Making It Happen!

One of the articles in Generation NExT (IC#43)
Originally published in Winter 1995/96 on page 26
Copyright (c)1995, 1997 by Context Institute


What are young people doing to make the world a better place? They’re registering new voters, writing inspirational music, planting gardens in vacant lots, publishing ‘zines, launching cyber-petition drives, organizing a global strike for peace, and taking a stand for love and against violence.

The young people featured in this section know that they’ll have to change themselves as well as their surroundings, in order to make a better world. And they recognize that time is short.


Freedom Summers

by Amy Richards


I was first introduced to the Third Wave – the movement and the organization – when it was started in 1992. I was just finishing college and about to enter the "real world," so how could I help but get caught up in the energy of this organization that was committed to making the world more just?

Third Wave is a national multi-cultural membership organization that promotes and facilitates young women’s activism. The women involved in Third Wave are primarily in their 20s; they’ve just left college or never went to college; who are outing themselves as women of wealth, as women who grew up on welfare or in middle-class surroundings; heterosexual, asexual, and lesbian; they are starting their own businesses and paving their career paths. They are also much, much more.

Third Wave was founded to fill a void in youth leadership and in response to the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas Senate hearings, the withering away of reproductive freedom, and the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict.

Third Wave’s mission was immediately put into action through our inaugural project, Freedom Summer ’92. Inspired by the Freedom Rides of the early 1960s, this cross-country voter registration drive took 120 young people to 21 cities in 23 days and registered more than 20,000 new voters in inner cities throughout the United States. Riders were male and female and ranged in age from 14 to 50, with the majority in their early 20s. We came from all walks of life, except none of us were physically disabled and too few were Native American. Many became immersed in a diversity they had only observed from afar or had only acknowledged through the PC (Politically Correct) movement. This sharing and learning was half the experience. We learned that it is no more of a crime to be rich than it is to be poor, that your homophobia usually arises from the fact that you fear your own sexuality, that not all black people think alike, and that you can’t become HIV positive from a handshake.

We traveled on three buses from city to city. We slept on the floors of YWCAs and ate food donated by local restaurants or prepared the night before by women and men who volunteered their time and resources. We spent our days registering voters in primarily low-income areas. We stood outside supermarkets and inside shopping malls. We went into welfare offices and into people’s homes. We learned that many people thought they were ineligible to vote because they were too old, were homeless or had once been imprisoned. We also learned about the bureaucracies that keep people from voting. In some states, only a certified registrar can register a person to vote. These registrars are often clustered in urban areas and offer only limited hours of operation.

Because these limitations still exist and contribute to the fact that only 39 percent of eligible voters voted in 1994, Third Wave is gearing up for Freedom Summer ’96. Again we will take a diverse group of 120 young people on a voter registration tour, targeting urban and rural communities in six states where conservative and anti-democratic forces are the strongest.

Amy Richards is on the board of Third Wave, which also connects young women through a quarterly newsletter – "See It? Tell It. Change It!" – and through 3Wave On-Line. 185 Franklin Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10013; 212/925-3400.


Taking it to the UN

by Danijela Zunec

I’m writing this article in New York City in the UN Secretariat, where for the last three weeks I have worked as a Youth Coordinator and UN Youth representative of Rescue Mission. If I tried to plan this in my wildest dreams, there’s no way I could go this far! On the other side, it’s a very logical culmination of all the Rescue Mission activities in the last three years.

Rescue Mission: Planet Earth (RM) was conceived in Rio at the Earth Summit back in 1992. David Woollcombe, today’s co-director of RM, was representing Peace Child International at the Earth Summit forum for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and was heavily criticizing the complexity and length of Agenda 21, the document created and signed in Rio. A challenge came from the UN: "OK, make your own version of the Agenda." Young people involved in NGO activism worldwide mobilized by the Peace Child International network, put their heads together and created the Young People’s edition of Agenda 21 called "Rescue Mission: Planet Earth" (see IC#34). The book has been translated into 17 languages and sold 270,000 copies around the world.

When I remember the knowledge, experience and love that went into it, I’m not the least surprised by its success. I was one of the 28 youth editors working on it in England. I had big doubts at the beginning about making a book in a month. The way we worked made it possible: everyone came with open hearts and minds. We were given total freedom, space, and trust by the adults to express whatever we thought was relevant, and in a way that worked for us. Adults were there to help us with technical advice on publishing and basic layout principles.

