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NHNE News Brief 36
Friday, November 15, 1996
"A thought-provoking exploration
of the extraordinary times in which we live."
Love Never Faileth
Deformed Frog Update
The Legacy of Antibiotics
The Warming of Antarctica
GOOD NEWS NOTES:
Breathing Easier in L.A.
Trees for Land Mines
Sunflowers for Peace
NEWS BRIEF SPONSOR:
The Circle of Atonement
NHNE FINANCIAL REPORT:
Online 2, Offline 0, Total List 745
FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK:
"Prophet of Doom"
Pole Shift Torpedoed by Author
This Hungry World
Catholic Schools on Upswing
NHNE SUBSCRIPTIONS, SPONSORS & DONATIONS
ABOUT NHNE & HOW TO JOIN US
Love Never Faileth
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.... Love never faileth: But whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away."
1 Corinthians: 13: 1-8
(Source: CNN ONLINE, 11/11/96)
Fish kills are not unusual on North Carolina's Neuse River, but the one in the fall of 1995 was different from most. Millions of fish died over a period of weeks, many with large sores, or even chunks of flesh missing. Then people who spent a lot of their time on the river started to get sick with sores, attacks of vertigo, loss of weight, memory loss. The cause of the fish kill was found to be a deadly one-celled algae called pfiesteria, an odd-ball organism that has probably been around for thousands of years, but was only discovered within the last 10 years. Scientists think it may lie dormant for long periods, until something turns it into a fish-killing machine. Whether it also caused human health problems on the river has yet to be determined. What they do know is that with a microscope, the pfiesteria cells can be seen swimming up to a piece of fish flesh and gobbling it. Given a drop of human blood on a microscope slide, they gobble that too. Studies have shown that pfiesteria thrives when there are high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water. These chemicals are found in fertilizer and some waste water, and their levels have soared in recent years as agriculture, housing, and commercial development have increased along rivers. Pfiesteria has been found from the Chesapeake Bay to Florida. (JG)
DEFORMED FROG UPDATE
(Sources: Rusty Dornin, CNN ONLINE, 10/24/96; REUTERS via CNN ONLINE, 10/30/96)
A chemical used for mosquito control could be linked to deformities showing up in frogs across North America, though the source of the phenomenon remains a mystery, according to Michael Lannoo of BALL STATE UNIVERSITY. "There are an enormous number of chemicals that are being applied to the environment and we don't understand what the breakdown products of these chemicals are," said Lannoo, who heads the U.S. section of the worldwide DECLINING AMPHIBIAN POPULATION TASK FORCE. He said one suspect chemical is methporene, which produces a breakdown product resembling retonoic acid. "Retonoic acid can produce all or a majority of the limb deformities that we're seeing in nature. It is the best guess as to what's happening. Methoprene is used for mosquito control, among other things. Both the decline in amphibian populations and the deformities are of concern because frogs and related creatures are considered a "sentinel" species that can provide early warnings of human risk. The skin of amphibians is permeable and makes them particularly vulnerable to harmful elements in the water. Meanwhile, the Internet is abuzz with theories on what has caused the frogs to go genetically haywire. One popular theme in Web discussions is that the frogs' problems, regardless of their cause, may foreshadow similar woes for humans. (JG)
(Source: Anita Manning, USA TODAY, 11/12/96)
How about a strain of cotton that is "naturally" wrinkle-proof, shrink-proof, and warmer than wool? This space-age fabric will one day be a reality, according to researcher Maliyakal John of AGRACETUS, a unit of MONSANTO. "Technology gives us the opportunity to re-engineer the cotton fiber." MONSANTO incorporated genes into cotton plants from a bacteria which produces a natural plastic. Offspring of the plants contained the substance inside the cotton fibers. More work is needed to perfect the blend before products containing the new substance hit the shelves. (JG)
THE LEGACY OF ANTIBIOTICS
(Source: ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES via SPECTRUM, Nov-Dec/96)
As increasing numbers of bacteria develop antibiotic resistance, the miracle of antibiotics seems to be poised to crumble. Since 1980, the death rate from infectious diseases has increased 50 percent. The key to limiting antibiotic resistance is controlling the overuse of drugs. Although this seems straightforward, considering that 50 percent of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions are not needed, doctors may be resistant to changing their habits. Despite the fact that the common cold is caused by viruses and therefore unaffected by antibiotics, they are still prescribed for 70 percent of all colds by doctors claiming that they are simply responding to the demands of their patients. Many experts are now talking about facing the challenges of the "Post-Antibiotic Era." While some doctors are hoping for the "next new thing" to save the day, alternative treatments may come to play a major role in health care by default. (JG)
