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Frances Moore Lappe

From Frances Moore Lappé

Thank you to everyone who has posted on my blog, sent me an email or mailed a letter to my office commenting on the issues debated in Liberation Ecology! I am so impressed by depth and value of this incredible feedback. Altogether, I received well over 70 single spaced pages of comments to weigh and consider.

I am now knee-deep in the revision process. Go to my website if you wish to sign up for our newsletter, in order to remain updated on this work and other projects of the Small Planet Institute. Keep an eye out for news on EcoMind, the new title for my book!

This blog will no longer be actively monitored by the Small Planet Team; however, I hope you will continue to return to discuss the issues around this book.

Gratefully,
Frances Moore Lappé

Jump to Discussion

Week of April 26th Liberation Ecology Weekly Discussion Prompt

Even in the most urbanized area, people are recognizing the benefits of incorporating the natural world into their lives. Many are cultivating this relationship by turning their run down backyards into thriving gardens.

Do you notice a greater presence of community gardens in your area? What are some examples that both urban and suburban residences can do to strengthen their relationship with the earth? How are you benefiting from this renewed bond?

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General Discussion

Have something to say about the book’s theme or tone?

Do you have a story or example to share that Frances should consider for the rewrite?

Got something to add that just doesn’t belong anywhere else?

Say it here.

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Disempowering Idea 1 To save the planet, our economies have to stop growing

Empowering Reframe: Since what we’ve been calling “growth” is largely an economics of waste and destruction, let’s call it that. Let’s reserve “growth” for all that enhances life: Let’s use growth to describe that which aligns with nature’s rules to promote greater health, happiness, social and ecological vitality, resiliency, and the dispersion of social power.
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Disempowering Idea 2 We’ve hit the limits of a finite earth

Empowering Reframe: Most human beings know they weren’t invited to the Too Good party, so the message of limits rings hollow in their ears. A more effective and ecologically attuned goal is not about limits—more or less—at all. It is about better. Better focuses quality, and quality is what brings health, ease, joy, creativity—more life. These qualities arise as we align with the rules of nature, including human nature, so that our real needs are met as the planet flourishes.
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Disempowering Idea 3 We must overcome selfish human nature to save the planet

Empowering Reframe: Sure, we can be selfish, fixated on material gain, and narrowly competitive. But here’s the key to our future: We’re equally hardwired for cooperation, empathy, fairness, efficacy, meaning, and creativity. We can’t change human nature, but that’s OK. We can change the norms and rules of our societies in order to keep negative human potential in check and to elicit these powerful innate qualities we most need now. Let’s focus there with laser intensity.
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Disempowering Idea 4 To make progress, we have to override people’s innate resistance to rules

Empowering Reframe: The nature of nature is rules, and humans love rules that enhance our sense of belonging and give our lives structure, shape, and meaning. While we are naturally social, in order to bring out the best in us and keep the worst in check, humans need rules that ensure transparency, accountability, and prevent extreme concentrations of power. They work and take off fast when people feel engaged in shaping them, and they make sense to us. With all this in mind, we can go beyond rules that limit harm and establish ground rules that avoid harm to begin with.
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Disempowering Idea 5 People are now so far removed from the natural world that they’ll never feel the connection to nature needed for an environmental turnaround

Empowering Reframe: We can count on one thing for sure: Humans are hardwired to love nature. So city dwellers, too, can and are rediscovering that natural connection, finding that it enhances our health, learning, and fun. As we reconnect with nature in all these ways and more, it’s likely that support for public action to heal the natural world will grow, too.
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Disempowering Idea 6 Given the magnitude and scope of today’s problems, there’s no time for democracy

Empowering Reframe: if there’s one sad truth history teaches, it’s that centralized power cannot lead to the sustained good of the whole. Solutions to today’s vast, interrelated, and complex challenges depend on tapping the experience, diverse perspectives, ingenuity, common sense, and passion of those affected. That means billions of empowered problem-solvers. With the “buy-in” that comes from having a real voice in problem solving, human beings are willing to make the big changes essential to turning our planet toward life. Getting there means removing the power of concentrated wealth from our political decision making and infusing the voices of citizens. It is beginning.
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