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Editor’s Thoughts – Issue 17

Editorial What's the connection between "Asia" and "sweat" anyway?

My daughter Asia recently celebrated her 12th birthday. She and her mother went out and bought a big cozy sweatshirt with the name "GAP" blazoned across the chest in 4 inch letters.

What's wrong with this picture? I think it's the "GAP" between our professed moral compass heading and the direction our actions take. I don't want my kid to be a walking billboard for a corporation. Especially when that corporation economically enslaves girls my daughter's age in sweatshops far from their parents and homes to produce sweatshirts & the like. I am incensed that GAP corporation has the guts to say "Union made in the USA" on their clothing line when the products were made on a Pacific island American protectorate by Asian girls forced to sign a "union" contract that indentures them to sweatshop labor for years.

Corporations that lie through such deception should be punished. I say the only way to punish a corporation is to spank its bottom line.

Spending money is like voting: we cast our money (vote) for the product (candidate) we want. Unfortunately, most of us buy only what we want, not what we believe in. We don't understand how our actions affect our, and thus we waste our "votes".

My daughter Asia now wears a sweatshirt made in an Asian sweatshop. Asia's mom tells me to lighten up, it's only a sweatshirt. I tell her there are principles involved here. She looks at me with that dubious "you're weird" look. We are not going to see eye to eye on this one anytime soon.

People who should know better say it doesn't matter what they buy because the world doesn't change no matter what we do. Truth is, it's just just the other way round: The world will go on the same till we decide that it does matter what we support with our money-vote.

If you don't like the idea of poisons sprayed on your food, buy organic. If you don't like the idea of young girls working in what amounts to economic slavery, don't buy GAP products. It's that simple. There are simple principles involved and the simple logic of our actions proceeds from these principles.

About This Issue of Alternatives

Spiritual and social activism are alive and thrive in the engaged mysticism of the emerging culture. You can explore this dharma through the humor and the history you get from "Awakening the Buddhist Heart", our interview with Lama Surya Das. Sarahjoy Marsh takes you down that dharma road in her "Taking Refuge".

How many high school teachers do you know who call out the curiosity for truth and passion for justice in their students? John Borowski does just this in his environmental classes and club activities at North High in Salem, Oregon. This issue, John draws a line in the sand about environmental education in America's schools.

Oregon cities are rated as having some of the best drinking water in the U.S., so why is there such pressure to add a hazardous industrial waste to it? Read all about it in Miriam Green's "Toxic Waste in the Public Well: The Lie about Fluoride". Her sub-title is more subjectively revealing, "Why I No Longer Feed My Kid Rat Poison".

And speaking of toxic threats: "If young children represent the 'canary in the coal mine' to provide early warning of environmental disaster, it is time we put the burden of proof for safety on those who make the profits." Rick Bayer, MD, raises the subject of toxic threats to child development in his column Physicians' Perspective.

Becky Kemery's article "Building with Oregon Cob: A Leap of the Imagination" goes to the heart of the Luddite question. So let us ask the question: Are there ways to get the job done that still let you honor the principles of sustainability?

In this issue you can examine the possibilities of a raw foods diet with John Checkal, or contemplate the wonders of bamboo with Bob Czimbal. You can listen to the wildflowers with Camilla Bishop and delight in the new spring greens with Sharol Tilgner, ND. You can consider the inner dimensions of singing off key with Ness Mountain or the positive attributes of piercing your tongue with Kalab Honey.

It's a wild world. Enjoy the journey.

Peter the Editor

Alternatives. . . subverting the dominant paradigm one relationship at a time.

Alternatives Magazine is taking the American paradigm out to lunch. Alternatives works (and plays) with the ideals and activism of our emerging culture and provides a forum to express and/or locate the holistic ideas, goods and services that support a life well lived.

Alternatives for Cultural Creativity recognizes that our society is in transition and that an integral culture is emerging out of the context of dominant American society. We see this integral culture as concerned with values focused on spiritual transformation, ecological sustainability, holistic health, political and economic justice, self-actualization and expression, and enlightened parenting/family relationships.  

Culturally creative people are putting the pieces of the global puzzle together in a dynamic and entirely new way, and coming to a holistic understanding of personal and planetary relations. Alternative people are open to the ecstatic possibilities. 

Copyright 1999. Alternatives is published by Get Real Inc. Contact us at P.O. Box 1086, Salem, OR 97308-1086 toll free 1.888.308.6207 Salem area 315.8277 fax 503.315.8260 or eMail us at: [email protected]

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