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NHNE News Brief 63
Friday, May 30, 1997

One Year "Weekly" Anniversary Edition

"A thought-provoking exploration
of the extraordinary times in which we live."

Millennium Countdown:
946 days until January 1, 2000

Total Paid Subscribers: 138
Total Online Update Mailing List: 813

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CONTENTS:
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QUOTABLES:
Vanity

NEWS WATCH:
Humans Getting Taller
How the Dinosaur Got its Wings
Tropical Storm Watch Goes Online

THE LIGHTER SIDE:
"Thou Shalt Not Profit from Nun Bun"
Never Crave Sweets Again

FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
One Year Anniversary

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is
Keep Up the Fun
Bloopers on the Web
Be Not Afraid

ANCIENT CIVILIZATION WATCH:
The Secrets of the Sphinx

CROP CIRCLE WATCH:
Two More Major Crop Circles

UFO WATCH:
Area 51 Abandoned?

ECO WATCH:
More Reliance on Renewable Energy Sources
Putting a Price Tag on Nature

LIFESTYLES:
Commencement Speech Sampler

GURU WATCH:
Ram Dass Philosphical about Stroke

MILLENNIUM NOTES:
Two Steps to World Peace

NHNE STAFF
ABOUT NHNE & HOW TO JOIN US

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QUOTABLES:
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VANITY

"People would not worry so much about what others think of them if they realized how little they did."

---Oscar Wilde

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NEWS WATCH:
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HUMANS GETTING TALLER
(Sources: NEWSWEEK, 6/2/97; NEW AGE JOURNAL, 6/95)

Conventional wisdom has it that, as a species, we are getting taller, but by how much and at what limit? One million years ago, the average height of male human beings was 4'6" and females were 4'2". By 1710 we had gained a foot; males were averaging 5'7" and females 5'2". Thanks in most part to improved nutrition, the figures for the average American now stand at 5'10" for men and 5'4.5" for women. Heights are expected to level out around the year 2050 at about 6' for men and 5'7" for women. But is being tall all that desirable? Thomas Samaras points out in his book, "The Truth ABout Your Height," that being tall uses more energy, requires more land to feed a bigger body, and produces more carbon dioxide. He recommends turning our "tall is beautiful" culture into one that celebrates shorter, more compact bodies -- the ideal human, according to Samaras, would stand 5'5" tall and weigh 110 pounds. (JG)

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HOW THE DINOSAUR GOT ITS WINGS
(Source: Sharon Begley, NEWSWEEK, 6/2/97)

Dinosaurs are hot these days, what with "The Lost World" making $100 million over the Memorial Day Weekend on its way to grossing an estimated $1 billion. In real dinosaur news, scientists have discovered what they think is the missing link between birds and their dinosaur ancestors in a few scattered fossils from Patagonia dated at 90 million years old. "Unenlagia comahuensi" ("half bird of northwest Patagonia") shows several features that are more birdlike than in any other nonbird yet discovered, especially a shoulder structure that would have permitted the forearms to flap. The act of flying was still many millions of years away -- the eight-foot dinosaur was much too massive to be lofted by its puny arms -- but in the meantime, the Unenlagia used its proto-wings to catch and manipulate prey, control its posture while running, and provide thrust while attacking, in anticipation of the day far in the future when an elongated version of those arms would lift the animal into the sky. (JG)

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TROPICAL STORM WATCH GOES ONLINE
(Source: FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA) Press Release, 5/22/97)

FEMA launched the 1997 Tropical Storm Watch on May 30, 1997 by once again firing up their Web page. This is the third year for FEMA's online service. "Usage has grown from 225,000 hits/week when Hurricane Opal hit Florida in late September 1995, to nearly 400,000 hits in a single day -- September 5, 1996 -- when Hurricane Fran made landfall in North Carolina," said FEMA Director James Lee Witt. The Tropical Storm Watch page offers hurricane preparedness information, fact sheets, maps and links to other key sites with weather satellite images and forecasts. The FEMA Web site is updated regularly with news releases, situation reports, tracking maps, and graphics. The FEMA homepage address is: <http://www.fema.gov>. (JG)

