“What would you attempt if you knew you would succeed?”

Oprah Winfrey inspired me with that phrase in high school. And while I have been reaching for my dreams ever since, I have never wanted to succeed at something so much as what you’re about to read below.

Amina reached out to me on Facebook after “loving” a comment I made on a Humans of New York post:
“hi I see that you’re a very kind person. while everyone else was busy wishing him well you made an effort to actually help.”

After becoming friends for a few days and enjoying each other’s posts (something I rarely do with random people who contact me from overseas), she started asking me about my recent community work with homelessness, specifically, “How do you get politicians to be human?” She seemed very interested, ending with: “Godwilling I shall succeed.”

After some discussions, she shared a link to a disturbing BBC documentary  about religious healing centers in Kenya that claim to “rehab” people from drugs and mental illness, but they are little more than profit centers that are used to falsely imprison and abuse people. Beatings, whippings, solitary confinement, drinking poison to cause severe vomiting or “cleansing”, are all tactics used on prisoners to break them down.

Devastatingly, she revealed that she had been sent to one of the rehab centers shown on the BBC documentary in 2018, at the age of 28. There was so much public outcry that prisoners were eventually released; however, she was released back to the family that sent her there. Now the police want her to testify against her abusers, and she fears she will lose her shelter and safety as a result.

Please help me share or donate ASAP to give Amina a chance at a better future.

Here is the story in her own words (I have made some grammatical corrections for easier reading):

“It was the end of April 2018. I finally had all the money I needed for my tonsillectomy. I knew there would be consequences for me, but I had to have the surgery. You see when I was a baby my mother took me to a traditional doctor and he burnt my tonsils inside out. I’ll send you the pic. This caused a lot of health issues for me. My half-sister (who is far better off than I am thanks to her father), after years of begging, gave me the money for the surgery.

I snuck out early morning the next day, it was first of May. Went to the hospital, payed the admission fee, and went to the ward. I had my surgery and went back to that house the next day on the second of May, at noon. I knew they’ll be consequences, so I braved myself.

My mother called the police on me. She first had to play some mind games. She called me and I went over to where she was. She made a phone call to my father. She told him that I had killed myself. I didn’t get alarmed or anything as I was used to it. I went back to what I was doing after a while she called me up again. She said that I should go and open the gate.

There was a young man there called Hussein. He and two police men forced me into their car. I was terrified. I begged but no one listened. My mother got in the front seat and we left for Al Mustaqim, an Islamic centre disguised as a drug rehab center. On arrival they took me to the back where the men are kept and into a dark empty room. I stayed there for a while, but thanks to some of the other captive women I was released and brought to my new prison.

The first room you saw with the many bunk beds in the documentary was where I stayed up until August. They told me I wasn’t going anywhere so I begged to at least have my medicine, but it wasn’t until Friday that I got the medicine the doctor had prescribed for me. I had bought it already, but mother refused to bring it for me. I kept begging until she finally did, three days after she had me locked up in there. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I hadn’t eaten as all the food was hard and spicy.

The pain was unbearable and inflammation made it difficult to breathe and swallow. I want to say it’s the worst I’ve ever been through but that would be a lie. On top of that I got viciously bullied by the other ladies. Just like you saw the kid, Ali, being treated.

No sanitary pads. We were ten women in one small room 24/7, nowhere to go. After all the horror of living like this for months the police came to our rescue. It was after international condemnation because of this BBC documentary . It was made months before I was brought there, but stayed on the editor’s desk until by the grace of God it was aired. I personally thanked the journalist, Jamal Osman, on fb.

Right now I have the police on my tail and the reason is they want me to testify against the one they called sheikh Hussein, but that’s not his real name. Most of the men there used Hussein as their alias. My case is tight, so they demand that I testify. I explained to the unsympathetic police officers that I won’t have anywhere to go after I tell the court what was done to me, but they don’t care. The courts are back from recess and I will soon be summoned. Failure to appear means I go to jail.”

