I just read the front page headline in the "Arts and Leisure"
section of the Sunday, March 14 issue of The New York Times. I
find it somewhat unintelligent, if not offensive. It is an article
talking about the new building to be built on "Ground Zero",
where the World Trade Center once stood. The headline reads "High
Anxiety: Designing the Safest Building in History For the Scariest
Address on Earth."
That's stretching the truth a bit, don't you think?
"Scariest Address on Earth"? It's downright
trash; it has no true meaning. You might say "Scariest Address
in New York", or even "in the United States",
but "on Earth"?
I don't think we realize that Americans enjoy and have enjoyed
a safety and stability that most people on this globe have never
experienced. I'd much rather hunker down at ground zero
than be anywhere in Iraq right now, especially after our invasion.
Let's not fool ourselves. 9/11, though very tragic, was
nothing compared to having your home bombed day in and day out,
or growing up with the threat of major social up-heaval every
day of your life. Let's be intelligent, shall we? Let's
not be so self indulgent. What has America become, that our papers
would rather print garbage than challenge anyone to think a little;
that we should be so spoiled as to think that 9/11 was anything
compared to being bombed for months, years, on end?
Pine Hill, NY
I enjoyed reading about James Heil's experience in Haiti as a
young photojournalist. Technology has dramatically changed the
way war images are produced and distributed. However, while the
equipment may have changed, the photographer's personal interpretation
of how he sees the situation remains the same. I hope to see his
photo credit in many publications in the future.
(I also moonlight as a bear watcher in Woodland Valley!)
Head of Pictures Business Development - Americas
Reuters America Inc.
New York, NY
Marriage has always been between a man and a woman. It has been
a tradition for thousands of years. It is novel to see it any
other way. Looking back at history many traditions have gone by
the wayside. In truth, we are all the better for it:
1. Slavery was a tradition for hundreds of years. It took a civil
war to end it.
2. Traditionally only men had the right to vote. The Suffrage
movement ended this injustice.
3. Segregation was a way of life, especially in the south. It
was not until 1954 that the Supreme Court ruled that separate
is not equal.
4. In Victorian times men adjoined to another room after dinner
to discuss politics. Women were not considered to know about such
things. Today we have women in both houses of congress. This year
a black woman competed for the nomination of presidential candidate
for the Democratic Party.
5. It has been a tradition since George Washington that only a
protestant was elected president. President Kennedy ended that
6. It was illegal for a white person to marry a black or oriental
person in most states. It was not until 2000 that Alabama became
the last state to do away with that law.
Traditions don't die easy but all persons should be allowed to
love and have that love recognized and receive the benefits that
In the 20th century astronomical science has revealed to us the
immensity of the universe. But it is not just that the Creation
is incredibly large; it is also of immense inspiration and beauty.
We too easily ignore the reality of Earth's nourishment that goes
well beyond food, air, and water. The entire fullness of our lives
depends on the wellbeing of Nature. If we lived on the barren
moon our lives would be equally barren - devoid of wonder and
delight. We seem in these days to be moving towards transforming
our beloved Earth into a moon.
The decision about the Bellearye Resort project should not be
made by giving profits, which last a short lifetime, more weight
than an environment abounding with life in an infinite array of
forms that has enthralled and sustained many in the past and will
continue to bless future generations. Let us not forget that in
the beginning, God created the world and called it "good."
We who were made in God's image should not look upon the Creation
and call it "big bucks" and use it as enrichment for
the few at the expense of the many.
Reverend Finley Schaef
Unitarian Universalism began in the 1500s. Unitarian Universalism
has a long-standing and deeply held commitment to support full
equality for bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people, going
back 33 years, to 1970. In 1996 we called for legalization of
same-sex marriage. The Unitarian Universalist Association has
joined the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in an
effort to oppose any constitutional amendment that would ban same
gender marriage. Laws and constitutional amendments aimed at discriminating
against anyone and limiting their rights as human beings are affronts
to all. Such laws have been used to separate and divide us and
surely separation and division are not in the best interests of
justice, understanding and peace. Unitarian Universalism, grounded
in faith, as we understand it, supports the full humanity of all
people, including everyone's ability to love and everyone's value
in the world.
Yes, the Bible does have injunctions against homosexuality but
to invoke such passages with no reference to the context and history
in which they appear is, in my opinion, to do disservice to the
Bible whose overriding message is to do justice, to love mercy
and to walk humbly with one's God, loving both God and one's neighbor.
To hold up some Biblical injunctions while ignoring so many others
appears as if the Bible was being used to further a human, rather
than a divine, agenda. How does same-gender marriage threaten
marriage between persons of different genders?
