A pioneer of environmental education inspires advocacy on both local and national levels.
Small Planet Institute founder Lappé, a “dyed-in-the-wool possibilist,” believes the problem with seeking solutions to crises lies not in the difficulty of implementation, but in the limiting rhetoric of consumerism, blame and shortage that discourages people from learning what teamwork can accomplish. Fostering guilt for wasting resources is not the way to inspire action; she proposes that the average person will better learn to change their practices toward the earth if discussions are framed in terms of ecology rather than economy. Personalizing relationships with nature allows individuals to view themselves as participants in an evolving web with room for growth, rather than as destructive forces on a nonstop collision course. Though “eco-mind” initially sounds like a buzz word for ancient ideas of caretaking, harmony, respect, community-building and the search for more meaningful life, the concepts laid out in well-organized chapters are worth revisiting for veteran activists, or discovering anew for those who have shied from the subject. Lappé backs positive thinking without soft-pedaling over harsher realities. She cites examples of corporate hubris, avoids dry statistics and provides ample stories of progress in countries as diverse as Brazil and India. She also encourages the effort to shift the focus from remedying wrongs to rooting out common causes. The “thought traps” frequently encountered in dialogue on the environment—most of which curtail ingenuity—are exchanged for “thought leaps,” which provide starters for further exploration. Comprehensive, practical suggestions fall beyond the book’s scope, though Lappé includes a list of additional resources.
An accessible introduction to the psychology of this “historic challenge,” providing an enthusiastic shove toward reflection.