To those who take the bus or refuse plastic toothbrushes: Don’t listen to the cynics. Research shows the little things matter.
The United States media has been awash with debates about civility in recent months after a number of officials in Donald Trump’s administration have been heckled and shamed in public places.
It is not often that a neighbourhood squabble is remembered as a world-historical event. In the summer of 1846, Henry David Thoreau spent a single night in jail in Concord, Massachusetts after refusing to submit his poll tax to the local constable. This minor act of defiance would later be immortalised in Thoreau’s essay ‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’ (1849)
What would be good for us to expand? Our caring heart would be a great place to start. We can start caring more about people around us and about the planet in general. Yes, of course we care, but we do so in a general and impersonal way.
Trust and faith. These two items are in very high demand these days. But, come to think of it, they've been in high demand throughout the ages, it is simply that we now, in this chaotic world we live in, are feeling it more deeply and closely...
It seems clear that someone needs to rebuild trust between the media and the communities it serves. But how? Algorithmic upgrades are not the only answer.
Antibiotic resistance is an example of a collective action problem. These are problems where what is individually rational leads to a collectively undesirable outcome. Small things that many of us do, often on a daily basis, can have disastrous consequences in aggregate. The most challenging problems humanity is facing are in one way or another collective action problems.
When 17 students and teachers were murdered on what should have been a peaceful school day, students across the US took to the streets to demand change.
Forget Monopoly. There are new games that challenge us to turn our competitive drive toward solving social problems.
Imagination, as Hawaiian Native rights advocate Poka Laenui describes it, is more than an antidote to hopelessness. It is a source of power.
The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency has inspired a fresh wave of women’s movements.
The stable concept of identifying ourselves as Hungarian, Dutch, Vietnamese, Maori, or whatever, is falling apart. A new energy is sweeping through the planet, an energy that is not local, not just planetary, but cosmic. Now you have to stand in the Light and fight for the whole planet. You now...
After this last tumultuous year of political rancor and racial animus, many people could well be asking what can sustain them over the next coming days: How do they make the space for self-care alongside a constant call to activism?
In the digital era, politicians and government agencies frequently find themselves the target of criticism on social media.
Margaret Mead is famous for noting, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." In many communities there are numerous groups for individuals to support one another's efforts to make changes in their lives and in the world.
The United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany, is an enormous event with a complex agenda.
Using the hashtag #metoo, thousands of women around the world have posted on social media sharing their stories of male violence, particularly in the workplace.
I need to remind myself not to waste time. Not to click on too many hyperlinks and certainly not to spend to much time on Facebook. Not to distract myself with too much retail therapy at the antique mall or on Amazon. Not to obsess over whether my...
Donald Trump seems addicted to violence. It shapes his language, politics and policies. He revels in a public discourse that threatens, humiliates and bullies.
I was listening to a news reporter in Texas listing all of the destruction, and then he started talking about all of the volunteers who have showed up to help, and he started to cry. Through tears, he said that he has never seen humanity show up in such beautiful ways to be of service and help others in need.
Anger, rage and a desire for revenge are all reasonable and justified in the face of armed attacks, abuse and exploitation. What matters is what we do with these things.
There’s no shortage of media reports listing which groups are taking donations, often with scant guidance about what kinds of relief these organizations can offer.
While many anti-fascists offered serious and potent arguments against Hitler, comedians like Charlie Chaplin responded to the mortal threat that the Nazis posed in a different way: They used humor to highlight the absurdity and hypocrisy of both the message and its notorious messenger.
The flipside of the populism coin is voter ambivalence about “democracy” as we know it. Ambivalence about democracy might just save it...
Protesters have recently been out in force in Russia, Poland, Hungary, northern Morocco and Venezuela; sizeable democracy marches have mobilized to mark key moments in Hong Kong and Turkey
Organizing Human Chain Saves Drowning Family: Can A Similar Approach Save Our Drowning Human Family?
We always feel heartened by tales of heroism, and we celebrate the individual hero or "shero". It's even more heartening when the "hero" is a self-organizing, spontaneous group of people who see what needs to be done, and then do it.
While there is much to critique about the news media in this age of “post-truth” within a landscape dominated by a handful of media conglomerates, we need the press to hold our leaders and institutions accountable. Locally, when the occasion calls for it, we should laud the press.
I now call the 4th of July "Independents Day" as I've come to realize that the only way we the people can take our country back -- and forward -- is by declaring our independence from the two political parties, the two-party duopoly, and the two competing narratives that keep us divided ... and conquered.
Forecasting political unrest is a challenging task, especially in this era of post-truth and opinion polls.
The primary ongoing question of your life is: are you going to choose same-old, same-old, or are you going to explore new possibilities? In other words, are you going to live in the conditioned but comfortable cocoon of your ego, or are you going to...
When Bernie Sanders took to the stage at this year’s Hay Festival, it was to a room of cheers and clapping.
When I was ten years old and attending an elementary school called Mountainview School, my mother decided to have a little chat with my school director about the lack of trees on the school property. She argued that although the view of the mountain was lovely, the boring grassy lawn was not.
All Americans are lucky to live in a country brimming with public resources that everyone can share.