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I asked her: Is this the cause you would like to see changed in your society? These “rehab” centers?

She responded: “Yes this and all other forms of gender-based violence being openly practiced, Godwilling.”

She confessed she has considered suicide, but that she grew up believing that she would end up in hell, “so I didn’t do it, much to my family’s disappointment.” She currently lives in the servants quarters of the family home.

“I just want to break out of these shackles. Like Wonder Woman.”

“Thank you for understanding there are no people here who I can talk to. I carry these burdens alone.” She ventured, “I thought about doing a fundraiser but I don’t know anyone who will trust me enough to give me their money.”

I told her I could start a GoFundMe for her. “omg. My social anxiety is through the roof just the idea scares me but it has to happen.”

I asked how much she would need, and she said that land in Kenya costs up to eight thousand dollars and building a house costs about three to four thousand. She says she can live off the land and do poultry.

“A chance is all I want.”

Please share and/or donate ASAP to give Amina a chance at a better future.

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Our first goal is $15,000 to help Amina be self-sufficient. Any funds raised up to $25,000 (after fees & taxes) will be given directly to Amina via Xoom (a PayPal company), as soon as the funds are available.

Any funds raised above that amount will go to non-profit organizations (or toward starting a non-profit organization) that will work to eradicate gender-based violence and give women chances for a better life.

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This was not an easy thing to post. Amina has shared all this information privately with me and has approved the language of this fundraiser. She has provided me with her full contact information, identity document, photos, medical receipt and documentation surrounding her tonsillectomy when I asked for them. I will share some of this once I can do so in the right way to properly protect privacy. I have contacted other contacts she has interacted with on Facebook to ensure she is not just simply asking any American she meets for money. I have taken every step I can think of to validate the information she has entrusted me with and put online, and I post this with tears in my eyes, love in my heart, and conscious of the personal and professional risks I am taking to vouch for a stranger halfway across the globe. And I am also acknowledging the risks Amina has taken to reach out to someone for help at this critical time in her life. She will provide us updates on her progress.

Thank you for caring. Let’s show her there are people who care.

If you are not able to give anything perhaps you could leave her an encouraging message or share her story.

#AChanceforAmina

Information Dam

The country is fatiguing from information
24-7 news
Speed of light
We know more
And it ain’t all rosy
But the bad news is peaking
Like a dam breaking
At first there’s a rush
It’s all out in the open
And everyone feels pessimistic
But then the water equalizes
Flows more steady
And the sediment sinks to the bottom

Mind Dump

You’ve got to kiss lots of frogs
To enjoy the taste of a prince
And don’t worry about being good at sex
Cause some people click and sometimes you don’t
And that’s okay
Dancing is a good indicator though
And it doesn’t hurt to study a few tutorial videos
But I’m getting off track
Shouldn’t I be concerned about more important things?
Anyone can learn the everyday stuff with years of trial and error
But not all have a mind that can amass and assess and communicate
And energy to drive massive change
At a time when the world is crying for massive change
Or rather crying due to massive change?
Maybe the world should follow my lead
And just not react right now
Take a breather
Information, lifestyle, weather, money, leadership, education, technology is changing so fast right in front of us
And we want to lasso this wild horse
Before she gets away
And leaves us in her dust
But if my professor was right
We are just on the brink of a very wild ride
So if you’re wise you won’t panic
You’ll form alliances
And spend time with loved ones
And jump on that surfboard when the time is right
Because fears must be examined for projection
Bias
And their cyclical nature
We’re due for an ice age
But like Lil Wayne warned you
Don’t go around fire expecting not to get burned

Money and Meteors

Two falling stars
I’m in the hot tub
Hoping not to get hit
Odds are against it
I suppose

Thinking about money
And how so many people hate it
Because it was the scapegoat
In our ignorant arguments

But money’s just an idea
Neutral without our valuing it
Is it no wonder poverty cycles?
All these kids taught to hate money

Growing up and going to Burning Man
Practicing giving without keeping track
Taking a break
Letting the universe exact its Karma
Argue about something else

Why Pro-Life is Pointless

In the wake of the Roe vs. Wade anniversary, I am reminded of a topic I find very interesting, not the least because people in my life have such polar, strong opinions about it.

