If you believe that the world’s problems are so vast that they can’t be solved, Frances Moore Lappé hopes you’ll change your mind. Literally.
The noted author and social activist believes that solutions to global crises are right in front of us; we just need to recognize them.
“Our real challenge is to free ourselves from self-defeating thought traps that keep us from bringing these solutions to life,” she argues. “From our eroding soil to our eroding democracies, so much of what's wrong results from ways of thinking that are out of sync with human nature and nature's rhythms.”
This is the gist of her new book, EcoMind. Lappé will give the Miller Worley Environmental Leadership Lecture November 6 at 7:30 pm in the Art Building’s Gamble Auditorium. Her topic, like her goal, is ambitious: “Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want.”
What we need to break free of fear, guilt, and despair—which lead to inaction—are “thought leaps” that help us see challenges as opportunities, Lappé writes in EcoMind. She combines analysis of research in climate studies, anthropology, and neuroscience with the personal stories of people who, “having shifted some basic thought patterns, are shifting the balance of power in our world.”
Lappé says, “It turns out that gap between the world we long for and the world we thought we were stuck with can be bridged after all if we can learn to think like an ecosystem.”
Since the 1971 publication of her groundbreaking book Diet for a Small Planet, Lappé has been writing and speaking about how personal choices can have global consequences. She is the cofounder of three organizations, including Oakland-based think tank Food First, and the Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education seeking to bring democracy to life.
Lappé will also lead a student workshop, “Developing Your Ecomind,” on November 6; preregistration is required. Participants will examine core assumptions about community, democracy, hope, fear, and courage in the context of today’s personal, local, and global challenges.
The events are sponsored by the Miller Worley Center for the Environment.
—By Emily Harrison Weir