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A tribal perspective on the modern society
First Publication July 1991 500 copies
Second Reprint July, 2001 1000 copies
Printed at: BY Yangon, Myanmar
THANG TIN SUM
Restricted for Church members only
Cover Design By Jonathan
Dedicated to my father Van Ir (Deceased) and our ancestors who were regarded as developed and civilized people according to their tribal community’s Yardstick.
FOREWORD I have known the writer of this booklet for almost three decades since his student days in Mandalay University in early 1970s. He is simple in manner, sincere in thoughts, smart in dress and serious in his Christian faith his conviction and commitment as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ among second to none. This booklet is a reflection of his life-story from a tribal community perspective, a critique of the so-called modern society, and a comparison of the two. The reader is invited and challenged to weigh and make his/her own choice. But he made himself profoundly clear to his own option. From his reflection, critique and comparison, one may discover the tribal wisdom vis-à-vis modern madness, conservation of nature by the tribal community vis-a-vis consumerism of the modern society, sustainable tribal lifestyle vis-à-vis self-destroying modern lifestyle, etc. In the end, he undoubtedly pointed to the lifestyle of Jesus Christ as the “Ideal” and “Model” for human life. This booklet is a summary account of Rev. Thang Tin Sum’s exposures and experience in both the tribal and modern societies. It is also a testimony of his faith and hope, aspiration and anticipation, desire and dedication. I wish him God’s guidance and blessings as he strives to faithfully follow his Ideal-Model.
Rev. Smith N. Za Thawng General Secretary Myanmar Council of Churches June 2001
Dear Sum, This book amazed me- initially the poem with such clear insights. People like your self have so much to teach us in this decadent world of ours. I thank God for you and how you are able to put into very challenging literature what we are often too deaf to hear. Your life story has only begun. What God will continue to call you to do in the next 40 years will be beyond comprehension now. You have such rare gifts and I expect your work in Myanmar will astound all us. Do keep me informed. The Holy Spirit will continue to immerse you in his power, love and ability to hear and follow His directions. If you have an extra copy of your book, I’d like to have it so I can share with others. CONTENTS Page Preface Acknowledgements I. A TRIBAL SOCIETY (A) My Background (b) The Traditional Religion (c) Morality And Wisdom - No Thief Thank you, - The Door Was Never Locked - A Fishing Net Was Never Stolen - A Nest, Mushrooms, And Honey Was Safe - Premarital Sex - They Never Used Weapons For Quarrelling Dr. Marian Halvorson Former Missionary and Consultant. USA 11/ 2/95 (d) The Lifestyle Of my Tribe (e) What is The Good Life? 17 18 - Their Diet And Health - The Late Za Kham, A Giant - Their Attitude Towards Foreign Countries 12 12 13 14 14 14 14 15 15 15 16 16 9 10
(What Is Their Understanding Of Development?)
WHY DO THEY CALL ME UNCIVILIZED AND UNDEVELOPED?
Lax Control Of Toxins A Health “Gamble”
Some People’s Responses On My Contribution
(F) How I Became A Christian (g) Wanted II. THE MODERN SOCIETY (a) It Is Like Visiting Another Planet (b) Squirrel Iilustration (c) What Is Development? (From Economic Perspective) (d) Damage Done By Industrial Growth (The Failure Of Development) -
(b) Development Is Under Attack (Development-Ethics) Environmental Movements Development And Environmental Workshop, Canada - My Personal Reflections On Their Movement - Brundtland Report (Our Common future) - Earth Day Celebration - Clean Air - The Role Of Forests In The Global Cycling Of Carbon - Canada’s Foreign Aid Flouts UN Environment Plan - Making Hard Choices
54 57 57 59 59 62 66 68 67 72
33 33 34
THE NON-TRIBAL ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE TRIBAL
- Who Are Tribal People? 37 - Tribal And Tropical Forest - The Fourth World (Forest People, Tribal) 38 39
75 76 77
The Year Is 2035 Fire And Ice
TEN THREATS TO THE PLANET AND HOW YOUCAN HELP
IV. SOCIAL PROBLEMSIN THE USA - Poverty - Homeless People - Suicide - Drugs And Alcohol 78 79 80 81
The Doomsday Prognosis Facing The Future Good Water – Good Life Alienation And Indifference Impact Of The Poor And The Rich Debate Over Pesticide Use, How Much Is Enough? Global Village
43 43 45 46 46 47 52
- Disabilities - Divorce - Love In The 90’s
81 83 83
- Children OF The US Presidents Face a High Risk Of Unhappiness - Few Church Members Mature In Their Faith 83 85
V. CONCLUSION - The Tribal Spirituality - The Teaching Of Jesus Christ and the Contemporary Issues 89 88
My first target group for writing this book is my own rural tribal people, who are very simple, uneducated, isolated and Christian majority. Those people always think highly of the modern and industrial society. Even some people regarded the society as heaven. But I want to tell them that this is no true. There are so many problems around the world. If this book helps my Chin Christian people to understand that there is no real joy and hope without Christ, it will be worthwhile. My second target group is also my own people but those who are educated, so-called modernized people and struggling for development. If this book helps them to learn some failures and damages which have been done by industrial growth and to see the world through new eyes and attempt to plan holistic development programs with a new vision, it will be satisfactory. My third target group is the general audience. This book may be helpful to those who might have an interest in the Chin tribal culture and their struggling life for social transformation.
I wish to expess my gratitude to all who assisted me in various ways to study Social Development Course in Canada and to travel to other socalled modernized countries including the U.S.A, Italy, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, etc.. for informal studies and attending conferences. Those experiences help me to understand more about the global issues. I would like to thank also my late father Van Ir, who was regarded as the traditional Chin tribal leader, (the late Rev. Lal Tin Sawn, Ral Sai Lo, No Zam), Khaw Za Hnin,Thla Tin Thang, Hram Thang, and others who taught me about the Chin tribal’s morality and wisdom.
Thang Tin Sum
Secreatary Functional Literacy Project Myanmar Council of Churches. 1991. email@example.com
A TRIBAL SOCIETY
(a) My Background My School Days Allow me to introduce myself. I was born at a very small and remote village of Bomba, Falam Township, Chin State, the mountain province of Myanmar. It was a village of about 40 households with nearly 300 people. We have no motor road to connect with the nearest town Falam, which is about 30 miles away. We have to walk on foot. Even elementary school education was not available at our village during my childhood. Hence we had to attend elementary school at Khawlung village, which is about two miles away. We had to walk up and down hill paths every day till I passed my 4th grade. Then I joined middle and a high school in Falam. After graduating from Falam High School I had the chance to join Mandalay University in 1969. (b) The Traditional Religion During my childhood, my parents were very strong believer in spirits. We worshiped various kinds of spirits. We had mountain spirits, river spirits, household spirits, death people’s spirits etc. I can still remember the way my father made animal sacrifices to these spirits. We also had a concept of god, “Pathian”. I still remember the way my , made sacrifices to worship “pathian” with goat and mython, “Sia”. He made an altar which is called “thumhmun” for worshipping “pathian”. Our tribe traditionally reserved many parts of their land as sacred and not to be occupied and destroyed. In other words, our worship of god and nature could not be separated. 12
(c) Morality and Wisdom Our God “Pathian” did not teach bad thing. Our traditional religion had very good and strict commandments, which were very similar to the teaching of Jesus and Moses Law. Traditionally, the Chin tribe possessed high morality and wisdom. Our parents taught good morals. For example, to help the poor, the helpless, widows and old people were taught very often. Cheating, stealing, insulting others especially the elderly, killing innocent people were totally condemned. If someone kills a person, intentionally or even accidentally, we call that killer “Laithat” in our language. “Laithat” is a very derogatory term. We regard the person who kills as an outcast. There was no forgiveness in our religion. We believed that if someone committed a crime that person would die accidentally as a result of God’s punishment, which we called “Sarthi” or “thihsia” in our language. “Sarthi” is death caused by such things as a wild animal, water or fire. Hence our parents dared not break any single portion of the commandments. They tried to do the best they could. They were very honest, faithful, sincere and obedient. So their neighbors regarded the Chin tribe as “Honest” people.
HERE ARE SOME CONCRETE EXAMPLES OF THEIR FAITHFULNESS No Thief During the summer everybody was afraid of fire. So, most of their valuables, including their money boxes, were kept outside in the open compound, without any watchers. But it was amazing that nobody ever stole it. It was completely safe and secure. The late U No Zam, who was one of the most prominent leaders from Falam, Chin State, told me “During my younger days, my mother could save about Rs. 1000 Silver coins, of King George VI vintage. She kept the money inside an Army Box. It was very heavy. During the summer time, she used to keep it outside for fear of fire. Everybody who visited us saw the money box. But nobody planned to steal it. Sometimes the visitors were sitting on it.” The Door Was Never Locked During the olden days, the Chin houses were never locked for fear of thieves, since there was no thief to be afraid of. A Fishing Net Was Never Stolen Some Chin people were very fond of catching fish with a net at the river. Since the fishing net was heavy, they did not want to carry it home very often. So they used to keep it at the river where they used to catch the fish. But nobody ever stole their net. A Nest, Mushrooms And Honey Was Safe During my childhood we used to go hunting. If we found a nest, mushrooms or honey, we made some signs, like breaking some branches, which showed that somebody had found it first. If the next person found the
same things, they never took it because of the sign. They were really very faithful. Premarital Sex Was Unthinkable If a prominent daughter, who was unmarried, had sexual intercourse, it was regarded as a big sin. They believed that her father would not be able to enter the heavenly kingdom “PIALRANG” because of her bad behavior. So, most of my CHIN tribe ladies were virgins in those days. My elder sister Hlawn Tin Cuai (about 50 years old) told me: “We never thought of having premarital sex because it saw strictly prohibited by our custom. We had very much concern for the spirit of my father. If we committed a sin, my father, who was entitled to enter “PIALRANG” (heavenly Kingdom) according to our culture, would be denied to do so. They Never Used Weapons For Quarrelling The Chin people were fond of performing feasts with their corn and millet wine. When they got drunk, some people used to quarrel with each other and fight one another. It was very interesting to learn that they never used a knife, stake, bottle of any other weapon for fighting. They never gave a blow to the opponent with their fist. They just simply wrestled each other. When somebody won and put his rival on the ground, he would say: You are lost. Are you satisfied? Then his rival would reply, “Yes, you are the winner. I admit that I have lost.” Afterward they spoke to each other and drank together again with no bad feelings between them. It was a very clean fight. They did not want to shed a single drop of blood. Their Diet And Health Their main diet was millet, corn and meat. They used to drink country beer made out of millet and corn, which they said were very nutritious. During those days there was plenty of meat and beer. They also had “Zuhaa” which 15
was also made out of millet and corn. Whenever they were hungry and tired they eat it like food. They said that it was that it was also very nutritious. U Than Tur, who is one of the most prominent leaders from Falam told me that his late aunt, Hlawn Tlem, who lived to be 110 years old, always ate Zuhaa made from millet. She recently died on 5 0ct. 1990. She was very healthy. There was no problem at all about her eyesight. She could see very clearly. Even her teeth were very strong. She could walk and made millet Zuhaa by herself. She was an amazing person. She had about 25 children. Most of her children are dead, except U Thang Hnin and U Than Tur’s mother. She would tell her nieces: You people look very pale, and weak. You should make Millet Zuhaa and wine for your health. Look at me. I am very strong. You know why? It’s because of my millet diet.” We learnt that most old Chin people were very strong, healthy and tall. Most of them were about 6 feet tall. By looking at their skeletons, we can learn that they were very tall, indeed. Most of their teeth were very strong too. I would like to give a concrete example about the old Chin tribes people as follows. The Late Za Kham, About 110 years Old, a Giant He was from Ngalti village, Falam Township, Chin State. He died during the British regime. He was buried at the village called Ngalti. By digging his burial ground and studying his skeletons, we could learn that he was very tall, and was quite a giant. His tomb was about 9 feet long. So we could say that he might have been more than 6 feet tall. Their Attitude Toward Foreign Countries The Chinland was invaded by the British during the 1890s. Before that period they were totally isolated. They did not think highly of foreign 16
countries as do the modern Chin people. They were very proud of their lifestyle. They could hold big feasts and danced joyfully every now and then. They were good hunters. Modern education was not needed for providing their desire in life. They were happy and enjoyed themselves in their local places. For them foreign lands were too far away, lonely and meaningless. Note: The modern Hill Chin people arrived in Yangon (Rangoon) only in the 1930’s. The first Hill Chin tribe graduate was the late Mr. Siah Luai B.A. He graduated in 1938 from the Rangoon University. Today the modern Chin people are struggling for development. Like other modern people, education is emphasized as providing access to their social transformation. (d) The Lifestyle Of My Tribe The traditional Chin tribe lifestyle was a simple one. They were community minded and were very friendly. For the Chin people, friendship was more important than financial wealth. Moreover, generosity was more important than getting rich, daily joy instead of worrying about the future and contentment rather than high competition. For the Chin tribe, time is spent not for money, but for friends, for others and for relatives. They value people and spiritual life more than material possessions. They help each other, especially those who were weak and helpless, by building their houses and cultivating their fields, voluntarily. When they harvested new crops like millet, rice and corn, they shared them with their neighbors. When they hunted and got some animals, they shared them with members of the community. Especially the elderly were given priority.
