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People all over the world observe the degradation of the
environment. One starts to realize that the present mode of
production and consumption both threatens the continued existence of
the earth and increases the existing inequality
between rich and poor countries (the North and the South).
Through exhaustion of the earth, e.g. deforestation, more often
natural disasters are being provoked by man.
Until now it seems that people from the South, and in particular
women, have been affected by the implications of environmental
pollution and of the increase in inequality.
Women from Gelderland are worried about the present developments
and think that governments as well as companies and the
world citizens should assume greater responsibility to improve
the present situation. The programmes which are executed so
far in the Netherlands are found insufficient in this regard.
The Dutch government should provide more means and should have
the courage to take more rigid measures. Cooperation between
different sections and at different levels is a prerequisite.
Women from Gelderland find that more information should be given:
- to consumers, particularly about the impact consumers can
have through their buying behaviour;
- to children and young people, primarily about the 'casualness'
of the present luxury and its detrimental effects;
- to everybody, in order to understand much more about the
(process/road) from producer to consumer: "When drinking
water, think about the source".
Every conceivable channel should be used to distribute this
information. Education can fulfil its proper role; the introduction
of an ecology course can be a good start.
In relation to the present buying behaviour of consumers women
from Gelderland find that the government should make more
stringent rules for publicity broadcasting. Publicity aimed at
children will have to be reduced drastically, if not forbidden,
regarding the impressionability of this group.
Women from Gelderland want the government to take more concrete
measures to relieve the environment and to show the economic
value of nature. This is possible through levying anti-
pollution taxes, amongst which:
- an extra VAT levy on non-seasonal products to stimulate the
use of seasonal products;
- an extra tax on non-recycable packaging materials;
- a tax on kerosine of airplanes;
- a variable road-tax: people who cause accidents have to pay
- a tax on the use of non-ecological pesticides (besides a
prohibition of the worst pesticides!) and on (growth) means
which are bad for the health of human beings (hormones, carcinogenic
The Dutch government should assume greater responsibility for
the stimulation of sustainable development on an international
level. Women from Gelderland find it desirable that:
The Dutch government should look critically at herself and her
own policy regarding the implications for both the environment
and the existing inequality between the North and the South.
The integral policy will have to have a greater focus on well-
being instead of on welfare. In this respect there is a need
for more research into, e.g. the implications for man and
animal of the use of growth hormones for the production of
meat, into plants which are resistant to diseases (so there is
no need for weed-killers), into contaminated water, air and soil.
- development projects are evaluated in ecological and non-
- development payments do not directly flow back to Dutch
companies, but should on the contrary be used to strengthen
- the provision of basic needs like water, food and health
care will get a higher priority than technical developments;
- the Dutch government will use all her means to abolish child labour
world-wide: the government should look for a strategy which
considers the indispensable contribution of child labour to
the income of the family, the role trade unions can play in
branches where child labour frequently occurs and the role
consumers can play by refusing to buy certain products;
- the Dutch government will use all her means to facilitate the
acquit of the debts of Third World countries.
Finally, women from Gelderland observed that war is world's
biggest polluter. Only in between wars development can proceed.
Women should have a greater say in peace negotations.
Means which are available through reducing military expenses
should be used for peace, general well-being and measures
which are kindly disposed towards women.
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