On Robots and Listening

  As ever, change is afoot. Autumn is heading for winter, for example. Starbucks is well into shifting its holiday paperware (the plain red paper cups a significant and publicized offense to a few “Christmas-only” types). Oceans are heating up, children are growing taller and Artificial Intelligence is animating robots to replace workers around the globe. There’s much more – and too much of it troubling. But you know that. So, this… Read More

Unplugged — a guest blog

Gary Ferguson is a writer.  His subject over the past 30 years has the natural world and the relationships we have with it as human beings.  His setting has most often been Yellowstone National Park, but here, in the first of two guest blogs, Gary tells of his three months with 14-17 year-olds in the desert wilderness of Utah.  People living these years are change-on-legs as far as my memory and observation… Read More

Wolves, Humans and the Errors of Fast Thinking

  So, a few years ago a Nobel Prize winning economic scientist named Daniel Kahneman took a pretty astonishing look at cognitive, biological and psychological habits of minds faced with the need to make judgments or decisions.  His observations show up in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow.  Needless to say, there’s a lot in this book.  One powerful trend Kahneman found in human decision making indicates that when we make quick… Read More

Ready to Learn

Today I was a peripheral part of a discussion on schools – specifically that now familiar notion applied to preschool and kindergarten aged children, “readiness to learn.”  Hmmm. Ever since G.W. Bush announced the launch of “No Child Left Behind,” with its guarantee of advancing the fiscal security of the standardized test industry nationwide – ever since he said as part of that initiative that “every child will come to school ready… Read More

The Paradox of Thrift

My grandparents survived the Great Depression.  My parents were born into the close of that time, but like any time of stress linked with austerity, the aftermath of that economic trauma was evident in newly and deeply established habits of caution. My farming grandmother could make anything out of anything, or so it seemed to me.  She made quilts from squares of rag scraps stuffed with old nylon hosiery (among other softish… Read More

Amidst the Fuss about Mexican Immigration and Gay Marriage

Last night, I stood rinsing 50 plates, stacking in a small tower the ones that didn’t fit in the first run of the dishwasher.  Behind me a loosely coordinated team of cooks fussed over flan one woman had made. “I wasn’t expecting 50…!” she whispered.  “Loaves and fishes time,” said the mountainous man with the big hands and superb skill with savory and spice. These are other things I heard – “Is… Read More

Georgians in the Radical Act of Listening

I want to tell you about the last three groups to hear about 100 VOICES – AMERICANS TALK ABOUT CHANGE.  Night before last in a Decatur, GA neighborhood, about 20 women who know each other from the Presbyterian church they all attend gathered the way they do every month.  They come for dinner, community and inquiry at the home of Kent Leslie author and scholar.  Most of the women are in their 60’s… Read More

Keeping Courage

I’ve just spent the past three days crossing the Southern tier states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama into Georgia.  I’ve spent precious time with relatives – kin by birth and kin by choice and community.  Along the slow roll of land falling toward and then rising up from the Mississippi River’s reliable flow I found story after story, learning after learning. In the three years since I last drove these Southern highways… Read More

EX:Change Gift Idea — 100 VOICES

Listen to the voices of your neighbors.  One hundred voices from across the U.S.  All talking about change.  All speaking their dreams. Give the book to yourself, to friends or family.  Join us in the EX:Change as it continues to offer its invitation to all of us — Listen to each other.  See what is there in those with whom you think you have nothing in common.  See what is there in… Read More

“I have had a lot of change lately”

In a few days, when 100 Voices: Americans Talk about Change hits book stores, Marjan Baradar’s voice will be #91.  Back in 2009, Marjan spoke of her optimism alongside her fear of the polarities in the country – she mentioned specifically the violence that can come of that.  She spoke of the power of civic engagement and indicated her sense of such participation as a responsibility, a natural expression of being an… Read More