We did much more than just a rewrite of the Big Agenda: we looked into its gaps as well, and created a page called "Black Holes in Agenda 21." This page included War and Militarism (not a word in the Agenda!), Discrimination and Nationalism, Birth Control, Renewable Energy Sources, Multinationals, Nuclear Disarmament, Media, and a few more. It’s hard to believe that Agenda 21, the global action plan for the 21st century, fails to recognize so many issues. This is where we come in! Agenda 21 calls for participation of children and youth in the decision-making process and partnership between all sectors of civil society.

By making the book, we put these words into practice. The results show how well it works. The book revamped the existing network, generated a lot of feedback, and Rescue Mission – until then just a project of Peace Child International – became an NGO on its own. It is based in England, near Cambridge. There you can always find up to five young interns from all around the world, and two co-directors: David, 45, and Cecilia, 20. They have an equal say in all decisions and project plannings. Partnership, remember?

The RM Headquarters house is being designed by a 21-year-old Czech student of architecture. It’s very eco-friendly in its construction and very youth-friendly in its design. It’s still partly under construction, so feel free to come and add an extra detail! The energy of the place is amazing; people do whatever they feel best at doing: writing, illustrating, computer designing, public relations, office work, cooking, gardening, or hammering.

The biggest project since the book is the creation of the Sustainable Development Indicators for Youth, which is currently being tested by 500 groups and schools. We will use feedback from these groups to write the final draft. The project is being developed by a group of 10 young people aged 17-23 from North and South. The most important part is the call to "Create Your Own Indicator." As of November 1, youth groups and schools from 69 countries had commited to full participation in the indicator process.

All this is a part of a larger project called Youth Inter-sessional, which is run by three youth NGOs (RM is one of them) along with UN partners. The inter-sessional was formed to help young people gain an understanding of sustainable development – how to think seven geneartions ahead – and to get them involved in creating indicators of relevance to youth.

One major UN partner is the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD). In April 1996, we will see the fourth annual meeting of this commission: a big deal involving all the member countries’ delegates, environmental experts, and youth representatives!

You may say, these events have happened before, but never was youth input taken seriously – there are a few nice pictures of youth with politicians and everybody goes home. This time we are trying to move a step further. The plan is to create one document together, based on discussion between young people and adults. How far it will actually go, we have yet to discover.

Staying out of the system and just complaining about it doesn’t help much. I’ve made my entrance into the system in the somewhat boring and quiet UN office where I’m coordinating youth input and helping to raise funds. There’s not much individuality bursting out in between all these thousands of offices, but it’s up to me right now to change it for myself (a Walkman helps).

Young people need a whole new role in the UN. The age group from 18-25 (classified as youth by the UN) is not represented. All youth have is the so-called "Youth Unit" with not a single young person inside! "Youth" Unit!? However, if we knock hard enough, some doors do open. Slowly and carefully … but enough to sneak in. One of these doors is the Commission for Sustainable Development. They have agreed to have a youth coordinator – not a paid position (yet), but it makes a difference.

As we said in the Rescue Mission book: "Anybody, Somebody, and Everybody knew there was a job to be done. Anybody could do it and Everybody thought that Somebody would do it. But in the end, Nobody did it." Don’t let that happen. Find out more, get connected, and move!

For information on how to involve your school or youth group, contact Rescue Mission, The White House, Buntingford, Herts, SG9 9AH, United Kingdom, Fax: 44/176-327-4460.


Souljah of Love

by Charles Jones

In light of the recent deaths of several childhood friends, I have decided to become a souljah for the "One Love" movement. Unity in the community is now a must, the bloodshed of far too many brothas is the evidence. Our neighborhoods are no longer homes, they are war-zones and battlefields.

I am a weary souljah losing sight of the prize, and faith in my cause. I came into the game of life with so many, and will have to leave with so few. It’s painful to attend the funeral of a man you’ve known since the beginning of your own existence, especially when you’re only 18.

I remember as youths raiding a neighbor’s plum tree together, or running from the "Bell Man." To this day, our names are still inscribed on the sundial at the peak of Hunters Point. Mine is one of only four that doesn’t have the letters R.I.P. carved over them.

Too many young deaths have youth afraid – not afraid to die, but afraid to live and to love life. To see a young man in the coffin feels worse to me than losing my grandmother; her life has been long and fulfilled, with children, grandchildren, wars, struggles, and love. While younger men, such as Zel, had only begun life. Their children, if any, can’t be older than 2 or 3. Some had plans of marriage or college. And all that’s left are memories, fallen legacies, and bastard children.

