YES! - Youth for Environmental Sanity

Author

YES!, a national speaking and workshop tour, motivates young people to get involved with issues that affect their future. The 1990-91 YES! Tour - Youth for Environmental Sanity - swept 25 cities, directly touching the lives of 80,000 students and reaching 20 million more people through the media. An entirely youth-run organization, the main focus of Yes! is the environment, but we encourage activism on other global issues.

In a small, two-roomed YES! office (once a garage) in Santa Cruz, Calif., four YES! members busily type, format, telephone and coordinate. We do all the organizing ourselves. For the 1990-91 tour, only six of us did all the set-up work, the touring, and facilitating. We hired an adult coordinator to help in the office. YES! tour members also organized community presentations on the environment and facilitated several youth-empowerment summer camps.

For the 1991-92 tour, YES! has grown to twelve diverse participants, and we expect to reach 150,000 students. YES! will host seven camps this summer to further educate, inspire, and empower today's youth.

HOW YES! STARTED

In 1990, two high school students, Ocean Robbins from Santa Cruz and Ryan Eliason from Eugene, Oreg., conceived the idea of a national youth speaking tour on the environment. They believed that a purely youth-run tour could really demonstrate the abilities, dedication, and motivation of young people.

Today, most young people feel their lives are directed by society's expectations of them. Some are so concerned about "doing what's right" or "fitting in" that they hardly realize they can direct their own lives. The YES! Tour's support model shows we can. Ocean and Ryan both knew they wanted to do something meaningful by addressing issues concerning their futures. Once they took actions and began educating themselves, they felt empowered enough to share their knowledge and inspiration with their peers.

The project received immediate support from EarthSave, a nonprofit environmental organization founded by John Robbins and dedicated to education and raising awareness of the impact of our food choices on the environment. EarthSave continues to provide office space and the use of its facilities and equipment Even more important, its dedicated and knowledgeable staff offers caring advice and support. Cultural Survival is a sponsor of the tour, and YES! is working with Cultural Survival on ideas for future collaboration.

After establishing YES!, Robbins and Eliason sought out other tour members, eventually choosing four more youths. I was living in Vancouver, B.C., helping organize a youth environmental conference and invited Robbins to it. Although he didn't get to Vancouver then, we became friends by sharing our concerns and ideas for helping the environment.

Sol Solomon of Santa Monica, Calif., had started a high school environmental club called the Green Republic. He was also featured in a video documentary, "Power to Survive," that interviewed four Los Angeles youths about their perceptions of and ways of dealing with the environmental crisis.

Presently, YES! has 11 permanent members and a few temporary ones. Karen Thompson, Sol Solomon, and Ocean Robbins continue from the first year. Joshua Thome, Johl Chato, Judy Sanchez, Kai McGee, Eden Fine Day, and Danny McCallum joined after the 1991 summer camp. Since then, Johnny Sanchez from New York City, Amy Newton-McCann from Montreal, and Jessica Lebowitz from Vancouver have joined us. Half the YES! team members represent ethnic minorities. And each of us comes from a background from which we can offer unique experiences.

Each member found YES! through different circumstances, but we all joined for one reason. We very much want a future. The members of the Tour have committed ourselves to taking the most positive, effective action we can conceive of. Through the tour and meeting youths across the country, we have found that people care deeply about the state our planet is in but often don't know that others care, too, or how they can help.

WHAT WE DO

"When I go into average high school, I see a lot of barriers between youths that keep us from working together - barriers revolving around the way someone looks, their skin color, or their financial status. This is something that has got to go if we are going to be able to work together!"

Eden Fine Day

The YES! Tour refute the belief that only some people care. We reach out to everyone, because we believe that today's environmental problems affect all people, regardless of who they are or where they live.

One way we do this is by breaking down stereotypes. To quote Johl Chato: "The only reason I'm on the YES! Tour is because I'm a hippie. I like to save the trees and flowers... I'm joking! But that what a lot of people think when they hear the term `environmentalist.' Should I be labelled a hippie because I'm concerned about our air and water quality or because I care about my future? No!"

As experienced public speakers, with an aim to teach and not preach, we are open-minded on issues. We invite people to educate themselves, to get out and experience what's going on. In most cases, people are already concerned, so YES! is a catalyst for their activism, offering them support and inspiration.

The YES! Tour's message is as diverse as its members, but it is unified on the theme of youth empowerment. We adapt our message to each place and situation. When visiting inner-city Boston and New York, we address issues like toxic waste, water contamination, and environmental racism. In Eugene, Oreg., we talk about sustainable forestry versus clear-cut logging.

YES!'s format is designed to reach people. We start with a humorous skit that requires audience participation. The characters are high-school stereotypes - the nerd, the rebel, the snob. Students see us making fun of these stereotypes and can laugh and relate to us. But soon the characters undergo powerful transformations as they reveal their true concerns and passion for life. The audience falls silent and reflective.

