Brief reflection on the rise of a movement
Jose Serrulla Garrido
The Movement of Life (MoL), launched and coordinated by the non-proﬁt Dr. Rath Health Foundation, is a global initiative launched to promote the realisation of a world based on the guiding principles of health, peace, and social justice for everyone. The formation of the movement took place in Poland, November 13, 2007. On this day, more than thirty survivors of the extermination camp Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps met in Auschwitz for a one-day conference. Based on their personal exposure to forced submission, humiliation and abuse, these ‘guardians of moral integrity’ decided to take the lead and sublimate their dreadful memories into creating a healthier, more humane future – free of lethargy, exploitation or the external control of human rights. The outcome of this gathering is documented in a historic call, «The Relay of Life», aimed at the protection of life and people currently threatened by corporate interests.
The «Relay of Life» was presented to the Dr. Rath Health Foundation for its work in the service of humanity. It is not just a moral obligation but a call for action to protect life on earth in its broadest sense. In the wake of this memorable day, the Movement of Life was founded to carry the message into the future and to give the new generation a sustainable world, a strong sense of self-determination and a digniﬁed life.
The rise of a Movement
Together with a handful of people, we created an online platform to share videos that record local initiatives in sustainable living. By sharing these inspiring stories, we aim to create awareness, share expertise and trigger a transition in the core ﬁelds of human life. Alongside online activities, we support hands-on local pilot projects. Today, on the 10th anniversary of our movement, we are proud that our global initiative has been picked up by active volunteers in thirty different countries on six continents, and is still expanding.
Objectives of the Movement of Life
We formulated several highly ambitious sustainable development goals. They relate to the economic, social, moral and environmental dimensions of sustainable societies. Collectively, they pave the way for a world where no one is excluded and a digniﬁed life is feasible for everyone.
Free Health for All
The ﬁrst ﬁeld where a paradigm shift towards sustainable thinking is desirable is our healthcare system. There is a steady and alarming trend of subordinating the interests of the individual to economic and corporate interests. Though it is self-evident that pharmaceutical companies oﬀer signiﬁcant relief in ﬁghting disease, protection and preservation of life is not their main ambition. Rather, they intend to market the future and portray the human body and knowledge of it as their exclusive property and source of proﬁts. Often, they ridicule scientiﬁcally-proven natural approaches and neglect the focus on prevention. As long as protection of economic interests, rather than life-preservation itself, is the main driving force behind this health industry, the MoL will try to break false dependencies and encourage people to take responsibility for their own life and wellbeing. A prerequisite for this development is proper education. Better physical health starts with a basic understanding of the direct relation between our physical state and the nutrients we put into our bodies. Rather than reducing symptoms retrospectively by means of unnatural interfering chemicals, we underline the importance of maintaining health by giving the body what it needs to function properly. To stimulate this development, the MoL teams oﬀer free lectures. In Cyprus, for example, we provide special training in primary schools. In Nigeria, we oﬀer lectures for lay people and courses for health professionals.
Cyprus primary school
Recently we launched a health campaign called “End Heart Disease! Plant a Fruit Tree’’ aimed at informing a broad audience about the causal relationship between vitamin C deﬁciency and the development of cardiovascular disease. By inspiring communities to plant their own fruit trees, we not only guarantee access to a micronutrient rich diet, we also create awareness about how people can actively contribute to preserving optimum physical and mental health themselves.
A more extensive description of this campaign can be found in our School Gardening Project Uganda report: Improving Health And Saving Lives Using Natural Approaches In Uganda
Free Food for All
According to the food and agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO), 805 million people suffer from hunger. Meanwhile, in most developed nations, food shortage has been replaced by an excessive consumption of ‘cheap’ food, leading to an alarming obesity culture. Over the years, food production has been modiﬁed dramatically. The forces of globalisation overshadow the local food industry and food supply chains grow ever longer. Though the expansion of markets leads to a more varied assortment, the balance has tipped in favor of global forces whereby more and more local initiatives die a slow (or sometimes rather abrupt) death. Hence, it is crucial to end the imbalance and protect local farmers. On top of that, animal welfare requires our full attention.