In any case, we live in a society that separates church and state
and our constitution does not permit the religious convictions
of some to be given a legal status that would apply to society
as a whole. Religious and secular views about same gender marriage
I believe that we are part of an inter-dependent creation that
has brought forth a wonderful diversity, including diversity in
sexual and affectional orientation. The future of our planet is
best served by our courageous acts of love, kindness and compassion,
especially when the ethical and spiritual examples provided by
our faith differ.
The Reverend Dr. Linda Anderson
Congregation of the Catskills
I wanted to see how quickly I could come up with three additions
to Bush's long legacy of legendary lies. It took a few minutes.
The first one is simply disgusting. Soon after September 11, Bush
told reporters that he had "no ambition whatsoever to use
this as a political issue." But the campaign ads he revealed
recently use imagery of Ground Zero and of a fire fighter's funeral
to argue for his reelection.
The second is scary - a reminder that fascism is lurking in dark
corners. In the past the Bush administration insisted on the sanctity
of medical records. Bush stated in 2001 that he would protect
"the right of every American to have confidence that his
or her personal medical records will remain private." Now
this administration is trying to force hospitals and clinics to
turn over many abortion records. In San Francisco a federal district
judge, Phyllis J. Hamilton, said forcing the providers to turn
over the records would undermine the privacy rights of patients
and could dissuade some from seeking treatment. "There is
no question that the patient is entitled to privacy and protection,"
Judge Hamilton said. "Women are entitled to not have the
government looking at their records."
The third is frightening as it is an attack on our ailing environment.
In a campaign promise, Bush supported regulating emissions of
carbon dioxide, the gas most responsible for climate change. Promise
broken to smithereens! Under Bush and Cheney, industry has clearly
won their battle against environmental protection when it comes
to clean air policy.
These are only three quickies. Just think how many more there
Hmmm, someone please correct me if I'm wrong with the following
analysis: If I am the President of the United States and lie to
a Grand Jury about having sex in the White House or if I am a
Mayor of New Paltz or San Francisco or many of the other towns
in the country, I can break the law and do what I want in violation
of my oath and the laws of my community and not be charged with
a crime ?
If Martha Stewart or you or I lie to a federal investigator we
can be charged with a crime and prosecuted! How come all the politicians
and Government employees can lie to the public and not be charged
with a crime or prosecuted? Am I correct in assuming that there
are two sets of laws on the books, one for the general public
and one for politicians and government officials? Can someone
please tell me where I may view this second set of laws? Has the
oath of office been amended to state, "I swear to uphold
and execute the laws of my state except in the interest of diversity
or if I don't like them then I may do what I want" I certainly
would welcome other viewpoints on this; politicians need not offer
Big Indian, NY
We reject the myth of "pesticide-free," "environmentally-friendly"
or "sensitive" golf courses.The adoption of the U.S.
Golf Association specifications as the international standard
for golf course construction and maintenance inherently requires
a total package of exotic grass, toxic chemical fertilizers and
pesticides, high water consumption, turf equipment, etc.
THE GLOBAL ANTI-GOLF
1. Golf courses and golf tourism are part of a "development"
package which includes infrastructure (multi-purpose dams, airports,
ports, roads, bridges), mass tourism, expensive housing, entertainment
facilities, export-oriented agriculture (flowers, exotic fruits
and vegetables), and industrial parks/zones.
2. At the heart of the golf industry is a multi-billion-dollar
industry involving transnational corporations, including agribusiness,
construction firms, consultancies, golf equipment manufacturers,
airlines, hotel chains, real estate companies, advertising and
public relations firms as well as financial institutions.
The transformation of golf memberships into a saleable commodity
has resulted in widespread speculation and dubious practices.
In many countries golf course/resort development (including time-
sharing resorts) is in reality often a hit-and-run business. The
speculative nature of memberships and associated real property
transactions also makes the industry very high risk.
In the wake of the current slowdown in the Japanese economy, many
golf course and resort companies have become bankrupt, with investors
and banks bearing the losses.
The bulk of the foreign exchange earned from golf courses and
golf tourism does not stay in the local economy. The benefits
which do remain are reaped by a few business people and their
3. The green golf package can be compared to the Green Revolution
package in agriculture.
Golf courses are in fact another form of monoculture, where exotic
soil and grass, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and
weedicides, as well as machinery, are all imported to substitute
for natural ecosystems.