Our own diverse personalities and backgrounds help us reach more people. We don't want to keep the environmental movement as a white, middle-class event. Judy Sanchez talks about environmental racism. "Three out of every five Afro-americans and Latinos in the country live in a community with a toxic site in it," she says. "I am Latina. This effects me and my family in Los Angeles. I have to do everything in my power to see the health of my community is protected." In Boston, a student approached Judy in tears, thanking her for bringing inspiration to her school.

After personal speeches, YES! show its slides. With bone-chilling, inspirational music and images fading into one another, the show illustrates our global situation and discusses rainforest destruction, animal extinction, nuclear radiation, and air, water, and land pollution. It ends by addressing what may be the roof of all these problems: the human attitude. It asks, "What kind of a world are we leaving for our children?" A high school audience can be rowdy, but a shocked silence usually follows the slide show. The teachers at a high-security school in Boston said the student had never been as attentive and silent as they were during the YES! presentation.

SHARING SOLUTIONS

YES! focuses on solutions during the presentations. Many people say, "You can make a difference," but that's not all: You do make a difference. Among the many solutions we suggest are recycling, consuming less, car pooling, eating less meat, boycotting products and companies that harm the environment, buying from companies that benefit the environment, writing to political representatives, voting, and starting or joining an environmental club. After a YES! assembly, students and teachers swarm our table, asking YES! members for information, sharing ideas, and announcing their commitment to the planet. Among many other items, YES! hands out Cultural Survival brochures and sells Rainforest Crunch bars.

After a week at the schools in a community, YES! holds a weekend empowerment workshop. At these work-shops, we facilitate in-depth discussions on the environment and share the skills and knowledge to make groups last. We also facilitate exercises on gaining self-esteem, resolving conflicts, and overcoming communication barriers.

THE RESULT

"There have been many positive reverberations since you left - you had a real impact on people. For example, two students who saw your community performance have gotten a group together, and they're organize Earth Day activities for their school. They're putting together a performance to take to elementary schools! You were a stone dropping into apathy and ignorance. The ripples are still felt and will continue."

Cynthia Smith, Honolulu, HI.

We have been the catalyst for creating and developing high school environmental clubs everywhere we go. Most YES!-inspired action groups have started and maintained recycling programs in schools and communities. These clubs participate in such activities as beach and mountain cleanups, tree planting, car pooling, and educating others in their school and community through Eco-fairs and Earth Week events. After a YES! assembly at South Whidby High in Washington state, the principal asked a supplier to change a recent order to recycled paper. When the supplier couldn't meet the request, the school switched suppliers!

The response to the 1990-91 tour was so inspiring that some kind of follow-up was needed. In fact, we had always dreamed of holding a summer camp but were too busy touring to find time. Miracles do happen though! In less than a month, it came together. A beautiful house in the Sierra Mountains became the facility, and renowned guest speakers and musicians were invited. There was a surplus of participants, so later that summer YES! facilitated two more camps, in Vancouver, B.C., and Circle Pines, Mich.

The YES! camp curriculum includes in-depth education about the environment, reconnecting with nature, effective leadership, overcoming communication barriers, conflict resolution, fundraising, and public speaking. We also explore issues like racism and sexism. Finally, on the last day, each participant makes a personal, specific, and unique commitment to action. In 1992, YES! will facilitate seven summer camps, and a regional tour camp will train people to put on their own tours.

And never underestimate young children! Inspired by the YES! Tour's week in Portland, Oreg., seven-year-old Amy and ten-year-old Paul Danielson got the idea they, too, could educate and empower youth. With the help of their mother, they recruited a director and set to work creating their own environmental troupe. YEA - Youth for Environmental Awareness - now has five members. They have presented an adapted version of the YES! Tour skit and slide show to thousands of students.

In February 1992, YEA took its message to Arizona, where it joined YES! for a week in Tucson. YEA toured elementary schools while YES! covered high schools. "I think that if I can make a difference in this world, anyone can," says Amy Danielson. "I want to tell people what is really happening to earth, so everyone can start to help and make a better world."

OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE

After two exciting years of YES! Tours, we all want to continue with YES! or something of the same nature. Why? Because we care about our future. We believe that a healthier, cleaner, brighter, and more sustainable world is possible. We believe in humanity's power to make changes, and we have committed ourselves to help spark those changes.

We aren't afraid to show others we care or to speak out for what we believe. We aren't afraid of taking action. Because of the global situation, not acting is much scarier. Right now, our future lives are threatened because of environmental devastation. There is no time to wait, only time to act. We are the next generation, and we say YES! to life.

Resources: Education for Action

Education is a prerequisite for, and a vital component of, action. Activist education means learning about the subject that concerns you and sharing the results of your inquiry with others. Education for action can range from individual research on an issue to community read-a-thons, lectures, or festivals.

The library in your community, school, or local college can provide initial information, but chances are you'll have to search a bit to find just what you need. Become familiar with local organizations. Human-rights, environment, development, education, and cultural organizations exist in many communities and can yield information on particular geographic or subject areas. Museums, botanical gardens, and zoos make good hunting ground for material. Explore your community for restaurants and stores that sell products from regions you are concerned about. Keep your eyes and ears open for interesting and educational programs on TV, radio, film, and video. With a computer and a modem, tap into the quantities of information in electronic networks.