Having been an egg donor six times has given me a unique perspective on the pro-choice/pro-life debate. I’ve come to realize that reproduction ethics just aren’t as simple or black and white as they once were.

In the eyes of some “pro-lifers”, I might deserve a medal, having personally created well over 100 embryos. Most were frozen, a handful became children. Isn’t this fantastic? I really did my reproductive duty!

But it makes me wonder, if every embryo created is truly a special, precious gift from God, then why aren’t more pro-life women creating more embryos? You can do it twice a year or possibly more often. Then instead of just one angel getting its earthly wings, 10 or 20 could!

The point that some don’t want to entertain is that not all eggs should become embryos, and not all embryos should become people. And no one actually wants the seemingly God-like responsibility of deciding that, but technology has brought us to that crossroads. So until we can get a little more sophisticated in our arguments (“Embryos are people!”), we won’t be having a very useful nor interesting discussion.

Some pro-lifers will argue that embryos created in a non-loving relationship should be exempt from forced reproduction, like in cases of rape or sodomy. And this is being more thoughtful. Families and communities must also draw lines when it comes to disorders and birth defects.

I think most people would not be in favor of ramping up US birth rates by 20-40 times annually, even though with technology it is possible.

Pretty much no one is actually pro-abortion. Abortion sucks, it’s unpleasant, and sad. But it is as necessary as our mistakes are, and the “save the embryos!” argument is basically pointless, unless, of course, the mother agrees.

Hair-pulling, nail-biting, and teeth-grinding connections

I’m super chatty tonight, but hopefully you’re out having fun and not paying much attention anyway. I had a half-caf latte earlier, that’s my excuse. Anyway…

One more addition to my “personal ticks theory of everything”:
~Biting nails means you’re having nagging thoughts (“Nag” likely from “gnaga”, meaning to bite, gnaw)
~Pulling at your hair means you’re feeling frustrated (“I’m pulling my hair out!”)
~Grinding your teeth means you’re angry (“Gnashing of teeth”)

Ideas for dealing with these emotions? I welcome your thoughts too.

Dealing with nagging thoughts: take action about whatever is worrying you or reevaluate the control you have or don’t have over that situation. A thought should be like paperwork – let it pass through your hands/mind only once before you decide what to do about it!

Dealing with frustration: take action about whatever is bothering you, or find another way to expend your energy until you can take action

Dealing with anger: find out what is making you angry, find out why (i.e., what is important to you which is being compromised or threatened, and is it still important to you?), make a creative change either in yourself (the way you think about a situation or react to it), or in the world to deal with the problem so that things more closely align with your core values

Symmetry and Comparison

Thinking about symmetry. How, when you start a relationship with someone, the starting energy tends to dictate the ending energy.  Fast to come….Fast to go.  Not quite right….not quite right. Imbalance….imbalance. Easy and fun…easy and fun.

It’s been said that we are attracted to people who are just like us, but handle the same situations the opposite way we would. We admire and are drawn to each other’s differences, as they could be complimentary should our strategies not succeed. I think it would be really hard to love and support someone who uses the opposite strategy you do!

I’m also meditating on the way we put some people up on pedestals and some people lower than us, and what an illusion that really is. If we could read each other’s thoughts, or walk in their shoes, our illusions would fall to the ground easily I think. I see this as I go grocery shopping in Burlingame, then step around a homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk in Berkeley. The mind is always looking for clues that it is okay, or not okay, and its constant judgments can be really limiting if we buy them as reality and accept where that then places us in the scale/balance of those judgments. I prefer to live free–there is so much more potential/growth to be had instantly/now, in *not* placing yourself against others on a continuum of righteousness and judgement. We must never accept the limits of what our minds can imagine for us.

