Meditation Focus #70

Recreating Harmony With Nature and Alleviating Hunger
and Poverty Around the World



Hello,

What follows is the 70th Meditation Focus suggested for the two consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, August 18, 2002.

Recreating Harmony With Nature and Alleviating Hunger and Poverty Around the World

1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information on this Meditation Focus


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1. SUMMARY

From August 26 to September 4 summit, over 40,000 delegates including up to 100 heads of state and government are expected in Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This Summit may prove to be a key historical turning point or yet another missed opportunity as much depends on its outcome. As we indicated a year ago in a similar Meditation Focus, because of extremes in global weather patterns, millions of people and several major ecosystems on Earth are currently experiencing severe hardship and stress. Although some of these extremes are part of natural weather cycles such as the annual monsoon in the Indian subcontinent, it is believed that man-made global warming may also play a major role in triggering extreme climatic events such as floods, droughts and the ensuing list of calamities that plague human populations and all of Nature in the affected areas. In their often blind pursuit of economic prosperity or simply through the absolute necessities of survival, human beings are responsible for the accelerated destruction of vast natural habitats, thus precipitating what many scientists consider to be the sixth episode of mass extinction of species our planet has experienced in its 4.5 billion years of existence. It is urgent humanity realizes very soon the tragic and irreparable consequences of our collective disregard for the unique living planet we inhabit, and lack of reverence for nearly all other Life forms. Where they are not a natural unfolding of the Earth's own processes and evolutionary cycle, the environmental havoc and ensuing famine and poverty we observe are the direct results of a disruption to the planetary ecosystems by the disharmonious actions and selfish lifestyles of far too many human beings.

Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks, and especially in synchronous attunement at the usual time for the next 2 Sundays, starting at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT), to contribute in fostering the need to heal our world and our human hearts from the lack of love and reverence for all that lives on Earth. Hold a vision, as guided by Spirit, of a global awareness and correction of those actions that adversely affect the Earth's climate, so that as, a global family, we recognise and honour the web of life on Earth. As a global collective of awakening souls, it is in our power to impart through our underlying connections with humanity the necessity to make the needed changes so as to recreate harmony with Nature and alleviate hunger and poverty around the world. May the Spirit of Life awaken us all to our Oneness with all Life and our common responsibility towards each other, for the Highest Good of All.

This entire Meditation Focus is also available at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus70.htm


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2. Meditation Times

i) Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes with a special Earth Healing Focus in the last few minutes.

ii) Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT: Honolulu 06:00 -- Los Angeles 09:00 -- Denver & San Salvador 10:00 -- Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 11:00 -- New York, Toronto, Montreal, Asuncion & Santiago 12:00 -- Rio de Janeiro & Montevideo 13:00 -- Reykjavik & Casablanca 16:00 -- London, Algiers & Lagos 17:00 -- Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Johannesburg & Madrid 18:00 -- Athens, Helsinki, Jerusalem, Nairobi & Istanbul 19:00 -- Moscow & Baghdad 20:00 -- Tehran 20:30 -- Islamabad 21:00 -- Calcutta & New Delhi 21:30 -- Dhaka 22:00 -- Rangoon 22:30 -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 23:00 -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur 00:00+ -- Seoul & Tokyo 01:00+ -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne 02:00+ -- Wellington 04:00+

(+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time)


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3. More information on this Meditation Focus

This complement of information is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read it, especially those receiving this material for the first time, we encourage you to view the abovementioned information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provided these details because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.

See our previous related Meditation Focus #15: The Extremes in Global Weather: Famine, Floods and Wildfires at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus15.htm -- where you will find more explanations on The Ecological Background and The Spiritual Background.

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a) GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS

From: http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17269/newsDate/13-Aug-2002/story.htm

Asian smog cloud threatens millions, says UN

UK: August 13, 2002

LONDON - A three-km (two-mile) thick cloud of pollution shrouding southern Asia is threatening the lives of millions of people in the region and could have an impact much further afield, according to a United Nations-sponsored study.

It said the cloud, a toxic cocktail of ash, acids, aerosols and other particles, was damaging agriculture and changing rainfall patterns across the region which stretches from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka.