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THE LIGHTER SIDE:
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"THOU SHALT NOT PROFIT FROM NUN BUN"
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS via CNN ONLINE, 5/22/97)

In a personally-signed letter from Calcutta, India, Mother Teresa recently asked BONGO JAVA to stop merchandising its now-famous "nun bun." The cinnamon bun bearing the likeness of Mother Teresa was discovered in October of last year in the Nashville coffeehouse (News Brief 58). A flood of 'Nun Bun" merchandising quickly followed. "My legal counsel," she writes "has written asking you to stop, and now I am personally asking you to stop." The bun is on display at the coffeehouse, which also sells T-shirts, prayer cards and mugs with the bun's image. Coffeehouse owner Bob Bernstein said he has no plans to stop marketing the nun bun; his only concession was to remove Mother Teresa's name from the merchandise. Said Bernstein: "If it were sacrilege, we'd stop. But it's not. It makes people laugh; it makes people think about ultimate things. You know, if it is her image on the bun, then it really is a miracle." (JG)

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NEVER CRAVE SWEETS AGAIN
(Source: NEWSWEEK, 6/2/97)

First, it was a calorie-free, chocolate-flavored mist you could spray in your mouth whenever you got a craving your diet didn't permit (News Brief 62). Now you can just put on a patch and forget about sweets altogether. "Scent Patches" are tiny stamp-sized stickers made in the U.K. by SLIMLINE that, quite simply, put you off sweets. Stick one on your wrist or upper arm each day for two months, and you may never crave sweets again. The products will be available in June. (JG)

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FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
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ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

With the publication of this issue, NewHeavenNewEarth celebrates one year of publishing the weekly version of the NHNE News Brief. It has been quite a year.

Over the last 52 weeks, we have published 50 News Briefs; Special Reports on Jean Houston, Remote Viewing, Global Upheaval, and Heaven's Gate; exclusive interviews with Colin Andrews (CROP CIRCLES PHENOMENA RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL), Joyce Murphy (BEYOND BOUNDARIES), and Ted Daniels (MILLENNIUM WATCH INSTITUTE); we inaugurated the Toby Award and handed them out to Colin Andrews, Michael Lindemann (CNI NEWS) and Barrie M. Schwortz (Shroud of Turin Web site); and published three issues of Wind & Wings. We produced a 90 minute video on NewHeavenNewEarth that featured a tour of Sedona, a sacred hike, and a three-part TV Special on Gordon Michael Scallion, including extra footage not shown on air. We revised and updated our popular Earth Changes Composite Map.

The News Briefs covered a lot of ground. Over the last year we have published over 900 articles and features (close to a third of a million words) on topics as diverse as red heifers and white buffalo to "Robo-Roach" and the "Dog-Gone" prairie dog vacuum cleaner; as timely as the latest crop circle controversy to erupting volcanoes and killer hurricanes; we uncovered hoaxes and supported legitimate research. We always tried to be impartial and informative and let our readers make their own decisions.

We polled our readers on format changes we were considering, and based upon the feedback we received, decided to scrap the monthly "Lighter Side Edition" and publish Lighter Side articles in the regular News Briefs. Readers also guided us to terminate the Spirit of Sedona Contest as well as the monthly Urban Legends Contest; reader feedback (or rather a lack of it) led us to end an early profit-sharing scheme.

On January 1, 1997 we took the plunge and became a subscription-only service, meaning that only paid subscribers receive the latest News Brief. Reader feedback was divided on whether we should give free access to our archive of dated News Briefs on our Web site. We struggled with this, because there were good arguments both pro and con. In our mission statement, we state that we seek to create a world-wide network of like-minded persons who believe that a divine plan is unfolding on the Earth. Prayerful discernment led us to the decision that we could best manifest this plan by making our archived information freely available.