Loving Each Other With Words and Silence

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Not feeling well today, a sore throat, I left the house for the first time after 5pm. Although I support the germ theory of disease to some extent, this one seems too coincidentally psychosomatic, at a time a loved one has decided not to let me express myself any further with him.

I couldn’t find the restaurant I wanted to go to so I ended up at the Tibetan restaurant I had never eaten at before. I hadn’t wanted to go in, having heard rumors of bad reviews, but thought I might as well investigate for myself. After waiting quite a long time to have my order placed (apparently I was the first customer of the evening), I found the eggplant chips (fries) were wonderful, and the vegetable soup was very bland and the chef had forgotten to add the roasted pumpkin seeds, which my waitress, who arrived after I did, went back to remedy.

After my okay meal, I went to leave, and noticed a spinning circular box on a table. There was a laminated card which explained that it was a mantra, beginning with OM, and that chanting, reading, or looking at a spinning mantra could relieve many troubles. The waitress suggested that whatever my faith, if I was sad or upset or angry, I could benefit from picturing my spiritual leader and using the mantra.

She was right, of course. And it was a nice reminder about keeping your internal peace.

It occurred to me that it is so difficult to sit with your own pain and not try to harm others to show them how much you are hurting by being passive aggressive or just plain aggressive.

After dinner I went to a tea house down the block, and heard these lyrics over the sound system, “Don’t think about all those things you fear, just be glad to be here.” Except I heard “feel” instead of “fear”, and it hit me harder: “Don’t think about all those things you feel, just be glad to be here.”

I don’t think it’s wise not to ever think about what you feel or what you fear. The body’s signals help us navigate away from what makes us shut down or feel dead toward what makes us feel alive.

But I feel I’m being reminded of subtle skills that my parents could not teach me, one who was aggressive and one who tended to be passive-aggressive to compensate (chicken or the egg?).

I’m meditating on the depths of what communication can and should be. Silence can be the *most* passive-aggressive form of manipulation and control, and god knows I’ve tried it and every other tool in my toolbox to try to get my way, though I tend to be more verbally aggressive than passive.

I think the lesson here is that heart-to-heart communication is the most difficult, time-consuming, and potentially rewarding journey that lovers can commit to. Imagine the ability to love not just with your bodies and your hearts, but also with the flow of your words and the spaces between your words, and the words you use about your lover when they are not around. That would be truly sublime and a real accomplishment.

“All really great lovers are articulate, and verbal seduction is the surest road to actual seduction.” Marya Mannes

So what prevents heart-to-heart communication?

I am reminded of something I asked my ex-boyfriend on our third date, in Miami. He told me he was divorced, and I asked him why, or rather, what did he think ended the relationship. And he told me “communication.”

“Lessons in life are repeated until learned.”

Ok…so if I’m still having relationship issues around communication, clearly the Universe is still trying to tell me something.

I think a failure to communicate comes down to trust:

Not trusting that one can get one’s needs met. This sabotages all communication, because if you start a conversation with that energy of being a victim of limited resources, the other person will sense it emotionally immediately and run from it instinctively in self-protection.

But we all have needs, and we have to have mutually beneficial relationships. I suppose it is important always to assume you are going to get your way, and start EVERY conversation with that confidence. That way you stand in your own power. It really does take courage and imagination to picture getting your way every time, especially when it feels like you’ve been shot down so much in the past, or that someone doesn’t want to listen to you.

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I got a chance to practice this tonight on the way home from hiking barefoot up the Berkeley Hills to see the sunset. On the way back, three skateboarders ripped down the hill next to me. The first one came so close, so fast, he nearly touched my body and ran over my foot. My heart started racing. They stopped at the bottom of the hill, so I decided to call out to them: “Hey, you guys! Hey!”

Once I had their attention, I said, “I totally respect your right to skateboard around here, but your friend came waaay too close to me. I’m not wearing shoes and he almost ran over my foot.”

The friend came over. “You were way too close to me, man. Even if I had my flip flops on that could have really hurt me, it was really scary. I need like *this much* space.”