The lives of millions of people were at risk from drought and flooding as rainfall patterns were radically altered, with dire implications for economic growth and health.

"We have an early warning. We have clear information and we already have some impact. But we need much, much more information," U.N Environment Programme chief Klaus Toepfer told a news conference.

"There are also global implications not least because a pollution parcel like this, which stretches three km high, can travel half way round the globe in a week."

Toepfer said the cloud was the result of forest fires, the burning of agricultural wastes, dramatic increases in the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, industries and power stations and emissions from millions of inefficient cookers.

He said the U.N.'s preliminary report into what it dubbed the "Asian Brown Cloud" was a timely reminder to the upcoming Earth Summit in Johannesburg that action, not words, was vital to the future of the planet.

"The huge pollution problem emerging in Asia encapsulates the threats and challenges that the summit needs to urgently address," he said.

"We have the initial findings and the technological and financial resources available. Let's now develop the science and find the political and moral will to achieve this for the sake of Asia, for the sake of the world," he added.

RESPIRATORY DISEASE RISK

Professor Victor Ramanathan, one of the more than 200 scientists involved in the study, said the cloud was cutting the amount of solar energy hitting the earth's surface beneath it by up to 15 percent.

"We had expected a drop in sunlight hitting the earth and sea, but not one of this magnitude," he said.

At the same time the cloud's heat-absorbing properties were warming the lower atmosphere considerably, and the combination was altering the winter monsoon, leading to a sharp reduction in rainfall over parts of north-western Asia and a corresponding rise in rainfall over the eastern coast of Asia.

The report calculated that the cloud - 80 percent of which was man-made - could cut rainfall over northwest Pakistan, Afghanistan, western China and western central Asia by up to 40 percent.

Apart from drastically altering rainfall patterns, the cloud was also making the rain acid, damaging crops and trees, and threatening hundreds of thousands of people with respiratory disease.

Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen - one of the first scientists to identify the causes of the hole in the ozone layer and also involved in the U.N. report - said up to two million people in India alone were dying each year from atmospheric pollution.

"If present trends as they are continue, then we have a very serious problem," he said.

The report called for special monitoring stations to be set up watch the behaviour of the cloud and its impact on people and the environment.

"The concern is that the regional and global impacts of the haze are set to intensify over the next 30 years as the population of the Asian region rises to an estimated five billion people," the report said.

A spokeswoman for environmental group Friends of the Earth said urgent action was needed.

"Actions must include phasing out fossil fuels and replacing them with clean, green, renewable energy and tough laws to protect the world's forests," she said.

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From: http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17327/story.htm

Ten years on, the Rio "circus" heads for South Africa (August 16, 2002)

Ten years on, and the Earth Summit - this time called the World Summit on Sustainable Development - moves to South Africa, where it will open in Johannesburg on August 26.

The issues will be water and sanitation, energy, agricultural productivity and food security, biodiversity and ecosystem management, and health.

All will be wrapped under the rubric of sustainable development - or, roughly, how to manage global economic growth without environmental loss. A decade ago, the leaders also had far-reaching plans.

They agreed treaties to combat climate change and to protect plants and animals, the rich said they would help the poor develop, and they all adopted a huge blueprint to guide themselves through it. But there are few today who would argue that the promises of Rio have been met.

"There was really quite a buzz at Rio," said Tony Carritt, who attended the summit as a reporter and is now media relations manager for the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen. "There was a feeling that things would actually happen. Then as soon as Rio was over the momentum went out of it."

Most, if not all, of the major issues facing the Earth Summit - pollution, environmental destruction, poverty - are still around. Indeed, many of the clashes between competing interests that dominated Rio are expected to be on display once again.

The U.S. official's comments about a "circus" in 1992, for example, reflected Washington's dismay at hearing a drumbeat of demands that the rich West share its wealth with the poor and adopt policies that it did not necessarily see as being in its interests.

Then-President George Bush refused to sign the Earth Summit's biodiversity treaty, fearing it would hurt U.S. pharmaceutical interests, and generally found himself cast in the role of Rio party-pooper.