These landscaped foreign systems create stress on local water
supplies and soil, at the same time being highly vulnerable to
disease and pest attacks. Just as the Green Revolution is collapsing
in country after country, the Golf Green is also fraught with
The environmental impacts include water depletion and toxic contamination
of the soil, underground water, surface water and the air. This
in turn leads to health problems for local communities, populations
downstream and even golfers, caddies and chemical sprayers in
The construction of golf courses in scenic natural sites, such
as forest areas and coral islands, also results in the destruction
4. In addition to environmental damage, golf course and resort
development often creates skewed land use, displacing local communities
or depriving them of water and other resources. In a number of
countries, the victims of such projects are subject to police
or military intimidation when they protest against the destruction
caused by golf courses.
5. The golf industry aggressively promotes an elitist and exclusive
resort lifestyle and notion of leisure.
This globalization of lifestyle is also a form of exploitation,
the victims being the wealthy urban population who are encouraged
to spend their surplus dreams and illusions, at the expense of
the environment and other members of society.
Golf course and golf tourism development violate human rights
in every sense of the word.
6. In the face of growing criticism of the adverse environmental
impacts of golf courses, the industry is promoting the notion
of "pesticide-free," "environmentally-friendly"
or "sensitive" golf courses. No such course exists to
date, and the creation and maintenance of the "perfect green"
comprising exotic grass inevitably requires intensive use of chemicals.
7. Similarly, the increasingly touted Integrated Pest Management
(IPM) system as an alternative to the use of pesticides on golf
courses is not a solution. In practical terms, application of
pest control through IPM is impossible to achieve and should be
viewed as nothing more than a hollow attempt to make golf courses
appear less toxic than they are.
The danger is that IPM will be taken seriously by officials involved
in the approval of golf courses. Under scrutiny, the theory of
IPM can be easily discredited.
It should also be stressed that considerable amounts of chemicals
are used in the preparation of a golf course and in fertilizing
These are toxic, too, and thus make golf courses a threat to the
environment and health.
1. An immediate moratorium on all golf course development.
2. An open and public environmental and social review/audit of
existing golf courses.
3. Existing golf courses should be converted to public parks,
and where they lie in forest areas, wetlands and islands, there
should be rehabilitation and regeneration of the land to its natural
4. Investigations into illegalities in the golf industry, including
illegal occupation of public lands and encroachment into protected
forests, diversion of water, violation and evasion of corporate
regulations and corruption. We call on governments to prosecute
5. Laws should be passed to prohibit the advertising and promotion
of golf courses and golf tourism.
6. Overseas development assistance , from countries including
Japan Australia and European public founds should not be used
for the promotion of golf courses and golf tourism or the construction
of infrastructure related to such development.
- We appeal to golfers to be fully informed and aware of the adverse
environmental, health and social impacts of golf tourism.
- We supported the decision of the International Olympic Committee
(IOC) to reject the inclusion of golf as an Olympic sport in the
1996 Atlanta Games.
We call on the IOC not to change this decision, for it would amount
to the legitimization and international recognition of a sport
which destroys the environment, creates social disruptions and
which is financially unsound.
- We reject the myth of "pesticide-free," "environmentally-friendly"
or "sensitive" golf courses.
The adoption of the U.S. Golf Association specifications as the
international standard for golf course construction and maintenance
inherently requires a total package of exotic grass, toxic chemical
fertilizers and pesticides, high water consumption, turf equipment,
This is by its very nature destructive of the environment and
the entire ecosystem. Toxic chemicals used at the golf course
construction stage, for example, include hydrogen peroxide to
harden soil before turfing.
- Even if it were technically and economically feasible, determined
by a full cost-benefit analysis, to construct and maintain pesticide-free
golf courses, the industry is still unacceptable due to the wide
range of social problems and other environmental impacts (e.g.
water depletion, inappropriate land use) that are generated.
- We also reject the myth of Integrated Pest Management because
it is experimental, the conditions for its application cannot
be achieved and it still relies on toxic chemicals.
THE GLOBAL ANTI-GOLF MOVEMENT was launched on World No-Golf Day
(April 29, 1993) (by mr. Gen Morita ), following a three-day conference
on Golf Course and Resort Development in the Asia-Pacific Region
in Panang, Malaysia from April 26 to 28, 1993.
The three sponsoring organizations are the Japan-based Global
Network for Anti-Golf Course Action (GNAGA), the Thailand-based
Asian Tourism Network (ANTENNA) and the Malaysia-based Asia-Pacific
People and Environmental Network (APPEN). Twenty delegates from
Hawaii, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines
and Thailand were also present.
In 2000 the Global Antigolf Movement is particulary present in
Europe (Italy, Spain) and in the Usa , but has supporter also
in Australia, Asia and Latin-American.
Global Antigolf Movement