One of them said, “Well it’s really hard to control how close you come when you go that fast.”

I said, “Yeah, it is, that’s why it’s important.”

“Are you a law student here?”

“No.”

Then one said to me, “Why aren’t you wearing shoes?”

I explained I don’t wear shoes very often, and that I go barefoot for my health, for stronger feet and legs. One of them offered me a fist bump for this.

Then one guy said, “Can I give you a compliment without you getting offended?”

“Compliments don’t offend me,” I offered.

“You have a nice chest.”

This was a rare compliment indeed. I should have advised him that complimenting a woman’s sexual parts right up front won’t get you that far in life, but I let that one go. “Thanks, that’s nice of you to say. See you guys later.”

“Be careful about stepping on rocks and stuff!”

“Thank you,” I smiled, walking away, happy that they might think twice next time before ripping down a hill so close to another person.

This was a small step for me toward better communication, and speaking up when something is not working for me. I definitely felt resistance to saying anything, but I’m glad I did. If not just for the flattery ;-) thanks Universe :-p. Small steps, and practice makes perfect.

Some great communication tips: How Can I Communicate Better?

Dustin Hoffman and Beauty Brainwashing

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The viral Upworthy video showing Dustin Hoffman sharing his experience about becoming an unattractive woman for a movie has got me thinking… Are we really brainwashed into expecting to have the most physically attractive partners/friends and not settling for less? Probably, yes. Is this a bad thing? It’s probably distorted. Moderation in all things is wise. Here is my take on moderation of beauty-chasing:

I’ve posted previously about my burgeoning theory on really attractive people. Over the past couple years I have had the good fortune of going to bed with a couple people I would rate a “ten” on physical attractiveness. I found out that “tens” usually find themselves most attracted to other tens, and then date down the scale for variety once they’ve pocketed a steady ten.

But it’s a rough existence. Tens find themselves sought after by all the other numbers in the chart. Jealously among ten partners can be overwhelming because of this phenomenon, and they can become hyper-controlling of themselves or their partners to compensate. It takes a strong and wise person to pull off a ten life with grace.

On the other hand, a “five” will find themselves physically equal among other fives, but will occasionally score a higher physical beauty or settle for a lower one. I supposed I’d rate myself somewhere 7-8 on the scale of attractiveness, some moments maybe a nine. I’ve subtracted points for my height, which is taller than average, and my size, which is larger than boutique store size. My breasts are small compared to my hips. And I’m pretty goofy-looking from certain angles, strikingly beautiful from others.

I was going to write an article one time called, “What to do when you find yourself in an orgy with an unattractive person.” This has happened to me a couple times; I’ve also chosen the experience one-on-one (less pressure!). If you’ve never given yourself permission to be intimate with someone you also find slightly repulsive in some way, you are really doing yourself a disservice, I must say. Many other delightful treasures lay beneath the surface. Of course when the lights are out…many shortcomings fade.

Some people have real trouble understanding what it’s like to be physically intimate with someone who is physically unattractive to you. If you can’t even imagine being emotionally intimate with someone unattractive, definitely start there, and see how it goes!

Of course, there are lines nature intends for us not to cross, and beauty is an indicator of health. Swapping water with someone who totally repulses you may indeed be bad for your health (or your future offsprings’), and it is worth being cautious. But to think you have to score the company of the highest physical beauties you can all the time might really be selling your experience on earth disappointingly short. It’s probably more a symptom of trying to validate your own worth somehow by basking in the shine off someone else’s glow. It also might feel a little too much like chasing the “popular crowd” in high school. Ugh.

But all this is coming from someone who named her own kitten Fea, meaning “ugly girl” in Spanish. I found her a bit repulsive to look at when I first saw her nine years ago — the coloring and patterns on her face made her look a bit like a burn victim. But she was so sweetly tempered, I decided it was exactly what I needed in an animal. It was a beautiful name that happened to mean ugly, which was also an honest reaction to her physical beauty at the time. I wanted a name with meaning. Now you may be wondering, will I name all my children after my first physical impressions of them? Ha, no! Physical beauty is of course just one piece of the puzzle, and my cat has had a very good sense of humor.

