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; Much of the information in Vital Signs is also available on the Web at

Women of the World Unite!

WEdGE: Women's Education in the Global Economy is a teaching tool for "activists, organizers, rebels, and hell raisers" intended for use in community, religious, women's, and service organizations. Using principles of popular education, WEdGE demonstrates how global economic trends have affected women and how they are responding. Topic areas include structural adjustment programs, unpaid and contingent work, cutbacks in social welfare, "the global assembly line," environmental impacts on women, human rights abuses, and organizing for positive change. Available for $24.95 (plus $3 shipping) from the Women of Color Resource Center, 2288 Fulton St. #103, Berkeley, CA 94704; (510) 848-9272; A sample lesson is available at

Justice for Mumia

"In light of the contradictory and incomplete evidence in this case, Amnesty International can take no position of the guilt or innocence of Mumia Abu-Jamal," states the introduction to Amnesty International's report, A Life in the Balance: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. A thoroughly documented and balanced presentation of the facts surrounding the case, the report comes to the conclusion that Abu-Jamal's treatment "clearly failed to meet minimum international standards" for a fair trial and that he should be granted a new one. A Life in the Balance is a good resource for those unfamiliar with Abu-Jamal and as a voice of integrity in one of the most controversial death penalty cases in U.S. history. Cost is $6 from Amnesty International USA Publications, 322 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10001;

The World Online

As a Web site "dedicated to harnessing the democratic potential of the Internet to promote human rights and sustainable development," OneWorld aims "to give a voice to those typically overlooked by mainstream media and policy-makers." The result of that mission is a news source rich in quantity and quality, assembling news and analysis from its vast network of ground-level sources—including photography, radio, and video documentaries. Visit

Compiled by Ryan Beiler

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