Spring/Summer 2014

April, 2014

Dear Friends of Plenty,

It was 40 years ago this spring that Stephen Gaskin stood up in the middle of 500 or so of us young hippies gathered in a meadow in southern Tennessee to meditate and watch the sun rise. He talked about the “idea” of Plenty. The idea was that as we built our community, we should also be reaching out to be of help to other people in the world who might not be as lucky as we felt we were. We immediately agreed that it was an idea worth pursuing.

Over its history Plenty has fielded dozens of projects in some 20 countries, including the US. What’s impressive about these numbers is not the numbers themselves but that a tiny-budget, small-staff organization like Plenty could reach that far. That reach is attributable, at least in part, to the fact that Plenty, like so many small nonprofits, is less of an individual NGO than a strand in an ever-widening web of like-minded, committed people who reinforce, replicate, and expand upon each other’s efforts.

Just in time for Earth Day, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued its latest report. It basically says we don’t have any more time to delay the drastic changes that nations, industries, communities and individuals need to make in order to effectively reduce atmospheric CO2 to tolerable levels, levels that have been rising “almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century as they did in the last decade of the 20th century.” The Chairman of the Panel is quoted as saying, “We cannot afford to lose another decade.” The report included some good news such as the costs of renewable energy options like wind and solar are falling fast and the panel says it detects “a growing political interest in tackling the problem.” (We can detect a bit of eye rolling among US readers about that “growing political interest” but we can stay hopeful.)

We hope you enjoy the new Plenty Bulletin, which contains all the Plenty news we were able to fit with as many photos as we could squeeze in. Because we’re only printing two of these a year now (a total of eight pages) and there’s so much more going on than we can include please go to our website and Facebook pages for updates and expanded versions of the Bulletins. Also, we’ve tried to make it easy for folks to donate on the Plenty International website.

I want to wrap up this letter by saying how grateful I am personally to have been involved with Plenty over these four decades. It’s been a constant privilege. When, as young hippies, we declared that we were “out to save the world,” we didn’t think we could do it alone or in a generation. We can’t even say things are much better than when we started and some things, like climate change, are worse. However, it’s apparent that our children’s and grandchildren’s generations have a better awareness of the big problems and the tools that are needed to fix them than we did at the same age. There’s much to do and lots of us gray-haired flower children are still around to help.

With love and appreciation,
Peter Schweitzer
Executive Director