But why should it be this way? Is this what Malcolm, Huey, Assata, and Martin fought for? No, but these aren’t the Malcolm and Martin days anymore. In my community this is evident, and will be relayed to you verbally, physically, and mentally if you were to get the impression that the strong bonds of brotherly love have carried over from the civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s. To quote a barrage of gangsta rappers and other exploiters of ghetto life, "ain’t no love."

So why am I waiting until Zel’s death to make my statements of regard and remorse? I’m not; I’m just saying it louder, because as children you expect friends to stay friends, or at least stay alive.

"One Love" has become a popular theme in music, but not as popular as music, television shows, or books that depict and glorify violence. Becoming a souljah for the One Love movement isn’t passing around flowers, drugs, and diseases. It isn’t a group or a religion. The One Love movement is a movement of love. It’s saying "Hello" instead of "What’chu lookin at" during eye contact. One Love is saying "excuse me" instead of knocking the hell out of someone who commits the ultimate sin of stepping on your shoe. And on higher levels of physical violence one love is dropping that gun and settling the dispute through a good old-fashioned one-on-one fist fest. It’s about respecting and loving life.


The ‘Zine Scene

Now that desktop publishing is so widely available, lots of people, young and old, are publishing their own ‘zines, small publications that express a particular point of view. The following is an article from Papergirl, a’zine from the xx chromosome collective. Colombene, a graphic design student, writes, edits, and publishes the zine, sometimes with help from other members of xx chromosome. She says they publish "roughly seasonally, but only when there’s something to say and I have the time to say it." You can reach xx chromosome at PO Box 7433, Burbank, CA 91510, e-mail: xxchrome@aol.com.

Think about the imagery

I remember back in 1992 when I first started going to raves/undergrounds/parties/clubs. I thought I finally found the utopian society. Nobody dressed like those folks, nobody listened to that kind of music. It was so new and so nice too! People smiled, hugged, shared water, big tall guys put you on their shoulders to see stage happenings, others gave out free goodies. Keywords were unity, equality, openness, smile. Obviously, everything wasn’t as ideal as this, but the important thing was that there were ideals and we all knew them and maintained a peaceful anarchy.

It’s subtle things that create this atmosphere – words, imagery, (lack of) advertising, not shooting people. A big slice of the rave experience is the flyers and these add or detract from the overall atmosphere of the seen. More and more flyers and album covers are about naked ladies with big tits in all their airbrushed perfection. So what does this say? Does it show the sexual side of the underground? the risqué, anarchic side? Personally, I think it drags underground culture down to beer commercial level.

I remember when I worked for a radio station and we had the This Is Techno compilation with the voluptuous woman in a bathing suit and a mask to make her a faceless body. Someone seeing a dichotomy between the image and what they considered the free and equal nature of technoculture scrawled across it, This is NOT Techno. Of course not all women are offended by this kind of imagery, but it sometimes strikes a nerve in some people that isn’t pleasant. It’s sort of like seeing those reclining chrome women on mud flaps and grilles of big semi-trucks. You can’t really explain yourself, you just don’t like it.

The thing is, all the sexuality on display is geared towards men. It’s the same as mainstream, sexist, commercial culture. Women please and men receive the pleasure. The only sexy men you see on flyers are for clubs geared towards gay men. Heterosexual women, or even homosexual women who aren’t into Playboy type imagery, get nothing. It’s absurd and biased.

So, how do you show sex without being sexist? Well, it’s not very difficult. It’s just that people are trapped by the conventions American capitalist society has taught us. Dare to either think for yourself or go outside of Western art and thinking and see some different examples of sexuality. Other cultures show couples together so the sex is genuine and equal instead of being the viewer and the viewed. Indian religious sculpture and Japanese panels show this. Showing different kinds of men and women in different lights, together or separate can be very beautiful. It would also be nice to see people being sexual without looking empty and submissive all the time. You see it exclusively and often and soon you don’t question it and think the only way to be sexual is to be stupid. It’s not even about being PC or cutting out everything interesting. I just hope the imagemakers think about what they’re doing and how they’re affecting rave culture. Isolating and/or exploiting half of their audience isn’t very intelligent or positive. And making a fractalized Bud Light ad is not exactly trippy, creative, or rebellious.

This rant is not to discourage anyone from designing anything or even from using naked ladies in their designs, but instead to think about what they’re doing and to think about quality and respect instead of just convenience and wallets of potential punters.