What Can We Do About Climate Change?

A report written in 1992 (reference bottom of article) provides clear insight as to what needs to be done to prevent total destruction of our environment and way of life as we know it. My take on it, for current conditions:

  • Overcome power of vested interests
  • Build strong institutions
  • Improve knowledge
  • Encourage participatory decisionmaking
  • Partnership between developing and developed countries (i.e. bridge resource gap between haves and have-nots)
  • Communicate that protecting the environment will lead to MORE wealth, not less
  • Keep working on programs that reduce poverty (i.e., provide fair opportunities to access resources)
  • Clarify property rights
  • Expand access to education, birth control, sanitation & clean water, and agriculture
POINT ZERO: Agree on a target. We need to get Atmospheric CO2 back to 350ppm. ASAP.

1) Overcome power of vested interests

Who are these powerful vested interests? In the US, money controllers in oil, coal, power-generation companies, and their paid political agents. The Chinese government and others, like the Indian government, are pressured to increase the living standards of their poor to avoid revolution. They are doing this through unchecked environmental exploitation, and the US is complicit in accepting Chinese products at their borders.

What is being done to overcome their power?

Movements such as the Federal and CA Disclose Act are trying to pass legislation that would make money ties more transparent so that voters can better elect true representatives and make more informed votes on referendums.

Nothing is *really* being done to stop the exploitation of resources.

2) Build Strong Institutions

Institutions appear to be failing, as they fall more and more into private hands. Take our universities and medical institutions: Directors are paid insane salaries, bigger and better buildings are built, costs are going up to users exponentially, and less and less value is provided to those who need to use or work in the institutions. We are not getting smarter or healthier in the “old style” of institutions.

New institutions will come from actually creating value for users and workers. This is in infant stages around the country. I think of coworking places like HUB, and local wellness office collaborations and cooperative businesses.

New institutions will need to meet the needs of a mobile workforce, a greater % of poor people, etc.

3) Improve Knowledge

It’s hard to know where to go to find trusted knowledge, with the internet available to us today. Education projects like Coursera are extremely important in passing on information. There are no more trusted centers for information. We seek out experts on our own time, scrutinize them and trust what they say, and who our social networks refer us to. We use review systems like Yelp to help build a trust base for information sources.

4) Encourage Participatory Decision-Making

After moving to California from Montana, I was amazed at how many initiatives/propositions Californians were asked to vote about in local and state elections. Montana is now catching up, from what I hear. But we must find a balance between what the people can vote on and get educated about, and what our elected representatives should do, even nationally. I think when America was founded, it was necessary to send a representative to the White House because we could not instantaneously communicate with the people he would be meeting with nor be informed of all the issues they were considering. We trusted someone to take our issues into consideration. We live in a different world now, and we need to be more individually empowered in decisions of national and social importance. What is being done about this? I don’t know.

Let’s do something!!

5) Partnership between developed and developing countries

Obama has done a lot to improve our relations with the rest of the world. To be honest, this is the main reason I campaigned for his election and re-election. This is so important to keep improving relations at this point in time, no matter what else he has or hasn’t accomplished, it has been worth it to me just for this.

Unfortunately, no one in a position of power is demonstrating the balls/courage right now to step up as a world leader to change their  country’s economic policies enough to discourage carbon use at the rate we need to, to avoid mass poverty, chaos, and destruction on a larger global scale.

We are being told that change on this issue will come from the ground up. That is, developing countries, and those NOT in power will need to initiate change/partnership.

Those with the most to lose may have to band together to be their own heroes this time.

6) Communicate that the right environmental policies will create MORE wealth, not less

I’ve seen smatterings of this, but it needs to be more widely shoved into social media collective mind. How does changing our policies make us BETTER OFF FINANCIALLY?!?

Clean up the messaging and get it out.