Since January 1, 1997, the total number of paid subscribers has climbed from 91 to 138, an increase of about two per week. We have not burdened our readers with tales of financial doom and gloom, but the reality is that this small subscriber base barely covers the week-to-week costs of gathering data, and editing and publishing the News Brief. For the day-to-day staff of NHNE, namely David Sunfellow and myself, the work on the News Brief is a labor of love and service to our brothers and sisters; the cold hard reality is that we still have to put food on our table, gas in our cars, clothes on our backs, and take care of our families. We are looking for sources of related income and that "magic bullet" that will make NHNE a household word. But until then, our best hope for financial security is for all of you readers out there who enjoy this News Brief on a weekly basis, to take the initiative and pay for a subscription. The cost of the online service is only $1 a week ($52 per year). To make it easy, we accept VISA, MasterCard, checks and money orders. Credit card orders can be emailed to us: "nhne@nhne.com" or called in toll free: (888) 293-1833. Checks and money orders can be mailed to NHNE, PO Box 10627, Sedona, AZ, USA 86339. You or your business can also sponsor a News Brief for $100.

Your subscriptions and sponsorships not only support the work of NewHeavenNewEarth, but also help create a network of like-minded souls around the world. Do your part for planetary transformation -- take out a subscription to the NHNE News Brief and join the network!

---James Gregory, Editor-in-Chief, NHNE News Brief

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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PUTTING MY MONEY WHERE MY MOUTH IS

"I have been a regular reader of NewHeavenNewEarth for quite a while now and thoroughly enjoy your publication. I think, however, it is finally time to put my money where my mouth is. Accordingly, please find a money order for $52 enclosed to cover an online subscription fee for one year. Please keep up the good work. It is being appreciated around the world."

---Adam Williams, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

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KEEP UP THE FUN

"I saw the 'movies' on your Web site -- they're great! I especially liked the outtakes. Keep up the good work... and the fun."

---Victoria A. Nichols, Birmingham, Alabama

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BLOOPERS ON THE WEB

"I just viewed the blooper video clip on your Web site -- it was hysterical. If only there was a way to do streaming video so we don't have to wait so long for the file to download.

---Stephen H. Kapit, San Diego, California

[We are glad you liked it. It is just the beginning of our foray into video on the Web. We agree with you about the slowness of loading video files, and are looking into new techniques to speed things up. David Sunfellow]

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BE NOT AFRAID

"Anyone who subscribes unquestioningly to the authority of an external source ('New Age Alert,' News Brief 60) is an eventual candidate for mental and psychological problems. Often the problems associated with such blind faith come first not for the faithful one, but for the ones they influence, whether consciously or unconsciously. In the first chapter of the Pope's best seller, when asked why anyone should believe anything he says, the Pope answers, "Be not afraid!" As I interpret it, this means that it is important not to be afraid of having the wrong religion -- God's love extends without judgement to ALL. Influences like NHNE serve us well because they remind us to question."

---Tobey Llop, East Amherst, New York

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ANCIENT CIVILIZATION WATCH:
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THE SECRETS OF THE SPHINX
(Sources: Douglas Jehl, THE NEW YORK TIMES via MILLENNIUM MATTERS, 5/24/97)

By year's end, the restoration of the Great Sphinx of Giza should be complete (News Brief 62), and the attention will, no doubt, bring renewed interest in uncovering the so-called "secrets" the sculptured beast is guarding. At issue is whether Egyptian officials are blocking research that might shed new light on the Sphinx and its origins. There are two approaches to unraveling the mysteries:

-- "The Professionals" who take a traditional archeological approach and are usually sponsored by an institute of higher learning.

-- "The Amateurs" who rely more heavily on mysticism and speculation than on science and are privately funded.

The two camps are widely divided, as is evident from the following statements:

"I call them 'the Pyramidiots,'" said Zawi Hawass, DIrector of Antiquities for the Giza Plateau, of his critics. His accusation is typical of the vitriol that has turned what might have been the year of the Sphinx into one of bitterness and backbiting.