In a TV debate to mark the official start of the French presidential election campaign, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen was accused of “twisting the truth” by her centrist opponent Emmanuel Macron.
While we work to change the government, we can’t forget that we can also make big change ourselves by starting small and local.
Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has said Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” is his favorite book.
Thanks to the criticisms they’ve leveled in articles, interviews, tweets and letters to the editor, we know that many contemporary authors, from Philip Roth to J.K. Rowling, have a dim view of Donald J. Trump.
In the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. elections, numerous accounts surfaced of nefarious content creators profiting by posting fake content on social media.
On Inauguration Day, a group of students, researchers and librarians gathered in a nondescript building on the north side of the University of California, Los Angeles campus, against a backdrop of pelting rain.
Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over. The key to avoiding fascism? An organized left with a strong vision and broad support.
After intense political activism, an attack from the Trump administration on public lands has been shot down. The fight is far from over, but with the unexpected fightback of hunting and fishing groups, attempts to privatize federal land will meet new opposition.
When 500 refugees arrived in their community, residents of Zaandam were wary. But by the time the newcomers could apply for residency status in Europe, neighbors didn’t want them to leave.
Have your passports ready, watch your language, and other advice from a Yale history professor.
Einstein told us that we cannot solve the significant problems we face at the same level of thinking at which we were when we created the problems. He was right. Yet we are trying to do just that. We are fighting terrorism, poverty, criminality, cultural...
If we were able to remember how we felt as a child learning to crawl, we probably would remember looking on with amazement at the giants we saw around us. This memory might help us when we are learning a technical skill, or a behavioral skill such as unconditional love, patience...
Far from the corrosive political circus unfolding in Washington, DC, local citizen groups are improving conditions for the people in their own backyards.
With help from activist manual written by former congressional staffers, Republicans face angry crowds in home states
Community groups have the power to create long-lasting change. Ioby, an organization based in New York City, New York, that works on neighborhood mobilization, recently published its "Recipes for Change" toolkit.
On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “Beyond Vietnam” speech in Harlem’s Riverside Church. In it, he spoke of being confronted with “the fierce urgency of now.”
After his unexpected election win, the immediate question was what would US President Donald Trump actually do?
Recent reports indicate that far-right groups from the Ukraine have come to Brazil to recruit neo-Nazis to fight against pro-Russian rebels. Western readers reacted with shock and fascination
The protests that have erupted since Donald Trump’s most recent executive order was signed have been impressive.
As a professor of Russian literature, I couldn’t help but notice that comedian Aziz Ansari was inadvertently channeling novelist Leo Tolstoy when he claimed that “change doesn’t come from presidents” but from “large groups of angry people.”
Donald Trump, in his quest to “make America great again,” is poised to put in place many regressive policies that are fundamentally at odds with what are generally considered progressive values such as transparency, inclusiveness, equity, fairness and dignity for all
To some liberals, Donald Trump’s inauguration portends doom for the republic; to many conservatives, it’s a crowning moment for the nation that will usher in an era of growth and optimism.
The Women’s March on Washington illustrated what a wide variety of issues women will have in the years ahead with Donald Trump.
How do we listen and learn from each other, with our very different experiences and beliefs about life, yet find a way through it to a place of love and healing?
After the inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington, what comes next? To make real change, we’ll need to build power where we live.
The I Have A Dream speech is the crown jewel of the 20th century. Given before 250,000 souls on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, it is called the defining moment of the US Civil Rights movement. It is the speech by which all other great speeches must be measured. Its haunting rhythm towards the end of the speech has an almost musical sound and feel.
The name Martin Luther King Jr. is iconic in the United States. The outgoing 44th president, Barack Obama, spoke of King in both his Democratic National Convention nomination acceptance and victory speeches in 2008:
Roosevelt delivered this speech to Congress as a "State Of The Union" 11 months before the United States entered World War II. Memorably, in the second half of the speech, FDR lists the benefits of democracy. He lists these as Freedom Of Speech, Freedom Of Worship, Freedom From Want, and Freedom From Fear. The first two freedoms are guaranteed by the US Constitution and the last two are still in controversy to this day.
On Jan. 10, President Barack Obama delivered a farewell address to the nation in his adopted hometown of Chicago.
Mark Twain noted that man is the only animal that blushes — or needs to. He also believed that “public office is private graft.”
If we didn’t realize that 2016 was the year of upheaval before November 8, we certainly do now. Brexit, which seemed hard enough to digest, was merely the amuse bouche prior to the red meat of Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election.
Many Americans would not be surprised if on Jan. 20 Vladimir Putin administers the oath of office to Donald Trump, the Ku Klux Klan youth choir regales the inaugural crowd with a stirring rendition of “Dixie,
Continuing to shrink our oil consumption is one way to challenge the oil uber alles mentality of the Trump administration.
"For many years, public-spirited citizens throughout the country have been working for the conservation of the natural resources, realizing their vital importance to the nation."
As the era of Trump approaches, some of you may be succumbing to the following four syndromes:
In 2013, an online petition persuaded a national organization representing high school coaches to develop materials to educate coaches about sexual assault and how they could help reduce assaults by their athletes
Taking a lesson from Standing Rock, we must be careful with language while working toward progress in the Trump years.