BECOMING AN EDUCATED EDUCATOR

Whether you present information in a classroom as a teacher or in a pamphlet at a demonstration, know your stuff. Unfortunately, few educational materials about indigenous issues exist. While many organizations and publishers have curricular on the environment, rain forests, racial and cultural pluralism, human rights, and other relevant topics, these seldom include indigenous perspectives. Since indigenous issues are touched upon at best superficially, you probably won't depend on any one curriculum guide or book. Instead, borrow from several sources, adapt material, and create your own comprehensive curriculum.

Cultural Survival produces and distributes a range of materials for sale or renta for individual and classroom use. Slideshow and video titles include "Cultural Survival: People and Rainforests" and "Rainforests: Proving Their Worth." "The Living Earth Rainforest Pack" is a teaching aid for primary and secondary schools. A new four-panel display, "Rainforests and Indigenous People," is available for rent.

Parents, teachers, students, and administrators can all work to incorporate indigenous issues into school curricula. Introduce material about indigenous peoples' histories and cultures in social science classes. Science classes can discuss traditional knowledge and methods for using and managing natural resources.

In or out of the classroom, you can incorporate indigenous issues into discussions dealing with development, ethnicity, cultural and racial pluralism, international politics, human rights, geography, the environment, or rainforest destruction. Form a study circle to discuss topics of concern. Keep the group small and agree to attend regularly.

Contact Study Circles Resource Center for guidelines and reading material. The center's computer database and library provide access to a list of material produced by various organizations and to an information exchange with thousands of individuals and organizations. SCRC also publishes a quarterly newsletter and distributes a public talk series on critical social and political issues. Training material, newsletters, and your first public talk series are free. Additional copies are $2 each.

Whatever subject interests you, useful information and contacts are sure to be available on one of the many electronic networks now in operation. The Institute for Global Communications runs several international networks connecting individuals and organizations working for social change. To participate, all you need is a computer with a modem and the funds for the network fees (sign up costs $15; monthly subscription fee, $10; additional hourly rates of $5-10 per hour). Use IGC's environmental network, EcoNet, to access electronic mail, databases, and public and private conference on such subjects as indigenous peoples, UNCED, trees and forests, legislative alerts, news, and media.

You can start your discussion of indigenous issues by focusing on one region. Consult groups that focus on that region for material to structure your discussions. Ask people at local libraries, museums, multicultural centers, and schools to refer you to nearby organizations.

One such organization is the Central American Peace Campaign in Seattle, WA, which sponsors The Latin America Education Project. The project focuses attention on current social and political issues in Latin America, the influence of U.S., foreign policy on the region, and issues of human rights and self-determination. You can buy or rent educational materials, videos, and audio cassettes (prices vary, some materials are free). The center also provides public speakers and information on educational tours, language instruction, and work brigades in Latin America. Visit the center to review materials or call or write to receive a list of videos and publications.

MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION

Curricula dealing with race, ethnicity, and culture can provide useful models for addressing pluralism, tolerance and indigenous peoples' human rights. The REACH Center (Respecting Ethnic and Cultural Heritage) specializes in cultural awareness training. The REACH program is divided into four phases for different age groups: Human Relation Skills, Cultural Self-Awareness, Multicultural Awareness, and Cross-Cultural Experience. By presenting several cultural perspectives on historical events, center materials present history that speaks to the experience of all students. Training workshops for educators and community leaders are provided for all the curricula. Call or write for more information.

Skipping Stones (annual subscription $20 in the United States, $25 airmail; low-income and Third World 50 percent discount) is a wonderful multicultural, multilanguage magazine for children that highlights cultures and traditions from around the world. This quarterly contains poems, stories, and drawings by the magazine's diverse readers.

As part of a new education project aimed at reducing intolerance, the Southern Poverty Law Center recently launched a biannual magazine, TEACHING Tolerance. The periodical showcases real classroom experiences and provides a regular forum for teachers to share ideas. Educators can obtain free copies by sending a request on school letterhead and including their department or grade.

Some of the best and most accessible materials in indigenous people focus on the history and culture of Native North Americans. Contact local natural history museums, discovery museums, and Native American organizations. For a list of Native American organizations that publish curriculum, contact The Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with Native Peoples. Their Reading Resource List ($15 plus shipping) includes curricula, books, films, videos, and publishers.

The Council on Interracial Books for Children, a veteran of multicultural education, publishes books and textbooks to counter prejudice and promote positive images of minority groups. Its Bulletin (eight issues annually, $25 for institutions, $16 for individuals) provides issue-oriented analyses of books and teaching materials. CIBC's Racism and Sexism Resource Center for Educators develops and distributes teaching and training materials, filmstrips, and videos, including Unlearning "Indian" stereotypes, a multi-media teaching unit for elementary schools ($39.95, teacher's guide available separately for $4.95). CIBC's Chronicles of American Indian Protest ($7.95), a collection of documents recounting Native Americans' struggle from 1622 to 1978, is suitable for older readers.