"Zawi Hawass has basically obstructed us," said John Anthony West, an American author and tour leader, who believes that beneath the Sphinx there may lie an undiscovered secret chamber containing the records of an advanced civilization that has been lost to human history.

In Greek, Roman and ancient Arab texts, there is much speculation that something may indeed lie beneath the Sphinx, perhaps inspired by ancient hieroglyphics that depict the sculpture as sitting atop a pedestal with a doorway beneath it; yet, traditional archeologists have probed various cracks and tunnels and found nothing. The most notable attempt to detect such a hidden chamber was carried out in an electrical-resistivity survey in 1977 and 1978 by the STANFORD RESEARCH INSTITUTE (SRI) which only found small anomalies in the rock around the Sphinx. Scholars, including Hawass, who have spent decades scrutinizing the pottery, tombs, hieroglyphics and other ruins from the Giza plateau, say that not a single object can be interpreted as coming from civilization any older than about 3200 B.C.

Nevertheless, the visions of a doorway and the secret chamber under the Sphinx by American mystic, Edgar Cayce, have inspired a widening band of followers, including West, who produced a 1993 NBC television film about the quest, and two authors, Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, whose best-selling book in 1996, "The Message of the Sphinx," presents scientific facts to support Cayce's contentions. Borrowing variously from seismography, geology and astronomy, all have argued that there is ample reason to believe that the Sphinx, and perhaps the Great Pyramid itself, were built not by the ancient Egyptians in about 2600 B.C., but thousands of years earlier. All have also said that there is ample reason to believe that the hidden chamber may lie somewhere beneath the Sphinx's paws and that its contents -- Cayce called it the "Hall of Records" -- may contain the secrets of Atlantis. West claims his own seismographical research, conducted in the early '90s (before being halted by the Egyptian government) found evidence of a substantial underground chamber. West is still awaiting permission to conduct further tests.

Increasingly, the pushing and prodding of the Egyptian government to permit new research has turned highly personal. In the U.S., Britain and Australia, people attending lectures by Hancock have signed thousands of petitions accusing the Egyptian government of maintaining an atmosphere of secrecy that might well be "hiding possible findings that could be of great importance to all members of the human race." On Web sites devoted to ancient Egypt, the mood has turned even more venomous, with Hawass being denounced bitterly.

Egyptian officials, who control access to the archeological sites, hold all the cards. They say they remain open to further archeological research on the Giza plateau -- as long as it is supported by accredited academic institutions. Hawass is more direct: "Anyone is free to believe anything he wants -- that the Pyramids and Sphinx were built in space, by aliens, by whatever -- and can work here if they are scholars. But when it comes to amateurs, we say, 'No, no and no!'" (JG)

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CROP CIRCLE WATCH:
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TWO MORE MAJOR CROP CIRCLES!
(Sources: Ilyes, BEYOND BOUNDARIES, May/June/97; Ilyes, Peter. R Sørensen, CROP CIRCLE CONNECTOR Web Site, 5/26/97)

The 1997 Crop Circle season, which began with two spectacular early season formations in late April (News Brief 60), shows no signs of letting up as two more impressive formations appeared in early May.

One of the formations appeared in Essex near Stretall (only half a mile from Littlebury Green where the second crop circle of the season appeared) around May 2 in a crop of canola. It has been tagged with the name "Nuclear Symbol" although some think it looks more like the Mercedes logo or a three-bladed propeller. Crop circle researcher Ilyes points out three interesting curiosities about the formation:

1) Each of the "arrow tips" appears to be a different length. This play on the number 3 is something the Circlemakers have done before, like in the A361 "Dumbbell" with each of its three paths a different length.

2) The top third of the laid, inner circle is clockwise and has some nicely angled perimeter stalks.

3) This shape -- three laid sections of a circle in between the standing "propeller" -- is one that the Circlemakers have been showing us over and over again. Last year, we saw this feature in Barton-Le-Clay's three middle laid sections, as well as in the large, outermost standing areas in the Silbury Hill Flower and the almost-identical Chehalis Flower.

