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What can we do in our lives over here to stop horrors like rape as a weapon of war or environmental destruction?

How can we better get a hold of how globalization works to see how our actions created a backward ripple effect (demand for mined resources) and forward effect (waste and disposal)? If we knew, how horrified we would be....?!

Closing Statement from Genevieve Tran

There were so many thoughtful responses here! Thank you for taking the time to read, think and respond with such informative ideas.

It seems that in our society, we are deeply programmed to excuse, ignore or justify the degradation of women, the planet, the poor, the vulnerable, children etc. if doing so pedals along our comfortable status quo. Would we stop eating chocolate if we knew there are child slaves in the Ivory Coast? Stop lusting after diamonds if we knew rape and slavery was used to secure control of the mines? Stop using our cars if we knew that 50% of its gasoline comes from wilderness-stripping tar sands processing? It might be that because we are so globalized, it's THOSE kinds of decisions in a cooperative society-wide effort that will stop the horrors downstream.

Today a friend directed me to this rape analogy. Read it and watch your programmed mind tumble in confusion and cognitive dissonance (I did):

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    Aug 11 2011: As Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world".

    In a deep sense, as of Eve's, society is a "reflection" of it's individuals. Politics, companies and media are reflections of the society's intent, and of the individual's intent as well.

    A person is also a reflection of the society. But it is incoherent to blame what's outside and don't see nor change what's inside.

    It's possible to reduce violence and environmental damage by creating laws or rules. But if we want a true and deep progress, it would require changes in the culture, that is change in individuals.
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    Aug 7 2011: Hello Genevieve,
    Whether we are discussing the rape of the land and resources, or the rape of people, we need to start in our own back yards. As long as we discuss it as something over there...out there...away from us, it becomes something that is more difficult to address.

    I volunteered in a shelter for women and children, and in fact, lived with a violent abusive father. It was IMPOSSIBLE for people NOT to know what was going on in the homes! One of the worse cases in the shelter, was a 17 yeare old, who came in pregnant for the 3rd time by her father, with old scars and new wounds from being used in satanic torture by her parents and their friends. She lived in a small community, attended the local school system for 11-12 years, and NOBODY NOTICED that this young person was raped and tortured all of her life???

    Another memorable case was a women who was tied to a bed, raped and tortured for 3 days by her boyfriend. They lived in an apartment complex, which was next to other apartment complexes, on a well traveled street, in a nice little community. NOBODY NOTICED her screams? Nobody wondered why she was not seen for 3 days?

    Re: The rape of our environment:
    Years ago, I reported a toxic business which was operating in my little community. They were operating without local, state or federal permits, which were all needed. The type of business was NOT allowed in residential areas BECAUSE it was toxic to humans, producing carcinogens daily. I became the "bad guy" in the community and my life was threatened, my property and home vandalized. I was told by the owner of the business that if I "didn't like what was going on here...get the hell out of town". Well, I'm still here and the business is gone. That process WAS NOT easy!

    My point is, we need to be willing to speak up about the violations to people AND our environment. It is not only "out there" somewhere. It is in our own back yards, and that is where we need to start.
  • Aug 14 2011: What about finding at least one person who is driven towards making a positive difference in the world and then collaborating with or supporting this person in any way, no matter how small? I think if we all did that, it could make a huge difference.
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      Aug 16 2011: Hello Houston,
      I agree that collaborating with others to make changes, even if they are small changes, adds up to a huge difference. Sometimes, we get overwhelmed by challenges that seem insurmountable, and it prevents us from taking action. We sometimes think our little actions will not make a difference, but you are absolutely right Houston, that if we take some small steps along with others, we can make a difference.
  • Aug 7 2011: Hi,

    We need to support the education (and empowerment) of women. Rape is endemic in societies who don't value or respect their women. These very women will raise their own children with the same destructive culture unless they are empowered with education. is a great place to start if you want to help from afar!

    With love
  • Aug 14 2011: Environmental and ethical things: Stand for what we stand for. Locally, kindly, firmly. Education is huge - and we need to reassure our children, our friends, our neighbours that we are NOT required to save the world single-handedly. Pass on the message that it's true that if I change the way I see my world, my world changes too. It is actually true, not in a flight through light way, just if I see good, people are nice to me' if I see bad, they're not.

    Rape as a weapon of war? I surely do not know. RE Africa, I suspect that if the West really truly got to grips with female genital excision, educated the practitioners over here, it might filter back and affect attitudes to women in general. Or maybe we should all - how many millions are we? - give up out leisure vacations and just go out to the war zones and say no no no no. So one or two of us might die. So what? I'd be willing to die in that cause. Trouble is, I can't do that one on my own.

    Genevieve, I think your question should rather be: How do we get the affluent Western individual to wake up and realise that if they act together they can change the world?
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    Aug 9 2011: Education...just education.
    The most powerful tool of change.
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      Aug 11 2011: Well yes education, but to be specific change sex not as a forbidden subject. Educate people about sex so there not so much temptation to see what it is. Because to be sexually repressed is a factor to violence. Europe shows porn on their televisions and they have less violence and rapes compared to America. Yet America hides sex and keeps the gun everywhere: on tv, in the bedroom, even on many people's side.

      As to the destruction of land is all in the hands of technology and personal choice. But also, I feel we need to have more representatives for the earth. Once the Earth becomes a political issue, I feel going green will grow faster and faster. Right now, where still at our grass roots mobilization.
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    Aug 6 2011: Demand a change in the production line. Companies should be responsible for all their packaging and the waste created by their products.

    Why, when a consumer does not own the "intellectual property" they pay for, are they expected to own the physical waste generated by their purchase?

    The people making money from the sale of their wares should be responsible for the waste generated by the production, sale and use of those wares.
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      Aug 7 2011: I do agree with your thinking, though consumers on top of demanding better labelling, should learn to investigate what they are buying more critically. There is nothing holding companies to the truth unless there becomes a law to audit for human rights violations / environmental destruction as there is for correct tax payments! We put such a premium on financial transparency, and it's time we push that concept further.

      For example, Proctor and Gamble should be audited for the waste stream that their detergents pour out as diligently as their revenue, losses, debt etc are audited. Concentration in a product; multiply by units sold in a city; put that in perspective of current concentration found in surrounding water, their market share and compare all that to previous years and healthy standards for wildlife and people.

      So, in the meantime, learn to read labels and in between lines I guess : /
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        Aug 11 2011: Well it really all comes down to, that the companies don't want to pay. I know America still uses horrible plastics that can change genes of an unborn baby if a pregnant women's food is wrapped in it, i.e. bread.