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Fighting for Hope – About the Author

[This is the last section of Fighting for Hope by Petra Kelly]

Petra Karin Kelly was born on 27 November 1947 in Günzburg/Danube. She owes her English surname to her stepfather John E. Kelly, who for many years was an American Army Officer, an Irish American who worked in the hospital service. She was first educated in Günzburg where she attended a Catholic girls’ boarding school but went to the United States in I960 where she attended High School in Georgia and Virginia. From 1966 – 1970 she studied World politics and International Relations in the School of International Service at the American University, Washington, and graduated with a BA cum laude. She taught for a year at the same university, which has a high proportion of foreign students, and received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. During this period, she also worked as a volunteer in the offices of Senators Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey in their election campaigns, and was founder and chairperson of “International Week”, a series of provocative seminars and lectures on international politics in Washington D.C.

From 1970-71 she studied Political Science and European Integration at the University of Amsterdam and also worked as a research assistant at the Europa Institute until October 1971. She was awarded her Masters degree (MA) at the end of her period of study in Amsterdam.

She first started work at the European Communities in Brussels in 1971 as an EEC intern in the cabinet of Attiero Spinelli and in the General Secretariat, followed by a six months’ research bursary (Bourse de Recherche) in 1972 . During this period, she had a scholarship to study the political concerns and aims of the various European movements and groupings from 1945-70. In 1972-3 she worked as a European civil servant with the Economic and Social Committee of the EEC and worked on questions of vocational training, itinerant workers, equal pay and general labour and health questions. From October 1973 on, she was appointed administrator in the Secretariat of the Economic and Social Committee, dealing with social questions, environmental protection, health an education at the EEC in Brussels.

In addition to her professional activities, Petra Kelly has been active in the European women’s, peace and anti-nuclear movements. While still in the United States she took part in demonstrations against the Vietnam War and nuclear bombs. After the death of her ten-year old sister, Grace Patricia, from cancer in 1970, she founded the “Grace P. Kelly Association for the Support of Research into Children’s Cancer”, an independent citizens’ action group which has developed a psycho-social model for the care of children with cancer or other chronic diseases (Children’s Planet), and includes in its work investigation of the causes of cancer in children living in the vicinity of chemical and nuclear installations.

In 1972 she joined the West German Association of Environmental Protection Action Groups (BBU) and from 1979- I980 was the federal committee member responsible for international contacts. She joined the Social Democratic party of Germany when Willy Brandt was Chancellor, but left it at the beginning of 1979 in protest against policies on nuclear defence, health and women. She left, also, to build up the Green Party with several friends. She became active in various bodies such as the German Peace Society/Association of Conscientious Objectors, the Humanist Union, and various centres for education and non-violent action.

Having become closely acquainted with, and an active supporter of, the ecology, women’s and peace movements at home and abroad, she helped to found the Greens in 1979 and was their leading national candidate in the European elections, in which the Greens received 3.2 per cent of the West German vote. Then, in 1980, she ran as head of the Bavarian List; in 1982, as head of the Regional List (Bavarian Elections); and, in 1983, as head of the Bavarian List again in the Federal Elections. In March 1980, she was elected one of the three spokesmen of the Federal Executive Committee of the Greens. In November 1982 , she left this post in accordance with the Greens regulations on the rotation of responsibilities. She was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize, established by Jahob Von UexküII, in Stockholm in December 1982 . And, in 1983, she was awarded the Peace Woman of the Year Award in America by the organization, Women Strike for Peace.

Following the West German elections in March 1983, Petra Kelly was one of the twenty- seven Greens elected to the Bundestag. There she was elected one of the Greens three parliamentary speakers.

Petra Kelly, has published several books and many articles in English and German on ecology, feminism, children’s cancer, disarmament and Hiroshima. Among them are Lasst uns die Kraniche suchen (Let us Search for the Cranes) and A Nuclear Ireland? (with John F. Carroll of the Irish Transport and
General Workers Union).


Fighting for Hope Part 7 (cont’d) – For an Erotic Society: Jealousy and Fidelity

[Part 7 (cont’d) of Fighting For Hope by Petra Kelly]


Whenever love comes up against rules and restrictions, it is as though it were shut in a cage where it becomes the ugliest thing In the world. When lovers fight, the tragedy is that they demand too much of one another. Jealousy, possessiveness, suspicion and pettiness — all have their origin in an attitude of hostility to love and in the way society is structured on competition. An inner ideal of love is on a total collision course with the actual state of communication in this society. The trust we desire disintegrates in the face of fail-safe and fall-back strategies, and ways of thinking and responding come to the fore which are diametrically opposed to love.
Sexual fidelity in a relationship between two people can be a meaningful — and sometimes essential — decision, constructured in competition.

Sexual fidelity in a relationship between two people can be a meaningful – and sometimes essential – decision when consciously and freely entered into by both parties. But as an absolute principle, it can be just as destructive as promiscuity can. I believe that human beings are not exclusively monogamous, and that this should always be taken into account.
There is a world of difference between a free choice to renounce all involvement outside a relationship, and a ban on such involvement. The pressure to make rules, the suspicion and the need for guarantees, in other words the “jealousy syndrome,” has a great deal to do with a fear of being dispensable. This arises from the structure of our commercialised society where people value each other according to the qualities and abilities they contribute to the human market. Men and women are constantly being compared with potential rivals. They live with latent feelings of inferiority.

Nena and George O’Neill have come up with a new definition of fidelity. In its original sense, fidelity meant sticking to a duty or obligation. In the O’Neill’s concept of open marriage, it is not psychological dependence that welds the partners together, but rather a sense of responsibility towards the other partner’s growth, the integrity of self and mutual respect.
For myself, it has become abundantly clear that the more harmoniously and self-confidently one lives with oneself, the more one can love, admit to liberty and share in the growth of one’s partner. In a partnership where each is sure of his or her own identity and each trusts the other, there will always he space for additional relationships. These can always have a vitalizing and enriching effect on an open partnership.
If our aims as women are to make our own decisions and to find our own fulfillment, we cannot exclude sexuality. In 1886, Eleanor Marx-Avelling wrote, “There will no longer be one right for women and another for men. If future society, such as current European society, allows men the right to have a mistress as well as a wife, then we can be certain that this kind of freedom will be extended to women.” How few of us have managed to live in relationships that were truly free and emotionally and sexually fulfillling without fidelity. Love relationships must be liberated from the desire for possession and domination.

Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952) is very dear to my heart. In her life and work, she demonstrated that complete surrender to, and love for, a man do not have to be the focal point of a woman’s life. The focus should be one’s own work, one’s own achievement and the self-confidence awakened by it. “The new woman does not want to be exclusive property where she loves. Because she demands respect for the freedom of her own feelings, she learns to permit this in other people . . . In the new woman, the human being is triumphing more and more over the jealous little woman.” She sums up her sketch of the “new woman” in this way:

Self-discipline in place of emotional outbursts, an ability to appreciate her own freedom and independence in place of impersonal submissiveness, the assertion of her own individuality in place of naive attempts to adopt and reflect the “alien model” of the loved one. The open display of the right to family happiness, instead of the hypocritical mask of imperviousness and relegation of the experiences of love to an unimportant place in life. We no longer have before us the “little woman,” the pale shadow of the man —what we have is the personality, the woman as a person.

Alexandra Kollontai’s stories and her life show that work and the desire for love can be combined in harmony with one another. At the same time, they reveal the importance for women’s liberation of inner freedom and independence. For me Personally, the harmony between passion and spiritual closeness, the accord of love with liberty and of friendship with independence are the greatest ideal. I know from my own experience that love can only flourish in the freedom and spontaneity of one’s own feelings, and that life may be rich in the experience of love, if men and women are both free to make their own decisions.

Fighting for Hope Part 7 – For an Erotic Society

ALL TOO OFTEN, WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE TAKEN in by an abundant assortment of images in which love is ever more distorted. In our society, men and women are led astray by access to commercialised sexuality, escapism and jealousy. Loving demands a great effort on our part. We are all aware of this, yet so many of us find ourselves in flight together.
In our society, love — the mystical dimension of life where the worlds of the spiritual and the physical are united — has been absorbed into the mechanical world of production; love has been reduced either to performance, or to consumer goods. We have reached a point where people want to “have” without being prepared to “give,” or simply to “be.”
The main obstacle to love is its over-idealization. It is indeed one of our aims to find love, yet we doubt our own ability to achieve this. We must make a start on love and eroticism where they are a reality, where we actually appreciate them — in our daily lives. We must make love a reality here and now.

Even in progressive political circles I come up against barriers when 1 talk of the religious character of love, and the erotic character of genuine religious feeling. The inner relationship between religious mysticism, spiritual love and physical eroticism derives from the fact that, by its nature, the true erotic transcends the confines of the ego, leading to a transcendental, mystic experience. The supra-personal quality of love is communicated to us naturally, in the personality of the individual whom one loves. We should always remain aware of the supra-personal dimension. The erotic element released between two people who love one another creates something beyond either one of them, extending their horizons. All too often, I come across men and women in our movement who shrink from the freedom afforded by love and eroticism because of their own personal disappointments. The (political and personal) “ideology” that they espouse is not prepared to admit to anything that cannot be rationally explained Everything that is loving is suspect.

In today’s nuclear, militarized world, almost all human relationships are riddled with suspicion, anxiety and insecurity. Love cannot emerge triumphant and unambiguous in a system of “fall-back” positions and restrictions. Conformity and submission are just two items in the emotional currency of this materialist society. We will continue to fail in our ability to love until we recognize that it is the personal responsibility of each individual to learn how to love. As women we must vigorously oppose all attempts to deny a place for the imagination in love, and we must strive for the harmonious interaction of the physical and the intellectual and spiritual. In a world where practically everything is planned, where everything is seen and valued in terms of its utility, the erotic must become the spiritual dimension of our physical being.

Leafing through books on Tantra temples, art and Tantra yoga, and reading about love relationships in Taoism and the early matriarchal societies, I am struck by the fact that we have lost a culture of love, or what Adorno calls “the aroma of the erotic.” All too often, encounters between the sexes amount to nothing more than sheer sexuality — individual gratification, the impatience some men have about entering their partner, advertising of aids to increase stimulation, and sexual acrobatics. Creative attention to the form and force of our own eroticism is disappearing fast and relationships have lost much of their excitement.

Setting up as a couple can be a grave mistake when a selfish need for security means that one partner stands in the way of change and development. Love is not an isolated romantic act between two people; love and life are indissolubly linked with one another. Love must be an integral part of all areas of society, so that it can halt the forward march of isolation, separation and a hostile social order.

The erotic is an elemental revolutionary force. It can suspend existing forms of discontinuity so as to arrive at continuity, entirety and a fuller, deeper way of life.

The melting and flowing into one another of the erotic can take place at various levels of sexuality. It does not have to be exclusively male-female oriented. More and more women are rejecting heterosexuality either for a short period or on a permanent basis and are seeking to arrive at a new awareness of their own sexuality and their own bodies in their relationships. Some do not want to share this most intimate area solely with men, and include women in their emotional life; others do not want men to enter them during the fertile days of their cycles, or even at all. Some use the most natural contraception method of all. This represents a new form of sexuality. Mutual satisfaction and one’s own fulfillment, are not some kind of substitute; many of us enjoy them a great deal more. There are many parts of the body where you can have an orgasm.

We must be on our guard lest the ideology of “free sexuality and emancipation” and all the bland propaganda there has been for the Pill despite its dangers subject us even more to male pressures. We women have been brought up to conform and to take a passive role, especially in terms of our own sexuality. Our sexuality has always been defined in terms of the penis. Men, including liberated ones, are brought up to be strong, and to measure their potency by the size of their penis and the frequency and timing of their ejaculations. In the Western world, sexual togetherness is restricted to particular erogenous zones. What has happened to touching, to caresses? In the erotic, non-violent, loving society that I would like to see, people will expect more than a simple capacity for sex. The most common complaint that women make of men is that they are totally unaware of the fact that the woman is not experiencing or feeling anything — the man is always in too much of a hurry to enter the woman. And that men tend to regard intense complete sexual unison and spiritual readiness for love, as an unnecessary diversion from their own fulfillment. The tendency to regard sexual intercourse exclusively in penis-related terms, and to cut ourselves off from all other aspects of this “melting into one another” leads to all sorts of misunderstandings, and can have an increasingly destructive effect on the love relationship. In next to no time, the result is that one partner is being used and the ability to love is put at risk.
A view of sexuality as a “technical acrobatic performance” is most certainly not the nub of a genuine love relationship; the nub is rather the ability to achieve a living, mural relationship, one that is anchored in the spiritual, where the erotic may rise above the confines of sold and thus lead to a mystical transcendental experience. I agree with David Cooper (On the Need for Freedom) that “The simplistic view that the man is there to penetrate the woman is a culturally conditioned belief that is easily refuted by experience.”