In a context of growing injustice, reclaiming the importance and the meaning of the word resistance is more urgent than ever.
Democracy depends on a free and independent press, which is why all tyrants try to squelch it. They use seven techniques that, worryingly, President-elect Donald Trump already employs.
My literature is totally committed with a new political attitude – human beings in search of their own identity. My books don’t talk about the old and used up process of the right/left but there is a revolution that is slowly rising up...
Depending on your political persuasion, or, as some are now arguing, depending on the “engagement” metrics that condition your social media “echo chamber”, you will have met the election of Donald Trump to the US’s highest office with either shock or elation.
Brexit. Trump. Climate change. The financial system. The arms trade. Hardliners. You name it, it’s causing anxiety.
Feeling anxious about life in a broken-down society on a stressed-out planet? While the dominant culture encourages dysfunctional denial — pop a pill, go shopping, find your bliss — there’s a more sensible approach: Accept the anxiety, embrace the deeper anguish, and then...
When I was a student at Princeton University I learned from my anthropology studies that the concentration of power in the hands of the few is common to all cultures, societies, nations, tribes, cities, towns, and villages.
As the Brexit debate deteriorates in quality at an alarming rate, it appears that any hope of Britain returning to its democratic senses is receding fast.
Those angry Bernie supporters who are so turned off by Hillary that they plan to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or even Darn Old Trump may be shooting themselves -- and indeed the entire body politic -- in the head...
Target recently staked out a position in the culture wars by announcing that it will build private bathrooms in all its locations, after earlier allowing transgender customers to use whichever room corresponds with their gender identity – both actions sparking anger from many conservatives.
Over the past month, thousands of protesters, including Native Americans from more than 100 tribes across the country, have traveled to North Dakota to help the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe block the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built.
The internet has rewired civil society, propelling collective action into a radically new dimension. Democracy is now not only exercised at the ballot box, but lived and experienced online on a day-to-day basis.
When it comes to politics, 2016 has been a very strange year to say the least. Things that aren’t “supposed to happen” – well, they just keep happening.
It looks increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton, a self-described “progressive who likes to get things done,” will have her chance starting next January. But how much that’s progressive will she actually be able to get done?
Pramila Jayapal, one of the standard-bearers for Bernie Sanders' Our Revolution movement, won a decisive victory in the primary race for Washington's 7th Congressional District Tuesday night and will advance to the November general election.
Political scholars and pundits have called the 2016 election cycle the most tumultuous and hostile in recent memory.
With a mix of anger and excitement, Bernie Sanders supporters shift focus away from the presidency and search for ways to sustain the political revolution sparked by his campaign.
With the front-runners of both parties in support of fracking, even with some conditions, it would seem that anti-fracking activists are fighting an uphill battle.
After being sentenced to three years in prison for his part in the 1968 burning of stolen draft files in Catonsville, Maryland, Rev. Daniel Berrigan went underground, evading capture by the FBI for four months.
The race for the Democratic presidential nomination has pitted a dreamer against a realist, right? Bernie Sanders is the unrealistic one, and Hillary Clinton, the pragmatist, is the candidate who can get things done, right? But...
It's often forgotten, but the May Day holiday, the original, real, workers' holiday, originated in the U.S. And specifically it originated to honor the memory of labor's four martyrs unjustly sent to the gallows, in an atmosphere of hysteria and anti-worker oppression after the so-called Haymarket "riot" of 130 years ago, on May 4, 1886.
Yesterday was the most important day of my life. I walked up to the Capitol building and sat on the steps with more than 400 people. When asked to move, we refused and were arrested. We committed nonviolent civil disobedience together to protest the power of money in politics and support the restoration of real democracy.
Step back from the campaign fray for just a moment and consider the enormity of what’s already occurred.
Bill Moyer was a street-wise, working class white boy from rowhouse Philadelphia, who — in the turbulence of the 1960s — went to Chicago to work for an anti-racist housing campaign.
“I wish that we could elect a Democratic president who could wave a magic wand and say, ‘We shall do this, and we shall do that,’” Clinton said recently in response to Bernie Sanders’s proposals. "That ain’t the real world we’re living in.“
Far too many people think not, and thus they sell themselves far too short. A wave of pessimism leads capable people to underestimate the power of their voice and the strength of their ideals. The truth is this: it is the initiatives of deeply caring people that provide the firmament for our democracy.
It is never easy for interest groups with conflicting views to resolve public policy disagreements involving complex scientific issues. To successfully formulate complex treaties, such as the recent Paris Climate Change Agreement, countries must find a way to meet the interests of almost 200 national representatives, while simultaneously getting the science right. Lowest common denominator political agreements that don’t actually solve the problem are useless.
We need green visions for less carbon and poverty---but also for more fun and joy. At a time when ecological destruction is more dire than ever, the work of protecting the planet depends on dreamers just as much as of scientists, activists, public officials and business leaders.
In today’s American politics, it might seem impossible to craft effective political messages that reach across the aisle on hot-button issues like same-sex marriage, national health insurance, and military spending.