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The author and activist made famous in 1971 with her ground-breaking Diet for a Small Planet, Frances Moore Lappé, "Frankie" to her friends, wrote another book in 2011, EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want. Sound sappy? It's not.

Frankie is profoundly optimistic. But she's no Pollyanna. She recognizes that personal change won't, by itself change the world. Collective action is essential as well. That dual approach is apparent through most of her 18 books. Eleven years ago, she and her daughter Anna took their commitment to "living democracy" one activist step further and established the Small Planet Institute

She recently adapted a bit of Eco-mind for award-winning Yes! magazine, Why Sharing News About Solutions Is a Revolutionary Act. Scary stories of kidnappings and explosions lead our news feeds, she says, but it's the good news that helps break down the myth of our own powerlessness:

Frances Moore Lappé
Frances Moore Lappé
Scary news might "sell," but we can also feel so bombarded with the negative that our "why bother?" reflex kicks in. Fear stimuli go straight to the brain's amygdala, Harvard Medical School's Srinivasan Pillay explains. But, he adds, "because hope seems to travel in the same dungeons [parts of the brain] as fear, it might be a good soldier to employ if we want to meet fear."

So let's get better at using hope. It's a free energy source.

Hope isn't blind optimism. It's a sense of possibility—delight in the new and joy in creativity that characterizes our species. So let's break the good-news ban and become storytellers about real breakthroughs. […] After all, it's only in changing the small stories that we change the big, dangerous story—the myth of our own powerlessness. Remember, what we do and say doesn't just influence our friends, but also our friends' friends and our friends' friends' friends.

[Here are seven environmentally oriented stories that Lappé sees as helpful in breaking us out of the powerlessness mindset:]

• Renewables ramping up […]
• Wind wows […]
• Cities, states, countries pledge to go clean […]
• Citizens clobber coal […]
• Forests forever […]

Close to home: Four years ago in Magnolia Springs, Ala., the conservative town government passed the toughest land regulation in the south. It's spending a quarter million dollars on a comprehensive plan to restore and protect its charming river from agricultural chemical runoff. "I'm a tree-hugging, liberal—I mean a tree-hugging conservative Republican! Which I know some people may say is an oxymoron," said Mayor Charlie Houser of this small town near Mobile. Brown pelicans are showing up again, says Houser, and he adds: "Cormorants up in the treetops ... Beautiful sight!"

Around the world: Three-fourths of Niger is desert, and news headlines focus on hunger there. But over two decades, poor farmers in the country's south have "regreened" 12.5 milliondesolate acres. In all, Niger farmers have nurtured the growth of some 200 million trees—discovering that trees and crops are not competitors but are complementary. The trees protect the soil, bringing big crop-yield increases, and they provide fruit, nutritious leaves, fodder, and firewood. Now young people are returning to villages in Niger, and school kids are learning to care for the trees, too.


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Osama's back:

Let's get to the heart of the matter, the Saudis are scared to death of Osama and even more scared that we will find out how deeply supported Al Qaeda is in Saudi society.

The Bush Administration can neither protect the Saudi princes from themselves nor destroy Al Qaeda.

In the same year that the US devoted its entire military and intelligence apparatus to finding and destroying Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, which has now boiled down to a mobile brewery and some scrapings from a tank, Al Qaeda is not onlynot destroyed, but nearly as strong as it was on September 10, 2001.

Stories of the return of the Taliban ran in the papers during the Iraq war and were ignored by most people. The pronoucements from Osama have been treated like a trick from the last couple of episodes of 24 and not a real and ongoing threat to national security.

Throwing hundreds of people into our Cuban gulag at Gitmo may have been able to prevent some immediate attacks, but it clearly has not killed the Al Qaeda organization, much less the driving force of Islamic revivalist thought (the proper name for what we call fundamentalism) rampant in the region. Tossing out thousands for minor immigration violations has only caused hardship and resentment in Pakistan and around the Arab world.

And given the absolute ineptness of US policy in Europe over the last year, we find ourselves more isolated and alone than ever.


Tweet of the Day:

You don't get the Patriot act you want, you get the Patriot act they gave you.
@Wolfrum via web




On today's Kagro in the Morning show, DC's focus on "scandal" continues, to no one's surprise. Armando called in on the IRS, Benghazi and AP stories, plus the  astounding WaPo "fact check" of "act of terror" vs "terrorist act." Jon Perr joined in on the wider "Republican scandal management playbook." Also, information both old and new begins to emerge that grassroots Tea Party activists had as much motive to target the big name, big money "Tea Party" astroturf groups for IRS scrutiny as anybody. Amazingly, none of this is a "distraction," or "poisoning the well" against prospects of a "Grand Bargain!"



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