For example, Tantric yoga is based on mutual penetration, and the conflict between penetrator and penetrated is removed. There is a very great need to touch and hold and explore one another, instead of just penetrate!

We must not be ruled by our heads and our polluted perceptions. We must experience the mystic dimensions of life, in which mind and sensuality do not stand in one another’s way and are, in fact, indissolubly united. We must find our way back to a way of life we thought we had lost.
In erotic ecstasy, the intellectual and the sensual can never be separated. According to Tantric yoga, man is a never-ending spiritual creature and the melting together of man and woman is akin to the divine act of creation. It is thus possible to achieve the supreme state of existence through an intense act of physical love. Tantricism not only contributes to an appreciation of individual sexuality, it also shows the way out of the fragmentation of modern man by means of a complementary conception of body and spirit (man and woman).

If love predominates at all levels, man will no longer be pre-occupied with attempts, motivated by contempt and hate, to change people and things by means of punishment. Love which leads to ecstasy also leads to clarity and peace. It heals the wounds of separation and lends man dignity.
What once amounted to nothing more than a manipulation of organs now becomes an awareness of love — love that indeed transforms, but is not demanding, allowing us to develop our own awareness of the meaning of life. Being back in the world again, after this free melting into one another, gives a feeling of inner security. We are no longer “a thing in the world;” we have become the “embodiment of the world.” Tantricism seeks to lead man to his real being and has several possible levels: intensively lived love; physical eroticism; eroticism of the heart; holy eros! Yearning for wholeness!

This is expressed in exactly the same way in ecstatic Buddhism and Chinese Taoism. In the latter, the central symbol is the revolving wheel with two fish-shaped sacs within it: yin and yang. Unlimited endlessness. Each of these two forces carries some of its opposite within itself.

Fighting for Hope Part 6 – Women and Ecology

WHILE WOMEN HAVE INCREASINGLY DISCOVERED their own oppression in Western Europe, in the United States, in Australia and elsewhere, they have also learned to organize themselves and to speak out against the oppression of others — particularly the victims of militarization and nuclearisation.

There has been much consciousness raising among the new brave women in a “brave new world.” Political issues become personal, and personal issues become political. I have been with many women, whether I marched alongside them in Sydney or Hiroshima or Whyl, whether I sat in a tent on a windy Irish day at Carnsore Point, or spoke to them at the UN Plaza during the Disarmament March, or during my campaign trail for the European Elections as head of the German Ecological List

I have hope for the world, although it is ten minutes before Doomsday. Women all over the world are rising up, and infusing the anti-nuclear and peace movements with a vitality and creativity never seen before. Women stand up in courtrooms and explain the differences between natural and artificial radiation; they stand up at demonstrations and non- violent occupations of nuclear sites. They are the genuine ombudsmen of children to come. Like Dr Helen Caldicott, a children’s doctor from Australia, they firmly believe that each of us must accept total responsibility for the earth’s survival.

We are discovering how commercial and military technologies impose unacceptable risks to health and life. To defeat these technologies, we must begin to shape world events.

World expenditure on the arms race is over $1,000 million per day. Countless children are condemned to illiteracy, disease, starvation and death by the massive diversion of resources (natural and human) to the arms race. The cost of one tank would supply equipment for 520 classrooms and the cost of one destroyer could provide electrification for three cities and nineteen rural zones. Women who have opposed the military base enlargement in Larzac, women who do not buy toy guns at Christmas, know that the accumulation of weapons today constitutes much more of a threat than a protection. There had been over 900 nuclear explosions on the surface of the earth by the end of 1978 and it is estimated that the number of soldiers in the world today is twice the number of teachers, doctors and nurses.

Woman must lead the efforts in education for peace awareness, because only she, I feel, can go back to her womb, her roots, her natural rhythms, her inner search for harmony and peace, while men, most of them anyway, are continually bound to their power struggle, the exploitation of nature, and military ego trips. Our timidity must end for the earth has no emergency exit.

The conditions are being created for a police state, centralized uncontrollable energy systems, and increasing mechanization all led by the silicon chip which Japanese manufacturers claim achieves circuits in which there only are thirty failures in one billion hours of operation. Increasing numbers of persons will become unemployed and superfluous — already in 1970, in a report to the World Bank, Robert McNamara spoke of such persons as “marginal men.” It is estimated that by 1980, there will be one billion of them. The huge corporations that make human beings marginal can sell, make and break governments, and decide whether a non- nuclear nation like Ireland will have to go nuclear. And the same big companies now even begin to dominate the solar industry in the West. According to UN reports, a new form of so-called solar monopoly could mean further Third World dependence on a handful of corporations. Already production of large solar-based electricity generating plants is mainly restricted to gigantic companies like Northrup, McDonnell-Douglas and Mobil Oil. The Ford Motor Corporation, Philips and General Motors dominate small and medium-sized solar power plants. Firms are attempting to restrict access to this technology — awaiting the time when they need areas of cheap labour before moving production out to the Third World.

We are often told, that the experts and the big firms do not know how to deal with the problems which threaten worldwide disaster, “that all the facts are not in,” that more research must be done, and more reports written. This is simply an excuse for endlessly putting off action. We already know enough to begin to deal with all our major problems: nuclear war, over-population, pollution, hunger, the desolation of the planet, the inequality among peoples. The present crisis is a crisis not of information, but of policy. We cannot cope with all the problems that threaten us, while maximising profits.

As things stand now, the people, especially women and children of the Third World, are to perish first. They have already begun to starve; all that is asked of them is to starve quietly. The plight of women in the Third World is one that touches me deeply. There are now about 100 million children under the age of five always hungry. Each year 15 million children die from infection and malnutrition There are about 800 million illiterates in the world, nearly two-thirds of them are women.

The number of women unable to read and write is about half a billion. In the Third World, 40-70 per cent of agricultural labour is female — they plant the seed, haul the water, tend the animals, strive to keep their families alive — but all the while they are socially inferior. Men in the Third World are lured into the cities to work for one of the many Western companies or join Third World armies, supplied with guns and tanks sold by the same companies. The women left behind on the land, usually infibulated and circumcised (bodily and sexually mutilated), are not taught the use of new irrigation systems and intermediate small scale alternative technology. Instead they learn to buy Nestle’s Lactogen Milk Powder to mix with dirty brown water. The result: many babies die with bloated stomachs. Women in the Third World are further exploited through various forms of prostitution – whether through “rent- a-wife” schemes, as in Vietnam, or through international finance companies developing hotel brothels and promoting tourism through sexist advertisements.