7) Keep expanding programs to reduce poverty

This is helping (For example, I was able to escape poverty by means of social programs, BUT the best economic decision available for me out of college was to jump into an oil company). Where are the economic opportunities in things that do not destroy our environment? Yes, keep giving poor kids like me a hand-up. But give us a hand-up into something meaningful and helpful.

Economic advantages (subsidies, tax breaks) for oil companies must be taken away and given to cleaner fuels.

This became really unpopular after it was revealed that  a giant solar company failed with public money authorized by Obama. This is really stupid and underscores the public’s ignorance about entrepreneurship and technology development. THERE WILL BE FAILURE BEFORE THERE WILL BE SUCCESS. WE HAVE TO PAY FOR FAILURE TO GET TO SUCCESS. How many billions of dollars do we waste on worthless failed medical drug research each year, while nobody complains too much about the $600/month the state of California pays health institutions on behalf of EACH OF ITS EMPLOYEES for “health care”, 20-25% of which probably goes to subsidize such failed research. Money motivates ingenuity. Throw a billion-dollar X-Prize at Carbon Alternatives and see what we get, in a very short amount of time.

The public needs to be educated on what developing new technologies will cost them and what they will gain.

8) Clarify property rights

Poverty is forcing the hands of countrymen around the world and property is being whored out to the highest bidder. Countries are giving up their food and water rights along with their property. This is going to result in violence down the road. Buyers and sellers need to learn to relate to each other with some decency and foresight. Who is entitled to what property?

This seems like a government policy thing. Lobby for policy change, or demand property rights at a grassroots level.

9) Expand access to education, birth control, sanitation & clean water, and agriculture

I believe that traditional college learning is going by the wayside. People are getting priced and sized-out. Crowd-sourcing of education (again, Coursera is a pioneer in this, online telesummits, etc.) will be what will truly expand access to education. 30,000 people took a free course I signed up for last summer. This is “access to education” on a meaningful scale.

Even the extremist groups in the US keep threatening to shut down access to services like Planned Parenthood, etc. This is retarded and thankfully Americans see the need. Donate to keep these clinics open if you can. They are really wonderful places, from personal experience.

Sanitation and clean water goes hand-in-hand with poverty. Pollution plays a (small?) part too.

Agriculture seems to be going the way of decentralizing as a trend. People realize how risky it is to depend on megacrops thousands of miles away, and depend on the chaos of centralized, privatized success of megacrops (which comes with side-effects of pollution and greed and speculation profit) and the chaos of failure (which comes with disease and price hikes). Crops are going more local as a trend, but this needs to be done faster.

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Inspired by:

“The World Development Report 1992, “Development and the Environment,” discusses the possible effects of the expected dramatic growth in the world’s population, industrial output, use of energy, and demand for food. Under current practices, the result could be appalling environmental conditions in both urban and rural areas. The World Development Report presents an alternative, albeit more difficult, path – one that, if taken, would allow future generations to witness improved environmental conditions accompanied by rapid economic development and the virtual eradication of widespread poverty. Choosing this path will require that both industrial and developing countries seize the current moment of opportunity to reform policies, institutions, and aid programs. A two-fold strategy is required.

* First, take advantage of the positive links between economic efficiency, income growth, and protection of the environment. This calls for accelerating programs for reducing poverty, removing distortions that encourage the economically inefficient and environmentally damaging use of natural resources, clarifying property rights, expanding programs for education (especially for girls), family planning services, sanitation and clean water, and agricultural extension, credit and research.

* Second, break the negative links between economic activity and the environment. Certain targeted measures, described in the Report, can bring dramatic improvements in environmental quality at modest cost in investment and economic efficiency. To implement them will require overcoming the power of vested interests, building strong institutions, improving knowledge, encouraging participatory decisionmaking, and building a partnership of cooperation between industrial and developing countries.”

http://info.worldbank.org/etools/docs/library/206921/CarbonTaxestheGreenhouseEffectandDevelopingCountries.pdf

 

And of course: An Inconvenient Truth (2006)