Clean Car Pledge. Thousands of signers have vowed that their next vehicle will be a clean car that will get 50 percent more mileage and emit 90 percent less tailpipe emissions than current national averages. [For more info and pledge forms, digitize over to www.cleancarpledge.org] Their motto is "Drive the Demand for Clean Cars." Other states might well consider franchising this idea.

Eco-sane fun Teens love YES (Youth for Environmental Sanity) Camp -- a week in a gorgeous place with 20 to 30 other young people concerned about the state of the planet and ready to take action. Besides exploring the countryside, kids on the brink of adulthood look into leadership, self-confidence, ecology and social justice issues, while tossing around solutions to planetary problems. Youth from 27 countries have attended the 43 YES Action Camps since 1990. Locations for 2000 include Maui, Hawai'i; Stockton Springs, Maine; Clark Fork, Idaho; Santa Cruz, California; and Linwood Lake, Minnesota. Scholarships are available. [420 Bronco Road, Soquel, CA 95073-9510, (877) 2-YES-CAMP (toll-free)]

Sing Out for Seva A new CD benefits SEVA, the group that gives the gift of sight to the poor people of the Third World with affordable eye and health care, including cataract surgery. The CD features the likes (and licks) of Bob Weir, Bonnie Raitt, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Graham Nash and Arlo Guthrie. Your CD host is the inimitable Wavy Gravy, a long-time SEVA Foundation friend and self-described "psychedelic social director and frozen dessert" (Ben & Jerry's named an ice cream in his honor). The $16 CD can be ordered from the SEVA Foundation [1786 Fifth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710; (510) 845-7382].

Chill out, sweet Earth The Cool the Planet! divestment campaign is pushing the University of California to divest its holdings in such eco-malevolent entities as Ford, Exxon, Chevron and other "members of the evil empire known as the Global Climate Coalition." Students at the University of Michigan, Davidson College in North Carolina and many other schools are running similar campaigns. [Ozone Action, 1700 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009, (202) 265-6738; (202) 986-6041, www.ozone.org]

800,000 animals escape Paul McCartney had to sound off and an animal-rights activist in a bunny suit had to hound A1 Gore around the country, but the White House finally agreed to halt a controversial chemical-testing program that would have killed nearly a million test animals. The program was fast-tracked by Gore. Now, at Gore's direction, the EPA has ordered 900 top chemical companies to replace the lethal-dose poisoning tests with non-animal tests within two years. [PETA, (757) 622-7382; White House: Bradley Campbell, (202) 395-5750]
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Author:SRS
Publication:Earth Island Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2000
Words:2059
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