(e) What Is The Good Life Among My Tribe? (What is their understanding of development?) There is no exact equivalent for the word “development” in the language of my tribe. It is purely a new name. We called it ”Thansonak” in our language. Traditionally my tribesmen defined the good life or development in terms of: A good hunter Performance of a big feast Building a big house Possession of a gun Storage of plenty of grain Bravery and strength and other such personal attributes
We did not define the good life in terms of material wealth and prosperity. To become a good hunter, to perform a big feast, to build a big house, to store plenty of grain, to become strong and brave was highly desirable. Education was not emphasized as providing access to the good life (development). The modern yardstick of development is GNP (Gross National Product) growth. But the traditional Chin tribal yardstick of development was hunting, performing a feast, and so on. May I write down some of my conversation with my father, Van Ir, who died in 1981, at the age of 79. I hope the following conversation will be helpful to understand of development, or what is the good life. My father was regarded as one of the best hunters and a good leader among his people and society during his period. 18
Since my father and his parents were good hunters, our traditional Chin house was full of trophies, which indicated their status. When I thought about my father’s society and its lifestyle, I wanted to blame them for their spending of time. I learnt that most of their time was spent for hunting and performing feast. I thought that the result of their hunting and performing feast were not beneficial for the next generation, myself especially. I was looking around the animal heads, hunting trophies, with dissatisfaction. “These were useless things” I remarked. Then I composed a song in Chin “Salurop” “Useless hunting. My father was not happy to learn about the song because I condemned their lifestyle. I said to my father, “If you spent your time in education and development instead of hunting and performing feasts, you would become one of the most popular men in the world. Then my father replied to me angrily. He said, “Your knowledge is too limited. You don’t know what you are saying. During our period hunting and performing feasts were the most desirable way of life. There was nothing important apart from hunting and performing feasts. We regarded feasts and hunting trophies as the highest honors. We were satisfied with that we had and shared it with other people. Our competition was not intense like that of the modern people. I think that the modern development growth has no end in itself. What is the modern yardstick for coming out on top? I think it may not be easy to become the top man all round. Our society was very small. In other words our world was very small. But this modern society is very large, in terms of thinking, competition and understanding of development. Hence it may not be easy to be at the top in your society.
But my son doesn’t think that to become a good hunter is easy. It request perseverance, courage, industriousness, things like that. We never give up before we achieve our goal. Try to copy our characteristics and you will be a good leader among members of your society.” Since then I have been thinking about our modern society with a new perspective. I do not want to blame my father’s understanding of the good life anymore. The modern people regarded them as uncivilized, undeveloped. How do we define civilization and development? During my stay in Canada, where I studies Society Development Course in 1989, I wrote a poem on behalf of my father as follows, in which I tried to compare the tribal society to the modern society. The poem was appreciated by many people, as I mentioned below.
WHY DID THEY CALL ME UNCIVILIZED AND UNDEVELPOD?
Why did they call me Uncivilized? Because of my inability to invent Hydrogen bomb and to kill Millions of people Children, women, innocent people? Yes, I have to admit that, I could not kill so many people Within a few seconds. I could kill only one person with My arrow and my knife,
I never killed Children, women, and Innocent people I killed only my enemy With my sword and arrow. Why did they call me Undeveloped? Because of my inability to invent High technology Which can create Environmental and Ecological and many other problems? Yes, I have to admit that, I could not invent these technologies Which can destroy The whole world. I could invent only The necessary equipment for My sustainability and for My next generation By Thang Tin Sum It had been a great privilege for me to have participated in some conference, seminars, consultations, development and environment workshops. I had the chance to share my tribal wisdom, background and religious faith through speech, talks, and correspondence. By the grace of God many participants were Here are some of the responses from the participants. Dear Brother Thang Tin Sum I have read your poem and found it fascinating and very much to the point. Sometimes when I have been out preaching in the churches I have talked about head-hunting in Nagaland, but have said this was nothing compared to the bombs which we Americans can drop on villages and cities wiping out the entire village or city with the bombs. Your poem picks up the same through. It is much better because it is personal and very concise. I will also share it with the person who is heading up the peace conference here at the American Baptist Churches, Valley Forge, for possible use in that office. My hat goes off to you for a poem very well done. Paymond W .Beaver Area Secretary/ East Asia U.S.A 22 21 inspired. Some People’s Responses to My Contribution It is very interesting to learn that tribal consultation and native American conferences on environmental have been conducted at several places nowadays. The main purpose is to create an ecologically based development to be planned. The UN is planning to conduct a conference on Environment and Development in Brazil in April 1992.
I am deeply impressed by this poem. It goes to the heart of the serious problems that face our world-questions of peace and respect for life. Mackinnon President St. F.X. University Canada. You have been a source of inspiration for me. Your joy and optimism and your shining soul have been a wonderful example to me. I wish you and your family health and happiness. I shall remember you and think of you often. Ann Comozzi Canada. I am very grateful to have had the wonderful chance to meet you. Your faith is inspirational. May God Bless you richly as you walk with Jesus. Sarah USA Sum’s poem is the cry of all people from everywhere on the world… Perhaps Sum and his people could yet come to believe that if he marvels of technology were used only for good, that there is a place for that technology in the great scheme of Life. For example, if man had not developed the technology enabling him to produce aeroplane, if he had not found and extracted the oil to fuel the aeroplane Sum himself would not today be here in Antigonish. He is here, however, and is able to share his native wisdom and experience with me and with others, and, I hope, because of this he is enriched and so am I …………….. Kathleen Stawsfield Winston Churchill Fellow of 1989 23
Dear Sum, I think the conference really inspired me and taught me that I could do something as an individual to help. You wouldn’t believe how much Kelly and I talked about the conference when we got back, and even to the teachers. They really enjoyed the information we brought back, I hope two teachers that I did show your poem were really very fascinated by it, I also told them some of the stories that you told me I read the poem you wrote and it really got the message across. So I decided to use it in my project on the rainforest, so with your poem I think the message gave the community something to think about, I didn’t say that I wrote it but I just wrote it up bigger so it would be more noticeable, I signed your name and I hope that was OK? This week is environmental week in our school, Nov. 20th to 24th 90. Our whole school from primary to grade twelve are getting involved, some are doing projects like myself, others are doing display, films etc… and our school is starting a recycling project sometime soon. Mabou may not be contributing in a huge way but since it is a small community we are doing a great deal, and if other communities started participating then you could see the change. In my opinion I think the “last supper” was very interesting and was one of the best parts because we got to know you better. We got to talk to some one from another country or other “planet” as you say and that is rarely a common experience.
Dabra Mac Lellan Canada.
Sum, The message is clear and touching. Who is really civilized: Pais INDIA
Dear Mr.Sum, Thank you so much for your recent letter and testimony. It was very enlightening and encouraging to read wonderful testimony of how much your life changed through the years while living in Burma. I thank God that some one helped you find Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour! Again; thank you for sharing your testimony with me. I am also sharing it with the Foreign Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia
Dear Sum Please be assured of our prayers for you as you continue in His service. We all appreciated your spiritual vitality while you were here. We heard an appreciate your comments on making Christ both Saviour and Lord. We also appreciated thinking through the sense of demon possession by western materialism, much as you observe in spirits in your country. Evil does manifest itself in different ways and cultures, according to the weak of each culture. Our challenge is to constantly seek the Lord in all of our activities. God bless you in your return to Burma and in your work. God bless your family too. Do keep in contact. Peace Bob Stevens Operations Director SIFAT,USA In Christ, Larry Lewis, President. HOME MISSION BOARD, SBC Dear Sum, Thank you for your poem entitled ``Why they Called Me Uncivilized and Undeveloped`` which we received on October 25,1989. I will keep it preciously for consideration of it if you could send us the address at which we can contact you after December 3, 1989. Thank you again, Your very truly,
Dominique Van De Maele Programme Officer; WFDA The World Food Day Association Of Canada. 25
November 20, 1989 Dear Sum, ……………. In your time here, I have been impressed with many of your Characteristics. You bring to your work a commitment to development which has several levels. At the broad level, your intellectual grasp of global issues and your understanding of the movement of human history gives you a strong framework within which to understand your own situation. I am also impressed with your commitment to working with your own, Chin people. Your dedication to their cause gives you a quiet strength that can only come from your struggle to better the conditions of a people of whom people can be the most challenging and the most satisfying of development work. Here you are known and cannot hide either your faults or strength. I recall stories you have told of your childhood and of the customs and beliefs among your people. I have appreciated he nonjudgmental, open attitude with which you reflect on your own people and community situation. I also appreciate the openness with which you approach your own growth and learning. I am impressed with how you have been willing to examine your own assumptions about your life, tribal culture, religious background and vision of ``the good life!`` while here. You have been undefended and open to challenge and have show to continue to learn and struggle with new perspectives and attitudes not either accepting of rejecting automatically, but weighing the value and assessing their worth for you Such an attitude will allow you to continue to grow and develop throughout your life. But your growth has not only been cognitive and intellectual. I respect your development along with the realm of cool logic, I appreciate 27
your poetry and your great creative ability, in balance with your organized, rational thought. Overall, it is this sense of balance and proportions, the deep sense of inner calm and knowledge of yourself, which has impressed me. I appreciate very much the way you have shared your understanding and approaches to the world. It has indeed been a pleasure and an education to have met you and I wish for you, your family and your people a form of development which brings peace with justice. Sincerely, Wilf Bean PhD., Coordinator, Diploma Program. Canada.
Dear Sum, You have helped me see through new eyes. You have been a blessing in my life, a gentle spirit and strong person to help me along my path. God bless your ministry, your country, and your beautiful community of Bomba. I will think of Bomba when I look at SIFAT’s ``Mad Indian Creek``. Stephanie Flanders (USA)
Dear Sum, You have been given a light to bring to the world. Your visit to SIFAT has been joy and a blessing for us. With our students here, you bring to them the opportunity to experience another culture, so far different from our own, that will be and invaluable part of their learning experience here. Not just your knowledge do you bring; it is your way of being, your gentleness in the middle of.. your own country, and the madness of our own culture that you bring to us. I am very glad to have met you and I hope we may cross paths again. John Ferchak (USA)
How I Became A Christian
Although we have a concept of god, “Pathian” in our religion, unfortunately it was overshadowed by worshipping demons and evil spirits due to fear of illnesses and death. We also believed that the demon could simply kill people without any strong reasons. (But god “Pathian” killed a person only when he committed a crime.) During my childhood I saw many people who were possessed by spirits. (good or bad spirits). When a spirit entered into a human’s heart, that person become totally changed. He acted differently and talked differently. I think that it was beyond human comprehension Nevertheless spirits did exist. I was very frightened especially by the bad spirits. My life was full of fear. One night I heard about Jesus from Mr. Hrang Zul who was our village church deacon (later on he became our Pastor). He was telling us about the mighty power of Jesus who could expel the demon, the evil spirit. He also mentioned that Christians were protected by angels and that demons and evil spirits could not attack them. I was very much interested in hearing those wonderful stories. Then I became one of their members and regularly attended the Church, which had about 30 members at that time. Since then I had the chance to learn about the life of Jesus slowly by slowly. It was not difficult for me to accept Jesus and the miracles because I had the concept of supernatural being in my mind already. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour and Lord, the fears of the demons and evil spirits disappeared. It was a tremendous experience. I must admit that the main reason for my becoming a Christian during my childhood was fear of demons and evil spirits.