Another issue of concern are genetically modiﬁed foods and seeds. Genetically modiﬁed organisms (GMO) can be patented, unlike their unmodiﬁed counterparts, which makes them highly proﬁtable. By gaining copyrights over food products and seeds, companies gain ultimate control over their production and distribution. Though more and more people question whether it is wise to grant patent protection to GMO companies, the GMO patenting business is far from over. The MoL brings awareness to the importance of promoting biodiversity by saving local traditional seeds. Moreover, our teams present alternatives that help eradicate hunger, malnutrition and ignorance. Projects such as school gardens in Uganda, community gardens, community kitchens in Suriname, and permaculture and protection of traditional seeds in Cyprus are examples of this.
In short: We promote organic approaches to agriculture at a local level to eliminate malnutrition and hunger, and bring an end to the “GMO madness”.
Nigeria: health lessons for adults
Suriname: community kitchen/garden
Romania: MoL team with disabled people planting fruit trees
Uganda: school gardening
Brazil: Mol team planting vegetables with students
Free Water for All
Access to safe clean water should be a basic human right. Nonetheless, more than 900 million people have no access to clean drinking water. Regrettably, this is only one side of the story. The other side is the privatisation of drinking water through which companies gain absolute control over people and nations. In a growing number of cases, privatisation has resulted in signiﬁcant power abuse. The MoL articulates the need to defend free access to water and stimulates local pilot projects that demonstrate how to regain the right where it has been lost. The MoL team in Chile, for instance, ﬁghts against the privatisation of water and our MoL Team in Uganda initiated a ‚Drink Water‘ campaign in schools. In short: we want to ensure that every human being has free access to clean water.
Free Energy for All
Within the fossil fuel energy system, there is a clear and urgent necessity to shift towards more sustainable, non- polluting alternatives. Sadly, over the years it became painfully clear how diffcult it is to realise an energy transition against a background of large ﬁnancial interest, technical infrastructures and consumer routines. Even today – despite serious resource depletions and climate change – some special interest groups have attempted to slow down the implementation of an energy transition. To stimulate a transition in the energy sector, the MoL cultivates the general awareness of natural alternatives, including solar energy, wind power and other forms of environmentally friendly energy. In short: we promote renewable energy systems to offer safe access to energy for everyone.
Free Knowledge for All
Unfortunately, knowledge is still not freely accessible to everyone. Forty-four million children have no access to primary school education. By offering online learning experiences, we want to ensure worldwide access to health-related knowledge. One of the ﬁrst tools we developed was BodyXQ: an interactive education program that enables you to travel inside the organs and explore their functions. A second tool is our Cellular Health Education (CHE). Due to its accessible language and its unique graphical representations it is particularly suited for modern teaching in schools and other educational institutions. All our MoL teams worldwide implement these unique tools in their ongoing activities.
Work for All
Unemployment is a common factor in people’s lives nowadays. More and more individuals are forced to live without income. Among those that have a job, at least eighty percent earn less than ten euros per day. The MoL believes that there are alternatives to this scenario. We can independently create our own working opportunities and utilise our skills productively.
Where would we like to see the Movement of Life go next?
Our Movement of Life is unique in the world. Philosophical reﬂection and active engagement walk hand in hand. If we want to work towards a more sustainable society, it is essential to reﬂect on the drawbacks of current societal systems and limiting powers that delay change. However, it is important for us not to stop at the level of reﬂection. In order to guarantee success it is essential that individuals become active themselves and translate the philosophy into local pilot projects. Therefore, it is my dream to have at least one Movement of Life team per country. Since there are 195 countries, there is still great potential for growth. For me this means that I will do everything in my power to promote our mission and ﬁnd more people that want to be part of this unique movement. I would like to use this article as an opportunity to welcome new individuals from every country around the world to bring their ideas, skills, expertise and network to our movement so that we can truly implement change and work towards more sustainable solutions in all ﬁelds and layers of society. You can easily ﬁnd us through our website www.movement-of-life.org or contact us directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org