The developed nations are armed to the teeth and mean not only to hold on to what they have, but to grasp anything they still can. Look at the uranium mines in Namibia, look at what we, the Europeans, are doing to the soul and culture of the Aborigines in Australia; look at the plight of the Navajo Indians in North America dying from radon gases. And as the great famines occur, the grain and other agricultural produce is either rotting away in EEC silos or is fed to cattle to supply the rapidly increasing demand for meat in affluent countries. The suffering people of this world must come together to take control of their lives, to wrest political power from their present masters, who are pushing them towards destruction.

This is also a plea to all women to join those sisters who have already risen up — who have helped to shape the ecological revolution. Together we can overthrow all the imposed structures of domination.

Even in the affluent parts of the world the same patterns of sexual inequality may be seen. Equal pay and equal treatment in all areas of schooling, training, promotion and working conditions have not, in reality, been won. Women in South Italy, and in the West of Ireland lead lives of desperation and humiliation. Battered women and children take refuge from husbands and fathers and women increasingly get cervical cancers and other abnormalities from the Pill of the pharmaceutical giants. Women who stay on hormones poison their cells, saturate their bile and risk birth defects in later children. Every eighth child in Germany is born handicapped in some way.

The story of thalidomide, commercially available for years after it should have been outdated, is just one of many. The pitiful caricatures of adults, living reminders of an unconcerned pharmacology, show how lethal the policies of male researchers and male politicians have been — industries have falsified data, bought off scientists, posited ridiculous risk-benefit ratios and threshold levels. This has resulted in a cancer rate that qualifies as epidemic. The total economic impact — including health care and lost productivity due to cancer — has been estimated at $25 billion a year.

The earth has been mistreated, and only by restoring a balance, only by living with the earth, by employing soft energies and soft technologies can we overcome the violence of patriarchy. Although the masculine ego and capitalist consciousness have made advances in science and technology, they have lost touch with the earth in setting out to conquer nature. The desire for power has left in its wake a terrible path of destruction. There is at the same time a danger of women being seen in the subservient role from which they hope to rise. Some of the ecological, communal and human potential movements are deeply infected by a type of romantic escapism which could all too easily recreate woman’s role as the servant of male culture. As an English feminist once said “We don’t want an ecological society where men build windmills and women silently listen, bake bread and weave rugs.”

In recent years, I have also observed that some women have sought to overcome their inferior role by becoming part of the masculine world (Mrs. Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, etc.). When women fight for equal status with men, they run the risk of joining the ranks in times of war. We are so conditioned by masculine values that women often make the mistake of imitating and emulating men at the cost of their own feminism. When I assess the world of male values, it is clear to me that I do not want this kind of “equality.”

Recent court-martial proceedings in the USA have indicated that a large group of guardsmen responsible for nuclear missiles are using and distributing illegal drugs. Armed guards had used marijuana, cocaine and LSD while on duty and carrying a loaded pistol. Another example of wanton disregard for life is provided by the French electricity generating board, which recently decided to bring into operation two new nuclear power stations while admitting that there are certain cracks in key reactor components. While governments all over the world are faced with escalating nuclear research bills (bills, which private industry will not pick up), and while workers repair nuclear accidents with pencils and paper clips (as was recently the case in a nuclear station in Virginia) a young woman is shot dead by the police in an anti-nuclear demonstration in Spain; policemen denounce women as “whores” during pro-abortion demonstrations and there are still investigations going on to discover what really happened to Karen Silkwood.

1984 is nearly here and so are the police states foreseen by Orwell — all in the name of secure nuclear societies. Women must lose all fear of speaking up and demanding what is theirs and their children’s. Only if we begin to rediscover our own nature, can we discover new ways of wholeness, balance, and decentralization — can we forge a bond with the Earth and the Moon, living with cooperation, gentleness, non-possessiveness and soft energies.

Fighting for Hope Part 5 (cont’d) – There is only one World: Life and death in my own body

[Part 5 (cont’d) of Fighting For Hope by Petra Kelly]


I have had personal experience of the way in which our belief in progress can destroy love and life. Since the age of six I have had many X-rays in connection with a number of kidney operations. In 1978 I lost a child in the sixth week of pregnancy. The foetus was damaged and my own state of health deteriorated severely. I shall never be able to prove that it was caused by the X-rays but it is a question I shall go on asking. The same doctors who claim that nuclear power stations are safe, also tend to say that X-rays will not prevent mothers having healthy children. In the period following my brief pregnancy, I read the words of the Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral, with tears in my eyes, and with great apprehension.

I place roses on my body and recite unending
verses to the being reposing within me.
Hour upon hour in my arbour, I drink in
the blazing sun.
Like a fruit, I want to trickle honey
deep down into my innermost self.
I turn my face to the wind of the pine-groves
Light and wind shall colour and cleanse my blood.
To make it even purer, I avoid all hate
and all gossip —
I want only to love!
For I am weaving a life,
in this peace and quiet,
a wonderful life,
with veins and countenance and expressions
and a purified heart.

For I am weaving a life in this peace and quiet…Yet where is the peace, where is the quiet?

I read the sad balance sheet: the number of unwanted pregnancies generally exceeds the number of wanted ones. The reasons? Often socio-economic but sometimes purely medical.

Who is there to offer aid and comfort when a pregnancy endangers the expectant mother’s health or when the embryo is at risk? Who is telling the real truth about the risk of a severe handicap or abnormality in the unborn child? Who can reassure me that exposure to radiation as a result of frequent X-rays did not harm the genetic product in my womb? In the Federal Republic of Germany, there are approximately 200,000 damaged children in every million live births and the numbers are increasing. And so are nuclear weapons tests, the military and peaceful use of nuclear energy, diagnostic X-rays and carcinogenic pollutants.

Handicapped children require constant care from the moment they are born until they die. Generally, mothers have to carry these burdens on their own and in private; their own lives are completely taken over and destroyed.

While there is a shortage of ante-natal clinics, over 50 per cent of all scientists work on military projects. 400,000 of them are directly employed in the development of new weapons.

For six weeks, my life was dominated by one question, were all the X-rays I had to have over the last few years an acceptable risk? Was there an additional exposure to radiation when I took Grace, my little sister, to the Heidelberg Radiation Clinic? Did my visits to nuclear reactors have a negative effect on my body? How high is, or was, the level of radiation in Belgium where I was living at the time? Is there an accumulation of fall-out from nuclear tests in fish, grain and ruminants? Is there an expert on radiological protection who will tell me the truth about my embryo? Is there such a thing as a tolerable dose of radiation? And if such a thing is permitted, who gave permission for it?

