Seeds

Resources for study and action

Plain and Simple

When was the last time you read a magazine printed with hand-set type and original woodcuts on a hand-fed, solar-powered antique press? Plain magazine is a publication of The Center for Plain Living, a group of mostly Quaker and Anabaptist believers and others interested in the beauty and joy of an unplugged life. Its essays on simple, low-tech, and Spirit-filled living encourage the reader to "take just one courageous step back from the downhill plunge of modern life," in the words of its editor, Scott Savage. Subscriptions are $18 a year, payable to Plain, 60805 Pigeon Point, Barnesville, OH 43713. A collection of issues is available in The Plain Reader, available for $12.95 from Ballantine Books.

Checking Our Eco-pulse

Vital Signs 2000: The Environmental Trends that are Shaping Our Future analyzes the relationship between environmental degradation and inequalities of wealth, power, and opportunities throughout the world. While Vital Signs identifies some positive trends, co-author Michael Renner cautions, "All too often we are only slowing destructive trends, rather than reversing them. If we are going to build a more environmentally stable, healthy, and equitable society, we need to massively scale up our efforts." Contact: Worldwatch Institute, 1776 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 452-1999; worldwatch@worldwatch.org. Much of the information in Vital Signs is also available on the Web at www.worldwatch.org.

Women of the World Unite!

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 2000
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Vote Smarter

Since many people of conscience vote by choosing what they consider the lesser of two evils, Project Vote Smart provides the information to help you decide which is which. A nonpartisan organization dedicated to providing accurate and thorough data on state and national races, it compiles candidate surveys, voting records, campaign finance information, biographical backgrounds, and more. Aside from its new (and free) 78-page Voters Self-Defense Manual, Project Vote Smart provides a wealth of information online and in print. Contact Project Vote Smart, One Common Ground, Philipsburg, MT 59858; 1-888-VOTE-SMART; www.vote-smart.org.

Keeping Score

For those concerned about their local environmental health, Scorecard is a project of the Environmental Defense Fund that gives you instant information on the pollution levels in your home community. To find out your score, just go to www.scorecard.org, type in your zip code, and hold your breath. After you get over the shock, there’s a "take action" section and links to further information including local volunteer opportunities.

More Life, Less Strife

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 2000
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Globalize Awareness
As protests in Seattle and Washington, D.C., have begun to raise awareness of the dark side of international financial and trade organizations, a new video from the World Economy Project asks if these institutions are creating a Global Village or Global Pillage. Featuring Ralph Nader and labor and human rights activists, this 27-minute program presents the problems created by the corporate "race to the bottom" of labor and environmental standards, and what can be done about it - including success stories of worldwide movements for economic justice. Cost is $25 ($10 for students and low-income) from the World Economy Project, Preamble Center, 1737 21st St. NW, Washington, DC 20009; (202) 265-3263 ext. 330; wep@preamble. org; www.villageorpillage.org.

Reverse Psychology
Perhaps the last title you'd expect from the Mennonite Church Peace and Justice Committee is "Ten Ways to Help Start a War," a thought-provoking pamphlet on the roots of violent conflict. In addition to its backward suggestions regarding lifestyle, global awareness, entertainment, and theology, it also lists 10 additional resources to help you attack these issues. Cost is 15 cents each from the Mennonite Church Peace and Justice Committee, P.O. Box 173, Orrville, OH 44667; mcpjc@sssnet.com; www.mennolink.org/peace.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 2000
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Resources for Study and Action

Speak Up!

Started in the U.K. but seeking to expand internationally, SPEAK is a network of mainly students and young people of faith whose vision is "To transform situations of injustice through linking people together to use their voice and pray for change." Their efforts center around bimonthly "Pray and Post" campaigns, which include a prayer card and a campaign post card (often addressed to a government official) aimed at impacting policy on a justice issue. Past campaigns have included East Timor advocacy, Jubilee 2000, the campaign to ban landmines, and garment workers’ rights.

SPEAK also facilitates the formation of small groups to meet regularly for action and prayer and, though based on Christ-centered spirituality, welcomes people of all beliefs to network in their efforts. Contact: SPEAK, The Beacon, 17 Fleet Road, Hampstead, London NW3 2QR, United Kingdom; +44 (0)171 424 0610; speak@speak.org.uk; www.speak.org.uk.