Dear Sum, From you I have learnt many things a measured way of life, a thoughtfulness toward God and Jesus. In meeting people like you, I am given hope in the present for a future of a heaven on earth. Thank you for visiting us and giving me the opportunity of knowing you. The peace of God be with you wherever you go. Gary (USA)
When I look back to my traditional religion, as I have mentioned above, there were many similarities in terms of the teaching of Jesus. But I found out that Jesus has uniqueness and distinctiveness in terms of abilities and power. Today I am a Christian not because of fear of the demons but because I love and wanted Jesus Christ. Let me write down briefly about his wonderful stories ( WANTED) in comparison to my traditional religion.
Merciful and slow to anger Makes no discrimination or race, color, religion, rich and poor.
HIS ABILITY 1. 2. 3. Has hope, joy and peace Has the universe in His hand Can liberate the poor, hungry, sick, the oppressed and those possessed by evil spirits Has dominion over everything Has conquered death and gives eternal life Has the Truth, the Way and the Life
He is everywhere, but difficult to recognize. HIS ARMS 1. The arms of love, which can save sinners The arms of forgiveness, which can win His enemies
A handsome gentleman 2. Possesses dignity and attractive manner NOTE 1. “Salvation, Liberation” will be given to whomsoever accepts HIM All of history was divided into BC and AD because of the above WANTED, called JESUS CHRIST.
An Asian 2.
HIS CHARACTERISTIC 1. 2. 3. 4. Constantly meek and humble Full of love, compassionate and understanding Selfless, willing to serve others first Strong in faith and conviction for the right 31
II. THE MODERN SOCIETY (a) It is Like Visiting Another Planet
Since my tribal people have been adopting the non-tribal lifestyle in terms of material and economic prosperity, education is emphasized as providing access to this new lifestyle. So many of my tribesmen have been struggling to fit into the modern society. I am among the tribal people who have been struggling for the new changes. It was a great privilege for me to study, work and meet different kinds of people with different backgrounds at various cities and countries around the world. Visiting the modern society is an exiting experience. From the perspective of my native tribal community it is like visiting another planet, another world. Everything is new and strange, in terms of the lifestyle, using modern technology every day. It is very difficult to adjust to those strange systems. I became totally illiterate, functionally. It is not easy to deal with computers and machines everywhere. I have learnt about the disadvantages, and advantages of the new technology. I will outline the new disadvantage of the technology in the next chapter. My tribal people will agree with me that it is not easy to change our old society into the new modern society. We have been struggling in the process of the new changes. Squirrel Illustration Let me give an illustration of a squirrel, the animal which came into my mind. I hope this illustration will give a clear picture of our struggle for the new changes. Like my parents, I was fond of hunting. During my 33
childhood, I used to hunt with my father, who was a good hunter, and was regarded as a good leader in his community. Summertime was the best season for hunting. Sometimes we set fire to a forest and we were waiting for some animals to be shot, from some corner. (To set fire is not suitable anymore with ecological point of view). At that time I saw squirrels running here and there amidst the smoke. When they saw us they were trembling. They tried to run back to their old places. But they found out that it was totally destroyed by fire. They came back again running here and there amidst the smoke to escape. It was not easy to escape. They were totally caught up amidst the smoke. My tribal society was like those, squirrels. The old society was totally destroyed by the outsider’s fire. They have abandoned the old society and are trying to move forward the new society, which is a strange society for many people. Many people have been caught up amidst the smoke in the confused modern society. Especially many of our younger generation are totally confused. Many people have lost our tribal values. They have been copying the bad habits and morals of the outsiders. Many people have lost their religion. Many people have become so-called Christians. But their religious faith is no longer a strong force for the social action. (b) What Is Development? (from an economic perspectives)
The understanding of “Development” can be categorized into several groups. In this chapter I will outline development briefly from and economic perspective. The idea of “Development” is a new one in human history. It is barely 40 years old. The idea arose out of two historical circumstances.
One was the dramatic recovery of post Second World War Europe and Japan, made possible by Marshall Aid and by the will of the war-damaged countries to rebuild their economies. The second was the contemporaneous beginning of the decolonization process. The need from the perspective of the newly independent countries was to translate their new-won independence into a better life for the ordinary citizen into better food, clothing, shelter, health, education and so on. The problem of poverty was seen simply in terms of economic growth. The only way to solve the problem of poverty was to increase production. The yardstick of development was the Gross National Product (GNP). It was thought that the benefits of increased production would eventually “trickle-down” to the poor, thus elimination poverty. While the “50”s did witness increases in production as measured by GNP, an observed fact was the growth did not translate itself into improvement in the lives of the poor. The “60”s were consequently dominated by a concern with the distribution aspects of growth with the “marginal’s”. What was happening to the poor? How did the poor share in the benefits of growth? The answer to these questions were not satisfactory. By the end of the decade, and economist. Dudley Seers, expressed the concerns as follows. The questions to ask, about a country’s development is therefore. what has been happening to poverty? what has been happening to unemployment? what has been happening to inequality? 35
If all three of these have declined from a high level, than there has been development. If one or two of these central problem have been growing worse, especially if all three have, it would be strange to call the result development even if per-capita income doubled. The growth model itself was in question. “Trickle-down” was not working. It has been realized that industrialization, modernization, and urbanization could not solve all the poverty problems. As we all know that there are many advantages to industrialization, which is the suggested formular for increasing production in order to achieve economic development. But at the same time there are many disadvantages in industrial growth. I would like to mention some of the damages done by industrial growth. Since my tribes are isolated from the outside world, many of us are not aware of those damages. So the modern lifestyle is highly desirable among my tribe. The world commission on Environment and Development has focused on the relationship between development and poverty. Many present development trends leave increasing numbers of people poor and vulnerable while at the same time degrading the environment. How can such development serve next century’s world of twice as many people? (Our common future – 1987) We need to make a distinction between development and growth. Development is a process of economic and social change that may involve growth. This is continually true in biological systems. Everything living has to stop growing at some stage fortunately. Real living systems allow no openings for a gross misfit. Like individuals, communities and societies have to live in natural limits. A pond can support only so many fish with the
food, oxygen and purifying systems it provides. Weaken any of these and some fish soon float belly up. (c) The Damage Done By Industrial Growth (The failure of development) Humans have inhabited the planet for many years. (some say over 2 million years) thriving in earth’s environment. As hunters and gatherers, and later as farmers, human kind did very little damage to the air, water and land which sustained it. With the coming of the Industrial Revolution, this benign relationship has changed dramatically in the last 200 years. Industries now pollute the water ways and atmosphere: automobiles overuse irreplaceable fossil fuels and pollute: the attempt to meet the demands of intensive agriculture saturate the soil with chemicals. The garbage and industrial waste can turn lethal when corrosive acids, organic materials and discarded materials leach into ground water and farmland. Industrial growth made some people prosperous but at a great cost. I would like to mention some damages done by industrial growth which are: the encroaching desert deforestation acid rain carbon dioxide build-up climate changes soil erosion marine pollution 37
species extinction ozone depletion global warming
Let me elaborate some facts which I directly quoted from some reference materials as follows: The Years 1s 2035 In New York , palm trees line the Hudson River from 125th Street to the Midtown exit. Phoenix is in its third week of temperatures over 130 degrees C and the project to cover the city with air-conditioned domes is still unfinished. Holland is under water. Bangladesh has ceased to exist. Torrential rains and rising seas there have killed several million people and forced the remaining population into makeshift refugee camps on higher ground in Pakistan and India. In central Europe and the America Midwest, decades of drought have turned once fertile agricultural lands into parched deserts. Tens of millions of people continue to trek northward the greatest mass migration in recorded history. Canada’s population swells from 20 million to 200 million in less than 4 decades. Forest fires rage out of control over millions of acres in the Pacific Northwest, while the Mississippi River, closed to commercial traffic earlier in the century, becomes a vast earthen plain, allowing people to cross over by foot for the first time in human memory.
Fire and Ice Welcome to the Greenhouse World of the 21st century. It is not science fiction, it is based on current projections by climatologists and environmental scientists. Many now believe that civilization may have doomed itself to a warming trend that could fundamentally affect the life process from microbes to man. In scarcely more than 100 years, we have polluted the atmosphere with gases that prevent the Earth from reflecting solar heat back into space and trap it in the lower air. Some researchers predict that current industrial growth and fossil-fuel use continue unabated, it could subject the globe to a temperature increase of between 4 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit in half a century. By comparison, a rise of 9 degrees would exceed any temperature change on the planer during the last several million years, according to Irving Mintzer of the world “Resources Institute. Worse yet, global warming could lead to thermal expansion of sea water and melting of land ice in the polar regions. Climatologists now predict a rise of up to 1.5 meters (about five feet) in sea level by the year, 2050. That could devastate coastal areas where half of the world’s population resides, resulting in massive loss of property. According to the Bellagio Report (a study arising from an international workshop convened in Italy under the auspices of the World Meteorological organization, the United Nations Environmental Program and the International Council of Scientific Unions) the cost of protecting America’s east-coast shore areas alone will be between $100 billion. The Public Works Department of the Netherlands estimates that a one –meter rise in sea level will necessitate the expenditure of several billion dollars in repair and maintenance to secure its fragile costal infrastructure. (Manchester Guardian Weekly, August 21, 1988) 39 40 TEN THREATS TO THE PLANET AND HOW YOU CAN HELP 1. Global Warming
Earth will warm by up to 8 degrees over the next century from the greenhouse effect. Result: Widespread shifting of rainfall and agriculture patterns and rising sea levels. Action: By energy-efficient appliances and fuel-efficient cars. Insulate your home, and set thermostats to lower temperatures. 2. Ozone Hole
Protective ozone layer being eroded by chlorofluorocarbons and other manmade gases. Result: Increased skin cancer rates, crop destruction and loss of wildlife. Action: Don’t use polystyrene or other plastic form products, use air conditioners sparingly. 3. Air Pollution
More than 100 US cities, including Atlanta, still violate federal clean-air standards, mainly because of an increase in the number of cars. Result: Among is causing widespread crop loss forest decline and health problems. Action: Walk, ride a bike or take MARTA whenever you can Use radial tires, check tire pressure regularly.