The second circle, dubbed "The Tree of Life," was found in a crop of canola near Barbury Castle in Wiltshire on May 6. (The Tree of Life is an ancient geometric figure mentioned in the Kabballah, a mystical text revealed to ancient rabbis.) The 150+ footer is an efficient but artless rendition of the 1991 Barbury Castle Triangle -- the Circlemaker's masterpiece! The formation had various oddities: some of the "paths" had varying interwoven layers of crop; the majority of the of the crop appeared to be bent, although Peter. R Sørensen found a considerable number of broken stems as well; a number of researchers experienced a very disorientating effect in this formation -- they felt dizzy and sick almost as soon as they entered. This feeling varied in strength depending on where in the circle they stood. As soon as they left formation and started back down the tram lines, the feeling subsided and completely vanished by the time they reached their vehicles.

For more details and impressive color pictures, visit THE CROP CIRCLE CONNECTOR: <http://alpha.mic.dundee.ac.uk/ft/crop_circles/1997/1997.html>. (JG)

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UFO WATCH:
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AREA 51 ABANDONED?
(Source: Michael Lindemann, CNI NEWS, 5/16/97)

"The AIR FORCE has abandoned top-secret testing at its once most secret test site" -- the fabled Area 51 at Groom Lake, Nevada -- claims the cover story of the current (June/97) issue of POPULAR MECHANICS (PM) MAGAZINE. PM Science and Technology Editor, Jim Wilson, based his claims on the fact that he saw no sign of the legendary "cammo dudes" who guard the base perimeter when he drove near the restricted area, plus his discovery that Glenn "Mr. Area 51" Campbell, widely regarded as the top civilian watchdog of secret government activities in central Nevada, has moved from Rachel (the community nearest the base) to Las Vegas, some 100 miles away. Wilson takes this as evidence that Campbell's interest has waned.

CNI NEWS dug a little deeper into the story. First they interviewed Campbell, who was highly amused by the whole thing. While it is true that Campbell does now live in Las Vegas, his AREA 51 RESEARCH CENTER still maintains an office in Rachel staffed by three workers. Campbell has another office next to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Nearly all Area 51 workers commute to and from the top-secret facility every day by air, most flying in and out of a restricted corner of McCarran. From his vantage point overlooking the Area 51 shuttle parking lot, Campbell reports that the Area 51 workforce seems to be about the same as it's been over the last several years. And based upon Wilson's description in the article as to where he said he drove to breach the perimeter of the restricted area, Campbell, who knows the back roads around Area 51 well, is of the opinion that the POPULAR MECHANICS writer might have literally driven down the wrong road.

Professional aviation journalist Steve Douglass, who makes the "black world" of super-secret aircraft his beat, pointed out to CNI NEWS, "Some of the secret aircraft testing projects have moved from Area 51 lately because they've become operational. Those projects are now based at Tonopah or at White Sands in New Mexico. But Groom Lake is very active in developing new stealth technologies. The AIR FORCE has way too much invested in that place to shut it down."

One interesting bit of news the POPULAR MECHANICS article does offer is the latest scuttlebutt on a new breed of hypersonic reconnaissance aircraft thought to be a spin-off of NASA's X-33 reusable rocket program. The X-33 has been described in recent press announcements as a "futuristic wedge-shaped spacecraft slated to replace the Space Shuttle around the turn of the century," and now under development at LOCKHEED MARTIN. Wilson says that a deal has already been inked between NASA and the AIR FORCE SPACE COMMAND to create a weapons/reconnaissance system based on the X-33. Wilson describes a prototype code-named "Have Region" that "could take off vertically, fly faster than Mach 15 (more than 10,000 miles per hour), soar to 50-mile altitudes and then land on an ordinary runway." Such an aircraft could be directed to reach any point on Earth within 40 minutes of take-off, making it a highly-desirable reconnaissance asset. In this case, Steve Douglass agrees with Wilson that a new rocket-launched reconnaissance plane is in development. In fact, Douglass believes that the progress LOCKHEED SKUNKWORKS has already made on that futuristic spyplane is the main reason they got the NASA X-33 contract in the first place. Douglass says this project will be tested either at the Northrop Strip at White Sands, New Mexico or San Nicolas Island off the coast of southern California, and definitely not at a new secret base in Utah called "Area 6413" that Wilson claims is replacing Area 51.