A New Plan for Man

by Drew Dellinger

In challenging times such as these, we feel that everyone is called to lend their voice and their talents to activism and cultural transformation. Through our music we hope to inspire, inform, and provoke thought among people, young and old, who may not otherwise have access to alternative and progressive ideas.

The goal of Sweet Acidophilus is to contribute to the future of Earth by providing something sorely lacking in our society: messages of compassion and a mode of celebration.

2 Much Masculine

I’m a man as you can tell but I don’t stand with the plan too well
I want to lend a hand help people understand
refine, redesign the image of man
I want you to see how men can really be
we need a new definition of masculinity
When boys are young they’re taught not to lie
you better not pout you better not cry
the song is wrong & I’m tellin’ you why
there’s lack of expression in every single guy
We’re taught that we’ve got to hold in what we feel
that’s not real – from ourselves we steal –
the deal is
to heal the expressionless man in the world
express yourself to other guys not just girls
& enough with this notion of a strong man
he seems tough but he’s down with the wrong plan
those who are strong are strong enough to show
that inside you don’t have to hide – you and your ego
know and trust that you can show and discuss
not just lust even though sometimes you think you must
demonstrate your manhood that shit ain’t no good
I wish people would see because they should see that there’s

Too Much Masculine … Not Enough Feminine
That’s what happened when men lost the women in ’em

It’s not really that there’s 2 much masculine
the definition of masculine’s off so I’m askin’ men
to change, even though it might sound strange,
to a new masculinity, a new male identity
the old way’s overrated, outdated & sour
if it turns you on go and take a cold shower
meanwhile I’ll be free to be me
’cause I’m down with the new masculinity
So cut a rug, give a hug, and don’t dismiss
you may like Isaiah Thomas even give a kiss
to other men, other friends, send it out to all of them
once, twice, three times, and once again
People need to see how men can really be
some who are dumb call it womanly, I call it free
so let’s begin the liberation
there’s already 2 much macho shit in our nation, and

Too Much Masculine … Not enough Feminine
That’s what happened when men lost the women in ’em

Lyrics by Omar Zinn and chorus by Stephan Snider


Sweet Acidophilus is a politically-conscious music group founded by Stephan Snider, Omar Zinn, and Drew Dellinger. For more information, contact them at: P.O. Box 17053, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-7053, tel. 919/929-7521.


From the Ground Up

by Tracey Hollins

Detroit Summer is a multicultural, intergenerational youth movement to rebuild, redefine, and respirit Detroit from the ground up. Young people from Detroit and around the country together plant urban gardens, paint murals, work with children, turn vacant lots into playgrounds and learn from each other. Tracy Hollins, 17, a Detroiter, wrote this about Detroit Summer in the Commitment Newsletter.

Detroit Summer is a program that touches the hearts and enlightens the minds of people from all walks of life. Politicians, community leaders, and citizens have joined together to put an end to the "downfall" of Detroit. We have set out to provide alternatives to violence, to bridge the community gap, and to prove that diversity does not mean destruction.

The call to Detroit Summer ’92 began it all for me. Finally an opportunity to do something positive was at my finger tips. A short application and a small paragraph and I was on my way.

When orientation rolled around I was ready to go. It was two o’clock and the participants began to roll in. The colors of the room … were beautiful. No, I don’t mean reds and blues. I’m speaking of shades of browns and pinks and peaches of skins. Reds, golds, blacks, and browns of hairs. Yes, the colors of a spectrum are in their way equally as beautiful, but they naturally blend together. As people met with one another peacefully and enjoyed learning of each other’s backgrounds, it was hard to imagine someone not taking pleasure in gaining the knowledge of a different culture or lifestyle. It was also refreshing to be able to sit and converse with someone and know that you would not be judged solely on the color of your skin. I could tell that this was the perfect place for me.

I was very enthusiastic about beginning the actual work. I have always wanted to be part of making a visible difference in the city. I was assigned to clean a vacant lot with several other participants. We were fortunate enough to receive support from the community around us, therefore achieving another one of our goals.

After the extraordinary success of ’92, there was no doubt in the minds of coordinators and participants that there would be another Detroit Summer. We immediately decided that youth needed to be involved in the programming of the next Detroit Summer. As a result, I and other Detroit youth were thrust into the world of leadership. We took on responsibilities of organizing and recruiting youth locally and nationwide.

Determined to make Detroit Summer ’93 bigger and better, we made sure that the word was spread faster and over a larger area of the county. Local recruitment was boosted into high gear when radio and television stations offered air time. Steps were also taken to raise money; national endorsers and local sponsors were asked to open their wallets and were invited to a fundraising event featuring Ossie Davis.

