Issue17 - August 2011        to TOS website


  • The International Secretary of the TOS in action

  • Gratitude for the Geoffrey Hodson Memorial Fund

  • What’s new on the International TOS website?

  • The human side of climate change

  • A million trees and counting

  • Ditch meat and save the earth

  • Help end live animal export from Australia

  • TOS members visit the HPB Hostel at Adyar

  • Tea-osophy in England

  • The starfish story



Dear fellow-members of the TS and TOS around the world,

We hope you’ll find this edition of our international TOS electronic newsletter interesting and helpful in providing you with ideas for service activities and keeping you in touch with other TOS groups and issues related to our TOS areas of service. This edition has a ‘green’ flavour as we focus on current discussions and action on environmental and animal welfare concerns.

Remember that the newsletter is designed to be read while you are connected to the internet.

Please also consider sending photographs of your TOS activities and news items that might be of interest to fellow TOS members. We would welcome your contributions by email to the editors at

With best wishes,

Carolyn, Diana and Geoffrey

(L. to R.) Carolyn Harrod is the National Coordinator of the TOS in Australia,
Geoffrey Harrod is the International TOS Webmaster and
Diana Dunningham Chapotin is the International Secretary of the TOS



The sole source of peace in the family, the country and the world is altruism – love and compassion.

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama



The International Secretary of the TOS in action

Our TOS International Secretary engages in a lot of TOS-related correspondence but doesn’t spend all her time with her fingers glued to the computer keyboard!  Like many of us, Diana spends time out defending causes that reflect her theosophical convictions.

One of her passions is green politics and at the latest anti-nuclear action in which Diana participated she was interviewed by Reuters, Agence France Presse, Swiss and Japanese television crews and a number of journalists for French radio. 

Diana’s principal area of activism, however, is animal protection and she participates in a range of campaigns and supports a number of organisations working in this area.

We bring you photos of some of her actions in France in recent months.  Read more….


Roselmo Doval-Santos,
President of the TS in the Philippines


Gratitude for the Geoffrey Hodson Memorial Scholarship Fund

In last December’s issue of this newsletter, we reported on the modest endowment fund the TOS in New Zealand has set up in the Philippines, the interest from which pays for the education of a child at the Golden Link College in suburban Manila. 

The fund, you may recall, is called The Geoffrey Hodson Memorial Scholarship Fund after the well-known theosophical author who was a president of the TOS in New Zealand and the founding president of the NZ Vegetarian Society. 

The President of the TS in the Philippines, Dr Roselmo Doval-Santos, recently wrote to Renée Sell, the Coordinator of the TOS in New Zealand, about the Fund.  Renée found what he had to say so touching and inspiring that she sent it to the international TOS to be shared with all.   Read more….


Look out for our new collection of
“Ten fundraising ideas that work”.
You’ll find them in the For Members
section of our website.


What’s new on the International TOS website?

Our Latest News this month brings you a conversation between Vicente Hao Chin, Jr and John Kern about the international project that has been running for three years now through the good offices of the TOS in America to raise funds for the theosophically-oriented Golden Link College in the Philippines. It is thanks to a matching grant from the Kern Foundation that our donations are doubled each year. Vicente is the College’s Chairperson and John Kern is the founder and Director of the Kern Foundation.

The new Featured Article is by Joy Mills. In it she asks, “How can we combine the neutrality of the Theosophical Society with the need to respond to burning issues?” She challenges us to put Theosophy into action. “The vigour and vitality of the Society arise out of the lives of its members; its impact upon the world, its transformative power, its regenerative force, are all dependent upon what we, its members, bring to this movement and upon the manner in which we act out daily the implications of the principles to which we have given an inner allegiance… [We should] so act that all will know that for us, as for the Adept Brothers, the term ‘Universal Brotherhood’ is no idle phrase.”

One of our international projects is to put together a compilation of fundraising ideas that have worked for groups. Thanks to the TOS members who shared their stories of successful fundraising events and activities, we’ve added a new document to the For Members section of our website: Ten fundraising ideas that work.
You’ll notice a new item on the menu bar of our website, From the archives. In this web update we’re sharing a leaflet on Animal Welfare, originally published by the London Theosophical Order of Service in 1966.