The government's continuing refusal to openly acknowledge the existence and function of "the best known secret base in the world" has become an official embarrassment. While it is likely that some of the latest projects are being based elsewhere, there seems no reason to believe that Area 51 will out of the secret aircraft business any time soon. (JG)

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ECO WATCH:
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MORE RELIANCE ON RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS via CNN ONLINE, 5/24/97)

The world continues to burn irreplaceable oil, natural gas and coal at a record pace, but significant gains have been made recently in the use of wind, sun and geothermal energy, according to "Vital Signs 1997," the annual report of the WORLDWATCH INSTITUTE.

On the rise, the report found, were energy consumption, carbon emissions, storm damage, car and bicycle production, fertilizer use, irrigated acreage, grain stocks, carbon emissions, AIDS infections, population and the world economy. Declining were global temperatures (ever so slightly), refugee populations, U.N. peacekeeping operations, armies, arms production, nonhuman primate populations, food aid, spending for research and development and the number of languages spoken in the world. Under the mixed and sometimes contradictory trends, the bottom line is that robust world economic growth is outpacing developments in the ecosystem on which it depends, said WORLDWATCH President Lester R. Brown. But, "we see hope that humanity may be close to turning historic corners on some of its most pressing problems."

One such corner turned might be in the field of energy. By far the fastest growing energy sources last year were wind, solar and geothermal. And, while fossil fuel consumption was at an all-time high, the biggest increase was in natural gas, considered the most environmentally safe of nonrenewable energy sources. "There are a lot of indications that we're really in a breakthrough period now," said WORLDWATCH researcher Christopher Flavin. Wind and solar energy "could be in transition from insignificant energy sources to being an important part of the energy system."

Reflecting optimism in other areas, "Vital Signs" provides bright counterpoints for some of its most foreboding data:

-- While world highways are now jammed with a half billion automobiles, bicycle production is up to three times that of cars.

-- World population hit an estimated 5.8 billion in 1996, but annual growth is now declining, with 80 million people added last year, compared to 87 million in 1990.

-- Deaths from AIDS reached a record 1.7 million last year with the most severe impact in sub-Saharan Africa. Infections also increased rapidly in Asia and former Soviet states. While there is no cure yet, efforts at prevention and treatment are slowing AIDS growth in some countries.

-- Carbon emissions worldwide set a new record of 6.25 billion tons. But production of chlorofluorocarbons continued a downward trend, setting the stage for possible healing of the ozone layer that blocks harmful rays from the Sun.

-- Finally, while the report notes that nearly half the world's population now lives in cities, it highlights a trend in urban farming. It says growing numbers of city dwellers grow hydroponic vegetables on rooftops, raise fish on sewage and engage in growing food close to where it is most needed. (JG)

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PUTTING A PRICE TAG ON NATURE
(Sources: Sharon Begley, NEWSWEEK, 5/26/97; ENVIRONMENT, Vol. 39, #2 via SPECTRUM, May/June/97)

Any hardworking mom who feels that her services are being taken for granted knows a surefire way to make her brood recognize her value: start charging market rates for laundry, cooking, cleaning, and taxi services. Now Mother Nature is doing something similar. For example, 20 years ago, bees naturally pollinated the almond trees of the Sacramento Valley. But pest control and agricultural chemicals have decimated bee populations, so farmers now have to rent hives from local beekeepers. The going rate -- $40 to $50 hive. Without bees, most fruit and nut crops would not get pollinated and would not produce. American farmers spend close to $100 million a year on pollination services.

