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The Obesity Epidemic: The business opportunities in obesity
In early October there was a quirky report about U.S coffin makers increasing the size of their product. What this reveals is anything but funny. Obesity is one of todays biggest health crises1 in 4 of the worlds 4 billion adults are overweight and 300 million are clinically obese. In the U.S., where the crisis is most pronounced, nearly a third of the population is obese and two-thirds overweight, with the rates substantially higher among the poor. Since 1990 the U.S. obesity rate has doubled and approximately 127 million adults are now overweight and 60 million are obese. During the same period the number of people who are severely obese has nearly quadrupled to nine million. Child obesity is also increasing rapidly.
Outside the U.S., especially in the more advanced capitalist nations, obesity is also skyrocketing. In Canada between 1985 and 2001, the prevalence of obesity more than doubled from 7 percent to 14 percent among women and to 16 percent from 6 percent among men. Like the U.S., the rates are substantially higher among the poor. According to a study published in the August edition of the International Journal of Obesity, 6.4 percent of children in the wealthiest quarter of the population compared with 12.8 percent of those in the poorest quarter are obese.
The health effects of the obesity epidemic are immense. Researchers claim there are links between obesity and more then 30 medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancers, and possibly Alzheimers. According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, 1 in 3 U.S childrennearly 50 percent of black and Latino childrenborn in 2000 will become diabetic unless people start exercising more and eating less. Some 90,000 U.S. cancer deaths a year are linked to obesity. Worldwide, diet-related afflictions such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes account for almost 60 percent of deaths annually.
Even in crude economic terms obesity is costly. The U.S. National Institute of Health estimates that the annual costs of treating obesity-related conditions are at least $120 billion.
Invariably though, within a capitalist system some see profit opportunities in the current obesity epidemic. Companies have long used body image as a mechanism to control women. The diet industry is the main beneficiary of rising obesityor as the Economist recently put it, the business opportunities in obesity. In North America the diet market runs at $30 billion a year, which is expected to increase by nearly 25 percent in the next 3 years to $37 billion in 2006.
doctors with a stake in the game push deadly weight-loss drugs such
as Ephedra. Those who put their faith in the pharmaceutical industry
expect a miracle weight-loss drug to save them. In the meantime,
severely obese people can get gastric bypass surgery to reduce their
stomach size. This $25,000 (up to $100,000 with over-all costs)
weight-loss procedure is becoming more popular. More than 100,000
U.S. residents will have the surgery this year, even though 10 to
20 percent of those operated on suffer serious complications, including
death. If this doesnt work, a medical company has a plan B.
If their company- funded studies are to be believed, a highly successful
gastric stimulator has been created that sends the stomach electrical
impulses to combat hunger.
According to a survey by the Calorie Control Council, 48 millionor 25 percentof the U.S. adult population are currently on a diet and, if other studies are correct, over 60 percent of U.S. men and 70 percent of women are trying to shed a few extra pounds. A recently published study found that 9 to 14-year-olds who diet may actually gain weight in the long runpossibly due to metabolic changes, but more likely because they resort to binge eating.
Throughout the advanced capitalist world, and to a lesser extent in the periphery, peoples diets have changed drastically over the past 30 years. In the U.S., spending on fast food now totals $110 billion annually, having increased 18-fold since 1970. The number of fast food outlets, often started with government subsidies, has doubled from 1 per 2,000 residents to 1 in 1,000 since 1980. Poor areas often have an even higher exposure to fast food restaurants and fewer supermarkets, four times less in black neighborhoods than white neighborhoods, where healthier products can be found (even though there is evidence that supermarkets in poorer neighborhoods are more profitable per square foot). Outside the U.S., fast food restaurants are also rapidly expanding. For instance, in 1995 Dunkin Donuts opened 1,000 international stores, which by 2000 had increased to 5,000.
Its not only at fast food restaurants where unhealthy products are being consumed in greater quantities. U.S residents on average consume an astounding 8482.3 per day8-ounce servings of soft drinks annually. In poorer countries people are also increasingly consuming high calorie soda pop instead of more nutritious drinks. The Mexican soft drink market, 70 percent controlled by Coca- Cola, totals some 633 eight-ounce servings per person annually.