Because much of mainstream literature on Native Americans is dated and may be culturally biased or offensive, take care when selecting materials. Look for one of the comprehensive guides evaluating material about indigenous peoples.

Rethinking Schools is a quarterly publication of Rethinking Schools Limited, a nonprofit organization of Milwaukee area teachers and educators ($2 for sample issue, $10 for annuals subscription for individuals, $25 for organizations). Every educators should have a copy of RS's publication Rethinking Columbus ($4, plus $2 for shipping and handling). Published to coincide with the quincentenary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas, the guide re-evaluates conventional thinking about the significance of the anniversary and includes such articles as "Native Americans: What Not to Teach" and "Columbus and Native Issues in the Elementary Classroom." Articles discuss how to teach about Native Americans without falling prey to stereotyping and how to relate to Native American students. The guide also contains useful reading and curriculum resource lists.

Rethinking Columbus is also available from Network of Educators on Central America which collaborated in its production. NECA is a non-profit organization that develops and distributes high-quality classroom materials focusing on Central America historical, economic, social, and cultural traditions. NECA sponsors workshops, educational tours, and programs, and publishes a quarterly publication for teachers, Central America in the Classroom. CAS, vol 4, no. 3 reviews texts, books, and curricula about indigenous cultures.

Through Indian Eyes: the Native Experience in Books for Children ($24.95), published by New Society Publishers (the publishing branch of New Society Educational Foundation, a non-profit group that funds organizations involved in non-violent social change) is an excellent resource on Native American cultures. This anthology contains essays, short stories, poems, drawings, book reviews, and resource lists. The book includes How to Tell the Difference: A Checklist for Evaluating Books for Anti-Indian Bias (also available separately for $7.95), which poses critical questions about children's literature and gives specific examples of acceptable and unacceptable text and pictures.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

Growing concern about environmental problems has led to the development of more environmental education initiatives and materials. To keep abreast of changes and additions in this field, contact the Alliance for Environmental Education, a coalition devoted to developing environmental education centers. Ask about its bimonthly newsletter, The Network Exchange, and how to join the Network for Environmental Education.

Unfortunately, environmental education often fails to address the interdependence of humans and the environment. This is especially true for the recent crop of materials on tropical rain forests. The results is that many people concerned about rainforest destruction don't realize that preservation efforts can bar rainforest inhabitants from their traditional lands.

Indigenous people are part of the National Wildlife Federation educational booklet, Ranger Rick's NatureScope-Rain Forests: Tropical Treasures ($7.95). Tropical Treasures contains an imaginative selection of ready-to-copy maps, puzzles, coloring pages, worksheets, craft ideas, and activities designed for kindergarten through the eighth grade. Reading lists and film suggestions are included. While the treatment of indigenous rain-forest inhabitants is somewhat superficial, the guide's presentation of a pygmy family shows beginning audiences that rain forests contain people as well as animals and plants.

For a slightly more sophisticated treatment, check out the Vanishing Rain Forests Kit ($29.29) created by World Wildlife Fund in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution's Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES) exhibit, "Tropical Rainforests; A Disappearing Treasure." Designed for grades 2-6, the kit introduces students to rainforest ecology, the interdependence of food chains and webs, rainforests animal adaptations, and the consequences of disturbing rainforest systems.

The best part of the kit is the Simulation Game. Students take on various roles - native people, cattle ranchers, coffee growers, a drug company, conservationists, scientists, and government officials - and must decide how to divide a piece of disputed rainforest. Most museums that house the Smithsonian exhibit carry the kit; limited copies are available from World Wildlife Fund.

The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education distributes a thoughtful curriculum that pays considerable attention to the human dimension of rainforest issues. "What Have You go to Lose? New World Tropical Rianforests" includes teaching notes, 24 slides, color-in posters, and interactive activity exercises ($42.95 for complete kit in English or Spanish; $24.95 for text only).

AUDIO-VISUAL RESOURCES

To fully understand indigenous issues, you must appreciate the interrelationships among politics, the environment, development, human rights, and pluralism. This is no small task, but sometimes seeing is believing. A good film, video, or slide show can make obscure issues concrete. You can incorporate such material into a larger study using books, guides, and curriculum activities, or you can make the film the centerpiece of your discussion; films and videos also make great events. Combine several into a festival and charge admission for a fundraiser.

A number of distributors, such as Bullfrog Films, The Video Project, and New Day Film and Video, specialize in environmental, Third World, and other progressive films and videos. Bullfrog Films carries an extensive collection of environmental videos, including some that highlight the destructive impact of misguided development. One of the best, Blowpipes and Bulldozers, recounts the struggle of the Penan in Malaysia against logging on their traditional lands.