Our prospective project sites had the potential to be even more visible than the first year. As in 1991, a mural was planned. In addition, there was to be house repairs, clearing of vacant lots, and the elevation of a community greenhouse. The seeds had been planted, watered, and given ample amounts of sunlight. It was time to see our summer blossom.

When the long anticipated Detroit Summer ’93 finally arrived, I was happy to once again to see the determination and diversity of the participants. The volunteers were as anxious as I was to get the new year started and worked hard at the assigned projects and at overcoming age and racial barriers. At the end of ’93, participants and coordinators once again walked away feeling that they had been a part of something that could change the way people see Detroit.

Detroit Summer ’95 …

Chalk up another one for the Detroit activists! We have successfully completed another year of hard work and fun. Yes, Detroit Summer ’95 has proven itself worthy to shine along side the previous accomplishments of its dedicated crew. This year, as in the others, we had the perfect mix of ages and cultures to bridge the gaps that society as a whole needs to put a few boards and tacks in. On a small scale we were able to spread joy and hope in our communities and that made the scales tip over.

In her keynote speech at the opening ceremony of Detroit Summer 1995, Becca Dorn, an 18-year-old Detroiter, talked about the inspiration and vision of Detroit Summer:

"We all need to understand that we are not just entering a summer program, we are building a movement. Like the civil rights movement, we are fighting for the right to live in peace, and the right to go to the store or to school without fearing for our lives. Like the freedom riders, we are going to do something important – like beautifying a neighborhood – and we are going to bring the community together to build a spirit of unity."

To those of you who have not yet joined the struggle, don’t worry. The saga continues …

To become a part of Detroit Summer ’96, or to start a similar program in your area, write Detroit Summer, 4605 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48201, or call 313/832-2904. Co-coordinators: Michelle Brown, Shea Howell, and Joe Jones.

Tracey Hollins is a freshman studying architecture at Lawrence Technical Institute just outside Detroit. Becca Dorn was born and raised in the Cass Corridor, in the heart of Detroit, where her family raises goats and chickens. Becca is a sophomore at Michigan State University. Both young women serve on Detroit Summer’s program planning committee.


School Strike for Peace

by Tom Furtwangler

New York City, September 17th, 1996: 700 delegates from 185 countries stand in silence, their eyes closed, in the Plenary Hall of the United Nations. Meeting after their summer break for the opening session of the UN General Assembly, the delegates are silent for peace."

This is the vision of a Swiss 17-year-old named Franziska Schutzbach. "If we could see into the Plenary Hall, we would be surprised to see a colorful banner: Today we ask that the delegates to the UN Plenary Session discuss and negotiate the abolition of nuclear weapons. Under the banner there are thousands of signatures from all over the planet. In order to emphasize this demand, we do not go to school on this day. There is a world-wide school strike."

Like many teenagers, Franziska would like to live in a world free of nuclear arms. Unlike most, however, she has organized a global effort to bring us closer to peace. Plans for a global school strike began with discussions over the dinner table in the Schutzbach home, but are quickly gathering support from youth groups all over the world. By urging that the first day of the UN Plenary Session be devoted to promoting peace, Franziska hopes youthful participants in the school strike will "draw the world’s attention to our concern for the present, to our hopes for the future, and to our right to a say in the matter."

Although she is now an experienced youth activist, she began, as she puts it, as "a greenhorn." Raised without television in a boarding school community, the daughter of teachers, she spent most of her early childhood outside with other children, "playing as dwarfs in the forest." At age 11, however, she had an epiphany. "The sun was shining, and we were on a family walk in the forest. I was walking beside my father and my little brother, and my father began talking about the destruction of the rainforest. It was like being struck by lightning. My immediate reaction was, I will do something. There was no doubt in my mind, and no question."

Soon after this experience, Franziska, along with friends, founded a childrens’ environmental group called The Green Hares. Organizing around the destruction of the rainforest, they coordinated fundraising runs and contributed the money they raised to rainforest protection projects in Columbia.

From this success, says Franziska, "I was very encouraged and realized that we could accomplish something as children if we worked together and were persistent." In the following years, Franziska grew more active, attending environmental leadership conferences for youth, and contributing articles to the magazine Zeitpunkt.