The International Commission on Radiological Protection is often mentioned; it is the body that sets the guidelines for the genetic risk of radiation to the population. But what about the embryo, the unborn child? They are a great deal more susceptible to radiation than after birth or as adults. People are not susceptible to radiation to the same degree. Why are we not told the truth?

There were not many answers for me then, nor are there many for me now. The doctors, men and women, gave me no hope at all that the little baby I carried for six weeks would be born healthy.

Embryonic tissue are the most radiation-sensitive of all tissue. I have had many X-rays of the pelvis, the kidneys and the abdomen, And as a result, I put a tiny embryo, a human life at risk.

The verdict was announced: the continuation of the pregnancy would endanger the health of both mother and child nobody could give me any assurance that we, the embryo and I, would come through everything after all. Yet every day, the government and the nuclear industry issue blithe statements that we need have no fear of nuclear power stations, reprocessing plants or the disposal of nuclear waste. Everything is in apple-pie order — except my womb! And so I was forced to sacrifice the embryo and cannot join Gabriela Mistral in her song.* I can only weep…weep about an operation that might not have been necessary, had we not permitted permission to be given.

Radioactivity as a by-product of civilisation — yes, I am frightened! But then on the other hand, maybe I saved a child from a future nuclear holocaust It lives on in me as my unseen ombudsman of the unborn. But I can never weave a life again.

These experiences brought it home to me that we are all victims of ecological atrocity. Posing the question of a new order of society may seem unrealistic, utopian or even dangerous to many people. But, at the threshold of the most dangerous decade of our history, it is simply a question of survival. If there is any hope, it must depend on a new way of thinking, and a new way of taking action. We must spike the lies of political life, and surmount every constraint. We must mount an international general strike against war and the nuclear industry.

* I am told that although childbirth was a frequent theme in Gabriela Mistral’s work, she did not, in fact, ever have any children of her own
— MH.

Fighting for Hope Part 5 (cont’d) – There is only one World: The Children’s Planet

[Part 5 (cont’d) of Fighting For Hope by Petra Kelly]


My sister, Grace Patricia Kelly, was not yet eleven years old when she died of cancer. She suffered from carcinoma of the eye, Grace came through four operations. In one of them, her right eye was removed. During her three years of radiation therapy, she spent many weeks in cancer hospitals, far away from her mother, her father and her sisters and brothers. She was on her own, surrounded by adult cancer patients with little sympathy for the sufferings and fears of a dying child.

Following the death of my courageous sister, I began campaigning for improvements in the situation of children suffering from cancer and other chronic diseases. Whilst discovering the dangers of radiation treatment for cancer became increasingly concerned about the wider menace of nuclear power.

Splitting the atom; uncontrollable emission of radioactive toxins; the insanity of the nuclear, bacteriological and chemical weapons build-up; unrestrained economic growth spreading commercialisation to every aspect of our lives; overconsumption of goods and raw materials; the erosion of the individual’s right to free speech; anti-human architecture, transport, technology and food production; increasing indifference and irresponsibility on the political front — these are the conditions of modern industrial society, and these are the factors responsible for disease. In an epoch characterized by “gorging to excess” all sense of responsibility has disappeared. Cancer has become a fitting symbol for the disease of civilised society. Shall we let ourselves be turned into cancer cells, gorging our way to self-gratification, all caution thrown to the winds?

Since following and experiencing my sister’s suffering as a cancer patient in those cold, loveless hospitals and radiation clinics, time and again, I have witnessed the way in which “medical progress” is itself a cause of illness. Ivan Illich has already proved that in the industrialized countries life expectancy is stagnating, or even falling, despite the cost explosion in the health services.

One of the main features of modern science, including medical science, is a tendency to reduce reality to a level which can be calculated in a laboratory or predicted by the computer. People have been reduced to finite objects, and human characteristics, such as creativity, imagination, hope and disappointment, simply do not figure any more. There is almost no better place to observe this reduction of human beings than in a modern hospital.

While there has been an over-emphasis on technology in medicine in the last few years, at the same time there has also been greater public awareness of the psychological causes of ill-health. The growing trend towards homeopathic medicines shows that, especially in the field of health, people want a more human approach to science and technology, one that does not separate body from soul.

The stubborn attitudes encountered in many hospitals underline the inhumanity of medical science. It has long been known that four out of five children react to being separated from their parents by being disruptive, towering, bed-wetting, having nightmares or loss of sleep and appetite. But hospitals will only permit mothers to stay on with their children in exceptional circumstances. Shortage of space is one reason for this; the absurdly high daily charges another. Some of the hospital administrators I have spoken to responded to this miserable state of affairs by saying that patients will just have to learn to live with it. Just as we have long since got used to hostile tower blocks and a polluted environment?

Cancer patients in particular are treated as though they were the lepers of the modern age. Take a man who has had a heart attack to illustrate the point. He is often regarded with something verging on admiration because he has obviously been working too hard, and that really counts for something in our work-mad society. But none of that applies to cancer. The word “cancer” arouses almost medieval fears of the awful, the unknown, the terrifying. Cancer sufferers often encounter ignorance, fear and tepidity. The uncaring attitude and the unconscious prejudices many people have about cancer victims are often more painful than the condition itself..

Given that after accidents, cancer is the second most common cause of death in children in Europe, various organisations have put forward the idea of special centres for children with cancer. These include a working group in the European section of the World Health Organisation and the private organization I founded, the Grace P. Kelly Association for the Support of Research into Children ‘s Cancer.

The need for these centres hinges on the way body and soul are separated in methods of treatment and therapy such as operations, radiation treatment and chemical therapy where important questions are left out: how are cancer wards furnished? what effect does the general arrangement of the room and the daily routine have on the small patient? are there enough properly trained nursing staff on hand to tend lo the child’s emotional problems?

My sister Grace often told me about the tears that were shed in the neighbouring beds, and how other young cancer patients suffered boredom, bouts of anxiety, apathy and withdrawal Her example of a child’s courage and honesty has given me all the inspiration, strength and energy I have needed since her death to found and publicize an association, a European action group, which aims to improve the lot of children with cancer.

After my sister’s death, I helped found a European association which aims to represent the interests of children suffering from cancer or other chronic illnesses in the increasingly depersonalized atmosphere of the hospital. The Grace P. Kelly Association uses its funds not only to promote cancer research, but also to encourage cooperation across Europe. We hope to construct a European model of cancer treatment which stresses the social aspects, both in psychological and paediatric terms. We call our project the Children’s Planet, and it represents an autonomous world of children, with no white coats and no hierarchies, where children need no longer feel like outcasts.