THE WARMING OF ANTARCTICA
(Source: David Bjerlklie, TIME, 3/20/95)
During the Antarctic summer of 1995, a megaberg 600 feet thick, 23 miles wide and 48 miles long, broke off from the Larsen Ice Shelf and floated slowly out to sea. The disintegration of the Larsen Ice Shelf is just one of several dramatic changes that are occurring along the coast of the continent. A huge tongue of ice that had connected the Antarctic Peninsula with James Ross Island has also disappeared. British Antarctic Surveyor Mike Thomson commented: "I was absolutely staggered by what I saw. For the first time in recorded history, you could circumnavigate Ross Island." These developments seem to be the result of a relatively recent and perhaps ominous change in Antarctica's climate. Over the past 50 years, the average temperature on the Antarctic Peninsula has risen 2.5 degrees C, to -3 degrees C -- a much greater increase than for anywhere else in the world. Not only are ice shelves turning to slush, but plant life is also exploding, with vegetation in some spots increasing 25-fold. While it's natural to think that the greening of the Antarctica might signal the much debated advent of global warming, this has not been verified. The weather patterns of the Antarctic Peninsula are the result of a complex mix of factors such as the interaction of winds, ocean currents and ice movements. (JG)
GOOD NEWS WATCH:
BREATHING EASIER IN L.A.
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS via CNN ONLINE, 10/31/96)
This year's smog season in Los Angeles, which runs from May through October, was the best since record-keeping began 40 years ago. Experts credit cleaner-burning gasoline. All state motorists have been using the reformulated gas since June, reducing exhaust and eliminating the equivalent of 3 1/2 million cars from California roads. This year, the region had only seven Stage One alerts, which indicate severe bouts of pollution. Just 20 years ago, the region endured 102 Stage One days. The SOUTH COAST AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT, which monitors Southern California's air quality, now predicts smog alerts will become extinct by 2000. (JG)
TREES FOR LAND MINES
(Source: NEW AGE JOURNAL, Nov-Dec/96)
Each week a child in Vietnam is killed or maimed by land mines left over from the war a generation ago. Now EARTHSTEWARDS NETWORK of Bainbridge Island, Washington has started a program to remove the mines and plant trees in their place. Last summer, for starters, a team cleared land near Dong Ha. In addition to clearing the perimeters of other Vietnamese towns, another objective of the group is establish a Friendship Forest Park and Land Mines Awareness Center on some of the newly forested land near Dong Ha. (JG)
SUNFLOWERS FOR PEACE
(Source: Victoria Cooper, NEW AGE JOURNAL, Nov-Dec/96)
Sunflowers are being planted at sites contaminated by nuclear waste and fallout because of their ability to restore the environment. In a process called phytoremediation, plants like sunflowers and Indian mustard have the ability to extract heavy metals such as radioactive cesium and strontium and store it in their roots in a mass only two percent of its original size. Right now, the plants are being harvested and stored in drums, but in the future, it is expected that the residue will be sealed into leach-proof cement or glass blocks. David Kreiger of the NUCLEAR AGE PEACE FOUNDATION in California has proposed a worldwide Sunflower Seed Project to encourage all nations to dismantle their nuclear arsenals. He hopes that "every time a leader of a nuclear weapons state sees a sunflower or eats a sunflower seed, he or she should be reminded that the people of the Earth desire a world free of nuclear weapons." For information or a packet of sunflower seeds write: THE NUCLEAR AGE PEACE FOUNDATION, 1187 Coast Village Rd., Suite 123, Santa Barbara, CA, 93108. (JG)
NEWS BRIEF SPONSOR:
This issue is sponsored by:
THE CIRCLE OF ATONEMENT: TEACHING & HEALING CENTER
The Circle is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching "A Course In Miracles." It grew out of the work of Robert Perry and now has an additional teacher, Allen Watson. The Circle publishes newsletters & booklets, offers weekly classes, quarterly intensives, correspondence courses and Sedona-based workshops. The Circle works on a voluntary gift basis; there is no charge for any of its services.