There are also additions to the TOS photo gallery and the Inspiration section.
Go to


Building a new sea wall
to protect a village


The human side of climate change

As we hear the stories of subsistence farmers around the world, facing the challenges of growing crops in environments that have changed markedly, we are confronted with questions about how we can best respond. Globally, sea levels are rising, seasons are changing, and in some cases, distinct seasons are disappearing altogether. The result for many families living on the edge of survival is hunger, scarcity of drinkable water, health problems and ruined livelihoods. This is the human side of the phenomenon that is climate change.
According to international welfare groups:

  • 50 million more people are likely to be forced into hunger by 2050 due to climate change – about 75% of that number will be in Africa
  • over half of the four billion people in Asia (60% of the world’s population) live near the coast, making them directly vulnerable to sea level rise.

We bring you stories from the tiny nation of Kiribati in the Pacific, and from South-East Asia, Africa and Bangladesh.   Read more….


2011 – International year
of Forests


A million trees and counting

2011 is the International Year of Forests when the UN is asking us to think about and visit our forests, home to so many of the world's species.

Forests provide shelter to people and habitat to biodiversity; are a source of food, medicine and clean water; and play a vital role in maintaining a stable global climate and environment. All of these elements taken together reinforce the message that forests are vital to the survival and well-being of people everywhere, all 7 billion of us.
For instance, did you know that it is estimated that 20% of the world’s greenhouse gases come from forest destruction? Carbon is trapped in trees, their roots and the soil and is released into the atmosphere when forests are destroyed.

We share ideas from several TOS groups who are promoting the importance of forests.   Read more….



Ditch meat and save the earth

We are often reminded that, for the good of the planet, each of us needs to reduce our carbon footprint. By now we all know that we can use less energy by switching off lights, by heating our homes to a lower temperature, by using our cars less and by eating food that is grown locally.

However, did you know that one of the quickest, simplest and most effective ways of helping our planet is to reduce the amount of meat we eat? Giving up meat for just one day a week can make a significant difference. It’s estimated that even in countries with small populations like Australia, giving up meat for one day a week would save over six million tonnes of greenhouse gases in a year.

Reducing our consumption of meat also has other benefits.

  • It can help us share resources more equitably.
  • It helps animals.
  • It’s good for our cost of living.
  • It’s good for our health.  



Help end live animal export from Australia

In May 2011, a joint investigation by two Australian peak animal welfare groups into the fate of cattle exported to Indonesia was made public. Video of the horrific slaughtering practices in Indonesian abattoirs was shown on prime time television.

The evidence gathered by investigators from Animals Australia and the RSPCA showed cattle subjected to torture such as eye gouging, kicking, tail twisting, leg breaking, and arduous and prolonged killings with little skill and blunt knives.

As a result of an immediate and overwhelming public outcry, the Australian Government placed a ban on live animal export to Indonesia.

The Australian Government, however, lifted the suspension of live animal trade to Indonesia in July 2011, without any guarantee that animals will be treated with respect and care and that they will at least be stunned before slaughter.

Over the past three decades, more than 160 million animals have been sent from Australia to a grim fate in the live export trade. If you would like to support the campaign to end live animal export from Australia  


TOS members visit the HPB Hostel at Adyar

In our last newsletter, George and Gailene Wester of Perth, Australia shared their photos of the information stands and sale stalls that are set up at the international convention of the TS at Adyar, Chennai in India every December to raise awareness of social issues and the TS’s humanitarian service projects.

In this issue we publish the photos the Westers took at one of these projects, the HPB Hostel, which operates in Besant Gardens under the umbrella of the Olcott Education Society. The hostel, named after H.P. Blavatsky, houses about 25 boys aged from 10 to 16 from poor, mostly fisher families. They are given free board and lodging and they attend the Olcott School. They are also given parental care by the Warden and general guidance in studies and activities. In addition to the academic school program, their daily activities include yoga, meditation, exercise, games, prayer and listening to wholesome stories. The boys also do gardening work around the Hostel building. 



Tea-osophy in England

For several years now, a simple and enjoyable fundraising activity has been organised three or four times a year by UK TOS Treasurer, Greta Walker, and former TS National Treasurer, George McNamara. They hold Theosophical Tea Parties (the "Tea-and-coffeecal Society") at TS HQ in London. Each meeting has a theme such as "countries we have lived in", but theosophy, life, the universe and everything are also discussed! Before or after the gathering, people are free to visit the TS Library which has an outstanding collection of books.

The last gathering had the Theosophical Order of Service itself as its theme, with the goal of interesting people in helping to establish the TOS better in London.  Active TOS worker, Cornelia Crowther, came along and former TS General Secretary, Colin Price, was kind enough to come in and answer questions on Theosophy from the enquirers present.   Read more ….


The starfish story

Enjoy this story with the simple message that even the smallest act of kindness and compassion can make a difference.  



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