IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA,
GREAT JOB MR. PARMAR
it is good to eat as many as vegetables and fruits (totally vegetarian), but my aurvedic doctor asked me to stop eating every...
THE rapidly evolving, inexpensive international communication afforded by the Internet is becoming increasingly important for non-profit groups. It has been instrumental in the
organisation of campaigns against trans-national companies
(TNCS) by environmental groups, as well as in providing a
forum for information dissemination on subjects such as
Whereas many developing countries are now limited to e-
mail and text-based communications because of older phone
systems, in North America the graphical World Wide Web
(www) has become the standard. Reliant on high-capacity
phone lines and high speed modems, this technology was originally developed at CERN in Switzerland, where high-energy
physics research is carried out. This medium enables effective
presentations to be made at extremely low cost, with a potentially global distribution - effectively, a new method of publishing.
The www uses hypertext, in which, simply by clicking with
a mouse on a highlighted piece of text, one is transferred to
another site on the Internet. This has led to a radically
different structuring of documents, which become integrated
parts of an internationally distributed library.
The us-based International Tiger Information Centre
(ITIC) is using the wv,,,w to provide a forum for tiger conservation groups in India and other places. Named after the five
sub-species of tiger which are threatened with
extinction, the five Tigers Web page provides
'home pag@s'for a number of groups, including
the Wildlife Protection Society of India. The
home pages provide information about the
groups as well as, in many cases, a direct link to
them by e-mail. Says ITic director Ron Tilson,
"I think that the Indian tiger people now have a
source of international exposure for their programmes which would be difficult, or impossible, without the five Tigers Web site."
Tilson is enthusiastic about the potential of
the www in furthering the aims of his group-
"The role of the ITIC is to provide the public, scientific, and conservation communities with an
international forum for exchanging information relevant to the preservation of wild tigers
across Asia and in zoos worldwide," he said.
"The five Tigers Web page is most useful to me o
in the sense that I now have an information
source that can be accessed immediately by me,
and whoever contacts me, rather than us searching through
The potential of cheap international communications in
the organising of global campaigns has been dramatically
demonstrated by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN). The
consumer boycott which they have organised against the
Mitsubishi corporation to protest its practices in the tropical
timber trade, has made heavy use of the Internet. The San
Francisco-based RAN is the organising the focal point of over
200 affiliated Rainforest Action Groups (RAGS) which are
operational in many countries, including Canada, the USA,
Russia, Japan, Italy, India, South America and Malaysia.
According to Susan Eaton of the Calgary RAG in Canada, information on the boycott campaign is being continually updated
and distributed via e-mail.
Eaton says that the Internet is important because most of
the groups are volunteer-driven and funds are very tight. "The
Internet enables us to access large amounts of information
cheaply, and to correspond daily, if we wish, via e-mail," she
says. "Certainly, when 'Vye ,re organising events and discussing
various campaigns, the'Internet becomes invaluable. At the
grassroots level, it's a very cost-effective way of communicating for cash-strapped groups."
The campaign has had a considerable impact on
Mitsubishi, according to Eaton. "Because there is a Mitsubishi
campaign and boycott on the World Wide Web now,
Mitsubishi is talking to RAN and saying, what do you really
want us to do?" she says. The corporation is
concerned that the information is being read
around the world, and this has brought them to
the bargaining table.
AS TNcs become increasingly dominant
forces in the sometimes poorly regulated world
of international trade, it may be that the
Internet will be an important tool to develop
international standards in areas such as
environmental regulation. Environmental
groups frequently complain that the
Mitsubishis of the world are able to armtwist
national governments to lower standards by
simply threatening to move their business to
other countries with less regulation. With
the international reach of the Internet,
however, such practices will at least be
impossible to carry out without the world being
aware of them.
Philip Carter is a freelance journalist living in British Columbia, Canada