Readers' Forum

Readers' Forum is a place for you feedback and ideas. We welcome you to use this space to share your thoughts, inspire us with your personal stories, and challenge our thinking and that of our readers.

Expanding horizons


I am an organic farmer with my partner, Soo, on a small plot of land in northeast Thailand. Several months ago, I returned from a half-year journey across the US in an old VW van – reconnecting with long time friends and family after six years away.


I was received with great warmth and generosity. A wonderful reunion. But I've had a vague, continuing sense of unease, of threads missing – some lack of full connection.


I think, now, that it has to do with the feeling that the people in the US live as though the US were a separate entity – as though their lifestyle had nothing to do with the rest of the planet. Most rely totally on the mainstream media and can thus plead ignorance.


I've been pondering, puzzling how to open them to a wider spectrum of global conditions without pushing my personal perspective from afar – a bleak and incredible one in their limited framework. And then, the other day, as I was digesting the last few paragraphs of issues #3 and #4

, I got it – YES!


So, here's half a month's pay – to inoculate this small, select sampling with broader views and encouraging news and yes! ... hope.


Many, many thanks for all your fine efforts and energy.


Bob Tillotson
Chaiyaphum, Thailan

Peace Ride

I've been trying to contact the coordinators of the Great Millennium Peace Ride for some time, which was included in your resource listing from YES! #5, Spring 1998.

I recently found out that there is no longer a US contact. The project is now being coordinated out of

People interested in the Great Millennium Peace Ride may now contact Mr. Sigitas Kucas, Kriviu 41-22, 2007 Vilnius, Lithuania.

Walt Blackford
Langley, Washington

Friends and allies

I have read your Fall 1998 issue cover to cover. I have been a subscriber to YES! for a few years. I was proud of you before, but I am even more committed to your magazine now.

I was extremely pleased with the article about the United Religions Initiative. Our staff quickly made several copies of the article and mailed it off to people all over the world who wanted to know the latest about the URI. You did a superb job of capturing the facts and the spirit of the Global Summit gathering.
We are heading into new terrain as we build an organization where the deepest values of people are respected and put into action for the good of all. It is wonderful to have your competent support and share a similar vision with you and the staff and readership of YES!

Many thanks to you and all of the people who support YES! We know that we cannot launch a new organization or work for peaceful alternatives to violence in the world unless we walk hand in hand together. Thank you for extending your hand to URI. We wish you every success as you continue to bring to your readership insight about better ways of living and real alternatives that show us that positive change is happening and that a positive future is possible. You do wonderful work – keep it up!

Sally Ackerley
United Religions Initiative
San Francisco, California

Natural steps

Congratulations on yet another excellent issue of YES! I believe all YES! readers understand Karl-Henrik Robèrt when he says, “On the intuitive level, everyone knows that the natural environment is also the habitat for our economy, and if it goes down the drain, so does the economy.” (See “The Natural Step,” #7, Fall 1998.)

Four necessary system conditions were mentioned that must be met to make a society sustainable. Of particular interest was the fourth condition – “We must be fair and efficient in meeting our basic human needs.”

As Dr. Robèrt tells us, fairness is essential to meeting this condition. This is also a conclusion of our 20-year study of the unique phenomenon of Kerala – a state in India that combines high life quality, low consumption, and small families.

Our Kerala study finds that essential in the human sustainability formula are small families – that is, birth rates that do not increase the number of humans on Earth. As we know, low birth rates happen when the moms and dads in a society achieve a certain level of contentment. Here in terms of human sustainability, Kerala offers workable criteria for efficiency in meeting basic human needs.

The birth rates of any society divided into the per capita consumption of that society can be applied as the crucial efficiency measure. Using this measure, Kerala is very efficient, and much of the first world is very inefficient.

Will Alexander
Santa Rosa, California

More on subvertisements

After seeing the “subvertisement” in your “No Comment” section of YES! #6 (Summer 1998), I'm glad I made the call to your staff to ensure that it was indeed a spoof. Even the small print “Adbusters” line didn't make it clear that this was meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

Keep up the spoofing, but a little more exclamation, please.

J a q u e s


One of the most pleasing aspects of reading my first issue of YES! – the Millennium Survival Guide – has been the reassurance that those of us working on the local level do have counterparts all over the country and indeed, the world.

Here in Minnesota, we, too, have been working to challenge and publicize the externalities that Mr. Korten has so eloquently discussed in his recent book, When Corporations Rule the World.

Jon Commers
St. Paul, Minnesota


I wish to inform you that I have changed my Affinity phone service donation to go to the Positive Futures Network. I'm so pleased PFN is now affiliated with Affinity. It's another way I can support the profoundly important work you are doing.

Tom Clayton
Yakima, Washington

Editor's note: For more information on how you can save on long distance telephone calls while supporting the Positive Futures Network, call us at 800/937-4451. We appreciate the extra support.

Power shift

In her article, “Power Shift in India” (YES! #6, Summer 1998), Vandana Shiva is not very honest in describing the current Hindu fundamentalist party as a moderate one. The backbone of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the Vishnu Hindu Parishad, which demolished the mosque in Ayodhya, killed an unknown number of Muslims and Sikhs, and is now targeting Christians.

Environmental justice without human rights is not good. Please try to portray the fanatic government that exploded nuclear bombs for what it is.

No return address

Wanted: used books

It has been 15 months since I came to India to teach carpentry at the Aurobindo Ashram in New Delhi. This ashram is dedicated to the education of young people. We have 3,000 students in a variety of schools and programs.

We would welcome your network of angels to send a box of their old books to our school. The US Post Office will ship a box of books via M-bag, 15-65 pounds, at 80¢ per pound surface mail to India.

The kids here are excited about learning anything. What books we cannot use here we will distribute to other schools in India. Thank you!

Michael Burtt
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Sri Aurobindo Marg
New Delhi 11016 India

Soul food

Your journal is “soul food.” I feel inspired, replenished, and full of hope and enthusiasm after reading each issue. Your articles not only inspire but are a call to courage to take on personal, local, and planetary responsibility and stewardship.

As the oldest land with the oldest continuous indigenous population combined with the world's youngest multicultural community, Australians have the opportunity to create a truly sustainable and spiritual society. The movement in this direction is coming from the grassroots; we are now building strategic alliances – a vast web, a new story. Keep weaving the web!

Gilbert Rochecouste
Epoch Foundation
Melbourne, Australia

Due to an oversight, a few errors were introduced into the text of “Compassionate Listening,” in YES! #7, Fall 1998, including a mistaken reference to Leah Green as a rabbi. A corrected version of this article can be viewed on our Web site () and is available as a reprint at no charge. Please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope.


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