The idea of the Children’s Planet is based on the world described in The Little Prince by St.-Exupéry. A team of very committed planners and architects have drawn up plans for a Children’s Planet of this kind, in consultation with doctors and psychologists. We have spent years closely examining the specific problems of children with cancer and other chronic diseases, and I have visited many children’s hospitals in Europe and the United States to learn from other examples of clinical care, nursing supervision and leisure activities.

The Children’s Planet’s main concern will be research into the various ways in which chronically sick children can live with their pain, how they behave and react. It will consist of the following areas: firstly, a large work-space for outpatients where group therapy can take place and therapies can be supervised; secondly, a model “rooming-in” area where children who need time to adjust to their treatment can be looked after by their mothers or fathers; thirdly, a home dialysis training centre where children with chronic kidney disorders should be able to develop a degree of independence; and fourthly, a hospital school, with a large play and activities area. The first three areas will all be grouped round the fourth, a centrally situated play and activities pavilion. In this area, sick children will be able to do craft work, play in the sandpit, splash around in water, make and listen to music, read, act in plays and so on. Children will wait for their treatment here, and children who have already been admitted to hospital as in-patients will come over to play. It will also be a kindergarten for the children of hospital staff The play area will consist of a large, flexible hall with distinct spaces within it and a pyramid-shaped superstructure. The hall will be lit by natural light through a large number of windows to the outside world. Team games will be played in an adjacent open play area as well as in the central play/activities area. The visual impression will be of an open hall and a distinctive play and work shop.

The small patients’ active involvement and participation in the Children’s Planet should help them to bear their dreadful suffering and to take an active part in their own therapy.

To the Adult Reader:
You say:
“Looking after children
is tiring.”
You are right.
You say:
“Because we have to
stoop to their level.
Climb down, lean down to them,
bend, make ourselves smaller.”
You are wrong.
That is not what’s tiring. What is,
is having to clamber up to their feelings.
Clamber up, stretch out, stand on tip toes,
reach out,
to avoid hurt.

Janusz Korczak

Fighting for Hope Part 5 (cont’d) – There is only one World: Nuclear Power and Cancer

[Part 5 (cont’d) of Fighting For Hope by Petra Kelly]


I am being sought
radical mother
mingling in the throng
laying the bomb of fear

I am shedding tear gas
for the power station

The trees are still
meadows are still being

But poison clouds are already
diving the heavens away

I see death
over the face of the earth:

the last x-rays

Margret Schröder

001There are more than 30 million people suffering from cancer in the industrialized countries every year. In West Germany 250,000 people develop cancer annually. Official figures published by German Cancer Aid show that this includes almost 1,700 children under the age of fifteen. About 4,000 children are receiving steels radiation or chemical treatment at any one time. These treatments only tackle the symptoms, but even when it is accepted that the turnout has already outstripped the body’s defence system, they are common practice. The number of people calling for non-toxic cancer therapy is on the increase.

The nuclear age has become the cancer age. Appalling instances of radiation damage are on the increase. My sister died at the age of ten after suffering radiation treatment Many people are now concerned that radioactive substances used on the pa dent may be extremely harmful, The number of children who have been damaged by radiation therapy has reached a very worrying level.

Some reports to make one’s hair stand on end:

In 1978 the government in Washington declared fifty nuclear installations a health hazard. Statistics show that there was a disproportionately higher incidence of leukaemia and other forms of cancer in these areas than in normal towns and communities. Eliminating the danger would have cost $250 million.
—The Harrisburg accident radiation dose unknown. “Just how much radioactivity escaped during the reactor disaster at the nuclear power station on Three Mile Island is something we shall never know for sure. Gibsen, the investigator, told the United States Atomic Energy Commission that all the radiation meter indicators had gone off the edge of the page that morning. However, about 80 per cent of the radioactivity discharged escaped through the used air chimneys, and the measuring instruments there were not set for radiation emission of that order. The curves also exceeded the upper limits of the measuring scales in the buildings adjacent to the reactor, even though these go up to 1,000 rem per hour. Five rem per annum is the maximum exposure to radiation for workers in power stations.”
—A dispute has been raging in Landshut, Bavaria since February 1980 over the sudden appearance of white sparrows, many of which are deformed. While the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment and the power station authorities deny any connection, many scientists put it down to radiation leakage from the local power station
—There is also the case of the Munich dentist who discovered that some children had radioactive strontium in their teeth. “Dr Korff noticed that there were always more cases of gum inflammation (stomatitis aphtosa), among children corning into his surgery after a south wind. On closer investigation, it turned out that when there had been a south wind, the radioactive waste from the nearby reactor was dispersed across Munich. Dr Korff then examined teeth extracted from children and established the presence of radioactive strontium. He also established that the radioactive deposits found in the teeth of children born in Eching were twenty-three times the normal level. Dr Korff also observed an increase in unexplained deaths among children as a result of blood diseases. The dentist alerted the authorities, but they have played down his findings and, according to Dr Korff the official measurements have been kept secret.” (Diagnosen 11July 1978).
—An investigation carried out by the Director of the County Health Department in Rocky Flats USA, came to the conclusion that there is a higher incidence of leukaemia and lung cancer in the vicinity of the plutonium works. In districts neighbouring the plutonium works there was a statistically significant increase in the incidence of leukaemia and twice as many cases of lung cancer as the national average. The number of miscarriages was also disproportionately high.
—An increase in the incidence of leukaemia was established in the vicinity of the La Hague reprocessing plant in France. These statistics can be obtained from the Health Department in Cherbourg (for the period 1976-7).
—In the view of one American scientist, the incident at the Three Mile Island power station near Harrisburg very probably contributed to the deaths of several hundred small children. Sternglass, a radiation scientist at the University of Pittsburgh comes to the conclusion, in a detailed study, that there was an actual rise in the infant mortality rate in the area affected by the radioactive cloud discharged at three Mile Island. Using data in the Health Department’s own publication Vital Statistics, Stemglass shows that infant mortality in Pennsylvania was almost twice as high in 1979 with 271 deaths (or 18.5 per 1,000), as it had been in March 1979 (141 or 10.4 per 1,000). At the same time, the American national average went down from 14.1 to 12.5 per 1,000. Radiologist Stemglass believes that, if their mothers were living close to the power station, it is possible that the thyroid glands of unborn children in the fifth to the ninth month in the womb, absorbed doses of radiation of between 200 and 1,100 millirem. And in areas where the radioactive cloud touched the ground, Sternglass estimated that a dose five or ten times higher was possible.