Videos of the Millennium TV series, hosted by Cultural Survival founder and president David Maybury-Lewis, are available for sale or rental (contact Cultural Survival for information). This 10-part series examines traditional cultures from around the world and encourages viewers to think critically about their own cultural heritage. KCET-TV in Los Angeles is distributing educational packets to high school social-studies programs throughout the country. Ask your school administrators about using these in your course work or extracurricular activities or order your own for use in your community or at home. KCET's National High School Outreach Kit contains student activity sheets, a viewers' guide, a teachers' guide, and a small resource and action guide.

EXPANDING THE CLASSROOM

Enhance your studies of indigenous cultures and the environment by taking to the streets. More and more cultural institutions, museums, parks, gardens, horticultural shows, zoos, aquariums, and fairs are developing events and exhibits around rain forests, Native Americans, and other relevant themes. Look in Ranger Rick's NatureScope: Tropical Treasures (see more above), available from the National Wildlife Federation, for "Where to see Tropical Rain Forests," a list of rainforest exhibits.

Learn about Native American history by visiting Native American museums and parks, as well as missions and archeological sites. Visit a cultural fair or a music or dance festival to experience the flavor of a region, culture, or ethnic group. Watch for performance tours from abroad. Check for special events at museums.

Call before your visit. Many institutions have educational programs and tours designed specifically for school groups. Ask about educational materials to buy or borrow.

SPREADING THE WORLD

Take your message to the public; form a club to sponsor fun and educational activities for your school and or community.

Invite a speaker to address your group, your school, or a wider audience; for speakers, contact local Native American organizations, environmental and human-rights groups, or the anthropology, sociology,history, or natural science departments of local colleges and universities. You can also organize a "teach-in" or "speak-out." Enlist experts, educators, students, and community members to speak.

Design an individual or group study project for academic credit or for fun that examines the connections between your community and tribal peoples and plans educational events and trips.

Research the history of Native Americans in your area. What Native Peoples occupied the region before settlers arrived from abroad? What was the history of their relationship with European immigrants and African Americans? Where does the tribe live today? Does the tribe still exist as an entity? Are descendants still in the areas or were they forced to resettle elsewhere?

What type of people settled in this area? Looking at your town today, can your trace the cultural origins of all the settlers, including Native American cultures?

From what countries and regions do manufactures, universities, hospitals and other local institutions buy their retail goods and commodities? What products sold in local stores and restaurants come from developing countries? Were they produced by tribal peoples?

Publicize the results of your project with posters, skits, songs, fairs, and international feasts.

Sponsor an art or poster contest. Look in the library and local stores for books and records by and about indigenous and ethnic arts. You can use art to celebrate the cultures of tribal peoples, highlight the ethnic heritages of your community, or educate about issues related to indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities. Your groups can also create a low-cost, mobile display for schools and public spaces.

Organize a festival or crafts fair that features the music, dance, stories, art-work, crafts, or food of one or more indigenous groups. Invite merchants, restaurant owners, food importers, and others who trade with developing countries to open booths and help you locate musicians, storytellers, and dancers. In New York City, contact City Lore for help organizing a neighborhood festival.

Plan your event to coincide with dates such as Earth Day, World Rain Forest Week, or Human Rights Day. This sort of occasion allows you to garner more attention and demonstrate how these subjects relate to indigenous people.

Use the "World Rainforest Week" guide to get suggestions for planning events around that week (October 17-24 in 1992) or around any occasion. Available for free from Rainforest Action Network and for activists and organizers of all ages, the guide gives background information on rainforest destruction and related human-rights issues. It also includes "how-to's" for activities and fund-raising events such as festivals, demonstrations, and live music benefits.

Many educational and community events can also become fundraisers. By the same token, approach all fundraisers as opportunities for community education.

Use your imagination. Raise money by selling rainforest products, such as Rainforest Crunch. Sell T-shirts, posters, buttons, or baseball hats. Design your own or purchase them from Cultural Survival. Contact CS for a list of our products, prices, and our fundraising kit.

Elementary school students at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols school in Cambridge, MA, held a "read-a-thon" to raise money for Cultural Survival. Students solicited sponsors and were paid for each book they read. You can organize a read-a-thon on a particular theme and hold a contest at school for the best student presentation.

Education and help your community while you raise funds by organizing a neighborhood clean-up day. Get people to pitch in and clean up local parks, streets, shelters, schools, and other community centers. Have the workers collect pledges from sponsors for each hour of service. Use the money to fund your activities or contribute to an indigenous group through Cultural Survival.

ACTIVIST EDUCATION

Join the growing movement of young people working for social change. Young people active in their communities and schools demonstrate that you can make a difference by reaching out, educating others, and supporting issues that concern them.

Encampment for Citizenship, a California-based nonprofit organization, runs is a six-week leadership program for 16-19 year olds from around the world. The camp program includes workshops, political activities, guest presentations, discussions, community service, specialized projects, and field trips. Inquire about tuition and scholarships.

Student Pugwash USA, a national non-profit educational organization, high-lights the social and ethical implications of science and technology. With chapters at 25 colleges and universities, Pugwash helps steer recent graduates into careers that benefit society. It publishes a quarterly newsletter and organizes local, regional, national, and international events and conferences. Apply to participate in their biennial international conference in which 90 students join experts to address the impact of science and technology on society. The 1992 conference will discuss such topics as Environmental Challenges for Developing Countries, Energy Options: Their Social and Environmental Impact, and Changing Dynamics of Peace and Global Security. Call or write for an application and information.

