From pieces to peace

By: LIB editor

Goals,goals, goals. Personal goals, party goals and environmental goals and amidst all the fanfare and the predictions of an oracle octopus where to next?

I had the pleasure of meeting a man who has been a political activist most of his life and who now champions activism around environmental issues, particularly the use of pesticides in farming.

Muna leads IZWA (Institute for Zero Waste) and systematically tackles outmoded policies in government to help bring about real change in their policies on agricultural practises.

IZWA enabled Helen Hoekstra to film and interview farm workers in the rural areas about the terrible effects of pesticides on their health in her documentary, Food ForeThought (contact IZWA for a copy).

They work with the chemicals that are used on the crops with little or no protective clothing and eventually the toxicity of these chemicals destroys their health. But just because you and I don’t work with them on a daily basis doesn’t mean we too aren’t affected. As a result of this knowledge I am looking at the sparkly fresh produce – that is not organic – paraded in supermarkets in a whole new way.

There are no labels saying this head of broccoli was sprayed with x/y/z chemicals to bring it to you bug free. Surely we should be told what is being used on the fruit and vegetables we buy so trustingly considering certain pesticides are still being used by some SA farmers that have long been cause for concern. There will be an article about this in the next newsletter.

pipe cleaner peaaceOn a lighter note it is heartening to see the enthusiastic campaigns out there aimed at maintaining the raised spirits of South Africa – I heard on the radio yesterday that it is “official” – 85% or South Africans feel happier after the World Cup. How do the other African refugees and immigrants feel though – those labelled ‘Kwere Kwere’ as they face very real threats towards them from angry township residents?

This is a major cause for concern and yet it is the calendar that may offer a solution in the form of another noteworthy day ahead: Nelson Mandela day on Sunday 18th July.

The call to action is to contribute 67 minutes of community service to a community in need or assist an organisation that works tirelessly with disadvantaged communities and promote charitable endeavours.

There are many extraordinary initiatives out there, all it takes is for you to search your heart and find out which one inspires you to contribute. I was thinking along the following categories to help make my own personal choice: Animal Shelters and Charities, The Aged, Abandoned Children and The Environment.

Come to think of it all these categories give labels to those with voices that are not often heard. It seems to me it is very much a time of needing to hear each other and reach out to those who have been disempowered. The earth contains us all and she is under great stress, our most vulnerable communities are too. The call is to do what I can to make a difference to a person’s day not just on Nelson Mandela Day but on every day.

An ancient proverb puts it well:

If there is light in the soul, There is beauty in the person, If there is beauty in the person, There will be harmony in the house, If there is harmony in the house, There will be order in the nation, If there is order in the nation, There will be peace in the world.