More than 2 billion people – mainly in developing countries are without access to clean drinking water. Pesticides, toxic industrial discharges and other pollutants threaten water supplies in industrialized nations. Result: Continued spreading of disease and environment damage. Action: Use plasticities sparingly. Try organic gardening and buy organically grown foods. 5. Garbage
Result: Harvesting in a third of the nation’s productive grounds is restricted on baned. Fish, turtles and other marine life being poisoned to death. Action: Take a trash bag to the beach and spend a few minutes picking up litter. When boating don’t throw garbage overboard. 8. Topsoil Destruction
Topsoil eroding at record rated Result: Desert condition spreading around the would Action: Plant and protect trees and vegetation. 9. Toxic Wastes
Most states are facing a crisis from overburdened landfills. Result. Ground-water and soil contamination Action: Recycle newspapers, can, glass and plastic, Compost. The easiest way, but not the most ideal is to simply pile clippings, weeds and vegetable waste in a corner of your yard or garden where they will decompose. 6. Rain Forest Destruction
Accumulation of toxic chemicals-including nuclear wastes in soil and water is continuing unabated worldwide. Result: Possible human health problems, lost of wildlife and continued contamination of soil and water. Action: Wear natural fibres, permanent-press clothes and no-iron bed linens are treated with formaldehyde resin. Recycle used motor oil and lead batteries. Properly dispose of pesticides and other toxic products. 10. Endangered Species
At current rates, nearly all the world’s tropical rain forest will be scrub land within 30 years. Result Loss of millions of species, and disastrous climatic changes. Action Ask your Congress members so support “debt-for-nature” swap and other international programs to save tropical rain forests. 7. Ocean Pollution
Worldwide, thousands of plant and animal species disappeared the past 20 years. Result: Loss of species that could have provided new food sources of drugs to cure illnesses. Action: don’t buy ivory, tortoise shell, coral, skins of pelts of endangered animals. (Ref: Earth day, The Atlanta Journal Sunday April 22nd, 1990. USA) 42
Marine researchers estimate the amount of garbage thrown in oceans each year now outweighs fish harvest 3 to 1.
The Doomsday Prognosis Worldwide, the encroaching, oceans will devastate major port facilities and wreak havoc on drainage system, locks and canals. Many nations are already concerned over the possibility of saltwater intrusion into freshwater rivers and aquifers, contaminating drinking water for millions. Global warming will also fundamentally alter precipitate patterns in every region of the globe, though its ultimate effect on climate patterns is uncertain. In some regions, lakes, rivers and aquifers that have natured entire ecosystems for millions of years will shrink or dry up altogether as water evaporates from the ground. It is estimated that the Colorado River Basin will drop by as much as two-fifths. And some climatologists predict a 40-percent decline in rainfall in the agricultural belts of the United States. Meanwhile, the increase in global humidity will mean heavier rains in other areas, for the first time in human history, radically changing the topography and environment. Facing the Future Retooling the nation’s dams and irrigation system will cost between $7 billion and $23 billion. According to a report presented at the International Conference on Food and Water in 1985, total world irrigation needs may require a $200 billion outlay. As water becomes scarce in many regions of the U.S. and the world, it will destroy entire communities and population. Hundreds of ghost towns are likely to doc the Midwest farm belt. The Great lakes will be free of ice for 11 months of the year. But declining rainfall and evaporation will mean lower water levels which in turn will entail an estimated increase of coal, limestone and grain if deep freighter are no longer able to navigate the lock systems. On the other hand, new sea lanes will open if rising global temperatures melt much of the Arctic polar ice. “The fabled North west Passage would be 43
open” says Walter Roberts of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research “You could sail from Tokyo to Europe in half the time.” The global warming is also likely to wreak havoc on the delicate chemical balances that regulate the growth and maturation of plants and animals. It threatens mass extinction of tree species and the loss of millions of acres of forest, especially in the middle latitudes of the planet. The authors of the Bellagio Report predict “large-scale forest dieback” before 2100. In every region of the globe, entire ecosystems will be trapped by these rapid shifts in climate, left behind to wither and die. Yet virtually every nation in the world is currently making future development decisions based on the assumption that the climatic environment its ancestors have lived within for thousands of years will continue to exit 50 years from now. At the conclusion of the world Climate Program in 1985, scientists from 25 industrialized and developing nations warned that “many important economic and social decisions are being made today on long term projects.. such as irrigation and hydropower, drought relief, agriculture land use; structural designs and coastal engineers projects, and energy planning.. all based on the assumption that past climatic data…are a reliable guide to the future. This is no longer a good assumption.” For example, British petroleum has invested $ 11 billion in Alaska. The roads, housing and drilling equipment along the Trans Alaska Pipeline is built on permafrost. Now a BP research consultant has warned that climate conditions in the area may change drastically within 30 years, potentially affecting the company’s investment. Multinationals and nation states around the world may have to retool trillions dollars’ worth of infrastructure to adapt to the rapidly changing climatic conditions. Bridges, dams, roads, sewer systems, canals machinery 44
of all kids and building are all designed for temperature ranges and stress tolerance that will no longer be applicable in 50 to 100 years. Jesse Amusable of the National Academy of Engineers, expresses the feeling of deep anxiety emerging within the development community when he asks, “What do you do when the past is no longer a guide to the future?” Deforestation and Development Page (204) Good Water ……. Good Life Life and water are inseparable. Water is the one substance that is common to every culture on the planet. The quality of life in every watershed, community and home rests ultimately with the quality of the water. Only one hundred years ago, North America most abundant natural resource was clean water. Fifty years ago most of the continent’s rivers, lakes, aquifers costal waters were still filled with water of high quality. Today these water resources are a soup of chemicals and nutrients. Unwanted products pour from industries, cities agribusinesses and home. They leak from waste ponds landfills and injection wells. And they rain from smokestacks and incinerators. Clean water for fishing and swimming is a vanishing luxury, available only to those who can afford to find it. Clean water for drinking is an industrial product, bought and sold by the gallon. (Ref: As If We Plan To Stay--- Bulletin, New Brunswick, Canada.) Land, air, water, wildlife, forest, even the ocean and the atmosphere are in trouble because we have been living beyond our ecological means. We are now facing a continuing series of unnatural disasters resulting from industrial –commercial activities on large scale; acid rain, and water 45
pollution, soil degradation, climate change, radioactive contamination, etc..Because these problems are relatively new, we can only speculate on their long-term effects, and because they are of human origin, any remedies too must come through human efforts. Alienation And Indifference The current pattern of technological growth is such that it destroys Community self-reliance and promotes insensitivity to environmental degradation. Probably the biggest change brought about by the industrial revolution is that the rich minority (both in the developed and developing countries) which uses the bulk of the world’s resources no longer depends on the immediate environment to meet its basic needs. Beef and fruits come to the development world from Latin America, peanuts from West Africa, coffee from East Africa, tea from India, shrimp from Asia and timber from all over the world. This has meant the appropriation of private lands and commons from the poor to meet the consumption of the rich. It has also become psychologically impossible for distant consumers to appreciate and become concerned about what their purchasing power is doing to these foreign lands. As rich consumers are no longer dependent on the immediate environment to meet their needs, they care less about what happens to it. Thus we have a world economic system in which the individual has psychologically lost interest in the fate of his/her environment, immediate or distant. Impact of the Poor and the Rich There are two major cases in which social groups may have outstripped the carrying capacity of the biosphere. 40 percent of the world’s a population classified as the very poor, subsist only on 10 percent of the world’s resources. While their population is growing, their share of world resources is diminishing, leading to an extraordinary intensive use of the resources available to them. They may, in fact, be outstripping the carrying capacity 46
of the environment on which they subsist. Environment and population literature is full of concern about the destructive impact of the poor on the environment. Unfortunately, this is more like blaming the victim. Part of the reason for this extraordinary intensive use of resources is that the poor are being dispossessed from their traditional resources and means of sustenance. The World’s top 30 percent and especially the very rich amongst them, appears to constitute another group outstripping the carry capacity of the world’s environment. Little attention is paid to the destructive impact of the rich. 30 percent of the world’s population accounts for 70 percent of the world’s annual consumption of resources. This high per-capita consumption arises of and extraordinarily extensive use of the world’s resources, which already appears to have overburdened carrying capacity. These socio-economic groups are also responsible for the world’s resources internationally and nationally. Example: Japanese companies destroy on forest in Indonesia then move on to another forest in Papua New Guinea, just as an Indian paper mill moves on from forest resources in Karnataka, once they are destroyed, to those in distant northeast India. Debate Over Pesticide Use How Much is Enough? UPI’s Jenell Wallace, Kansas City, Mission. The use of chemicals to kill insects, weeds, and other pests affecting US crops dates to the years just after World War II, when technology developed for chemical warfare was transferred to agriculture. In the years since-during just one generation-commercial pesticide use increased dramatically creating a $ 4 billion industry by 1990. 47
As the use of pesticides grew, US farmers become the envy of producers around the world and hungry nations increasingly looked to the United States food aid and guidance in increasing their agricultural production. During this boom period for US agriculture, there was little recognition that pesticides could be harmful until Rachel Carson’s disturbing “Silent Spring” was published in 1962. Nearly 30 years later, the national debate on pesticides continues, intensified by last year’s Alar scare and a ban on Chilean fruit resulting from fears about poisoned grapes. In the centre of the debate over pesticide use are farmers like Shorty Carlile, who devotes his 2,000 acre (800-ha) farm near Pleasant Hill, Missouri, to corn and soybean production, said the public often forgets that farmers share consumers health concerns. “We don’t even want to use anything out there that’s going to be harmful to us.” He said. “We use it and our children use it. Our hired hand uses it. If it’s something that’s going to be harmful to use, we don’t want it.” David Pimental, an entomologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, estimates annual returns from pesticide use at $ 16 billion or $4 to every $1 invested. “While the figures indicate the benefits of pesticide use outweigh the costs, that does not include the environmental and social costs of using pesticides,” he said.
