It’s called A Season of Non-Violence – but readers will find it contains powerful ideas for all 365 days of the year.
The latest book by White Rock social and peace activist and educator Pummy Kaur (What Would Gandhi Do?) offers a series of 64 politically provocative daily suggestions for living a productive, peace-based life.
The number is not arbitrary, Kaur explains. The 64 days are the length of time between Jan. 31 and April 4 – the dates of the assassinations, 20 years apart, of legendary peace advocates Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
It is a yearly span of time that is becoming recognized around the world as a season of non-violence, said Kaur, who is also director of the Global Education Centre.
“I’d really like to make this an international season, starting with all the schools, during which people are taught about non-violence for 64 days,” she said
Her own celebration of the season will be officially launched June 22 (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.) at Organic Connections Cafe – with a longtime personal friend, federal Green party deputy leader Adriane Carr, on hand to introduce the book.
Copies of A Season of Non-Violence as well as What Would Gandhi Do? will be available at the event (each sells for $20).
Production of her latest volume, Kaur said, has been “very much a family effort.”
Daughter Cadence designed the effectively simple floral cover (“She and my other daughter, Hadley, who designed What Would Gandhi Do?, have decided to take turns doing the covers for my books,” Kaur said) while her son Kipling’s computer skills were extremely helpful in creating the physical look of the project.
She said the idea for A Season of Non-Violence had been “gelling in the back of my consciousness” for some time.
“A lot of people feel things in the world are not as they should be, but they’re not sure what they can do about it.”
Kaur outlines the reason for her pragmatic and proactive approach to peace and non-violence in her introduction: “…we have made the fatal error of believing peace is simply an absence of war.”
“We expend far too much energy and resources and time on not having wars, or protesting them,” Kaur said. “We’re responsible for what happens on this planet.”
A Season of Non-Violence is also liberally sprinkled with quotations from writers and thinkers as diverse as Mother Teresa, John Lennon, Al Gore and the Prophet Muhammad.
“Knowledge and wisdom has been available from many cultures around the world for many centuries,” she said. “The more diversity of voices we have, the greater the chance of survival in a more dignified manner.”
As well as advocating such peaceful activities as breathing deeply, communing with nature, giving daily thanks and listening to the voices of the children in our lives, Kaur, as those who have observed her as a onetime NDP candidate and longtime social activist know, is not shy about advocating more radical action.
In A Season of Non-Violence her daily suggestions also advocate for boycotting fast food, shunning plastics and artificial materials, avoiding foreign products that have been created by ‘sweat shop’ exploiters of women and children and emphasizing the need to act on the dictates of personal conscience rather than granting tacit consent to injustice.
Possibly her most controversial advice is to stop recycling – attacking the process as giving “permission to our society to over consume” while claiming recycling does environmental damage and requires more natural resources than reducing consumption.
“We sort of think ‘all of this is recyclable – so I can continue using all of it I want,” she said.
But, overall, she is optimistic about the future.
“Human beings are very creative beings and I’m sure they will come up with even more than 64 ways to promote non-violence – once they understand that simple change can be connected to major global effects.”