P.O. Box 4238
West Sedona, AZ 86340
Phone: (520) 282-0790
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FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK:
The special report by KHOU-TV of Houston, Texas featuring Gordon-Michael Scallion, the "Prophet of Doom," and David Sunfellow, "his fiercest critic," is finally out and now available. Copyright considerations prevent us from selling KHOU-TVs report, but we have received permission to distribute it to interested readers as long as we don't charge for it. So we will be including the footage as part of a longer video about NewHeavenNewEarth. The NHNE video is free, but we are asking for a donation to help defray our costs and support the work of NHNE. $20 is suggested.
The KHOU-TV special report is in three parts and runs about 15 minutes long. The NHNE video is about one hour long and in addition to the "Prophet of Doom," includes interviews with David Sunfellow, yours truly, and other luminaries in the Sedona New Age community. We will also take you on some sacred hikes to Indian ruins, vortexes and secret canyons, and give you a quick tour of Sedona itself.
This is our first venture into movie making. In the future, we intend to develop an Internet-based production company and produce a series of videos. Some upcoming topics include a video devoted entirely to sacred hikes. There are enough fascinating places to hike in the Sedona area that you could hike every day for a year and not see the same place twice. Many of the hikes take you into sacred and unusual spots where red rock formations astound and the presence of past cultures runs thick. Another video in the works is special report on Sedona itself. The video will delve into what makes Sedona so special. Sedona is considered by some to be one of the most powerful places on the planet. People from all backgrounds are drawn here and personal transformation stories abound.
So let us know if you'd like a copy of our NHNE video. One day it will be a classic.
KHOU-TV's "PROPHET OF DOOM"
By James Gregory
After weeks of anticipation, a copy of the Scallion/NHNE television interview finally arrived in Sedona. The special news report was originally broadcast in three parts Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 on KHOU-TV in Houston. The version of the video we reviewed also contained the teaser that ran the week prior to the actual broadcast, as well as opening and closing comments from the Channel 11 anchor team.
The report featured Bureau Chief Jim Moore interviewing Gordon-Michael Scallion, David Sunfellow (the founder and publisher of NHNE), Antonio Carducci (a 78 year old investment broker who spent his life savings buying land and preparing for Scallion's predicted changes), Dave Hill (of the U.S. Geological Survey), Rev. Gerald Mann (a Baptist minister), and Joe Nicols (another psychic).
Described as "Scallion's fiercest critic," Sunfellow appeared in all three segments and, next to Scallion, received the most air time of any of the people interviewed by Moore. Sunfellow challenged Scallion's accuracy rates, pointed out that a long list of other psychics had preceded Scallion making similar predictions which had also failed to come to pass, and also called into question Scallion's sloppy tracking of his own hits and misses.
One of the strong points of Moore's report was the variety of people interviewed who discussed Scallion and his predictions from different vantage points. The report also made efforts to be fair and impartial (even though, in the end, the score was 2 interviewees for Scallion and 4 against, plus the Channel 11 anchor team slipped in a few global catastrophe jokes). The report was filmed on location: Scallion in New Hampshire, Sunfellow in Sedona, and viewers were shown the physical preparations made by Carducci in Texas, as well as trees dying on the Mammoth Mountain, an area on the California-Nevada border where Scallion has long predicted would eventually experience volcanic eruptions. Scallion's maps, in particular his "Future Map of the United States," were also prominently featured.