Social Costs The annual cost to society from pesticide use is about 21,000 cases of poisoning 6,000 cases of cancer, and 35 deaths, based on figures from the Environmental Protection Agency and US poison control centres, Pimentel said. A national conference on “Advances in Pesticide Medicine” last August at the University of California-Davis estimated the number of pesticide poisoning cases much higher, at 73,000 and deaths at an average of 26 a year. As concerns about health and the environment mount, farmers, environmentalist, and the agricultural chemicals industry increasingly agree that pesticide use must be reduce. But they face another difficult question : How much can pesticide use be reduced to maintain US agricultural production levels? Recent studies on the effects of lowering pesticide use have stirred controversy because of their conciseness about production and farmers profit levels. A September 1989 report on sustainable agriculture by the National Research Council concluded that well-managed alternative farming systems use less pesticide and other farm chemicals. Sustainable agriculture refers to a variety of practices, the report said, including crop rotations and the use of natural predators to control pests. “Science Nightmare” But a column in the December 1980 issue of Farm Journal magazine criticized the report, saying the case studies cited were “a science nightmare.” 49
The column said the NRC report omitted results of a long term Nebraska study that showed net returns to farmers were 70 percent higher from a conventional farming method that included pesticide application. The alternative that brought a lower return rotated corn, soybean and oat crops, eliminated chemicals, and substituted manure for chemical fertilizer. “Fanatical notions that rotations, manure, livestock and small farms will match current production and economic results don’t fit the facts,” wrote Farm Journal staff economic John Merter. “The 17 scientists who approved this book took a detour. Our car was putting out too much smoke, so they got us a horse” Consequences The National Agricultural Chemicals. “They don’t just put chemicals on for the sake of putting them on. They put them on because they have a problem. John Ikerd, coordinator of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, said the use of pesticides and other farm chemicals has been more productive for famers through the years. It’s been more profitable, and I think the farms and the chemical supply firms were doing things that made sense based on the best information we had to the time, Ikerd said. “In general, the farmers and the agribusiness firms are now responding to the concerns that are being raised about the environment.” Crop Protecting Products David Houghton, director of new technology for the agricultural subsidiary of Monsanto Co in St Louis, said crop protection products under development will be more environmentally friendly. 50
At Monsanto, about 50 percent of the company’s development costs, and undisclosed amount, is spent to determine a product’s safety to the environment, users, and consumers, he said. Monsanto considers three things in developing a new crop chemical. Houghton said: Its efficacy, how it effects the environment and its toxicology. “That is a significant change, not so much was we did not do it in the past, and do now, but rather, we are doing more in terms of the environmental and toxicology profile,” he said. He said such tests are conducted early in the development of a product to help decide “whether it’s proper to go ahead with that product.” Certain Criteria Houghton said farm chemicals being development at Monsanto must meet certain criteria. A chemical must degrade within a specified period and must not leach, but remain at or near the soil surface and degrade into its component parts. Another criteria is “higher unit activity,” meaning that a small amount of the chemical is needed to do its job. “Basically, what we’re saying is that chemical innovations will enable farmers to use these new products at a fraction of announce per acre instead of a pound per acre.” Houghton said New crop chemical formulation also will be target-specific, meaning they will attack specific insects or diseases without harming beneficial insects or organisms. Chemical formulations of the future also will leave no organic solvent on the ground and may be dry compounds packaged so that minimal mixing is required before the products are applied, he said. 51
Products involved in research trials today will reach the marketplace in the year 2000. Houghton said. (Ref. The Nation, Thursday, June 28,1990) The Global Village If all the people of the world lived in a global village of 100 persons, 15 would live affluently, 10 would live comfortably, and 15 would have at least their basic human needs met. The remaining 60 would struggle for existence it self. The very poor and the middle poor find themselves selling their own scarce resources to their affluent neighbours in exchange for basic necessities. The village is facing two major crises the first an ecological one. Village technology is causing large scale environmental destruction soils depleted, creeks polluted, water unfit to drink, air unfit to breathe, and nonrenewable resources being depleted at a runaway rate. The villagers naturally want to reverse this by stopping or even reversing technological development. However , for the poor majority this means merely continued subsistence or starvation, even exacerbating the present hunger crisis –the second major crisis. The poorest 60 do not have enough to eat. Many suffer form malnutrition, with up to one-third of their children suffering physical and mental retardation. The poorest 60 are lucky to eat a serving of beans and rice a day, often there is only rice and water. Even though it lakes large amounts of grain to produce meat, the affluent 15 continue eating increasing quantities of meat. The poorest 60 sell some of their cattle and other produce to their affluent neighbors to purchase rice and beans. Although the village hunger problem is in part due to the even more rapid population growth of their poorest 60,to a greater extent it is due
to the even more rapid growth in the affluent lifestyle of their richer neighbors. Of course the educated affluent 15 recognize the ecological crisis, and set up procedures to reverse its wastage. Also out of their Christian faith and humanitarian principles they set up aid services for their needy neighbors. Yet the “necessities” of life make it difficult for them to allocate even fifty our of every $ 100 to development aid. They continue spending half that amount on dog and cat food, double that amount on cosmetics and toiletries, four times that amount on TV;s, videos and stereos, and on tobacco products, seven times that amount on arms to protect themselves from their neighbors. To an outside observer such a situation may seem strange, but that is life in the Global Village. Lax Control of Toxin a Health ‘Gamble’ Million of people are exposed daily to chemicals that damage the nervous system, yet government is doing little to protect the public, a congressional report charges. The health threat is “every bit as large and as tragic as cancer, yet almost noting is being done about is “ says Sen. Albert Gore Jr. D-Tenn Neurotoxin chemicals include pesticides pollutants cosmetic ingredients food additives and illicit and prescription drugs. Exposure can cause symptoms ranging from impaired movement to memory loss, convulsions and death. The report, prepared by the office of Technology Assessment, suggests exposures play a role in Alozheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehring’s disease. Infants and the elderly face the highest risk, says Gore, who commissioned the report. Among the finding.
17 of the 25 most prevalent industrial pollutants have neurotoxin potential and many of the 600 pesticides registered with the EPA are neurotoxin. Few of the 65,000 toxic chemicals listed by the EPA are tested for neurotoxin effects, yet the agency’s request for $ 1.5 million to do more testing was denied by the office of management and Budget. Says Mark Schaefer, OTA project director “Each time we introduce a new chemical that hasn’t been adequately tested we spin the roulette wheel and gamble with the public heath”
Gore called for increased funding for testing and will introduce legislation this week to stop the export of toxic chemicals used on foods overseas and imported back to the USA. (d) Development is Under Attack (Development Ethics)
Nowadays development is increasingly denounced as a very bad thing. The current issues lead us to question our definition of “development” The note French agronomist Rene Dumont sees the performance of the 40 years as a dangerous epidemic of misdevelopment. In America on the other hand has witnessed the creation of great wealth, ranging from sophisticated nuclear and electronic industries to vast skyscraper cities. But this growth, Dumont laments, has been won at the price of massive pollution, urban congestion, and a monumental waste of resources. Moreover, the majority of the continent’s population has not benefited. For Dumont, misdevelopments is the mismanagement of resources in both the socialist and capitalist worlds, it is the main cause of world hunger and it afflicts “developed” countries as severely as it does Third world nations. Other development writers strike the same theme, viz, that growth is often irresponsible, inequitable, destructive, and worsens the lot of poor people. The late Swiss anthropologist Roy Preiswerk and his colleagues judge that 54
change processes have led to misdevelopment, that is, a faulty orientation of development, in rich and poor countries alike. In an earlier work, this author termed much of what was called progress antidevelopment because it is the antithesis of authentic development, defined as qualitative improvement in any society’s provision of life-sustaining goods, esteem, and freedom to all its citizens. Authors like the African Albert Tevoedjre and the Haitian Georges Angles reject the dehumanizing economic development which often prevails by recalling that the greatest wealth any nation possesses is its poor people themselves. Their claim is that the poor, acting in concert, constitute a greatest resource for developmental change, than natural treasures, financial wealth, or technical assets. The most absolute attack on distorted development, however, comes from the pen of those who totally repudiate development both as a concept and as a project. Prominent among these is the French economist Serge Latouche, who urges use to discard development because it is a tool used by advance western countries to destroy the cultures and the autonomy of nations throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Similarly the Montreal-based Monchanin Intercultural Centre, through its quarterly review Interculture, tirelessly promotes the thesis that development must be rejected as the instrument which destroys native cultures, their political survival movement headquartered at Harvard University. The Cultural survival movement headquartered at Harvard University, has likewise struggled, since its creation in 1972, to prevent “violence done to indigenous peoples is largely based on prejudices and discrimination that must be exposed and combated. These prejudices are backed up by widely held misconceptions, which presume that traditional societies are inherently obstacles to development or that the recognition of their rights would subvert the nation state. Our research shows that this is untrue.” Even those who seek to preserve the language and ideals of development, while purging it of its failings, nonetheless insist that Third World nations 55
should pursue and alternative to growth focused change. They advocate instead meeting the basic needs of all, creating jobs in non-modern sectors, generating decentralized foci of autonomy, and nurturing cultural diversity. In the real policy-making world of national governments and international financing agencies, however, development is still operationally defined as maximum economic growth and a concerted drive toward industrialization and mass consumption. The national success stories praised worldwide are South Korea and Taiwan, Twin paragons of high-capital and hightechnology economic growth, allied to success in competitive international trading arenas. Development reports remain discreetly silent, however, about the costs in political repression attendant upon these economic successes. The World bank, the Organization for Economic |Cooperation and Development, the International Monetary Fund, and most national planning agencies continue to promote strategies which treat maximum aggregate growth as synonymous with genuine development. What makes matters still worse is that many national planning ministries not only follow the old model of development, but simply “place on hold” or ignore those sound elements of policy contained in that old model. These elements called for investments in infrastructure, job-creation, and market expansion. National strategists are guided by a single imperative, to avoid drawing of going under in a sea of debt, recession, or inflation. Under the banner of adjustment, policy recommendation ranging from tightened credit to budget discipline, wage freezes, and export expansion are urged upon one developing nation after another. The development to a race to generate revenues in order to pay off their paralyzing debts. Some observers, it is true, are concerned with the impact of macroeconomic policy on the lives of poor people and Champion adjustment with a human face. But in most cases even the “developmental” objectives of the earlier growth model (e.g improved standards of living, job creation, better social services, and a diversified basket of available consumer goods) are forgotten or relegated to back burners( Ref.Tasks & method in development ethics. DENUS 56 GOULET Paper Feb/1988)
Environmental Movements. -
accurate sources. make sure your car is in proper working order to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. lobby your government to ban dumping toxic wastes in oceans; lakes and rivers lobby your government to encourage programs that reduce third world debt, in exchange for the protection of tropical rainforests and other resources or simply to reduce pressures in their social and natural environments; lobby your government to increase implementation of, or funding for research on alternative energy sources and waste treatment, and on the safe use of plants and animals for medicinal, agricultural and other uses; join or support a local group which deals with food, hunger or environmental issues here or abroad or both. do whatever you can within your own environment(i.e. don’t waste electricity, don’t litter, recycle paper, bottles, etc and do your share to stop the wasting of the earth’s resources) They said, We must change our economic and social behavior in ways that forestalls further damage of the environment.
As I have outlined in the previous chapters, the industrial growth has done environmental damages very badly. Thus many people around the world are taking part to make some improvement of the environment, by conducting consultations, conferences by educating people, forming commissions and so on. Here is an outline some of the environment movements. Development and Environmental Workshop, Canada. During my stay in Canada, I had the chance to participate in the Development and Environment Workshop, conducted by Ann Comozi, (Ecology). She was a very good facilitator. It was a great privilege for me to learn the current environmental issues from her. There were many impressions that remained in my mind about the workshop. Whenever she talked about the environment damages, she was trembling with emotion. I could read from her appearance how important the ecological problem was. She was trying hard to educate her people to change their lifestyle. Here are a few concrete examples of how the Ecologist are trying to educate their people; joint a carpool, use the public transit system, ride a bike or walk. use a recyclable material, choose natural foods over refined, processed and packaged foods. plant trees and support reforestation projects use spray cans and styrofoam products, make sure they do not contain any chlorofluorocarbons. learn about food and nutrition from objective and technically 57
My Personal Reflections On Their Movement Coming from a tribal back ground, it was a very new experience for me. Especially when I heard about changes in their lifestyle by walking, taking a bike or public transportation. I was very surprised. Because many of my people are trying hard to catch up with their lifestyle. It has been many people’s desirable lifestyle. But now I learn that they have been trying to change their lifestyle by reducing their energy consumption and others. I told some of my western friends like this, “ If I tell your story to my people, they may laugh at me. It may be very difficult for them to believe me about your changes of lifestyle. It may not be easy to understand the way you have been trying to change your lifestyle. Because many of my people though that it was a more desirable lifestyle… It is really a confused society” Brundtland Report (Our Common future) Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway, was asked to chair the UN. World Commission of Environment and Development in December of 1983 on the basis of her many years of national and international experience as Environment Minister of Norway. The report was issued in the spring of 1987, and it is also commonly known as the Brundtland Report, called this after her name. This report is available in paperback from under the title of our Common Future. The Mandate The Mandate of the commission, as called for by the UN General Assembly, was as follows.
to propose long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development by the year 2000 and beyond; to recommend ways concern for the environment may be trans-lated in to greater co-operation among developing countries at different stages of economic and social development and lead to the achievement of common and mutually supportive objectives that take account of the interrelationships among people, resources, environment, and development. to consider ways and means by which the international community can deal more effectively with environmental concerns, and to help define shared perceptions of long-term environmental issue and the appropriate efforts needed to deal successfully with the problems of protecting and enhancing the environment, a long-term agenda for action during the coming decades, and aspirations goes for the world community.
One of the major themes that emerges from the report is the stress on the need for co-operation and shared knowledge. There is a need to acknowledge that “the Experts” are in fact not in control-that they are in situations which isolate them and contribute to their ineffectiveness, and to the destruction of the global environment. The Commission was made up of an interdisciplinary team of people from both developed and developing countries who functioned by pooling their knowledge and by asking the world in a series of international hearings. The information those hearings and three commission’s questions and deliberations were then to formulate the report. Group ranging from international development agencies to ad hoc grass roots community associations have formed to examine and hopefully to take action on the Commission’s recommendations.
