I want to love this broken-hearted country, this land of shattered dreams and dashed hopes. I want to place my ear to the drumming cadence of our cities and hear the insistent pulse of life. I want to wander the forgotten highways of stories that run like wrinkles through our body politic.
Depending on who you listen to and how it is defined, worldwide income and wealth inequality is either more acute than it has ever been, or the gap between the rich and the rest is narrowing. The numbers may be distorted by conflicting statistics but what is indisputable is the shadow of extreme poverty that billions are living under, the economic induced anxiety millions more face every day, and the fact that the rich continue to get richer. Of the 7.2 billion people in the world, around half are living on less than $2.00 a day ̶ that’s the official barrier to the land of poverty set by the World Bank. Most of these people are to be found in the slums or villages of India, China, and the shantytowns and rural settlements of Sub-Saharan Africa, where 48% of the population live on less than $1.25 a day. [World Bank 2010]
Perhaps there are lessons for other small communities from the conditions, positive and negative, of Winsted, Connecticut (the Town of Winchester), a community of about 11,000 people nestled in the beautiful Litchfield County Hills.
First, Winsted is unique in numerous ways. Northwestern Connecticut Community College, established in 1965 through local initiatives, has expanded its facilities. Winsted is the second smallest community in the U.S. to have a community college located within its boundaries. About the size of Manhattan in New York City, the Town of Winchester sports two lakes plus Crystal Lake, the drinking water reservoir, two rivers named Mad and Still, and an abundance of woods and meadows. Continue reading
When I was about thirteen-years-old I chanced upon an article in Henry Luce’s Life magazine that described East Harlem (a Manhattan working class neighborhood) as “a slum inhabited by beggar‑poor Italians, Negroes, and Puerto Ricans,” words that stung me and wedged in my memory.
“We live in a slum,” I mournfully reported to my father.
It’s Time For A Do-It-Ourselves Revolution
“All countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing circumstances.
No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time,
in fact they are all artificial and temporary.” -– Strobe Talbott
How much longer are we going to protest and post online reports, rants, videos and launch campaigns that will hopefully raise awareness on issue after issue, problem after problem, as the situation gets worse? Continue reading
Climate change along with the disastrous effects it will have on the earth and humanity is being ignored by much of society. I differentiate between the earth and humanity because many people only relate to the problems that humans might suffer, not fully understanding that what damages the earth also damages us. During the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio, media headlines were screaming “We’ve only got 20 years to save the earth!” An environmentalist dryly pointed out, “No. The earth will survive. We have 20 years to save humanity.”
Sep 30, 2012 by peakmoment
Peak Moment 220: When Cecile Andrews asked herself, “What matters?” the answer popped up: “Having time to do the things you want to do.” She simplified her life, quit her full-time job, and started simplicity circles to support others in savoring life. Now she has expanded into neighborhood stop-and-chats and a Gross National Happiness movement. Her latest book advocates broadening the joy in our lives, Less is More: Embracing Simplicity for a Healthy Planet, A Caring Economy, and Lasting Happiness.
with Chris Hedges
April 2, 2012
March 12, 2012
Mr. de Botton, an atheist, argues that rather than mocking religion, atheists and agnostics should steal the best ideas from world religions, such as the methods for building strong communities, overcoming envy, and forging a connection to the natural world. The philosopher essayist discusses his concepts with former seminarian and author Chris Hedges.
Occupy Wall Street gatherings on Oct. 15 at around 1500 sites in some 80 countries revealed a global uprising for building democratic learning and action communities. People were joyous to be together in streets and parks, on church steps, outside banks, and elsewhere—playing music, chanting, and exercising their freedoms. They sat in circles, paraded around with bands, and fed each other in dramatic outpourings of anger, aspiration, feelings, energy, humor, yearning, and wisdom.
In 2009, after the inauguration of Barack Obama, I was feeling out of step with the ½ of the country that I would usually be in step with: those Hope-notized by his campaign-ad/sound-bite rhetoric.
I spent a lot of time pondering the why of this Hope-nosis and how badly our country was still doing economically and I was dismayed (but not surprised) by the increasing violence of Obama’s foreign and domestic policies.