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Book Review for 'Bridging the Gap to Peace: From a New Way of Thinking into Action'
an article by The Late Robert Muller, Former United Nations Assistant Secretary General

This is a very important book. Despite all the knowledge and intelligence the human species has acquired, we still are saddled with about 70 active conflicts in the world; a record of 80 million war casualties in the 20th century; and yearly “defense” expenditures of 800 trillion dollars; one half of all governmental expenditures, from education and health to all governmental services. This must urgently end because now we are destroying the Earth and her nature and must give utmost priority to restoring them. An increase in peace will therefore release resources from military and defense expenditures. Think also of the saving of resources which can be obtained from the reduction or elimination of violence.

click on photo to enlarge

How to do it, how to become a peacemaker, whatever your condition is, whatever your walk of life you live in, you must decide first of all to become a peacemaker, and then all the rest will fall into place. This is what happened to Deri Joy Ronis, and how she narrates in her book how she became a peacemaker and how you can become one too. This is also what happened to me after World War II when I decided to become a peacemaker, so that my children and grandchildren would not live the horrors I saw during that war.

I tell my story in a scattered way in several books, but hers is much better because it is entirely devoted to that subject. It will also be a great contribution to the Culture for Peace and Non-Violence launched in the year 2000 by the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Director General of the UNESCO for the decade to come.

Dear Reader, as you read this book, open a file entitled "How I Became a Peacemaker," jot down any ideas which come to you during the day or the night and you will soon see your life become a beautiful work of art, blessed by untold happiness. Please try it. You will thank for it Deri Joy Ronis, and your humble servant, Robert Muller. “


Question(s) related to this article:

How can we get to a sustainable, peaceful economy?,

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Annie Leonard: How to Be More than a Mindful Consumer

The way we make and use stuff is harming the world—and ourselves. To create a system that works, we can't just use our purchasing power. We must turn it into citizen power.

by Annie Leonard
posted Aug 22, 2013

   Stuff activist Annie Leonard: “Consumerism, even when it tries to embrace ‘sustainable’ products, is a set of values that teaches us to define ourselves, communicate our identity, and seek meaning through accumulation of stuff, rather than through our values and activities and our community.” YES! photo by Lane Hartwell.

Since I released "The Story of Stuff" six years ago, the most frequent snarky remark I get from people trying to take me down a notch is about my own stuff: Don't you drive a car? What about your computer and your cellphone? What about your books? (To the last one, I answer that the book was printed on paper made from trash, not trees, but that doesn't stop them from smiling smugly at having exposed me as a materialistic hypocrite. Gotcha!)

Let me say it clearly: I'm neither for nor against stuff. I like stuff if it's well-made, honestly marketed, used for a long time, and at the end of its life recycled in a way that doesn't trash the planet, poison people, or exploit workers. Our stuff should not be artifacts of indulgence and disposability, like toys that are forgotten 15 minutes after the wrapping comes off, but things that are both practical and meaningful. British philosopher William Morris said it best: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

Too many T-shirts

The life cycle of a simple cotton T-shirt—worldwide, 4 billion are made, sold, and discarded each year—knits together a chain of seemingly intractable problems, from the elusive definition of sustainable agriculture to the greed and classism of fashion marketing.

The story of a T-shirt not only gives us insight into the complexity of our relationship with even the simplest stuff; it also demonstrates why consumer activism—boycotting or avoiding products that don’t meet our personal standards for sustainability and fairness—will never be enough to bring about real and lasting change. Like a vast Venn diagram covering the entire planet, the environmental and social impacts of cheap T-shirts overlap and intersect on many layers, making it impossible to fix one without addressing the others.

I confess that my T-shirt drawer is so full it's hard to close. . ...more.

This report was posted on August 1, 2011.