Interspersed into the report are hundreds of facts and figures relation to issues and problems. These include the fact that since 1970 poverty has increased by 14 present per annum in the world (gouged by how many people receive a subsistence amount of calories per day), population is projected to reach 7.2 billion by the year 2015, industrial productivity in the century has resulted in more land being cleared than in all previous history of humankind; deserts are increasing by 6 million hectares per annum, pesticides now kill 10,000 people per year in developing countries: 50 percent of the trees in Europe show visible signs on damages due to acid rain: $900 billion dollars per year in being spent on military maintenance and expansion. The Commission confirmed the fact that when our environment is destroyed, so is our ability to support ourselves. It instructs today governments worldwide to act immediately to change those economic structure which are destroying the earth. This is a tremendous responsibility since it requires major restructuring in decision-making and development priorities. Historically, economic decisions made by governments have focused on streamlining the system which allows industry to operate and make a profit. In order to meet the Brundtland imperative, priorities have to focus first on the environmental sustainability of economic development. Brundtland Report has become a basic reference for new kind of think about the integration or environmental and economic sustainability. The Brundtland Commission concludes that affluent societies must reduce consumption of both energy and material resources. The development we need is in the area of how to live decently on less, how to share the Earth’s resources and how to become politically and socially mature in a world of growing interdependence.
The World Commission on Environment and Development warned that the lack of strong action to redress inequalities in the distribution of the world’s resources and a persistent abuse of the environment would have dire consequences for the survival of the planed and mankind. For example, production of cereal grains which provide half the world’s cereal food has dropped by 14 percent since 1984. At the same time to one fifth of the world’s populations now poor, hungry or malnourished. ( Ref. Our Common Future) Earth Day “Earth Day” is the largest environmental event in history. Last year in 1990 up to 200 million people were participating in “Earth Day” celebration. It succeed in bringing about unprecedented public awareness about environment issues and has generated real momentum for environment change in the coming decade. One of the purposes of Earth Day was to enlist a new generation of activists and strengthen existing organizations working on these issues. Many people from more than 125 countries participate in tree planting, peaceful rallies, speeches, festivals, seminars and spring teach-ins. Special news paper was published. I would like to quote some facts from “Earth Day 1990” as follows. Here is a concrete example of their activities for improving the environments. What To Do At Work. Recycle your own stationary and computer by using the backs for lists and scratch paper. Ask your office manager to buy products made from recycled paper.
Set up employee car pools to help alleviate acid rain, global warming. Don’t throw out paper clips rubber bands. Reuse them. Recycle manila envelops, book mailers and boxes. Replace disposable pens with reusable, permanent ones.
If 25 percent of American homes used 10 fewer plastic bags a month, we’d save more than 2.5 billion bags a year. 25 billion plastic-foam cups are thrown away each year in the United States, 500 years from now, this morning’s plastic foam coffee cup will still be sitting on the earth’s surface. Americans discard enough aluminium cans every three months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet. Americans throw out 2.5 million bottles every hour. Americans drivers generated 247 millions scrap tires in 1988.
A World of Waste Garbage A typical U.S trash can contains: Paper Food Magazines, paper Glass Plastics Metals Wood, fabric Diapers Other 18. 6 Yard waste: 17.1 percent 17 11.1 7.9 7.3 5.3 4.1 3.6 8 Percent percent percent percent percent percent percent percent -
Junk Mail The average American spends eight months of his life opening junk mail. If you saved all the unwanted paper you receive in the mail this year, you’s have the equivalent of 1 ½ trees.
Energy If Americans lowered thermostats 6 degrees, we’d save 370,000 barrels of oil a day. If we raise air-conditioning temperatures 6 degrees, we’d save 190,000 barrels a day. Compact fluorescent light bulbs require 75 percent less energy than incandescent. Air conditioning in the South East can account for more than 40 percent of a home’s energy costs.
In the U.S we generate pounds of garbage per person per day. Our volume of garbage has grown by 80 percent since 1960 and could double in 15 years. -
Animals By the year 2000,20 percent of all Earth’s species may be lost. One million sea birds die each year from eating or being strangled by plastics.
Up to 60 percent of pesticides used on fruits and vegetables are for cosmetic purposes.
Clean Air ( US can’t dawdle for 20 more years By Wyche Fowler Jr. Special to the Atlanta Constitution) Sen Flower is Georgia’s junior U.S senator. The Atlanta is a Member of the senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry, the Committee on the Budget and the Committee on Appropriations. WASHINGTON- on 1970 Congress responded to our nation’s intolerable air-pollution problems by passing the Clean Air Act. Twenty years later, many of the air quality standards set by this legislation still have not been met, and efforts to strengthen their enforcement have been stymied. As a result, most Americans breathe air that does not comply with the basic health standards established by national policy two decades ago. The Clean Air Act of 1970 did place air pollution problems firmly on the national agenda. Now it is time to strengthen that law and improve compliance. There is little disagreement about that the House, the Senate and the Bush administration have all proposed new, stricter requirements for the Clean Air Act. The hard part is deciding how far to go in cleaning up the air, and who will bear the burden of the cost. There is no doubt that reducing air pollution will be expensive. Estimates of what it will take to do the job range from $20 billion to $40 billion. These are fearsome figures. However, our investment in clean air must be balanced against the cost of doing nothing. There are very practical and economic reasons for cleaning up our air. 66
Water Low-flow shower heads can save up to 40 gallons of water for every 10 minute shower. Take a 5 minute shower instead of a bath and you’ll save 21 to 26 gallons. Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving, and you’ll save 4 to 10 gallons per day. Each washing machine load uses 30 to 50 gallons of water. Between 40 percent and 80 percent of residential water in many Sunbelt states is used for watering lawns.
Food If Americans reduced their meat intake by 10 percent, the grain and soybeans saved each year could adequately feed 60 million people the same number who starve to death worldwide each year.
Pesticides Americans apply up to 10 pounds an acre of pesticides to their gardens and lawns. In the United States, 50,000 cases of pesticide poisoning are recorded each year. 65
Five years ago the health care costs incurred as a result of air pollution were estimated at $40 billion annually. Public health experts now estimate that cost approaches $110 billion. Air pollution causes a minimum of 50,000 early deaths every year, mainly form pulmonary disease and break down of the immune system. More than 2700 cancer cases per year are directly related to toxic air emissions. These statistics barely begin to describe the real human costs of all this suffering for these individuals and their families. Air pollution also causes very costly damage to property and to our natural resources. Sulphur dioxide causes the acid rain that is killing the living things in rivers, takes and streams in many parts of the world. In Georgia, researchers tell us our beautiful dogwood trees have been weakened by acid rain. They also tell us that growth rate of our yellow pine trees has decreased by up to 50 percent in the last three decades. We are also finding that urban smog is affecting rural areas where some crop yields for, peanut, soybean and cotton farmers have decreased by up to 20 percent. Low level ozone, better known as smog, is responsible for $3 billion a year in crop damage. Also implicated in global warming and potentially catastrophic global climate change are carbon emissions. These fossil fuel emissions have increased by 25 percent since the Industrial Revolution and they are expected to double in the next four decades. As we seek to reduce harmful emissions, it is crucial that we do not overlook the promise of emerging renewable energy technologies. Solar, photovoltaic, wind, biomass, conservation – these and other renewable energy sources can power our economy without producing air pollution or radioactive waste. Renewable and energy-efficiency 67
technologies also offer the important advantages of providing energy sources that, unlike fossil fuels, cannot be exhausted over time. Last year Congress passed and the president signed into law legislation that authorized to restore American research and development efforts in these promising technologies. The rapidly improving cost effectiveness of renewable energy sources gives us the opportunity to look beyond mitigation of today’ pollution problems, to wards the solutions of the future. Finding fundamental solutions to air pollution, may cause some everyday inconvenience. It will require foresight, and restructuring in our marketplace. It will undoubtedly offend powerful entrenched interests. But we must avoid any single, narrow focus. We must look at the problem of air pollution in its totality, balancing competing environmental and economic interests. Above all, we must achieve real results as the Clean Air Act is considered. This is the best chance we will have in Congress to take action on a problem affecting every single American. What our country cannot afford are token efforts that have more public relations values than substance. We are going to have to make the difficult choices of leadership and live by them. We cannot wait another 20 years to achieve public health standards set in 1970. (The Atlanta Journal and constitution, Thurs, February 22, 1990) The Role of Forest in the Global Cycling of Carbon Forests play a crucial role in the global cycling of carbon. The earth’s vegetation and soil hold some 2000 billion tons of carbon, roughly triple the amount stored in the atmosphere. When trees are cleared or harvested the carbon they contain as well as some of the carbon in the underlying soil is oxidized and released to the atmospheric store of carbon dioxide (CO). This 68
release occurs rapidly if the trees are burned but slowly if they decay naturally. Canada’s Foreign Aid Flouts UN Environment Plan Canadian foreign aid officials couldn’t join the bandwagon fast enough, promising to adopt the commission’s recommendations and usher in a “new era…of greater concern for our environment.” Yet one year later, despite the fanfare, little has changed. Our government funded aid agencies continue with business as usual, destroying the Third World’s environment and making a mockery of our government’s pledge to live up to Brundtland’s standards. At its heart, the Brundtland’s prescription for preserving the global environment is democratic reform. Burndtland turned the spotlight on the public’s right “to be consulted and to participate in decision-making and on activities likely to have significant effect” (on them), and insisted on public scrutiny for environmentally risky projects, going so far as to recommend referendums to protect the public against government’s penchant for grandiose and destructive mega-projects. But while the federal minister in charge of foreign aid, Monique Landry, was publicly announcing that her Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) would be the first in the government to the Brundtland line, that same agency was privately arranging a blanket agreement with the Department of Environment to exempt itself from all public debates, debates, in Canada and the Third World. The exemption, if allowed to stand, would rule out democratic review of the kinds of projects that Brundtland feared most. In China, CIDA is financing a study to determine whether the proposed, three Georges hydroelectric dam on the Yangtze River should be built. It 69
would be the largest dam in the world. The dam would flood up to 10 cities and over 100,000 acres of precious farmland, and would force between 300,000 and 1 million people off their land Yet the study to justify it, financed with Canadian tax dollars, is being kept secret. Critics suspect that the proposal for the dam could not survive public scrutiny. These suspicions are strengthened party are mounting a political and propaganda campaign to condition the Chinese people into accepting the dam. In Thailand, CIDA and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. Recently provided technology to sterilized and preserve food by exposing it to high dosed of radiation. Children eating irradiated food have developed chromosomal abnormalities, according to one of the few studies conducted on humans, while animal studies have found kidney disease. Abnormal blood cells, testicular damage, reduced fertility, and premature death. Nevertheless, CIDA gave the project a clean bill of health, without any public discussion, after the scantiest of internal reviews. The Netherlands based International Organization of Consumer’s Union called CIDA’s review “hopelessly inadequate very worrisome” and deplored CIDA’s experimentation with a nation’s food supplies without the knowledge and consent of its people. In Ethiopia, CIDA recently gave $1.7 million to one of the world’s largest experiments in social and environmental engineering Ethiopia’s scheme to resettle 1.5 million of its highland citizens to sweltering lowlands. The project, which Ethiopia tries to justify on environmental grounds, is already having so far and the 700,000 still to come, most of Ethiopia’s remaining forests are being cleared, robbing that country of scarce fuel and fodder and of a barrier to the encroaching desert. Canadian aid officials 70
claim that a World Bank document proves that resettlement is environmentally necessary and prudent, but neither the Canadian government nor the World Bank will allow that document to be examined by the public. Brundtland made a host of other recommendations, but the response form CIDA and the Canadian government is in almost every case the same. Brundtland recommended that management of resources be turned over to local communities. Instead, the Canadian government, through agencies like the World Bank, continues to fund projects like the Nartmada dams in India a huge complex of 30 large and 3,000 smaller dams that will provide power and water for urban centres and industrial complexes while flooding the homes of 1 million people who have had no say in the decision. Brundtland recommended that the traditional rights of indigenous people to land and the other resources that sustain their way of life be respected. Yet federal foreign aid continues to fund the Grand cassias mining operation in Brazil, which is destroying 58,000 square miles of tropical rainforest that is the lifeblood of 10,000 Amazonian Indians. Other Brundtland recommendations, dealing with the public’s right to information about their environment and their right to legal remedies and redress when their environment is being seriously affected, have similarly received short shrift. Not only does Canadian aid fail to meet the standards set by the Brundtland Commission, it fails miserably to reach even today’s domestic standards of due process. “Moving 300,000 people in China is a very small,” says Jean Gegnon, the vice-president of a Canadian consortium of engineering firms. This consortium which is conducting CIDA’s study for the Three Gorges
hydroelectric dam, knows that a Canadian community of even 300 people could never be uprooted without full public hearings, a public debate, claims for compensation, legal proceedings if due process wasn’t being observed, and probably, a public and political controversy. But the respect for basic human rights that our government officials observe at home is thrown aside when it comes to the Third World Instead we see a high-handed attitude that, according to Steven Shrybman, counsel for the Canadian Environmental Law Association, makes us guilty of a “defector double standard that is inconsistent with Canada’s stated position on international human right. Brundtland herself warned against this double standard and recommended “naming names” of wrongdoers to make governments and international aid agencies accountable for their actions judging from their record in the year since her commission published its report, CIDA, Atomic Energy of Canada and the Canadian government deserve to be among those at the top of the list (The Gazette, Montreal, Monday, June 20m 1988) Making Hard Choices Although the greenhouse global warning trend cannot be effectively reversed in the short run, it can be slowed down enough to allow us several more decades of lead time to adjust to the epochal change in the climate of the planet. There is no quick technological fix the greenhouse phenomenon, The only solution is to eliminate the sources of the problem. At both the Bellagic Conference and the Changing Atmosphere conference held just last month in Toronto, scientists form around the world agreed that the first order of business is a radical reduction in the burning of fossil fuels-coal, oil and to a lesser extent, natural gas-that produce carbon-dioxide emissions.