The weak parts of Moore's report were that two rather vague predictions of Scallion's were passed off as hits and only one of Scallion's many misses was mentioned. The report also focused exclusively on Scallion's earth change predictions and failed to mention Scallion's prophecies concerning Atlantis, time machines, extraterrestrials, angelic comets, marauding Martian moons and other topics that would have tended to call his credibility into question. Finally, while the graphics and special effects that accompanied the report were dazzling, they tended to sensationalize the report, as did the show's title, "Prophet of Doom."
As reported in previous News Briefs, we will be making a copy of this report available to interested NHNE readers (for more information, see my comments in "From the Editor's Desk" in this issue). The "Prophet of Doom" Special Report was very well received by viewers in the Houston area. Now that it has aired in Houston, BELO BROADCASTING is sending copies to its other stations around the country. As soon as we know which stations decide to air Moore's report, we will pass on the broadcast cities, times, and stations.
POLE SHIFT TORPEDOED BY AUTHOR
By David Sunfellow
When John White first published "Pole Shift" in 1980, his book sent re-affirming shocks waves through the earth changes community. Many earth change believers (including this reporter) believed White's book "proved" that Edgar Cayce, and a host of other psychics, had correctly foreseen a global catastrophe that would destroy much of the planet along with major portions of the human race. White's book was particularly powerful because it was written by a man with serious professional credentials and, perhaps more importantly, because it seamlessly wed modern scientific data with contemporary psychics and ancient myths and prophecies. While White refused to say in "Pole Shift" that he was absolutely certain that a pole shift was coming, he left no doubt that he thought one might strike sometime near the year 2000.
Now, however, White has publicly said that he doesn't believe there is going to be a pole shift -- at least the kind of cataclysmic variety envisioned by Cayce, Gordon-Michael Scallion, and others. And while "Pole Shift" is still selling like hot cakes (it is presently being published by the A.R.E., Edgar Cayce's organization), the 1995 edition now contains an epilogue that discusses why a pole shift WON'T be visiting planet Earth anytime soon. White also challenged the themes championed in "Pole Shift" in another book of his published in 1990, "The Meeting of Science and Spirit." In that book he writes, "On the basis of a decade's hindsight, I think that the possibility of a catastrophic pole shift at the end of this century is increasingly unlikely. To be more precise, I do not think a pole shift will occur as predicted."
Since then, White has apparently become even more convinced that a pole shift won't happen. In an interview that appears in the current issue of ATLANTIS RISING (Number 9), White called the possibility of a geological pole shift around the year 2000 "nonsense and fantasy." Furthermore, he also believes that there has probably NEVER been a pole shift, although he doesn't rule out the possibility that it could occur someday in the distant future. White is, however, careful to distinguish the difference between a magnetic pole shift and a geological one. While acknowledging that there have been at least 181 occasions recognized by science when the magnetic field of the Earth has completely collapsed and re-established itself in the opposite polarity, White says that these reversals were never accompanied by catastrophes. "Or," says White, "certainly not catastrophes of the sort predicted by pole shift theorists and predictors." White also said that as far as he knows, such magnetic shifts do not occur on any cyclical basis, nor are they triggered by outer-space events.
Why, exactly, does White believe a pole shift won't happen?
First, White says that the precursor events foreseen by Cayce, and a host of other psychics, have not taken place as predicted.