Sewing Justice

Through the Eye of a Needle is a five-week study guide produced by Pax Christi USA to examine consumer culture through the lens of Christian faith and Catholic social teaching. Participants are encouraged to keep a "buying journal" to examine their purchasing habits, and are challenged on themes such as over-consumption, the environment, sweatshops, child labor, and voluntary simplicity. Cost is $5 (plus $1.50 shipping). Contact: Pax Christi USA, West 8th St., Erie, PA 16502- 1343; (814) 453-4955; maryellen@paxchristiusa.org; www.nonviolence.org/pcusa.

Campaign for Cuba

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 2000
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Resources for Study and Action

Adopt-a-What?!

Combining elements of successful adopt-a-highway and sister cities concepts, a new U.N.-sponsored program encourages individuals, community groups, and businesses to Adopt-A-Minefield. As a practical means of saving lives and raising awareness about the landmine crisis, sponsors raise funds to clear minefields and return land to productive use. While a mine can cost as little as $3 to produce, it can cost up to $1,000 to remove, so sponsors may adopt entire minefields or contribute smaller amounts, which are pooled with other contributions. Contact the Adopt-A-Minefield Campaign, United Nations Association of the USA, 801 2nd Ave., New York, NY 10017-4706; (212) 907-1300; info@landmines.org; www. landmines.org.

Listen to the Children

Foster international awareness and understanding through the videos in the Child’s View Series produced by Mennonite Central Committee. Each video brings you the sights and sounds of children’s lives around the world, including stories from Indonesia, Congo, Laos, Mozambique, and elsewhere. Though most videos are about five minutes long—accommodating viewers with shorter attention spans, young and old—they show both the joys and challenges that children in developing and conflicted countries experience. One story is of 8-year-old Sladjana, a refugee of the war in Croatia whose family is building a house and making new friends in Serbia. Videos cost $15 each ($10 each if purchasing five or more), but are also available for free loan from the MCC office nearest you. Contact MCC, 21 South 12th St., P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501-0500; mccresources@ mcc.org; www.mcc. org/resource.

Put Your Money Where Your Social Conscience Is

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 2000
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Resources for Study and Action

50 Years of Good News (on the Radio)

In the current climate of media conglomeration, independent voices like Pacifica Radio are more vital than ever as alternative sources of news and programming. Despite recent internal conflicts at its flagship station, KPFA Berkeley, broadcasts such as Pacifica Network News and the daily analysis of Democracy Now! continue Pacifica’s 50-year history of covering issues and stories that you can’t find anywhere else. From airing protests of the Korean War during the McCarthy era to broadcasting Mumia Abu Jamal’s commentaries from prison (which NPR had originally commissioned and then cancelled because of political pressure), Pacifica has remained noncommercial and listener-supported. For those living out of range of Pacifica affiliates, broadcasts are available on the Web, along with archives of past programs. Call (818) 506-1077 to find the affiliate nearest you or visit www.pacifica.org.

 

Conflict Resolution for Dummies

With chapter headings like "What if the Other Person is a Complete Idiot?" Let’s Talk: Communication Skills and Conflict Transformation is a very practical, down-to-earth study guide by Barry C. Bartel designed for adult and youth Sunday school classes—or any group in need of conflict resolution skills (you know who you are). This new edition of the 1983 title combines Bible-based concepts with individual and group exercises to create better habits of communication and ways of responding to interpersonal conflict. Available for $8.95 from Faith and Life Press, P.O. Box 347, Newton, KS 67114-0347; 1-800-743-2484; www2.southwind.net/~gcmc/flp.

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Sojourners Magazine January-February 2000
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Resources for Study and Action

Coffee for a Cause

Tired of corporate foot-dragging on codes of conduct by coffee industry "stars"? Take your "bucks" to coffee suppliers that respect their growers and the earth and support Christian ministry. Pura Vida Coffee boasts gourmet beans grown in Costa Rica’s famed Tarraz· region mainly by small, family-owned farms that promote organic fertilizers and recycle coffee byproducts. Suppliers pay fair wages, meet Ministry of Labor standards, and provide free housing for harvesters. All profits support ministries in Costa Rica that provide clothing and food to street children, housing for those recovering from addiction, and adult job-training programs. A one-pound bag costs $8.95, with bulk and fund-raising discounts available. Visit www.puravidacoffee.com for more information or call 1-888-577-4JOY.

