Welcome to the Tuesday, November 22, 2005 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!

This email contains two items: (1) the opportunity to send a letter to McDonalds, commending them for trying Fair Trade coffee but also admonishing them to set the same standards for tomato workers; and (2) a personal reflection on one of the preventive aspects of peace & justice.




McDonalds recently started serving Fair Trade coffee in the New York & Maine areas. This is a promising step that should be commended and hopefully will be expanded. On the other hand, McDonalds has thus far failed to follow its rival Taco Bell, who recently established better wages and working conditions for its tomato pickers. You can edit and send a letter below, voicing both your support and concern. The timing is especially poignant for those in the US, who, by doing so, can celebrate both the harvest and the harvester:

Send Letter:




Preventive measures are one of the cornerstones of creating a more decent world. And while preventive measures are vitally needed within all layers of peace and justice - for example, internationally, we spend scant resources on trying to prevent war or genocide - I want to focus on my local societal fabric and how also here we have skewed priorities with needlessly devastating consequences. I will illustrate with a specific (and deeply personal) example and then broaden the implications, doing so, not to objectify a tragedy, but to honour and pay tribute to one of the finest people I have ever known, and hopefully to amplify what he stood for.

Three weeks ago, my brother-in-law, Willis Hopkin, committed suicide. You see, he suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder, an illness that is the clearest example that I know of, that such depression is not a choice but a severe imbalance of complex chemical dynamics within his body. In the spring and summer Willis would be the incredibly caring, accepting, affirming person that was his normal, unassuming self (and the impact of which brought one thousand people to his memorial service). Yet as fall approached, while he maintained his caring touch, inwardly he would become more and more depressed, cued by the dwindling sunlight. As it worsened over the years he was put on anti-depressant medication in the fall and came off it in the spring (in other words, oversimplified: the same person, two different chemical states). This worked well until this past fall when some unknown combination of factors (medical, dosage, timing - who knows) caught him in that black vortex.

If you have time, please read at least the opening page of the following web link, which continues this in more depth. It combines a tribute and a call for a resolve, a call to help reshape our societal dynamics towards a greater focus on preventive measures, such that illnesses like S.A.D. be eradicated or at least fully controlled. The hope is (a) for a better societal understanding, whether it be S.A.D., Bipolar or Manic Depression, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, etc - that we not dismiss such illnesses as mere lack of will ("just get over it"); and (b) that whenever possible we apply concerted political pressure for greater research, and better remedial and supportive structures.

A Tribute and a Call for Resolve:

Our vision should be nothing less than a society and world that has structured itself to care for all - that all can achieve well-being!

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UWAA: This endeavour is being placed under the overall rubric of "Until Well-being is Achieved for All."

Volunteers Needed:  If you can provide one hour per week or month, tracking down concrete actions to help strengthen this effort, please click the UWAA Reply button below, and add a Subject Line: “UWAA: Edit” and place any comments in the body.  Diverse perspectives especially welcome.

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Rod Downing

Surrey BC Canada
(604) 535-6550