The goal is a 50-percent or greater reduction in fossil-fuel use by the year 2015. To reach that goal, governments must begin immediately to devise programs to increase end-use efficiency and replace fossil fuels with alternative energy sources, including solar radiation, hydro-power, geothermal and wind power. That initiative should begin with the Unite States and the Soviet Union, which together account for nearly 41 percent of the fossil fuel burning CO2 emissions on the entire planet. In addition, the Montreal protocol on CFC emissions signed by 34 nations in 1987 must be implemented and chlorofluocarbons eliminated as swiftly as possible. Elimination of CFC could result in 15 to 25 percent decrease in the global warming trend. Slashing fossil fuel use by half in less than three decades will require an enormous shift in economic, military and political priorities a shift so extraordinary in scope that it would require a worldwide mobilization effort on a scale over before experienced. The task becomes even more difficult in light of the fact that many economists are currently forecasting a doubling of carbon-dioxide emissions in coming decades to keep pace with economic development projections. Unfortunately, during the past eight years the Department of Energy has systematically eliminated 75 percent of the research and development programs in renewable-energy technologies at the very times that such efforts have become vital in addressing what is fast becoming the greatest environmental crisis in world history. In addition, improvements in energy efficiency can be extremely valuable. For example, consider the simple replacement of a 75-watt incandescent bulb by a single 18-watt fluorescent bulb. |According to Bill Keping and Gregery Kats of the Rocky Mountain Institute, the fluorescent bulb produces just as much light over its lifetime but “prevents the burning of 400 pounds of coal, prevents the release of 12 pounds of sulphur dioxide
into the atmosphere (which produces acid rain) and it saves the American economy $ 15.” Similarly by setting federal standards on automobile fuel efficiency at 40 miles gallon, it would be possible to greatly reduce emissions without suffering adverse economic effects. Yet the Department of Transportation recently cut back the vehicle fuel standards from 27.5 mpg to 26. The 1.5-mpg rollback, according to Amory lovins, research director of the Rocky Mountain Institute, wasted more oil than there is in the areas currently off-limits in Alaska and off the coast of Califonia. A study commissioned by the Department of Energy eight years ago concluded that the implementation of efficiency programs could reduce the energy used to heat and cool buildings by 50 percent and reduce energy requirements for industrial processes by 25 percent while doubling vehicle fuel efficiency. And as an article in scientific American recently noted, technology is now available to construct energy-efficient buildings that would save enough in 50 years to avoid building 85 power plants and the equivalent of two Alaskan Pipelines. “While a nationwide energy efficiency program would cost approximately $50 billion, it would save $110 billion dollars per year in energy expenses- a net reduction of $ 60 billion each year. Yet as Rep Claudine Schneider (R-1) pointed out at recent hearings on the greenhouse effect, “less than 2 percent of the upwards to $50 billion per year in federal energy subsidies goes to promote greater reliance on energy efficiency.” Nitrous oxide emission from chemical fertilizers used in green-revolution agriculture around the world is another major cause of greenhouse warming. New research programs to promote regenerative, sustainable agricultural alternatives to chemical fertilizers need to be funded. Ironically, the Department of Agriculture eliminated a small pilot program nearly eight years ago and only reluctantly initiated a new program after Congress passed legislation mandating the agency to do so.
The only effective means of absorbing carbon-dioxide is through reforestation. At the present time, however, the worldwide rate of 73deforestation is 10 times the rate of reforestation According to the world Resources Institute, the deforestation rate is approximately 27 million acres a year. Much of it is taking place in Brazil, Indonesia and Zaire, which contain nearly half of the forests in the tropics. International agreements need to be negotiated that would provide subsidies or direct payments to poor countries to encourage reforestation. The developed nations also need to pursue a vigorous forestation program within their own borders to help push the global warming trend. But perhaps no need is so urgent as public awareness. In the concluding statement issued at the Changing Atmosphere Conference held in Toronto last month, government leaders and scientists from 48 countries warned the world of the dangers that lie just ahead with the continued global warming brought on by the greenhouse effect. “Humanity is conducting an uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.” Yet three months ago, in a Roper poll which asked subjects to rand major environmental problems in order of importance, the greenhouse effect placed 12th out 14 concerns, barely edging out x-rays and microwave ovens. ( Ref. 1986 The Washington Post) III. THE NON-TRIBAL ATTITUDE ROWARDS THE TRIBAL Who are Tribal Peoples? There are many labels used to describe tribal peoples, native peoples, indigenous people, aboriginal people, Exactly who is includes? According to the New Internationalist, there is no universally accepted definition, but there are general characteristics shared by all native people. 75
they are descendants of original inhabitants of land colonized by foreign invaders. they consider themselves distinct peoples with their own ancestral territories social values and cultural traditions. they define themselves as indigenous and have the right to decide who is or not part of their culture.
Tribal and Tropical Forest The non-tribal admit that the tribal people are more knowledgeable in terms of tropical forest ecosystem. They said, “Tribal people have been an important part of tropical-forest ecosystems for thousands of years. We have much to learn from them about using this important natural resources wisely”. The non-tribal praise the tribal in terms of their ecological sustainability as follows: "While the tribal people have developed highly complex cultures within bounds of ecological sustainability, industrialized cultural is now threatening life on earth as we know.
I would like to quote some of the non-tribal’s impressions of the tribal as follows; … We need the wisdom and understanding of nature, of culture and sustainable living that indigenous people still hold within them…. Our alliance with indigenous peoples will provide a basic of hope for the continuation of human culture upon the Earth… (Deforestation and Development in Canada and the Tropics) 76
Dr. Wilf Bean, who is working at the Coady International Institute, Canada also stresses the stable societies; “We are beginning to realize we can not sustain the plundering of the worlds resources in the name of industrial progress. We must learn to develop stable societies which can live in balance with the natural world. Tribal societies have achieved such stability over the 40,000 years in which they have existed. The knowledge of how this stability can be achieved and sustained is now important to all of us. The few tribal societies which remain today are a valuable resource to all humanity. It is not only the survival of tribal which may depend on this wisdom” (Coady International Institute Newsletter Fall/Winter 1990) The Fourth World (Forest people, Tribal) There are more than a thousand forest tribes around the world. Columbia has 60 known tribal groups, the Philippines has 7 million tribal people; Indonesia has 360 distinct ethnic groups, many speaking only their tribal language; 200-plus tribes live in the Congo Basin, Papua New Guinea supports more than 700 tribes. Many if not most, are on the verge of cultural and physical extinction; doubtless some are still unknown to us. (From the Tropical Rainforest Press Brief) In terms of sheer numbers, these isolated, vulnerable groups are small. But their marginalization is a symptom of a style of development that tends to neglect both human and environmental consideration. Hence a more careful and sensitive consideration of their interest is a touchstone of a sustainable development policy ( Ref.The World Commission on Environment and Development, our Common Future)
IV.SOCIAL PROBLEMS IN THE USA It was a great privilege for me to visit America and to study their social problems. One day I met one of our old friends from Myanmar(Burma), who is now in America. I asked, ``How do you like America?`` She said, ``As you know, before we left our country, we thought that America would be like heaven. Everything will be completed. But those expectations were not true. There are also many problems in this country. America is not a heavenly kingdom as we had expected. It is true. I have learnt that there are so many problems in their country. I am not saying that there is no good things in the society. There are also many good things in this country as we all know. In this paper I am not going to outline those good things because many people have already learnt it. But let me outline some of their bad things which my tribal peoples never expected, which I collected the data from Home Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention, USA, as follows. Poverty The number of people living below the poverty level in 1987 was 32.5 million or 13.5% of population. This represent an increase of 8 million since 1987. Half of all the nation’s poor are children of elderly. Forty percent of all the poor are children and 11% are over 56 years. One of five children (20.6%) live in a family below poverty level. In 1987, 66% of all the poor families are maintained by women with no husband present (51.5%). In contrast, only 12% of nonpoor families were maintained by a woman with no husband present. The poverty level for a family of four was $11,611(1987)
In 1986, families who were in the bottom 40% income bracket earned only 15% of the nation`s total aggregate family income, while the top 40% earned almost 68% of the total. The gap between the poorest and the richest in this country in 1986 was the widest since the Census bureau began gathering such in 1974. In addition to the 32.5 million Americans living below the poverty level, another 11 million were living within 25% of the poverty line in 1986. Women and children account for 77 percent of those in poverty; half of the poverty population live in families headed by females with no husband present. The Food Research and Action Centre point out that the United States is the only industrialized nation in which children comprise the largest segment of poverty population (40%). One of every five children lives in poverty; one of every two Black children is poor, two of every five Hispanic children are poor. Homeless People
courts. Forty-one percent of the single mothers who receive no child support live in poverty with their children. Most female heads of households work outside the home, but typically their jobs pay little, have no health benefits, and offer less opportunity for advancement. Women hold two-thirds of all jobs paying minimum wage. A person working full time all year at minimum wage earned only $6,700 in 1986, 25% below the poverty level for a family of three. The Children`s Defence Fund, a child advocacy organization, estimates that one U.S child dies every 53 minutes from the effects of poverty. Suicides In 1986, there was a total of 30904 suicides; 24,226 males (64%by firearms) and 6,6786 females (40% by firearms) Suicide rates per 100,000 population in 1986 were 10 – 14 yrs. Old – 15
The estimated number of homeless in Atlanta is 10,000; Chicago, 30,000; Cleveland, 20,000; Dallas, 14,000; Los Angeles, 50,000; Miami, 10,000; Minneapolis, 23,500; New York City, 90,000; St.Louis, 15,000; Washington DC, 15,000. Some estimates place the number of homeless in America at 3 million. In 1985, it was estimated that about 20 million Americans experienced hunger at some point each month (8.5% of the population). Two of every three poor adults are women. A divorced mother’s available in come dropped 73% in the first year after their former husbands and few receive the full amount awarded by the 79
15 – 19 yrs. Old – 10.2 65 years and over – 21.5 65 – 74 yrs. Old 19.7 75 – 84 yrs. Old – 25.2 85 yrs and Older 20.8 Older adults have higher suicides rate than any other age group.
