An economist, guesting recently on a TV show, postulated that we are indeed in the 3rd World War. Rather than being a big biffo between two prime ally groups, the unrest and civil dysfunction happening all around the world has added up to something far more destructive than any previous conflict the world has suffered. Many believe this to be true. The more you think about it, the more realistic this view is.
I think the root is definitely in international scarcity.
Unwittingly, or perhaps not, the religious right has, in its inimitable way, got on the bandwagon to stir up the troubles. Many are now acting as warlords to feed the conflict. Connected to all problems is that old triumvirate, ‘Money, power, religion’ and these things work together to give people a rationale for violence. A god given right, perhaps!
The 3rd World War is, ironically, about the 3rd world and how the progress of the 1st World has left it behind, sometimes in the dark, unable to have electricity, water and shelter or begin to catch up in the race for technological supremacy. And yet, the 3rd world is building the very components that they can’t afford to own.
What does all this mean to the green community and how can we fight WW3 in our own backyard?
- The acquisition of peace at all costs is of the utmost priority. Start with our family. Don’t foster conflict in your home or neighbourhood. Talk out problems. Peace is not gained by becoming a soldier. He who puts DOWN arms is a peacemaker.
- Learn another culture. Don’t just be any culture’s ‘supremacist’. Learn the language and how they do things.
- Microfinancing is a good thing. See Kiva and Heifer International. Buy a tiny $150 computer for a 3rd world school.
- Forget charity. That’s so much a penny in the slot pathway to heaven. Roll up your sleeves and do something useful for the world.
- Never buy in to corruption. If you are ever asked for a bribe by anyone in a civil position, just look dazed and confused. Bribery and blackmail are twins! As a Mexican social commentator told me recently: ‘ … corrupt practices are counterproductive. It’s not just that bribes are wrong; Allowing them to flourish is bad economics quite apart from the misery, poverty, and even death that they cause. From a strictly economic perspective corruption inhibits wealth creation, promotes inefficiency, demoralizes honest citizens, smothers creativity, encourages violent crimes and petty dishonesty, and perpetuates poverty. It’s one of the most powerful disincentives to economic and social development. Learning to fight corruption isn’t easy because of the obstacles to finding out how it works and the extent of collateral damage it causes.’
- Set a good example. Stop your own self-indulgent and risky behaviour. Keep yourself nice! Speeding, illegal parking and so on are the thin end of the wedge. If people did none of those things, we wouldn’t need to be a nanny society. Think before you act!
- Start being an activist in your own backyard. Start community awareness programmes for litter avoidance, problem solving and social fairness. This will spread from your backyard to your block, from there to the suburb, from the suburb to the city and so on.
- Plant trees – he who plants a tree thinks of his grandchildren.
- Visit your oldies often. Keep them young. Preferably not in an oldie’s home but if that is needed, visit often and take movies and anything you can to keep their worldview wide.
- Consider a trip to a 3rd world nation instead of lying on a beach. Get involved and do something there to help. Eg. reconstruction following the Tsunami is still an option.
- Support ONLY good politicians. You will have to do some research here. Find out who is open minded, strong-willed, progressive and will take action. Vote for him or her.
- Talk to your children (if you have any) and give them the peace message. Without scaring the heck out of them, teach them to care for this world and its less fortunate residents.
- Embrace the Fairtrade movement wholeheartedly. It’s just fair and it makes sense.
- Do not buy any products that have been made using slave labour. Voluntary child labour is a more complex matter. For instance, where I live, local children do amazing beadwork. As long as it is done after school hours and not at the expense of homework, I am happy to buy their pretty creations and it gives them money for school books. The same goes for the grocery packers here. I pay the kids and old folk a reasonable sum, we have a chat and make a connection. I refuse to call it a ‘tip’!
- Be sure you pick a good hero. Research the life of your hero and be certain that you have chosen someone who indeed IS a selfless crusader with a real plan. So many so-called saints and heroes are nothing but self-aggrandising egoists on the one hand, or ineffectual, mentally ill people with delusions. This may seem harsh, but I don’t cheer for ‘saints’ who sell photo opportunities to terrorists and fascists.
- This site is interesting – gives plenty of ideas how to get a peace movement going. www.cultureofpeace.com/movement
- Treat yourself to a buy nothing day at least once a week! Stop using petrol. Ride a bike.
- Expand your own brain. Listen to Bach and Mozart, Poulenc and Janacek.
- If you haven’t started a garden or can’t do this is in apartment, join a community garden or beautification group, weed the bush or the dunes!
- Peace comes from within. Settle all old scores the way they teach it in many Alcohol programmes – ie. turn the other cheek, forgive and forget, apologise for past wrongs and then put them behind you.
Do all of the things above and then pass the message on! Let’s put an end to the 3rd World War.