THE QUINCENTENARY

In October 1992, communities around the world will commemorate or mourn the 500th anniversary of Columbs' arrival in the New World. The United Nations 0as declared 1993 the International Year of the World's Indigenous People. Use these events to inform and educate your community about indigenous issues. The 1992 Alliance integrates and coordinates efforts of Native American organizations, foundations, and the media during the Columbus Quincentenary.

Your quincentenary reading list should include some of the publications released especially for this event. In addition to Rethinking Columbus, read Responding Faithfully to the Quincentenary, a study and action packet published by The National Council of Churches. This outstanding guide includes 25 action suggestion, a listing of organizations planning to observe the quincentenary, a bibliography, articles, and more. Teachers might be interested in the Central America Resource Center's Quincentennial Education Packets (grades K-6; 7-12; $5 plus $1 postage).

The South and Meso-American Indian Information Center publsihes an excellent resource guide 500 years of Resistance and a newsletter about such activities around the world. Worth a look is The Alliance for Cultural Democracy's counter-quincentennial quarterly, Huracan: 500 years of Resistance. Stay up to date on quincentennial activities by subscribing to the Committee for American Indian History's bimonthly newsletter, Indigenous Thought.

The World Council of Indigenous Peoples operates internationally, calling attention to the plight of indigenous peoples and the work done on their behalf. It publishes a quarterly newsletter and has consultive status at the United Nations.

The Indigenous Communications Resource Center is a leading source of information on counter-quincentennial activities. In cooperation with the American Indian Program at Cornell University, ICRC has published "A View from the Shore: Indian Perspectives on the Quincentenary," a special issue of the Northeast Indian Quarterly.

October 8-10, 1992, ICRC is sponsoring a hemisperic Indian conference, "State of Indian America: Prospects for the Next 500 Years." A dozen speakers from North, Central, and South America will convene to define the major elements of the survival of Native American peoples and communities, roots of revitalization, and prospects for growth and prosperity.

Another conference of interest will be held on July 27-31, 1992, sponsored by The Native American Council of New York City on 1992 under the auspices of the American Indian Community House. The Native American Youth Conference will bring future leaders of the Pan-american Community to the Seneca's Tonawanda reservation in upstate New York. NAC is sponsoring a number of other events, including a month-long series of Native American festivals in New York City. On July 1, the council will launch a flotilla of ships from New York carrying Native American festivals in New York City. On July 1, the council will launch a flotilla of ships from New York carrying Native American elders and dignitaries on a counter-sail to Spain. Contact NAC for additional events and information and to learn about its sponsor institution, Learning Alliance: Options for Education and Action.

July 15-19, 1992, the Fellowship of Reconciliation will hold a national conference at Snow Mountain Ranch, CO, entitled Building Community, Breaking Free, 500 Years of Resistance. Register by May.

RESOURCES

Buckingham Browne and Nichols School

Lower School, 10 Buckingham St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Center for Ecology and Social Justice

Institute for Policy Studies, 1601 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20009 (202) 234-9382; fax (202) 387-7915

Chestnut Hill School

428 Hammond St., Chestnut Hill, MA 02167

City Lore

72 East 1st St., New York, NY 10003 (212)529-1955

Earth Day, USA

Box810, Epping, NH 03042 (603)929-0220

Encampment for Citizenship

2530 San Pablo Ave., Suite B, Berkeley, CA 94702-2013 (510)548-8908

Global Education Associates

475 Riverside Dr., Suite 456, New York, NY 10115 (212)870-3290; fax (212)870-2055

Institute for Global Communications/EcoNet

18 de Boom St., San Francisco, CA 94107 (415)442-0220; fax (415)546-1794

Intercultural Press, Inc.

P.O. Box 9475, Berkeley, CA 94709 (510)527-3873

Learning Alliance

494 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 (212)226-7171

Rainforest Action Network

450 Sansome St., Suite 700, San Francisco, CD 94111 (415)398-4404; fax (415)3998-2732

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES)

1100 Jefferson Dr., SW, Washington, D.C. 20560 (202)357-3168

Student Pugwash USA

1638 R St. NW, Suite 32, Washington, DC 20009-6446 (202)328-6555; fax (202)797-4664; 1-800-WOW-A-PUG (for students)

Study Circles Resource Center P.O. Box 203, Pomfret, CT 06258 (208)928-2616; fax (208)928-3713

World Affairs Concil of Boston

22 Batterymarch St., Boston, MA 02109 (617)482-1740

AUDIO-VISUAL SOURCES

Bullfrog Films

P.O. Box 149, Oley, PA 19547 (215)779-8226; fax (215)370-1978

Free Previews and rental. Special prices for activists.