Second, White believes the Piri Reis Map (a Renaissance map found by Charles Hapgood in the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS in 1959) and a map drawn by Oronteus Finaeus in 1532 are not accurate maps of an ice-free Antarctica. Pole-shift theorists have cited them as evidence that the continent was free of thick layers of ice and snow within the last 12,000 years and that its current ice-locked condition happened very quickly (perhaps in hours or days). Modern subglacial topographic maps indicate the ancient maps are not exact renditions of what actually lies beneath Antarctica's ice, nor do they account for what the subglacial topography of Antarctica would actually look like if massive amounts of ice and snow were removed and the land rebounded from the weight (isostatic rebound): Antarctica would be raised as much as 3,100 feet in the interior and 160 feet along the coasts. Thus, while both of these maps may have been efforts to guess at what the land mass of Antarctica looked like, neither was drawn by someone who actually saw an ice-free Antarctica. Some researchers believe that the maps are based on observations of early Portuguese sailers who may have discovered Antarctica before 1513. The Piri Reis map even contains comments that strongly suggest it drew at least part of its inspiration from early, possibly secret, Portuguese records. If these maps are, indeed, based on Portuguese voyages, then the idea that Antarctica was mapped by ancient, technologically advanced civilizations (from earth or elsewhere) is also effectively discounted.
Third, the discovery of wooly mammoths that appear to have been instantly frozen, some with flowers in their mouths and stomaches, has been one of the strongest arguments pole shift theorists have used to support an instantaneous flipping of the poles -- or slipping of the earth's crust. White now believes, as do many others who have seriously studied this peculiar phenomenon, that every argument put forward by pole shift theorists to explain this phenomenon, have been effectively refuted by ordinary explanations.
To name a few:
1. The new science of taphonomy (the study of the processes an animal goes through from the time it starts to die until its remains are finally embedded in a geological stratum) demonstrates that mammoths died not as the result of disastrous temperature change, but from asphyxia (i.e., drowning in an icy stream, suffocating in a landslide, etc.);
2. Mammoth flesh is not so well preserved as has been claimed, but rather the flesh had begun to putrefy BEFORE being frozen in permafrost;
3. Mammoths were adapted to cold conditions (pole-shift theorists typically believe they weren't -- they argue mammoths lived in warmer climates that were instantly blanketed by arctic conditions);
4. There is documented evidence that flowers and other vegetation do not require dramatic flash-freezes to be perfectly preserved (more mundane circumstances have produced this phenomenon);
5. Radiocarbon dating of frozen mammoths indicates that they were not all frozen in a single catastrophic moment -- rather, their freezings were spread out over a much longer time period.
Fourth, while the mechanics of ice ages are still not fully understood, current evidence argues against pole shifts being their triggering mechanism. In "The Meeting of Science and Spirit," White itemizes the arguments for pole-shift-induced ice ages as well as current research calling these arguments into question. His conclusion: "Altogether then, the latest evidence weighs against pole shifts, although the onset of deglaciation is [still] unexplained." Significantly, White does not rule out pole shifts as a triggering mechanism in his 1990 book and, in fact, says that he believes at least one theory of crustal displacement deserves serious consideration.
Noting that White is placing more reliance on scientific evidence than on psychic clairvoyant prophecies, ATLANTIS RISING asked him why.
"I'm not a scientist. I'm only a student of science. But I have enormous respect for the scientific method as a way of probing reality and ascertaining the truth of something. Science has its limits, and spiritual truths will not be proven definitely by science. On the other hand, science does have a lot to say that can help us to assess the validity of reported spiritual truths. In a world of spirituality, there's a strong tendency for people to cross over the line from having an open mind to having a hole in the head."
For the record, John White has degrees from Dartmouth and Yale, and has been writing, teaching and lecturing on diverse New Age subjects since the 1960's. In 1972, he joined with Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell to found THE INSTITUTE OF NOETIC SCIENCE. He is also the author of several books, including "Pole Shift," Frontiers of Consciousness," "Future Science," "Kundalini, Evoltion and Enlightenment," and "The Meeting of Science and Spirit." Since 1983, White has also organized and hosted an annual conference called "The UFO Experience" in North Haven, Connecticut.