Exploring America’s Wealth Gap

Shifting Fortunes: The Perils of the Growing American Wealth Gap is a concise, facts-and-figures-filled report from United for a Fair Economy that explodes the myths of our "booming" economy. Already a valuable resource for journalists, elected officials, and concerned citizens, its 94 pages discuss the wage gap, cost of living, debt traps, racial issues, and possible solutions. Cost is $6.95 plus $2 postage with bulk discounts available. Contact United for a Fair Economy, 37 Temple Place, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02111; 1-877-564-6833; stw@stw.org excerpts at www.stw.org.

Frank Discussion About You-Know-What

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 1999
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Resources for Study and Action

A Homeless Story

Taylor’s Campaign, a documentary by filmmaker Richard Cohen, offers a compelling, intimate view into the lives of homeless people in Santa Monica. The film follows Ron Taylor (at left), a homeless, disabled trucker who runs for a seat on the Santa Monica City Council, in part because of proposed city laws prohibiting food donations to the homeless in public places. The 75-minute documentary, which Cohen directed, co-produced, and edited, is narrated by actor Martin Sheen. Videos are $39 for individuals, public libraries, and high schools, $99 for academic libraries, schools, and organizations. Contact Richard Cohen Films, P.O. Box 1012, Venice, CA 90291; (310) 395-3549; rbc24@earthlink.net; www. richardcohenfilms.com.

Celebrating a Nonviolent Decade

Resources for building a decade of nonviolence are available from Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest and oldest interfaith peace and justice organization in the United States. The "Decade for Nonviolence" resource packet includes FOR resources, suggested curricula on nonviolence, reading and video lists, and people in your area of the country to contact. Packets are $5. Contact FOR, P.O. Box 271, Nyack, NY 10960; (914) 358-4601; pti@forusa. org; www.nonviolence.org/for. Information is also available on FOR’s People’s Campaign for Nonviolence: Summer 2000 event, July 1 to August 9, 2000, in Washington, D.C.

Nonviolence Study Guides

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Resources for Study and Action

Reshaping Economic Principles

A resource titled The Economic Way of the Cross relates the message of Jesus’ way to the suffering of those who live under the weight of the globalized economy. The report was prepared by the Religious Working Group on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean (EPICA), and Witness for Peace. The bilingual edition names 14 corporate, financial, political, legal, and military institutions that have constructed and administer the economy, and holds these institutions morally accountable.

The resource also includes commentary for group discussion or personal reflection. Copies are available for $6.50, plus $3.50 for postage and handling, from The Religious Working Group on World Bank and IMF, (202) 832-1780; EPICA (202) 332-0292; or Witness for Peace, 1229 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 588-1471.

A Source for Workers’ Rights

Jobs with Justice has compiled information on national and international unions, research organizations, Workers’ Rights Boards, and interfaith groups organized around labor issues in its first-ever National Workers’ Rights Resource Directory. The directory also lists other organizations throughout the country, such as civil rights organizations, student groups, and labor artists and musicians, on a state-by-state basis. For more information or to obtain a copy, contact Jobs with Justice, 501 3rd St. NW, Washington DC 20001; (202) 434-1106; jobswjustice@jwj.org; www.jwj. org.

Searching for Solutions

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 1999
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Resources for Study and Action

Seeds

Resources for study and action.
By Kristine Jensen

Debt Relief is Hunger Relief

Bread for the World, a grassroots group working to end world hunger, is kicking off its annual Offering of Letters. Each year thousands of people, churches, and community groups write letters to members of Congress on key hunger-fighting legislation. The goal of this year’s campaign, Proclaim Jubilee: Break the Chains of Debt, is to get Congress to help relieve the debt burden of the poorest countries in a way that will channel the benefits to poor people in those countries. To get a free "Churches Respond to Hunger" packet or to order the 1999 Offering of Letters kit, which includes a six-minute video, contact Bread for the World, 1100 Wayne Ave., Suite 1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910-9767; www. bread.org.

What Are You Doing This Summer?

The National Field Program of Amnesty International (AIUSA) is offering three educational opportunities for activists who want to become human rights leaders. The Patrick Stewart Human Rights Scholarships are for young activists for applied human rights fieldwork. The Human Rights Summer Institute, hosted by AIUSA and American University in Washington, D.C., is for students pursuing careers in human rights or activists who want to deepen their knowledge of the movement. The Human Rights Action Seminar: Abolition Now! is a human rights organizing seminar set for August 13-21. It is designed as a boot camp for death-penalty abolition activists. For information write NFP, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003; (202) 544-0200; aiusanfp@aiusa.org.

Transforming Schools

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 1999
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