Drugs And Alcohol In 1989, there are in the U.S an estimated 20 million problem drunker, most of whom are alcoholics. Approximately 5 million use on a regular basis. As many as 10 million use marijuana on a regular basis. More than 50 million American have tried marijuana. Two-thirds of the U.S population drink alcoholic beverages. There are about 800 thousand heroin addicts in the U.S.; about one-third live in greater New York City. Ninety percent of children have tried alcohol and/or drugs by the time they graduate from high school. Alcohol related deaths total more than 100 thousand a year, 23,000 of these are traffic related. More than 340 thousand die due to respiratory diseases attributed in part to smoking. Disabilities Thirty to 36 million person in American are disable. When adding family members who are directly involved, there are approximated 90 million persons in the U.S affected by disabilities. Person with disabilities are of every economic bracket, but many are on fixed incomes. They are persons of every age. Babies and young children may have been born with disabling conditions or may have developed illnesses during the first years of life which resulted in disabilities.
Teenagers and young adults are the most frequent victims of accidents resulting in mobility impairments. They are also at a vulnerable for degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Median and older adults include war veterans and other experiencing sensory and motor limitations that may accompany aging. Eight percent of the population has some degree of disability. Three percent of the population (6.5 million) are developmentally disabled: of this group 89% are mildly retarded 6% are moderately retarded; 2.5% are severely retarded; 1.5 % are profoundly retarded. Six to 7 % of the school population has some form of learning disability. Eleven and four tenths million persons have severe visual impairment (trouble seeing even with correction). 1.4 million persons 10% under 20 years of age 13.5%20-39 years of age 29.5% 40-64 years and older Five percent of the school population has a hearing loss. Ten 20% of the hearing impaired students require special education. Five percent of the population is deaf. (Ref. HOME MISSION BOARD, SBD, Christ for our Nation, Church and Community Ministries Department, 1359 Spring street NW Atlanta, GA 30307-5601.)
Divorce According to USA TODAY’S newspaper, divorce statics are inching downward-1989 rates are down 4 percent from 1988. “The level of divorce is gradually receding” says Barbara Wilson of the national Centre for Health Statistics. Preliminary statistics show the lowest rate since 1974. There are expected to be 1.2 million divorces in the USA this year, 1990. Love in the 90s Joanna Magda Polenz, who is a psychiatrist, said, “With more women working, that puts tremendous stress on a marriage. Marriage requires a great deal of nurturing and when two people are equally stressed who is there to nurture? Marriages continue to be very popular, but marriages will continue to break up because the trend setters prominent people are not staying married” According to USA TODAY news, there was about 2 million U.S couples who have been married 50 years or more . What’s their secret? Polenz answered, “They are in their 70s now and were brought up in a completely different culture. They married young and many were virginal when they married. That has an enormous effect on marriage. The sexual taboo that you could not have sex outside marriage helped keep marriage together. Now that sex is a much free thing, it has not had a good effect on keeping marriages together. Children of Presidents Face a High Risk of Unhappiness Study Says. The Associated Press WASHINGTON- Life has been no bed of roses for the children whose fathers were presidents of the United States. That’s the conclusion of an unusual study commissioned by one of George Bush’s offspring shortly after his father won the 1988 election. 83
Douglas Wead, now a white House aide, reviewed the lives of presidential offspring from John Adams to Ronald Reagan and produced a 44-page treatise on “All the President’s Children” U.S News & World Report published excerpts of Mr. Wead’s report in its Fib. 12 edition as part of a story looking at how the five Bush children are faring under the spotlight. Mr. Wead “Found a consistent pattern of trouble for the sons and daughters of presidents” the magazine reported. “There were higher-than-average rates of divorce, alcoholism and accidental death; a wide variety of scandals over real or perceived conflicts of interests, and constant frustration over lack of independence. Mr. Wead was asked to undertake the study by Mr. Bush’s eldest son, George Walker Bush, 43, who last year become managing partner of the Texas rangers baseball teams,. He ruled out a run for governor of Texas this year. Another son, Neil, 35, a Denver oil executive, is under investigation by federal bank regulators as a former trustee of a major bank that collapsed, Silverado Banking, Savings & Loan Association. Daughter Dorothy Leblond, 30, a tourism official in Maine, recently filed for divorce from her husband of seven years. Jeb Bush, 36, is a Miami real estate developer and political activist. Marvin, 33, is a business entrepreneur who lives just across the Potomac in Alexandria, Va. Mr. Wead’s report cautioned, “Being related to a president may bring more problems than opportunity. Almost any enterprise is criticized. If successful, it’s assumed that it is because of the relationship. If not, the public assumes the son or daughter is lazy or incompetent” 84
“Try something great and (you) appear grandiose and presumptuous. Try to lead a quiet, normal life and (you)appear lazy who believe in a “cause”, Mr. Wead said, “The Bushes are known as a close-knit family”. Few Church Members Mature in Their Faith. New York-Ask 10,000 people what or who had the most positive influence on their religious faith, and the most likely answer for every age group, men and women, boys and girls, is “my mother”. That- which traditional sentiment always has assumed- is among the findings of one of the largest, most comprehensive studies ever made of faith and its development among Americans. A full report of the 3 ½ year 1990 study won’t be disclosed until a national conference March 24-27 in St. Louis, but some of its conclusions are being circulated and discussed. While it turned up numerous previously indicated conditions, some of them, when laid out in hard, overwhelming statistics, come as bit of a shocker. One of these is that only a third of U.S. Protestants have what is termed an “integrated faith” that embraces both basic beliefs and their practical implications in life. Another somewhat surprising conclusion is that what matters most in building mature faith is not the commonly emphasized classes for the young-important as they are – but adult Christian education. Further, this most important stage of learning is found to be widely neglected in the Churches. The study, involving completion of 374 question by 10,000 Church people, 85
was made by the Search Institute of Minneapolis. It was sponsored by six mainline Protestant denominations through a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. Titled “Effective Christian Education: A national study of Protestant Congregations,” the project also probed the methods, programs and activities of congregations in conducting educational work. In addition, observers visited 54 congregations with exceptionally strong educational programs to examine and describe the techniques that are getting results. Peter Benson, president of the institute that made the study, said it found “that faith is not particularly well-developed” in many church members, and programs to develop it are “less than effective”. “Unless this issue is faced head on in the early 90, members will increasingly drop away or seek spiritual nurture elsewhere.” He writes in the Lutheran, organ of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It and other denominations involved in the study have been declining in membership for about 20 years. The others are the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA); United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) In the study, faith was examined in two basic dimensions, one called “vertical”, involving personal relationship to God, and the other “horizontal, “ involving active commitment to social service and justice. About a third of the respondents scored low on both dimensions, reflecting an “undeveloped faith” both in belief and in translating it into action.
Another third showed a one-dimensional faith, usually holding firm beliefs but not seeking much application on life. Only a third were found to have a balance of both dimensions, a mature “integrated faith”. “There is evidence of great hesitant to connect one’s faith to one’s community, work of politics, “Writer Mr. Benson.” Combine this with the reluctance to talk about one’s faith and it seems that many adults hold a private faith. “They are unsure how to go public in words or actions. “For many, faith lies dormant, waiting for nudges, inspirations, revelations and personal experiences to help it develop. It is private and quiet, more in the head than the heart and hands and feet, uncomfortable in its dormancy but afraid to let go.” Despite the two-thirds found with one-dimensional or undeveloped faith, the study found that the proportion of those with a mature, integrated faith increases with age, from youth onward. Also women were found to have a higher faith level than men. The study also found that growth in mature faith developed not so much on the warmth and friendliness of a congregation, but on the degree to which it challenges thinking and encourages questions. Of such stimulating programs. Mr. Benson writes. “Members are challenged to think, discuss debate and even argue about the stuff of faith, including values, theological issues, politics and Scripture. There is active intellectual engagement. Mr. Benson and Carolyn H. Ekin, the institute’s director of survey services, said one reason church members rarely named Christian education as 87
significantly influencing them is they’ve had so little of it.In a year’s time, adults average a total of no more than 11 to 20 hours in Christian educational efforts (Ref. Search Institute of Minneapolis)
V. CONCLUSION (a) The Tribal Spiritually. 1. Many of my Chin people are complaining that we are very poor people. But count our blessing one by one and you will find that we are blessed people. (a) How blessed we are to have access to fresh drinking water and fresh air which many people have no access to clean water and clean air. (b) How blessed we are to know God and worship him. I think it is more meaningful and hopeful to worship Him, instead of worshiping materialism which many people are worshipping. Yes, we have so many uncountable blessings. Let’s join Paul’s message when he said, “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (II Cor. 6:10) Yes, spiritually we are very rich people. The spirit of out faithfulness, honesty, helping others and unselfishness are more important than material wealth. As I have mentioned in the previous chapter, the Chin culture and spiritually could not be separated. Spiritual development was emphasized in the tribal society.
But the modern society is emphasizing on economic development in terms of materialism. I have been learning that people are more and more becoming technological giants and spiritual and moral dwarfs. The modern society is sophisticated in scientific progress and primitive in spiritual development. It is abundantly rich in material resources and poor in moral, spiritual capital and traditional values. I think that if we could combine the spiritual development with the economic development, some ecological improvements may be done. In other words, holistic development is more desirable. Let us contribute our spirituality for solving the ecological problems. (b) The Teaching of Jesus Christ and the Contemporary Issues
Every people should know the fact that we all are vulnerable, the consumer and the producer, the rich and the poor. It is not worthy to lost our life and gain the whole resources of the world.
My learning experience on the failure of development help me to have more faith in God. Apart from God there is no hope and reliability. The following teachings of Jesus Christ are more and more meaningful for me. 1. Man Shall not Live by Bread Alone. “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the world of God” (Mtt. 4:4) In other words, economic development or materialism alone is not the answer for human problems. We need spiritual development, which is the word of God. 2. What is Profit to A Man? “For what profit is it a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:25) 89
3. The Two House Builders. “But why do you call me Lord, Lord” and not do the things that I say? Whoever comes to me and hears my saying and does them, I will show you whom is like. “He is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently, and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49) The Failure of development is due to human sin, unfaithfulness to God. Many people are knowledgeable in the way of the world but ignore the way of God. I am wondering how many people are aware of the cost which the world pays for the modern lifestyle, which is like building a house on the earth without a foundation and is the way to ruin. 4. The Living Water Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing into everlasting life” (John 4: 13-14)
SOURCES 5. Peace. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27) As we all know, industrial growth or economic development alone can not solve human problems. We need spiritual development, which is given by Jesus Christ for our sustainability, peace and joy. I wish that people copy the simple and the unselfish lifestyle of Jesus Christ to heal the wounded world, for sustainability of the next generation and for all humankind. May God Bless all the readers. Home Mission Board, SBC, USA Thang Tin Sum Yangon. PO. BOX 1400 15.7.91 firstname.lastname@example.org 4. Cape Breton youth for environment, Canada 1989. 5. Thursday June 28, 1990. 6. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Thurs, April 5,1990 7. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Sat, February 10, 1990. 8. As if we plan to stay, Social and Environmental Directions for New Brunswick, Canada, 1989. 9. Food and our environmental. Canada, 1989. 10. The Global Challenge. By Anne Comozzi. Antagonist, N.S. Canada. 11. Job and Environment, Published by Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Canada, 1988. 91 92 1. Deforestation and “Development” in Canada and the Tropics. The Impact on people and the Environment. Edited by Aaron Schneider Sydney, Nova Scotia 1989 2. Consultation on tribals in Asia Edited by Wilf Bean, PhD. Coady International Institute, Canada 1989 3. Facts and trends illustrating the need for ministry By Nathan Poter
Earth Day 1990. The Atlanta Journal. The Atlanta Constitution. Towards understanding of development. By H. R. Amit Coady International Institute. News Letter, Spring/Summer 1986
Coady International Institute New Letter, Fall/Winter 1990. Tasks and methods in development ethics. By Denis Goulet Working Paper February 1988
USA Today, May 17, 1990.
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