A decade later, his son, President George W. Bush, may not even attend and has been lambasted for pulling out of the Kyoto agreement, a follow-on pact from Rio's treaty on climate change.

CLIP

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See also:

Earth summit must not fail - UN's Toepfer (August 12)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17260/newsDate/12-Aug-2002/story.htm
LONDON - The Johannesburg "Earth Summit", seen by many environmentalists to be a flop even before it starts, must be made a success for the sake of world security, United Nations environment chief Klaus Toepfer said. (...) But even before the meeting starts, environmentalists have accused a group of nations led by the United States of blocking plans to set any targets and effectively emasculating a draft text on proposed actions. Toepfer said the security of the world was at stake at the summit because the gap between rich and poor - north and south - had widened considerably in the decade since the first earth summit in Rio de Janeiro. "That creates tensions and instability," he said, noting that even U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had accepted the connection between sustainable development and world security.

Asian smog impact needs 5 yrs study (August 13) http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17274/story.htm

Greens Urge World Summit to Address Causes of Asia's "Brown Cloud" (August 14) http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/oneworld/20020814/wl_oneworld/1032_1029371432
World leaders are facing calls to take action to reduce a three-kilometer thick haze over South Asia that scientists say may lead to "several hundreds of thousands" of premature deaths in the region over years to come.

China braces for more floods after week of rain (Aug 17) http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=837&ncid=731&e=4&u=/nm/20020818/wl_asia_nm/asia_120923_1

More China Floods and Slides Kill 21; Eight Missing (Aug 17)
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/nm/20020817/wl_nm/china_mudslide_dc_1&e=4
BEIJING (Reuters) - Floods and landslides caused by mountain torrents have swept through China's southeastern Zhejiang province over the past three days, killing at least 21 people, the official Xinhua news agency said Saturday. Eight other people have been reported missing since heavy rain began pounding the coastal province Thursday, it said. Floods and landslides caused by torrential rains have killed at least 133 people in separate disasters across China in the past few days and continue to pose a grave threat elsewhere, the official China Daily newspaper said Saturday. So far this year Chinese floods and slips have killed more than 900 people. (...) China's flood season arrived early this year, but so far it has not been as bad as 1998 when the worst floods in decades killed 4,000 people. CLIP

Flash floods kill 20 in northern Vietnam (Aug 18)
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=837&ncid=731&e=7&u=/nm/20020818/wl_asia_nm/asia_120930_1
Flash floods killed at least 20 people in several provinces in northern Vietnam over the weekend, prompting reinforcement at dykes in preparation for a further rise in waters and a possible storm. China is on disaster alert after a week of torrential rains prompted landslides and flash floods which claimed the lives of up to 136 people in the space of a few days, state media said on Sunday.

Europe Faces Huge Costs as Floods Still Threaten (August 19) http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=574&ncid=721&e=1&u=/nm/20020818/wl_nm/weather_europe_floods_dc_44

UN: Drought, disease threaten livestock in Afghanistan (Aug 16) http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020816/ap_wo_en_po/un_afghanistan_livestock_1
Three years of drought in Afghanistan are posing a serious threat to the country's meat supply, and livestock imported from neighboring countries might spread animal disease, according to two United Nations food agencies.

Almost 6 Million Afghans Need Food Aid, UN Says (Aug 16) http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020816/wl_nm/food_afghanistan_dc_1
Almost six million Afghans, battered by conflict and drought, will need food aid over the next year despite a recovery in farm production in 2002, the United Nations said on Friday.