Portion sizes have also expanded. Compared with 20 years ago U.S. hamburger servings have increased by 112 percent, bagels 195 percent, steaks 224 percent, muffins 333 percent, pasta 480 percent, and chocolate chip cookies 700 percent. It has been shown that people consume about 30 percent more when served larger portions. Fast food outlets and the rest of the food industry often promote their products based on their larger, somehow more empowering, size. As of 1996, a quarter of the $97 billion spent on fast food came from items promoted on the basis of either extra size or larger portions.
main reason that people are consuming more, especially unhealthy
products, is the food industrys relentless advertising, especially
to children. U.S. food companies spend more than $30 billion to
sell their products, not counting what they spend lobbying favorable
policies and support. In 2001, Coca-Cola and Pepsi together spent
$3 billion in advertising.
When targeting young kids, companies use cartoon characters, toys, and other items that have a powerful influence over children. In the early 1970s the U.S. food industry fought off regulation of their advertising practices and instead adopted industry-regulated standardsthe Childrens Advertising Review Unit. Now 40 percent of McDonalds advertising targets children and, according to a 1998 study, theyve been highly successful. Of 10,000 children surveyed, 100 percent of U.S., 98 percent of Japanese, and 93 percent of UK children recognized Ronald McDonald, with many of these kids believing Ronald McDonald knows whats best for their health.
The fast food and soft drink companies have also been successful at getting their products into cash- strapped schools. They get ad spots on Channel One, which is shown in classes. In Texas, the food giants give $54 million a year to schools to sell their wares in vending machines. Maybe the most disturbing example of school infiltration was in 1998 when Colorado Springs school officials agreed to an exclusive agreement with Coke, based on a tripling of school soft drink sales. Recently Coca-Cola Enterprises became an official sponsor of the PTA and John H. Downs Jr., the companys senior vice president for public affairs and chief lobbyist, got a seat on the PTAs board.
The food interests are also hard at work lobbying governments, both behind the scenes and with front groups such as the Center for Consumer Freedom. Three years ago sugar producers and the soft drink industry won a big victory in getting the USDA to soften its dietary guidelines on sugar. Likewise, they convinced a subservient American Dietetic Association to refrain from labeling any foods as unhealthy since according to them, all foods can fit into a healthy eating style.
Last September, within a week of the European Commission strengthening regulations on companies promoting the health benefits of foods high in fat and sugars, the Food and Drug Administration weakened its guidelines to allow food packages to advertise possible benefits before they are fully approved. Currently, different sectors of the food industry are hard at work shaping changes to the New Food Pyramid.
Internationally a similar process is at work. This past April the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN food and agricultural organization backed down (due to pressure from the sugar industry) on guidelines, stating that people should limit daily consumption of free sugars to a maximum of 10 percent of energy intakes to avoid chronic diseases. U.S. sugar producers had indicated that they may lobby the Bush administration and Congress to link U.S fundingabout one-fifth of the WHO budgetto changes in research methods at the UN agency.
The food giants are well represented in other ways. In 1978 Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Kraft, and other food companies founded the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) to lobby WHO. It won a position as an NGO in official relations with WHO and a specialized consultative status with the Food and Agricultural Organization in 1991. In 1992 the ILSI congratulated themselves after steering the WHO and FAO away from any curbs on sugar consumption.
The 10 percent or 200-calorie increase in energy consumption by the average U.S resident over the past 25 years is tied to incessant food advertising, political lobbying, and larger portions. Underlying this rise, however, is an agricultural sector that has increased output by some 500 calories per person during this periodafter the Nixon administration altered government subsidies effectively increasing farmers incentives to expand their yields.
Obesity is related to a variety of other social factors some of which have received minimal scrutiny. A yet to be properly studied link is between obesity and nuclear materials, which emit radioactive iodine, tied to thyroid damage. Thyroid disorders, recently found to occur twice as often as previously believed, are linked to weight gain.