(Sources: VOLCANO WORLD; EUROPEAN VOLCANOLOGICAL SOCIETY; John Murray, GLOBAL VOLCANISM NETWORK of the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE; Mary Koch)
VOLCANO WORLD reports that there are currently 1,511 active (as opposed to dormant) volcanoes in the world and of these active volcanos, there were 376 eruptions in the ten years from 1975 to 1985 according to the GLOBAL VOLCANISM NETWORK. This level of volcanic activity is right in the middle of the yearly average of 35 to 40 eruptions.
In NHNE NEWS BRIEF 35, we listed some of the more dramatic eruptions currently occurring worldwide. In this issue, we complete the list:
-- Popocatepetl Volcano in Mexico had an explosive eruption October 28 from a vent on a lava dome that developed this spring. The result was an ash column that climbed to 9,000 feet.
-- Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala erupted October 11, forcing 1,200 people to be evacuated. This volcano has been active since 1965.
-- Karymsky Volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia renewed it's activity October 14 with ash eruptions reaching 15,000 feet and volcanic bombs being lobbed up to 1,500 feet. This volcano began it's current activity in January and has erupted over 20 times in the last 200 years.
-- All four summit craters of Mt. Etna in Italy are becoming active. In recent years, this situation has always been followed by a major eruption, which will most likely occur later in the month of November.
For more detailed information about volcanic activity around the world, visit SMITHSONIAN'S GLOBAL VOLCANISM NETWORK: http://www.volcano.si.edu/gvp/ (JG)
THIS HUNGRY WORLD
By James Gregory
While the global food situation has improved in the last decade, hunger still affects the lives of about 800 million people -- almost one-seventh of the world's population, according to the U.N. FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ORGANIZATION (FAO) in a report for this month's WORLD FOOD SUMMIT in Rome. In theory, the world produces enough food for all, but in practice, 82 countries, half of them in Africa, are unable to produce or buy enough food to nourish all their people. The U.N. estimates the global population will to soar to 8.8 billion people by the year 2030. The FAO calculates a 75 percent increase in world food production will be needed just to keep pace. Organizers of the five-day summit hope world leaders will commit to reducing the number of undernourished people in the world by half by 2015. Unfortunately, in the time since the report was prepared, a crisis in eastern Zaire has left more than a million refugees without access to food or water.
1981 was actually a watershed year on the global grain front, for ever since that year, humans met their increasing needs for food on a decreasing land base. The greater part of that demand has been met by two factors: the introduction of new super-yielding grain varieties, and the application of ever-increasing amounts of fertilizer to support these impressive yields. Together they have sustained the nearly miraculous output of the so-called Green Revolution.
Increased grain production to feed a global population expanding by 1.7 million people per week depends entirely on increasing the yield of individual plant varieties. Currently-available grain varieties have already peaked in their yield capacities; no amount of additional fertilizer applied to the field will increase yields dictated by the limits of the plants' genetics. In fact, fertilizer use has decreased globally as growers recognize these limits.
Not only has the Green Revolution been a flop, it has hurt the very people it was meant to save. The new high-yield cereals forced the Third World countries to become dependent on expensive imports of fertilizers and pesticides. Chemically intensive farming practices have depleted the soil. The most serious development has been the increase of incapacitating diseases caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies -- ironically, the Green Revolution produced more food, but of an inferior nutritional quality. This means lowered resistance to disease, reduced capacity to do manual work, anemia, and diminished intellectual potential.
One solution is to breed more nutritious plants and grow them organically. The program would take ten years and cost $20 million. Another approach is to provide vitamin and mineral supplements, the cost of which would be staggering. For example, $60 million would only supply the iron needs of the anemic pregnant women in India. Around the world, 50 percent of all pregnant women and 1.5 billion children are anemic.
These are the simple truths: since 1985, grain yields have not kept up with global grain demand; since 1990, yields have flattened and even fallen for some grains; from 1993-95, the gap between global demand for grain and the supply has been met by drawing down global grain reserves.