Earth Island Institute

300 Broadway, Suite 28, San Francisco, CA 94133 (415)788-3666; fax (415)788-7324

Green Mountain Post Films

P.O. Box 177, Montague, MA 013551 (413)863-4754

Icarus

200 Park Ave., South, Rm. 1319, New York, NY 10003 (212)674-3375

IMMEDIATE Impact

39 W. 14th St., Suite 403, New York, NY 10011 (212)929-2663

KCET-TV

4401 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027 (213)667-9331; fax (213)667-9336

New Day Film and Video Catalog

121 West 27 St., Suite 902, New, NY 10001 (212)645-8210; fax 212 645-8652

Cooperative of independent film makers that distribute films and videos about social change.

New Yorker Films

16 W. 61st St., New York, NY 10023 (212)247-6110

Third World Newsreel

335 W. 38th St., 5th floor, New York, NY 10018 (212)947-9277

Oldest Third World media center in the United States. Produces, exhibits, and distributes videos, films and resources for media students and professionals.

The Video Project

5332 College Ave.. Suite 101, Oakland, CA 94618 (510)655-9050; fax (510)655-9115

Inquire about a 10-day preview for purchase that is available for educational institutions or nonprofit organizations.

World Music Press

P.O. Box 2565 (11 Myrtle Ave.), Danbury, CT 06813 (203)748-1131

Multicultural Music, videos, books.

EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS: THE ENVIRONMENT

Alliance for Environmental Education

2111 Wilson Blvd., Suite 751, Arlington, VA 22201

Minnesota Office of Environmental Education

Department of Education, 64 Capital Square Bldg, 550 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 5101 (612)296-2723

National Wildlife Federation

1400 16th St., NW, Washington, DC, 20036-2266 (800)432-6564

Stanford Program for International and Cross-Cultural Education

300 Lausen St., Littlefield Center, Rm. 14, Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA 94035-5013 (415)723-1114

World Wildlife Fund

1250 24th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037

Contact WWF for their Atlas of the Environment by Geoffrey Lean, Don Hinrichsen, and Adam Markham (Prentice Hall, 1990).

EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS: MULTICULTURALISM

Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with Native Peoples

National Office, P.O. Box 574 Stn. P., Toronto, Ontario M5S 2T1, CANADA

Council on Interracial Books for Children

P.O. Box 1263, New York, NY 10023 (212)757-5339

Network of Educators on Central America

1118 22nd St., NW, Washington, DC 20034 (202)429-0137

Central American Peace Campaign

Latin America Education Project

4556 University Way, NE, Seattle, WA 98105 (206)547-3977

New Society Educational Foundation (Publishers)

4527 Springfield Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19143 (215)382-6543

The REACH Center

239 North McLeod, Arlington, WA 98223 (206)435-8682

Rethinking Schools Limited

1001 E. Keefe Ave., Milwaukee WI 53212 (414)964-9646

Skipping Stones

P.O. Box 3939, Eugene, OR 97403-0939 (503)342-4956

Southern Poverty Law Center

400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104 (205)264-0286

EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS: THE QUINCENTENNARY

Alliance for Cultural Democracy

2311 E 32nd St., Minneapolis, MN 55406 (612) 721-5491

Magazine: Huracan/ACD.P.O. Box 7591, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Central America Resource Center

Quincentennial Education Project

317 17th Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (612)627-9455

Committee for American Indian History

6802 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL 32608 (904)378-3246; fax (904)378-0386

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Box 271, Nyack, NY 10960 (914)358-4601; fax (914)358-4924

Indigenous Communications Resource Center

American Indian Program, Cornell University, 400 Caldwell Hall, Ithaca, NY

14850 (607)255-6587

Conference information: 300 Caldwell Hall

Indigenous 500 Committee

47 Clarence Street, Suite 300, Otawa, ontario, K1N 9K1, CANADA (613)236-0673; fax (613)238-5780

Indigenous 500 Commitee of Canada has tentatively planned an international conference in Mexico this fall.

National American Council

404 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10003 (212)598-0100; fax (212)598-4909

National Council of Churches

475 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10115 (212)870-2298

1992 Alliance

American Indian Art Institute Museum, P.O. Box 2007, Santa Fe, NM 87504 (505)988-6281

South and Meso-american Indian Information Center (SAIIC)

P.O. Box 28703, Oakland, CA 94604 (510)834-4263

World Council of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP)

555 King Edward Ave., Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5 CANADA (613)230-9030; fax (613)230-9340

THINKING GLOBALLY, ACTING LOCALLY

The YES! Tour has spread across the continent like a tidal wave of inspiration. The response is powerful and hundreds of students have wanted to join us. This is flattering and a symbol of our success, but it is also a concern. One of the most crucial things we've learned as the importance of long-term action at a local level. If every person alive became active in their homes and communities, we wouldn't have to worry about other countries.

Yet if all inspired people travel with the YES! Tour, how would their communities change? This year we decided to encourage people to recognize their own power and strength. We can be role models, but we don't want to be heroes on a pedestal. That's why we have developed a long-term follow-up plan involving regional tours by local youth. We also decided to make a two-week visit to a community instead of one. Each school can be visited twice - once for a presentation and again for a follow-up workshop. We are preparing a "Tour Action Guide" to serve as a step-by-step guide for starting new tours.

