Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts

Jonathan Cainer's Causes for Concern

THURSDAY December 26th 2002

Throughout this week, Jonathan Cainer tells us about the charities that he supports and why…

Christmas is not a good time for the environment. We all go racing off to the shops in search of little gifts and trinkets that we feel obliged to bestow upon one another. By new year many of these will lie discarded, forgotten tokens of a festive ritual.

That on its own is pretty profligate, but just think about all the packages that these items come in. Without all that artful presentation they do not look shiny and new so we do not want to buy them. And of course, once all that cardboard and cellophane has been removed they look far less shiny and new – so we feel far less inclined to keep them. Think of the purchases that you might just as well have not bothered making this year. Now think how many of your friends have done the same. Multiply this by a good few hundred million such stories and you get some idea of the energy expended pointlessly on a colossal scale each Christmas. And of course, that’s only half the story. What did we do to all those heavily over-packaged objects? We wrapped them up in yet another layer of paper and tape, so that they look like ‘proper gifts’.

Will we ever learn to change our shamefully wasteful habits? Well, if it ever is to happen, it will largely be through the hard work of two wonderful organisations, both of which I wholeheartedly support.

Visit and support:
Friends Of The Earth at:
Greenpeace at:

TUESDAY December 24th 2002

Many people have asked me what became of Kaz, the homeless person I befriended on the street. I would love to tell you she is now doing fine in a safe haven for Christmas. But the truth is, I don’t know where she is. I have looked for her several times recently. If I do find her, I will have some bad news for her. Drug rehabilitation centres are very expensive to attend and vastly over-subscribed. Even if your doctor will agree to ask the local authority to help send you to such a place you must first wait for their limited budget to be available.

Then, and only then, can you put yourself on the long waiting list for treatment. Meanwhile, if you are lucky, the doctor will prescribe you another drug – almost as deadly and just as addictive. Will this help control your habit? Probably not – for the one thing that it lacks is the ‘kick’ that you crave so uncontrollably. To pay for that, you must continue to beg, rent your body or pursue a career of petty crime.

Now, here’s a good question for Christmas Eve. Who cares? Aren’t these junkies just victims of their own weakness? Why should we worry whether they get help? Hmmm. That rather depends on whether you see addiction as a self-inflicted wound or a dreadful illness.

In biblical times, people believed lepers had incurred some dreadful punishment from God. They were considered unclean and left to rot. Eventually, at least, they got themselves a famous advocate. So far though, it seems nobody wants to stand up for junkies. I am not now going to finish with an address to send money to. This cause, of course, needs cash. But it also desperately needs something which is much harder for most of us to spare – Sympathy.

MONDAY December 23rd 2002

Amnesty regularly send me magazines full of news from all over the world. This news, I am sorry to say, is almost always “bad.” It contains horrible stories about people who are being punished for crimes they did not commit. People who are being tortured – or treated with appalling cruelty. Innocent people whose basic human rights are being walked all over.

Some of these outgages are happening in far flung. ‘third world’ places. But even in so-called ‘civilised’ countries the most dreadful outrages occur. Sometimes, I just don’t feel able to read their literature. I just glance at it, pull out my cheque book and make my donation... feeling terribly glad that THEY are there to take care of those awful details. Now, of course, Amnesty have their successes. They can and DO set people free. They put pressure on governments who then realise that the world is watching how they behave. But, for every tale of victory, there is a tale of loss. And new cases of dreadful injustice occur every single day, all over the planet. So they need all the help they can get. And they also need need more than just than money.

They need people who are brave enough to look at the facts – to notice what’s actually going on – and to help them with the various campaigns of public awareness that they run. If you can spare them anything this Christmas, I know they will be grateful. But not half so grateful as the poor helpless victims, all over this globe, whose only hope is this organisation.

To join Amnesty (and/or donate by credit card) visit

To donate by cheque, payable to ‘Amnesty’, send to Membership Department, Amnesty International, FREEPOST, London EC1B 1HE, England, United Kingdom
(If you use your own stamp, more money will go to Amnesty’s fight)