"The idea for the Global Initiative came after a time of relative inactivity," says Franziska. "I was waiting for a new inspiration, a new goal. This idea came originally from my father. We founded a working team, regardless of our relationship as father and daughter, and enthusiastically discussed our idea in his office, in the garden, at meal time." Together they read Bernard Benson’s Peace Book, combining Benson’s ideas with their own.

Her brother Niklas joined the effort a few weeks later, and at Christmas 1994 they mailed their original text, "A Global Initiative for Worldwide Disarmament," to the leaders of the five official nuclear powers, as well as to colleagues and friends. The text presented a straightforward demand for global disarmament by the year 1998. "We can only overcome the crisis of worldwide militarism if we consciously enter into a new era of mankind," it stated. "The most important characteristics of this era are permanent peace and real respect for nature."

Their first big success came when Mikhail Gorbachev and The Dalai Lama wrote back personally to endorse the initiative. "From this moment," says Franziska, "our friends were more interested."

As momentum grew, The Global Initiative for Worldwide Disarmament evolved into the Global School Strike, providing the Schutzbachs with a way to turn the support they were receiving into action. Their effort had been endorsed by The Findhorn Foundation, Swiss ecologist Bruno Manser, and Bernard Benson, among others, but as Franziska puts it, "the more support we got, the more work we had." Enlisting the help of six friends, Franziska formed a core group, which meets weekly in the Schutzberg home. They are making contact with youth groups around the world, mobilizing youth activists as far away as Kenya, Indonesia, and Cambodia to take part in the strike.

The importance of youth organizing is evident to Franziska. "We, the young people, can stand for the simple things," she writes. "We have the ability to dream and to wish. Many adults have lost their more visionary or revolutionary wishes. But if there are no wishes, there is nothing to realize!"

Working to make her vision of a global disarmament a reality, Franziska Shultzbach has mobilized a worldwide movement, which will take action on September 17, 1996. This work has not only broadened her global perspective, it has also given her greater understanding of herself. "My work for peace over the years has deepened my awareness," says Franziska. "I have developed a clear perception of the necessity that every human being contribute something to co-create the human community."

For more information contact Global Initiative, Fauggersweg 39, CH 3232, INS, Switzerland. Tel: 41 32 83 24 58, fax: 41 32 83 35 73, e-mail: 100650.2463@compuserve.com.


Global Internet Protest

by Tom Furtwangler

Outraged by the prospect of French nuclear testing in the South Pacific this spring, several physics students at the University of Tokyo decided to circulate a petition. Instead of going door to door, however, Seishi Shimizu, Yuichi Nishihara, and their friends circulated their message more rapidly and, it turns out, much more effectively, over the information superhighway.

"I hit upon the use of the internet to lower people’s threshold for action, and thus to gather all the murmuring voices against the test from all over the world," says Shimizu. And gather voices they did. Their chain letter shot around the world in a matter of days, with each recipient adding his or her name to the list, and forwarding it on to exponentially more readers.

By the time they attempted to stop it, the message had gained tens of thousands of signers from more than 100 countries, and the sheer volume of response was disrupting computers around the world and getting its creators into trouble.

Shimizu writes, "we realized that using a chain letter was inadequate. We sent our second chain letter to go after the first one, since that was the only way we could think of to stop the first one from spreading." Replies were coming in faster than they or their host computer at the University of Tokyo could handle.

"In spite of trying to stop further distribution of our first chain letter, the number coming to us doubled each day," says Nishihara. "I think there is no one who can manage more than 2,000 messages a day!" After just 18 days, the students moved the site of their protest to the World Wide Web, a medium better suited to busy electronic traffic.

Shimizu and Nishihara delivered an apology to their fellow internet users, writing, "We deeply apologize for having started a chain letter. We hereby declare that we will never ever start such a thing again."

An apology was not all they delivered, however. In October, Shimizu and his classmates presented their petition with 55,205 names from 102 countries to the French embassy in Tokyo, which promised to forward it to Prime Minister Jacques Chirac.

These students’ efforts at electronic anti-nuclear activism did not end there. They have decided to maintain an anti-nuclear presence on the World Wide Web, despite the fact that, as Nishihara writes, "The reality is that this is taking up most of my time." Their "Stop Nuclear Testing" home page (http://www.iijnet.or.jp/nuke/) is an idea that is catching on. By press time there were more than 10 WWW sites devoted to the global outpouring of protest against nuclear testing, each with links to related sites. As Seishi Shimizu puts it, "I expect this movement will be a new trend, allowing more people to participate from all over the world. I hope we can create an ‘electronic civic movement’."

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!