You can get more involved in YES! through local organizing, becoming a member and receiving, becoming a member and receiving our action-update newsletter, sponsoring a visit of the tour to your community, attending a summer camp, or joining the tour.

The Time Is Now - A Youth Action Guide will be available in the fall of 1992. This book contain vital information: success stories, inspirational essays, the latest facts and figures on the global situation, and the most effective strategies and ideas for action.

Contact Yes! at 706 Fredrick St., Santa Cruz, CA 95063.

ECOLOGY AND CULTURE

The International Society for Ecology and Culture draws connections between Western notions of economic growth and technology and the world's present environmental and social crises. ISEC's Ladakh Project, which focuses on the Little Tibet region of Nepal, highlights that region while showcasing the global problem of misguided and culturally inappropriate development. Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh ($22.50), by founder Helena Norberg-Hodge, and a video, Development: A Better Way? Lesssons From Little Tibet ($35) look at Ladakh's traditional culture, the impact of development, and describe alternatives, explored by the project.

The project in Ladakh provides information to people there to dispel excessive rosy images by Western life and point out some pitfalls of conventional development. Simultaneously, it has initiated a number of small-scale development projects based on locally rooted "appropriate" technologies.

ISEC distributes a number of other publications and audio-visual materials, including The Future of Progress (book and video) with writings and interviews on environment and development. Contact them for more information.

STATEWIDE ACTION

You can get your state to legislate progressive educational policies. Popular concern created a statewide push in Minnesota for a comprehensive enviornmental education program, and in 1973 the state accepted responsibility for education on environmental concepts and issues. In 1988, a constitutional amendment established an environmental trust - funded in part by revenues from the state lottery - that provides grants for curriculum development, teacher training, and community awareness programs on the environment.

In 1989, the Minnesota Environmental Education Board was temporarily abolished due to lack of funding. It was reinstated as The Office of Environmental Education in 1990, under the State Board of Education. With the goal of promoting an understanding of ecological systems in schools, community groups, nature, centers, and museums, the specifics of environmental education are tailored to each school district.

The stage offers teachers a Program Planning Guide for Environmental Education, a Catalog of Energy and Environmental Education Resources, and a database on environmental education. The Environmental Bulletin Board lists events and keeps teachers informed about the latest changes in environmental policies.

SITES FOR LEARNING

SITES - the Smithsonian Institution Travelling Exhibition Service - is the largest traveling exhibition service in the world. It circulates exhibits of varied sizes and subject matter to institutions ranging from museums and libraries to municipal buildings and shopping malls. Many exhibits deal with cultural diversity. Exhibits include those developed by the Smithsonian as well as those created by other individuals and institutions, with a high percentage of exhibits in lightweight and low-cost formats. Every SITES exhibit includes interpretive materials, press releases, photographs, posters, brochures, and educational or enrichment materials.

Launched in 1988, the SITES exhibit Tropical Rainforests: A Disappearing Treasure Will travel to five more cities before January 1994. Like many SITES projects, it provides an ideal jumping - off point for related events and education. Museums and local organizations along the exhibit's tour have collaborated with Cultural Survival and others to develop materials that highlight aspects of the tropical rainforest environment, including the relation of indigenous people to land.

The Smithsonian has published a companion book, People of the Tropical Rainforest, People of the Tropical Rainforest, edited by Julie Sloan Denslow and Christine Padoch. It examines how different kinds of people use forests and relate to the rainforest problem.

Look for exhibits in your area. Call SITES for information or to inquire about circulating your own exhibit. Prices for ordering an exhibit for your school or organization range from $500 to $30,000; small exhibition are available in poster form for $100 to $300.

SCHEDULE FOR TROPICAL RAINFORESTS: A DISAPPEARING THREASURE

May 9-August 2, 1992: Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX

September 5-November 29, 1992:

Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta, GA

January 2-March 28, 1993: Chicago Botanical Garden, Glencoe, IL

May 1-September 6, 1993: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

October 12, 1993-January 4, 1994:

Celeveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, OH

THE POSTER PROJECT

The Rain Forest Poster Project of The Chestnut Hill School in Brookline, MA, is a great example of how a school can use creativity to take action on an issue of common concern. In this case, elementary-school parents, students, and faculty decided they needed to do something about the environment.

The project grew out of a collaboration between Mary Long Graham (an artist and parent involved in the school's "Earth Year" activities), an art teacher, Jacqueline McKeon, and students from first to sixth grade. The students drew pictures inspired by imagining what sorts of animals, plants, and insects inhabit the rainforest and how it would feel to lose their forest and how it would feel to lose their homes and communities. The drawings were assembled into a color poster that is sold in local shops and through the mail. Profits go to rainforest preservation groups.

You can initiate your own Rainforest Poster Project. Try to incorporate images of rainforest inhabitants. Donate proceeds to an indigenous group in a rainforest region.

Article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc.

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