Another contributing factor is the large numbers of teenagers and children not involved in physical activity. Cutbacks to physical education budgets have not helped. The often-elitist nature of school and community sports dissuades many kids from participating. For this reason and others ranging from prescribed gender roles to societys indifference to their specific sporting inclinations (such as skateboarding), many teenagers, especially girls, have negative attitudes towards exercise.
Workplaces and their power struggles also affect obesity. The automation of work reduces the amount of energy workers expend. In and of itself this neednt be problematic since automation should also reduce the number of hours worked and increase time for active leisure; not in the U.S, where people are working 200 hours a year more than they did in the early 1970s.
to Linda Rosenstock the former Director of the National Institute
for Occupational Safety and Health, It turns out that a quarter
to a third of workers have high job stress and are drained and used
up at the end of the day. Thus, many working people have less
time to take part in activities. In addition, after a long days
work, people often turn to TV watching, which is inversely linked
to time spent exercising. Busy parents, especially poor working
class people, use TV as a babysitter. In this setting children who
are naturally active are hindered from activity.
Often the same automation technology, which is supposed to reduce the workload, results in an increased workload (stress level) for those who retain their jobs. A growing body of evidence shows that workers who dont feel in control of their work environment have higher job stress levels. Scientists believe there is a link between stress and the impulse to eat. Food with lots of sugar, fat, and calories appear literally to calm down the bodys response to chronic stress. In addition, research indicates that stress hormones encourage the formation of fat cells, particularly the kind that are the most dangerous to health.
Oddly enough a historical determinant in work related stress repetitive assembly line work has also contributed to obesity in another way. Urban planning, which is intimately linked to the expansion of capital, plays a central role in obesity. How the suburban landscape became the norm is told, in part, by Colleen Fuller in Caring for Profit. Beginning in the 1920s, General Motors president Alfred Sloan and top company executives masterminded a scheme to create a consumer market for automobiles in the United States. At the time, 9 out of 10 people relied on the trolley networks that crisscrossed cities across the country. GM first purchased and then dismantled the nations trolley companies, ripping up tracks and setting bonfires composed of railcars. In 30 short years GM succeeded in destroying a mass-transit infrastructure that would cost many billions of dollars to resurrectmore money than municipal governments could raise.
Its not just the auto industry (broadly defined) that has reorganized cities in a way that encourages obesity. Land developers are notorious for buying up cheap agricultural land on the outskirts of cities and pushing for land rezoning and the extension of public amenities to these plots. There is substantially more money to be made from selling houses or commercial space than there is in harvesting vegetables. Similarly, today in many towns Wal-Mart has played no small role in undermining the downtown core, one of the only places where people regularly walked.
The suburban landscape is almost entirely subservient to the car. Sidewalks are non-existent or disconnected, crosswalks are absent or poorly marked, and the speed and volume of vehicular traffic is overwhelming, which makes walking or biking either impractical or dangerous. So people who might otherwise walk are forced to drive even short distances and kids who could easily walk to school must be chauffeured.
A study released in September showed that in the 25 most sprawling U.S. counties people were on average 6 pounds heavier than in the 25 most compact counties. In the past 20 years the number of trips taken on foot in the U.S. has dropped by 42 percent. Now, fewer than 10 percent of children walk or bike to school regularly, down from 66 percent 30 years ago.
To combat the obesity epidemic we need tighter limits on fast food marketing. Junk food companies should be kicked out of schools. Perhaps governments should subsidize fruits and vegetables as well as other healthy products. Increased funding for physical education classes, park spaces, and childrens sports would help. Increasing exercise opportunities at work, which a group of large employers, ironically headed by Ford Motors and Pepsi Co., is already working on, could help. Also there could be some form of tax break for exercise as is the case in Finland where some 70 percent of the population exercises for 30 minutes 5 times a week.
Most important we need a movement that effectively challenges the capitalist entities that push their interests no matter the weight or health effects.
Yves Engler is a Montreal-based activist current writing a book on student activism.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.