Devastating drought brings despair to much of US (August 12) http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17252/newsDate/12-Aug-2002/story.htm
(...) Drought has taken a grip on more than half of the United States, experts calculate. Twenty-six states are suffering severe drought conditions and "exceptional drought" - the worst level of drought measured - has blanketed thirteen states, including New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. In a typical year, drought hits 10 percent to 12 percent of the country. "It is pretty dire," said Mark Svoboda, climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center. "We're seeing agricultural impacts...We have a lot of hydrological problems with wells and reservoirs and streams going dry. This is going to total billions of dollars when it is all said and done." (...) Crops wither in heat-baked fields, and ranchers have sold off herds rather than let them starve for lack of pasture. "I have never seen it like this and I'm 60 years old," said Richard Traylor, who owns 37,000 acres (15,000 hectares) in Texas and New Mexico but has sold off much of his cattle herd. Tourism has also been hit as the drought turned state and national parks into kindling. So far this year, wildfires have scorched more than 4.6 million acres (1.9 million hectares), twice the average acreage burned in the previous decade. (...) This year's drought is the extension of more than two years of very dry conditions in many states, said LeComte. Some areas are experiencing their fifth consecutive year of drought. The conditions are near those seen during the country's most devastating drought in the 1930s - the "dust bowl" years, when some 60 percent of the United States was affected. Global warming, changing weather patterns, bad land management and many other factors are involved in the debate over what caused the current drought. But right now the focus is more on when it will end. "We need to recharge the water supply," said Svoboda. "Just about every part of the country needs a good wet winter.

Biggest blaze in US merges with smaller Oregon fire http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17257/newsDate/12-Aug-2002/story.htm

Asian smog impact needs 5 yrs study (August 13) http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17274/story.htm

Greens Urge World Summit to Address Causes of Asia's "Brown Cloud" (August 14) http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/oneworld/20020814/wl_oneworld/1032_1029371432
World leaders are facing calls to take action to reduce a three-kilometer thick haze over South Asia that scientists say may lead to "several hundreds of thousands" of premature deaths in the region over years to come.

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b) GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

From: http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17311/newsDate/15-Aug-2002/story.htm

In a world of plenty, how do we fight hunger? (August 15, 2002)

LONDON - As world leaders gather this month to grapple with the goal of halving world hunger by 2015 the spectre of famine is again stalking sub Saharan Africa.

At least 13 million people in southern Africa risk starvation, with millions more hungry in Afghanistan, North Korea, the West Bank and Gaza Strip even as subsidised farmers in the northern hemisphere produce mountains of surplus food.

The United Nations wants to cut the number of the chronically under-nourished earning less than $1 a day to some 400 million from 815 million, but it is falling behind, with declines of just six million a year and not the 22 million needed.

Complicating the huge task for the world leaders at the U.N.'s Johannesburg "Earth Summit" is a bitter first-world debate on genetically modified (GM) crops which some say are a solution to world hunger, some regard as a threat, and others see as a distraction.

CLIP

According to the United Nation's World Food Programme southern Africa needs a minimum of 1.2 million tonnes of emergency food aid and an extra 2.8 million tonnes of commercial supplies over the next year.

The European Union alone has some five million tonnes of subsidised grains in its warehouses and is so desperate to get rid of its rye that it is considering burning it as fuel.

The subsidies which much of the developed world pays its farmers help build the unwanted food stockpiles, while tariffs bar entry to what otherwise would be lucrative developing world exports.

CLIP

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From: http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17259/newsDate/12-Aug-2002/story.htm

EU ups food aid to southern Africa, US may follow (August 12)

LUSAKA - The European Union (EU) said last week it was raising its food aid spend for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi - the southern African countries hardest hit by food shortages - to 148.5 million euros from 88.5 million euros.

EU spokesman Mwansa Pintu said in a statement published in the Zambian capital Lusaka that 30 million euros ($29.15 million) would be in the form of humanitarian aid and another 30 million euros in emergency food supplies.

"It is estimated that 300,000 tonnes of cereal, financed by the EU, will be distributed in the region this year, which will correspond to around 20 percent of the food needs estimated for the region in response to the crisis," Pintu said.

"Food and humanitarian aid have already been delivered to countries in the region via the EU's partners, which include the World Food Programme, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and local governments," he added.

Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique - as well as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi - are in the grip of a hunger crisis that aid agencies blame on drought and government mismanagement, including Zimbabwe's seizure of white-owned commercial farms.

Earlier last week, U.S. officials told a news conference in Lusaka the U.S government might increase emergency food supplies to the region because the situation seemed to be worsening.