Given the increases in demand resulting from a year's global population growth, along with the greater demand created by the growing wealth of developing countries, projections for 1997's ending reserves are already looking dismal. We are only producing and harvesting enough grain to keep the food pipeline filled for current needs, but have no appreciable fallback should there be a catastrophic crop calamity or other natural or man-made disaster. This should be as sobering to us as individuals as it already is to world governments and their agricultural entities.
One word to define the current state of the global food supply is "vulnerable" -- vulnerable to extreme weather patterns, diminishing irrigation water reserves, growing resistance of insects to available pesticides, plant disease outbreaks among nearly identical plant varieties, growing loss of prime agricultural land. The supply of food is a personal as well as global issue. Despite our current and accustomed comfort, future food scarcity is inevitable.
In related news, the SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY has proved that organic food is better. They discovered that plants have the ability to absorb several vitamins directly from the soil, if they are present. For example, fertilizing with manure raises vitamin B12 in foods by 100 to 300 percent.
For more information on food supply issues, contact Geri Guidetti, THE ARK INSTITUTE, P.O. Box 364, Monkton, MD 21111. (Sources: REUTERS; Rome Bureau Chief Brent Sadler, CNN ONLINE, 11/12/96; ORGANIC GARDENING and NEW SCIENTIST via SPECTRUM, Nov-Dec/96; Geri Guidetti via Joya Pope)
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS ON THE UPSWING
By James Gregory
After years of declining enrollments, attendance at Catholic schools in America has been on the upswing since 1990. Surprisingly, many of the new students are former public school students who aren't even Catholic. Why would parents want to take their children out of the public system and put them in much more expensive Catholic schools?
According to Leonard DeFiore, President of the NATIONAL CATHOLIC EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION, "The Gospel ends with the admonition, 'Go teach all nations,' not 'all Catholics,' not 'all Christians.'" This initiative was given a boost by Vatican II, when the Church's focus shifted from other-worldliness to social justice in day-to-day life and justified the purpose for Catholic schools in inner city neighborhoods. Studies show parents choose Catholic schools for three main reasons:
-- The academic program.
-- The disciplined and orderly environment.
-- The religious program.
Here are some more reasons:
-- 72 percent of Catholic school students are in college preparatory programs compared with 38 percent of public school students.
-- SAT scores for Catholic schools average 1,035 versus 1,008 for public schools.
-- In the inner-city, Catholic high schools have lower drop-out rates and alumnae are more likely to earn a graduate degree than their public school counterparts.
At ST. JOSEPH SCHOOL in Manhattan's Lower East Side, where two thirds of students are not Catholic and most are Asian, there is a crucifix in every classroom, girls are decked out in plaid jumpers, boys in blazers and slacks. All the students say prayers every day and go to Mass once a week. Their mission statement states that the school is: "Committed to an ecumenical relationship in a multi-cultural setting." Thus, along with their Christmas and Lenten programs, the school celebrates Chinese New Year. Principal Sister Marialice Ackerman says the school's strength is its "caring, loving atmosphere."
Discipline at ST. JAMES SCHOOL in Falls Church, Virginia is handed out by teachers. Time-outs are the norm. If a student gets out of hand, it's down to the principals's office. There never has been an expulsion in Sister Janet's seven year's a principal. Teacher Heidi Patterson says, "I like the students. They are well mannered. And I like to teach values." It is rare that children don't do their homework, and mostly the work has been checked by the parents. ST. JAMES student, nine-year-old Abby Albright, says she likes her school because "you get to pray a lot and think about God and it comforts me."
At the CORNELIA CONNELLY CENTER FOR EDUCATION, a Catholic girls school on Manhattan's Lower East Side, twice as many girls applied as were accepted. Teacher Andrea Gutierrez, who helped select this year's batch of Grade 5 students, says she wants to "turn out girls who are alive and educated and happy and loved [and who] go out into the world and do something." Commenting on the teachers at CORNELIA CONNELLY, fifth-grader Margarita Gonzalez, who transferred from a public school says, "They aren't lenient, but they are patient."
