Greenstar Newsletter


May 8, 2000

Ecommerce, Energy, International Development

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Today's weather animation of East Asia
from space, courtesy of CNN

In this issue:

1. "Lift my Feet": original music from Swift River, Jamaica; and a short music video captured in the village

2. The Appropriate Technology Library: a valuable new resource for rural villages

3. The Humanity Development Library: a powerful reference on health, food and nutrition, global issues and disaster relief.

4. Planet Repair: a new book from the director of Earth Day


An index to all issues of the
Greenstar Newsletter is available at:

Jamaica Music Online:
Digital Culture from Swift River

They're complete...eighteen exuberant pieces of music, recorded in Swift River Jamaica about two weeks ago. Long hours of mixing and editing have yielded a crop of original sounds from this remote rural village in Jamaica's Blue Mountains.

You can download and listen to this music here, free; choose from short one-minute excerpts, compressed for standard listening, at about 500-700K each in size. Or, if you have the time and/or a broadband connection to the Internet, hear the full-length pieces in full high-fidelity sound, from 1.2 Mbytes to 3 Mbytes in size.

Click here to start your
musical journey to Jamaica.

In a few days, a full-length music CD, which also includes photographs, a music video and background information, will be available through the Greenstar website; income from sales of this CD will be used to help Swift River expand their health, education, computer, communications and solar power resources.

To mark Earth Day, about 180 Otaheite apple trees were planted on the banks of the Rio Grande River, from Swift River to Chelsea a distance of 3.5 miles. Another 20 trees were planted on residential plots.

Specific trees are assigned to children in the community for care and attention. Prizes will be awarded at appropriate intervals for the best-cared-for trees. This will ensure protection and provide environmental awareness. From time to time additional fruit trees will be planted to fulfil the dream of a well fruited village.

A solar oven was also installed in Swift River, which has already excited the curiosity of the community for its ability to bake fresh bread and supply new income to local women. A large solar power array, with batteries and inverter, has also arrived safely in Jamaica, and it will be installed soon.

The application of the photovoltaic system to provide electricity from the sun will generate great interest in the community and provide a vision of what is possible.

While working in Swift River, the Greenstar solar power, artwork and music crew also recorded hours of full-motion color video on a portable digital video camera.

Click on the image above to view a short music video, which features one of the Swift River music tracks, "Love School," as its score. This video shows daily life in the village, people and their artwork, music performances, cooking and tree planting. The music, by local singer Leroy Sayles, praises the value of education for children in buiding a positive future.

The video was edited with the help of a contribution from Superior Assembly, a leading post-productrion house in Los Angeles headed by Greenstar Ambassador Mary Buffett. Many thanks to Mary, and to her editor, Dave Mendel.

This is a long download...7.5 unless you have a fast connection or a lot of patience, you may want to wait until the Swift River CD is available in a few days.

To view the movie correctly, you need QuickTime, which is comes standard with recent versions of Windows and the MacOS, and is available for Linux and Unix as well. If you don't have QuickTime, or if the video doesn't play correctly, you may download it for free from


A local Jamaica newspaper, The Observer, wrote a short informative feature about Greenstar's work in Swift River. You can read the article here.

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Appropriate Technology Library

As we plan for deployments in dozens of sites around the world, Greenstar conducts extensive research. We seek to identify key resources which deliver valuable practical education to people in developing villages around the world.

In Jamaica, we provided a copy of an amazing new resource, a multiple-CD-ROM library of over 1000 books, collected and indexed. These electronic books, all of which concern solidly down-to-earth, simple advice on ideas and techniques to make rural village life easier, safer and more prosperous, are included in the Appropriate Technology Library from the Village Earth Project.

You can find out about this powerful tool
for yourself, at

Listed below are just a few of the titles of books we found interesting, a small sample from the 150,000 pages of text and images in the Library.

Appropriate Technology for African Women
Questioning Development
Radical Technology
Repairs Reuse Recycling
Appropriate Technology: Problems and Promises
Village Technology in Eastern Africa
The Barefoot Book
Design for the Real World
Appropriate Technology Directory
Simple Technologies for Rural Women in Bangladesh
Village Technology Handbook
Learning from China
Local Responses to Global Problems
Towards Village Industry
How to Work Sheet Metal
The Making of Tools
A Manual on Sharpening Hand Woodworking Tools
Metal Bending Machine
The Modern Blacksmith
The Recycling Use and Repair of Tools
Basic Machines and How They Work
Better Farming Series #2 The Plant: The Stems; The Buds;
The Leaves
Better Farming Series #3 The Plant: The Flower
Better Farming Series #5 The Soil: How to Conserve the Soil
Better Farming Series #12 Sheep and Goat Breeding
Better Farming Series # Sheep and Goat Breeding
Better Farming Series #15 Cereals
Better Farming Series #18 Bananas
Better Farming Series #23 Coffee
Gardening for Better Nutrition
Gardening with the Seasons
Jojoba and Its Uses
Permaculture II
The Water Buffalo
The Winged Bean
Sheep Health Handbook
Raising Healthy Goats Under Primitive Conditions
MultiAction Paddy Field Puddling Tool
Small Gas Engines
SmallScale Solar Powered Irrigation Pumping Systems
Solar Photovoltaics for Irrigation Water Pumping

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Another new resource we have discovered is the Humanity Development Library, assembled by a team of researchers in Antwerp, Belgium; the website is hosted at Tulane University. This Library contains more than 1,230 publications (160.000 pages), whose publication aims to help solve poverty, to increase human potential, and to provide education to all.

There are several divisions:

Medical And Health Library
Food and Nutrition Library
Critical Global Issues
Disaster Library

There is also a guide to the Humanity Development Library as a whole. Their work deserves support, and the tools they have assembled are of great value.

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Planet Repair

A new book from a friend of Greenstar, Denis Hayes, merits notice here. Denis has combined a sense of urgency with a sense of humor, providing solid analysis of the perils and possibilities of the planet in the 21st century.

A reviewer from Amazon says:

That most of the world's environments are in bad shape is by now well known. They need not remain that way, insists veteran environmentalist Denis Hayes, a coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970 and now CEO of the International Earth Day Network.

Many animal and plant species have been brought back from the brink of extinction since the dawning of the environmental movement, and more and more people are aware of the ecological consequences of their actions. But then, Hayes notes, more and more people are buying gas-guzzling SUVs, using energy-thirsty halogen torchieres, consuming fossil-fuel-squandering foodstuffs grown far from home out of season, and otherwise behaving as if the good times will never end.

The cost of that behavior is mounting: witness the greenhouse effect, by which gases trapped in the atmosphere prevent solar heat from escaping, thereby warming the earth. "Within a few decades," Hayes warns, "you will breathe air containing twice as much CO2 as the air your grandparents breathed unless we radically change our use of carbon fuels such as coal and fuel."

Planet Repair is available for under $10 US; click the link below to learn more about it, and to order it from Amazon:

The Official Earth Day Guide to
Planet Repair
by Denis Hayes

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Upcoming from Greenstar: a full-length music CD from Jamaica, capturing all the energy of the community of Swift River, titled "Lift My Feet."

Also: amazing virtual-reality panoramas shot in and around Swift River, which put you right there, and allow you to move around the place naturally.

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