CLIP

The U.S said early this year it would provide 1.2 million tonnes of food relief to 12.2 million people in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique.

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See also:

BBC Video: Angola's children suffer starvation http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/video/38179000/rm/_38179212_angola22_brown_vi.ram
"Right in front of you, you can see the children here struggle for life. Often they do not even have the strength to drink the liquid their bodies need and crave." - Ben Brown, BBC

Since the cease fire in early April, catastrophic levels of malnutrition have surfaced throughout the country. Mortality rates in Bailundo and Mavinga confirm a drastic situation. http://www.msf.org/countries/page.cfm?articleid=5FD90C0B-CE29-4027-9E6391F2D467416D

Survival of thousands of Angolans constantly threatened (August 5) http://www.msf.org/countries/page.cfm?articleid=00FF3E1A-E015-4A94-89B6D87D9B26A27E

For more information, about the current conditions in Angola, GO AT http://www.msf.org/countries/page.cfm?articleid=BC22D7D1-38B2-46A0-8EE0D1C3D3E89E03

Considered the worst African crisis in the past decade, malnutrition has overwhelmed Angola http://www.msf.org/countries/page.cfm?articleid=BC22D7D1-38B2-46A0-8EE0D1C3D3E89E03

UN ban on feasts during famine (August 6)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2176653.stm
Senior United Nations managers have been warned not to engage in lavish entertaining during the forthcoming environment summit in Johannesburg. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's chief of staff S Iqbal Riza urged his senior staff to remember that the conference was being held as famine threatened southern Africa. (...) "We must keep in mind that this conference is taking place in the midst of a major food crisis in southern Africa, affecting 13 million people."(...) The recent UN World Food Summit held in Rome was criticised for the lavish food and hospitality available at the event. About 13 million people are at risk of starvation in seven countries across southern Africa.

Food summit 'waste of time' (13 Jun 02)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/2042664.stm

UN's 'risky' Earth Summit gambit (30 Jul)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2159552.stm
The United Nations' strategy for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) is a risk, a senior UN official says. It aims to secure consensus on uncontentious issues, and purely voluntary agreements on more ambitious goals. The approach could go a long way to make the summit's goals a reality. But there are fears it may play into the hands of governments unwilling to make real changes. (...) Liana Stupples, of Friends of the Earth, told BBC News Online: "Type two agreements are an unproven way of trying to run the world on a whim and a guess. "They give the US a trump card, allowing it to continue to exercise a veto." CLIP

World Summit on Sustainable Development
http://www.johannesburgsummit.org

Regional hunger: Key stories What went wrong?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2004369.stm

Ailing Mozambique
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2029940.stm

Zambia's plagues
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2025611.stm

Famine in fertile Angola
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2019186.stm

Thousands dying of hunger in Angola (3 May, 2002) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/1967082.stm
An international aid agency says it has found about 18,000 people dying of starvation at a remote village in Angola. Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said its assessment team in the area found that the south-western village of Chipindo was isolated and without adequate food supplies. (...) It said Chipindo was the fourth place in need of immediate aid since the agency has been able to send its missions to Angola's provinces at the beginning of February. This followed a ceasefire between the government forces and the rebel Unita movement, bringing to an end 27 years of civil war which claimed the lives of at least 500,000 people.

Humanitarian crisis looms over Angola
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/1796528.stm

Lesotho needs food
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2029183.stm

Malawi's tragedy
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1985765.stm

Zimbabwe's crops fail
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1964548.stm

How to help famine victims People across southern Africa rely on food aid (July 25)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2122228.stm
Thirteen million people are facing starvation across southern Africa and 300,000 could die from famine in the next six months, according to international aid agencies. The World Food Programme and aid agencies have launched appeals for hundreds of millions of dollars to provide food to the hungry and try to avert a humanitarian disaster.

BBC News Online lists some of the main aid agencies working in the region and gives details of how to donate to their appeals.

CLIP

Over 21 aid agencies and their websites are listed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2122228.stm

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GLOBAL HUNGER

1996: 840 million hungry people

2002: 815 million hungry people

2015 target: 400 million hungry people




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