Many "ecosystem services" such as natural pollination, have been so degraded by pollution and development that they are no longer performing the jobs they once did. Up until now, there has been a near total lack of public appreciation of society's dependence on natural ecosystems. But that is starting to change. According to a study led by ecological economist Robert Costanza of the UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, the dollar value of the worlds' ecosystem services is $33 trillion a year. Compare this figure to the planetwide GNP of $18 trillion.

Scientists are figuring out exactly how ecosystems support world economies, such as the figures put forth in "Nature's Services" edited by Gretchen Daily of STANFORD UNIVERSITY Biology Department. Swamps and wetlands filter water and control floods. Vegetation controls mudslides. Bacteria and algae grab nitrogen out of the air and convert it into fertilizer. Microbes turn rock into soil and recycle dead matter back into the food chain. Without these cycles, life would grind to a halt. In effect, their value is infinite, but a better marketing ploy is to assign dollar values. For example:

-- Substituting chemical fertilizer for natural nitrogen fixation: $33 billion a year worldwide.

-- Growing crops hydroponically without soil: $2 million per acre in the U.S.

-- Grasslands bind carbon which otherwise is released as carbon dioxide adding to the Greenhouse Effect: The value: $600 per acre.

-- Soil purifies New York City's drinking water supply. Cost of a man-made alternative: $5 billion.

Some environmentalists cringe at the thought of putting a dollar value on nature; they believe it should be protected on moral grounds. But reckoning nature's services in dollars and cents may turn into a powerful argument for their cause. At least the new approach gives a rough dollar value of what we would lose.

In a related story, THE FOREST GUARDIANS of Sante Fe and the SOUTHWEST ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER of Las Cruces, New Mexico recently entered the winning bid for a 550-acre tract of land along the Rio Puero in northwestern New Mexico. Traditionally, ranchers rent the land to graze their cattle and sheep. This particular tract of land was chosen because it is considered to be the most overgrazed watershed in the American Southwest and has suffered severe damage. The environmentalists plan to restore the land's natural habitat and use the project to demonstrate erosion control techniques. The two groups combined to submit a bid $770 a year for the five year lease -- double the amount paid by the previous rancher leaseholder. (JG)

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LIFESTYLES:
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COMMENCEMENT SPEECH SAMPLER
(Source: USA TODAY, 5/23/97)

It's commencement time once again. Here are some excerpts of inspirational messages from well-known celebrities to the next generation of college grads -- our future:

"Today is not that big a day. Once tomorrow comes, you still got those credit cards. You still got phone bills. You still got so many things to deal with. If you really want to make a change in the world, you don't have to be a huge, powerful person. All you have to do is pay off your student loan." (Bill Cosby, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, Washington, D.C.)

"You don't have to be a president to touch the life of someone else. All you have to do is get off the sidelines and do something about teen pregnancy or drugs or tutoring disadvantaged kids or just being a mentor to a kid who has lost his way. If I could leave you with one message, it is that one person CAN make a difference and that everyone has the power to lift lives, and everyone can serve." (George Bush, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA, Norman)

"I was raised during a time when 'right' was right and 'wrong' was wrong, and you knew the difference in your own heart. Today we live in what I call a 'cash-for-trash world,' where anyone at any time can stand up and say anything unkind, unfair or completely untrue about you -- and then they are rewarded financially for it. That's the world you are going into. Life isn't fair, but God is." (Kathie Lee Gifford, MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY, Arlington, Va.)

"I have always found that if you plan your life too rigidly, you will miss the opportunities. On one occasion, we were discussing at OXFORD what we were going to do. One of my fellow undergraduates said, 'I'm going to be prime minister.' He was never heard of again." (Margaret Thatcher, COLLEGE OF WILLIAM AND MARY, Williamsbug, Va.)