Again, according to Vital Statistics, after the Three Mile Island incident there was an increase in Pennsylvania in the number of children born alive, yet dying within a few days of birth, between March (141), May (198) and July (271). There were similar figures for the city of Pittsburgh, about 290 kilometers to the west of Three Mile Island, and hence in the path of the radioactive cloud. In the Magee Maternity Hospital, where 65 per cent of all children in Pittsburgh are normally born, the infant mortality rate went up from March (14 deaths per 1,000 births) to May (31.6 deaths per 1,000 births) to July (30.1 deaths per 1,000 births).

—A further study was conducted on the population in the vicinity of the Big Point reactor on Lake Michigan. The results showed that infant mortality was 50 per cent, leukaemia 40 per cent and the incidence of congenital deformities 230 per cent higher than the average for the state of Michigan as a whole.
—In 1975, no less than 998 workers at the Windscale nuclear power station were exposed to quantities of radiation which will mean the loss of many years of life.
—In a study of the Hanford nuclear workers by Dr Alice Stewart and Dr Mancuso, it was established that workers in the nuclear industry receive an annual dose that corresponds to anything between 500 and 5,000 full breast X-rays a year.

It cannot be emphasized enough that the World Health Organisation in Geneva ascribes 80 per cent of all cancer conditions to environmental factors. Health hazards from the food supply are probably much more common than is generally supposed. They arise as a result of industrially produced chemical fertilizers, by using biocides to combat insects, bacteria, weeds and destructive rodents, by deliberate or thoughtless emission of harmful substances by the chemical industry, in the form of harmful substances from the combustion of carbon dioxide and in the release of radioactive gases, condensation, waste air and effluent from nuclear installations. In the view of the experts, the future of cancer relief lies to a large extent in the elimination of these environmental factors.

In October and November 1979, doctors’ conferences were held in London, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Hamburg on the subject of the dangers of radiation treatment. The participants included leading international scientists, Dr Alice Stewart and Dr George Kneale (UK), Dr Rosalie Bertell (USA) and others. Following increased awareness of the dangers of even low doses of radiation, the maximum permitted levels have been steadily reduced. But now that there are plans to build a large number of fast breeders and re-processing plants all over the world, these levels are being raised again.

An exhaustive statistical study conducted by Dr Stewart showed that children whose mothers had been X-rayed in pregnancy were twice as likely to develop leukaemia. More and more scientists and doctors are warning the population of the dangers of low levels of radiation from nuclear power stations. The dangers of small doses of radioactivity are even recognised by established radiation biologists. The notion of “harmless tolerance doses” should be dropped.

Notwithstanding these findings, the International Commission on Radiological Protection is recommending a drastic increase in maximum levels. This includes an increase to more than twice the current permitted level of lung exposure to radiation. EURATOM is recommending its member states to accept the new levels because they are necessary for the operation of fast breeders and reprocessing plants. So as not to jeopardise the smooth passage of these efforts, the public will not be informed of the dangers of low levels of radioactive exposure, nor about the further increase in maximum levels.

Meanwhile, Dr Karl Morgan and Professor Rotblatt have issued the following joint statement:

There will never be a complete cure for radiation damage to people; even at a low level of exposure to radiation, many thousands of interactions take place between radiation and human body cells . . . It is clear that if the cell core is damaged and some of the genetic information units are lost, or if a similar set of circumstances leads to malignancy, no dose can be set so low that there is a nil risk. Thus the risk of an outbreak of cancer as a result of the effects of radioactivity increases in more or less direct proportion to the increase or accumulation of radioactive treatment.

There is no threshold of safety; the effects of radiation on the body mount up from one treatment to the next.

Statements which seek to play down the pressures on the environment caused by nuclear installations are irresponsible. Professor Dr Schellong, Director of the University Children’s Hospital in Münster, is right in saying that

“the introduction of a legal requirement to register cancer conditions and congenital abnormalities is essential if we are to establish the incidence, and possible fluctuation in incidence, of these conditions. Parliament and Government should make this matter one of urgent priority, especially as the use of nuclear energy is being developed at great speed, despite all the unresolved problems and despite the misgivings of wide sectors of the population.”

The risk of developing cancer from low doses of radiation is evidently much greater than we had ever supposed.

Fighting for Hope Part 5 (cont’d) – There is only one World: Cancer and the Environment

[Part 5 (cont’d) of Fighting For Hope by Petra Kelly]


001Arguments about the protection of the privacy of the individual are often quoted to oppose the introduction of a register of cancer cases. All of a sudden, the talk is all of the freedom of the individual, and of protection against computer invasion of privacy, when the Greens demand a register for cases of cancer in areas where heavy industry and nuclear installations are located. But the connection between cancer and industrialisation can no longer be denied. An American cancer atlas shows that lung and skin cancer are particularly common in areas where there is a high concentration of petro-chemical industries, and where iron and steel works belch out their smoke. The industrialisation of agriculture and the misuse of artificial fertilisers are the factors responsible for this. Cancer is not a matter of fate, but of the environment It is the murderous tribute we have to pay for industrialization. V. A. Upton, the former director of the American Cancer Research Center has said, Cancer is largely a result of environmental influences. If we can succeed in eliminating these factors, or in reducing them or in bringing them under control, cancer will be avoidable. “We must campaign for a ban on the hard core of carcinogenic compounds (ammonia nitrates, asbestos fibres, benzopyrene, hydrocarbon chlorides etc.).

Fighting for Hope Part 5 (cont’d) – There is only one World: The New Environmental Weapons

[Part 5 (cont’d) of Fighting For Hope by Petra Kelly]


001An extreme case of the oppression of nature is found in the present military research to develop environmental weapons. Scientists are working to produce rain, snow, hail, lightning, hurricanes, tidal waves, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions for military purposes. Between 1963 and 1972 the US military conducted 2,700 experiments in increasing rainfall, using Indo-China as their laboratory.

Numerous studies show that the production levels and standards of living in the highly industrialized countries have very little long term prospect of being maintained. Mankind is losing the basis of its existence. The biological diversity of flora and fauna is facing the threat of extinction; by the year 2000 there could well be no more trees on the streets; the springs will start to dry up and drinking water will be scarce; heavy metals and radioactivity will have contaminated the fields, breast milk and young children. The findings are extremely alarming but the reaction from the poetical parties so far have been very few and far between.