And it's not only students who are switching over. Gary Deinhart, 10 years an elementary public school teacher, quit his job because he was fed up dealing with troubled students who talked back, cursed, wrote foul language in textbooks, were disrespectful to teachers and refused to do their work. Friends told him he would feel more rewarded in the Catholic school system, so this year he started teaching at ST. PIUS X in San Antonio. His salary has dropped from $32,000 to $20,000 a year, but he thinks it is worth it. He finds that the students at ST. PIUS respect the teacher more, are better behaved, and interested in learning, plus there is much more parental support. "I'm much happier in a Catholic school," he concludes.
According to Kathy Dolan, Assistant Principal at ST. TIMOTHY'S SCHOOL in Chantilly, Virginia, who formerly taught in the public school system for 16 years, the public school teacher is often viewed as the bad guy. "I felt parents were critical of teachers and not supportive." Being able to teach values is important to her. "In public education I couldn't give kids what they need -- and what they need is a lot of leadership and moral guidance. I was bound legally and could not overstep those boundaries."
Outside the States, in places such as the province of Ontario, Canada, it is not unusual for the Catholic school system to be publicly funded; however in the USA, Cleveland is the only city using public money for parochial schools and this is being challenged in court. Elsewhere in America, Catholic schools charge upwards of $3,000 a year for tuition, or raise money through fund raisers and donations from charitable foundations.
And would Catholic schools consider toning down their religious element in order to be eligible for public funding? According to the ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK, religion requirements are not negotiable. Leonard DeFiore adds, "We think that what we offer [students] is what they came to get in the first place." (Sources: Mary Beth Marklein, Karen S. Peterson, Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY, 10/16/96)
Every once in a while a Web site pops up that deserves a little extra attention. Charlie Sweet's GOING HOME is one such site. It is funny, honest, revealing, thought-provoking and it deals with topics near and dear to most of us on the NHNE mailing list: earth changes, prophecies, planetary transformation, illumination, cosmic consciousness, UFO's, dreams, synchronicities -- you name it. Along with providing his personal opinion on numerous topics, Sweet goes one step further by also providing us with an intimate look into his own experiences. In the end, it is Sweet's willingness to honestly share his experiences that is perhaps the most unusual -- and most captivating -- part of his site. It has often seemed to me that the Internet's true power is not that it is a media that could transfer vast amounts of information, but, rather, that it is a media that allows human beings all over the world to share their experiences with one another. Sweet's site continues the trend and, hopefully, will encourage others to follow suit. (DS)
STAR PATH is the newest member of NewEarthNet (http://nen.sedona.net/). "The Star Path" is a way of enhancing and accelerating growth toward wholeness and enlightenment. Their Web site includes techniques for using inner "light-fire" energy tools to increase the joy of living, to heal self and others, to enrich creative inspiration and expression, and to find solutions to problems in all areas of living. (DS)
David Sunfellow (DS)
James Gregory (JG)
Gail Rossi (GR)
Lea Harwood (LH)
Sandy Ezrine (SE)
Cynthia Stringer (CS)
Kathleen-Blake Frankel (KBF)
Karol Ann Barnett (KAB)
Deb Jamerson (DJ)
Mary Koch (MK)
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ABOUT NHNE & HOW TO JOIN US:
NewHeavenNewEarth is a grass roots network of enthusiastic people who believe that a divine plan is unfolding in the earth. Our primary goal is to identify, understand and manifest this plan as best we can.
We also believe that our planet is passing through a time of profound change and we are busy building a global network to share information, pool resources and connect with others of like mind. Our goal is to create a global community of like-minded people that can safely pass through whatever changes may come our way and help give birth to a new way of life on our planet.
Based primarily on the Information Highway, we are not directly affiliated with any particular religion, organization, political view or institution, but are aware of and working in harmony with many groups who share similar goals.
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Copyright 1996 by NewHeavenNewEarth
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