"America is still very much a work in progress. And one of the things that has always distinguished it from other countries is that we've never been afraid to challenge our most cherished assumptions. We have always been willing to re-invent ourselves for the common good. So, my principal exhortation to you today is to go forth and raise hell!" (Doonesbury's Gary Trudeau, COLORADO COLLEGE, Colorado Springs) (JG)

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GURU WATCH:
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RAM DASS PHILOSOPHICAL ABOUT STROKE
(Source: Don Lattin, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 5/26/97, thanks to Sandy Ezrine)

Three months ago, Ram Dass suffered a massive stroke leaving him without speech and paralyzed along the right side of his body. At the moment the stroke hit, the eloquent spiritual teacher and counterculture icon was rewriting a book called "Conscious Aging."

Richard Alpert burst onto the national consciousness in 1963, when he and Timothy Leary were fired from HARVARD UNIVERSITY for LSD experiments with undergraduates. They relocated to a mansion in upstate New York, where they continued their research into the mind-expanding possibilities of LSD and other drugs. They soon become synonymous with the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s. In 1967, Alpert travelled to India in search of drug-free enlightenment. He became the disciple of the Indian guru Neem Karoli Baba, and returned to the U.S. with the name "Baba Ram Dass." In 1971, he published the best-selling book "Be Here Now," establishing himself as one of the leading proponents of meditation and East-meets-West mysticism. During much of the 1980s and 1990s, Ram Dass lent his name and energies to a series of charities and volunteer projects. In the process, he became one of the most sought-after speakers on the New Age conference, workshop and lecture circuit, where he was known for his ability to convey mystical ideas with lucidity, humor and grace.

Those close to Ram Dass say the loss of language has been a frustrating experience for the former inspirational speaker who must now struggle to convey an idea. Nevertheless, if one listens to him with patience, the old message still gets through. For example, when explaining how he must cope with the difficulty of speaking, he pauses for long seconds before struggling to say, "A friend of mine, said, 'You've been so eloquent with words. Now you can be eloquent with silence.'" The outpouring of love and support has shown him that he doesn't have to talk to help people open up spiritually. "Hundreds of people from London to India have said, 'My heart is open to you.' It's nothing I've said about love. All I did was have this stroke! Isn't that amazing?"

His stroke, and his slow path to recovery, have changed his thoughts on "Conscious Aging." "I started the book with my Harvard professorial perspective, but decided to make it a more personal account. I didn't want this book to be, 'Now we'll look at this spiritually.'" Ram Dass said his stroke and the recent deaths of his friends Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg have helped him understand why many old people seem to live in the past. "Older people see that getting older has nothing to offer them but strokes and the process of death. Before my stroke, I was looking forward to the things I wanted to do." When asked, "Are you still?" he answers, "No," followed by a long silence and then a smile, "But, I'm still committed to Be Here Now." (JG)

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MILLENNIUM NOTES:
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TWO STEPS TO WORLD PEACE

The people at OPEN HEART are trying to change the world by the time the new millennium arrives and they need your help. They believe we are all one mind, and that if enough people could shift their perceptions about the existence of evil, then the whole planet would shift into a perception of love. They propose the following two-step process:

-- Step 1: At least three times a day (and whenever you perceive that a negative event is occurring) say out loud (or to yourself) three times, "Only love prevails."

-- Step 2: Do whatever you need to do to protect yourself from exposure to "negative" or fear-based stories in the media. This might mean giving up watching or listening to newscasts and reading newspapers, or at least becoming very selective about what you do read, watch and listen to.

OPEN HEART feel that if a critical mass (80,000 people) are regularly practising the two steps above, it could shift the consciousness of the planet to a perception "that only love prevails. We believe that world peace begins with each individual achieving a state of peace within themselves. We can begin to do that for ourselves by becoming aware of the 'negative' influences in our lives and choosing consciously to eliminate or shift those influences."

If you would like to participate in this experiment, OPEN HEART would like to hear from you. They can be reached by e-mail at: "lightenup@openheart.com". For more information visit their Web site: <http://www.openheart.com/peace/peace.html>. (JG)

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