In the face of these incalculable dangers, more and more people are no longer prepared to tolerate economic pressures at any price. This can lead to apathy, or radicalization and mobilisation in the ecology and Green movements. The Greens believe that current endeavours to come up with a solution within the framework of the market economy system do not go far enough. We must construct an ecological framework for the survival of life on this planet.

Fighting For Hope Part 5 – There is only one World: Biological Farming

[Admins note: As with Part 4, Part 5 of “Fighting for Hope” is also long. We’ll be presenting each topic as a separate web posting. The first section is entitled “Biological Farming,” and is also relevant to our current situation.]

[Part 5 of “Fighting For Hope” by Petra Kelly]


001ECOLOGICAL FARMING METHODS ARE PARTICULARLY economical in their use of raw materials and energy. The demand for biologically produced goods now exceeds the supply. And farmers who face ever-growing problems in keeping animals and plants healthy are turning more and more to ecological methods. However, there is a chronic shortage of places for training in ecological farming.

Farmers today, themselves the victims of the failure of agricultural policy, are often cast in the role of “nature’s enemy.” But the people who really bear the blame for the failure of agricultural policy sit unchallenged at their desks in the ministries and board rooms. The Greens do not want to see agriculture managed on industrial lines by a small number of employers. What we need is an agriculture where the backbone is provided by independent small- and medium-scale family enterprises. Farmers should remain farmers, not become agricultural industrialists.

In Holland there is widespread use of biological pest control methods and mechanical weed killers, and cooperative depots have been established The first organic dairies are in production and there is an Alternative Agricultural College outside Leiden. Right in the heart of Amsterdam there is even an advisory office for ecological farming (which owes its existence to the efforts of squatters, among others). In Holland there are now 226 selling points where alternative farmers and gardeners can sell their produce. In addition, the government wants to set aside a large area for swan farms and market gardens working without chemical fertilizers and weed killers. All this shows that in Holland at least, there has been a move towards the humane centres of production envisaged by E. F. Schumacher in Small is Beautiful

The largest bio-gas plant in the world to date has just gone into production at Ismaning near Munich. The West German Ministry of Research contributed £62,5oo ($9,400) towards the cost. When organic matter, in other words plant or animal matter, is broken down by micro-organisms in the absence of oxygen, organic gas is produced — a mixture of 50 per cent methane and carbon dioxide. In this way 4-5,000 cubic metres of organic gas can be produced every day, providing the same amount of energy as 2,000 lines of central heating on. The gas is converted into electricity in a motor generator plant, and can be fed into the Bavarian supply network.

According to Andreas van Bülow, consumption of energy in West German agriculture is rising faster than production, because of the high degree of mechanization and the wide- spread use of fertilizers and pesticides. Rolf Brand, who built the Ismaning plant, has calculated that with the aid of organic gas installations, German agriculture could become largely self-sufficient in energy. There are about forty-five organic gas plants already operating in German agriculture and another thirty are currently under construction.

One important argument always put forward by our opponents is that mankind will inevitably starve if conventional farming methods are abandoned. But in fact, yields from organic cultivation are only 5-10 per cent lower. Ecological farming is not a wrong turning; it is the only way to an agricultural situation in which both the soil and the animals are healthy, and in which food is produced without risk.

As human beings, we are collective creatures, living parts of various communities which interconnect to form a living social system. Thus we are responsible for the whole, for society and for the life system that supports us all.

Most energy in the agricultural industry comes from fossil fuels, and of these, the main source is oil. Oil is necessary for the manufacture of nitrate fertilizers and pesticides. The Greens draw attention to the fact that supplies of oil and natural gas (as well as uranium) will be exhausted in one or two generations, and will become very scarce and expensive before that point is reached. We are looking for a way out of the wasteful consumption of energy in oil-based agriculture. Biological methods would give poor countries in particular a chance to liberate themselves from the mono-cultures that have been imposed upon them, and to establish their own independent means of foodstuff production. And, by using fewer artificial fertilizers, they too would see a reduction in their fuel bills.

Industrialised agriculture has a lot to do with world hunger. The rapid growth in world population will have hardly changed by the year 2000 . The world’s population will grow to 6.35 billion in 2000, an increase of more than 50 per cent over the figure for 1975. The gap which already exists between rich and poor nations will grow wider. On this point, The Global 2000 Report to the President says:

— Arable land will increase only 4 per cent by the year 2000.

— Most of the elements that now contribute to higher yields — fertilisers, pesticides, power for irrigation and fuel for machinery — depend heavily on oil and gas.

— While the world’s finite fuel resources — coal, gas, oil shale, tar sands and uranium — are theoretically sufficient for centuries, they are not evenly distributed; they pose difficult economic and environmental problems; and they vary greatly in their amenability to exploitation and use.

— Regional water shortages will become more severe. In the 1970-2000 period population growth alone will cause requirements for water in nearly half the world to double.

— Significant losses of world forests will continue over the next twenty years as demand for forest products and fuel wood increases. Growing stocks of commercial-sized timber are projected to decline 50 per cent per capita. The world’s forests are now disappearing at the rate of 18-20 million hectares a year (an area half the size of California), with most of the loss occurring in the humid tropical forests of Africa, Asia and South America.

— Serious deterioration of agricultural soils will occur worldwide, due to erosion, loss of organic matter, desertification, salinization, alkalinization, and waterlogging. Each year, an area of cropland and grassland approximately the size of Maine is becoming barren wasteland

— Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and ozone-depleting chemicals are expected to increase at rates that could alter the world’s climate and upper atmosphere significantly. Acid rain from increased combustion of fossil fuels threatens damage to lakes, soils and crops. Radioactive and other hazardous materials present health and safety problems in increasing numbers of countries.

— Extinctions of plant and animal species will increase dramatically. Hundreds of thousands of species — perhaps as many as 20 per cent of all species on earth — will be irretrievably lost as their habitats vanish, especially in tropical forests. (The Global 2000 Report to the President, Penguin Books 1982, pp. 2-3).

The structure of industrial agriculture is one of large fields, and mass application of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and high yield plants. Agriculture is currently organized on the basis of the competitive pressure to expand and intensity. But this puts a strain on the whole ecological system. In agricultural terms, pressure to expand means draining marshlands with a purpose-built excavator and plastic pipes. Alternatively, it means clearing hedgerows or ploughing right up to the hedges bordering the woodlands. We Greens must become the parliamentary representatives of the birds, the plants and the marshlands, the voice of ecological stability.