Archive for the ‘poverty’ Category

What’s Important?

March 9, 2008

Global Mindshift, through its website, asked people to submit what we consider the ten most important questions of our time.  One of the facilitators in Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream symposiums had some of her questions selected (I’m also a facilitator:
 I don’t think there’s much to say other than, ‘Here they are”
•         How can we best prepare our children for the future?
•         What does sustainability look like to you? How do we get there? 
•         How do humans need to adapt to survive the changes predicted for this century?
•         How do we shift from “Me” to “We” on both the local and global levels?
•         How can you, as Gandhi said, be the change that you want to see in the world?
•         What kind of economic structures can best support a shift to sustainable living?
•         How should we re-invent the political process so that people feel that they have a voice?
•         What kind of leadership does the world need now?
•          How can we balance our personal needs with the most pressing needs of our community and the larger world?
•          What can we do to reduce or eliminate violence in the world?
Responses came in from 39 countries – from Uganda to Mexico to Singapore to Serbia to India to the US – making Global Conversation Week 2008 truly global.
No.  There is something else to say:  What are your answers?  How can you get your friends to read and answer for themselves?

Masterminding – A Short Session – More on Context

January 3, 2008

Three of us met yesterday – as the holiday travel winnowed our group.  I’ve written elsewhere on its impact and I see I’m not complete with the topic.

The coaching given to me was essentially this:  Please be clear on what you’re up to; I hear your requests for coaching, but I’m not sure how to listen to you.  What are you up to?

Very provocative – “I don’t know how to listen to you”  I don’t think we think of that very often – that how we speak conditions how we’re heard.  So how can I speak in a way that creates the way I want to be heard?  This is particularly pertinent because I think my main issue is mastering the three kinds of attention:  getting attention, keeping it, having people act on it.  And I see that what comes first is communicating so that you’ll hear the way I want you to hear.

So before I say that, I need to create the context for my words.  Okay, I’ve told you my context, the ‘why’ I speak, the ‘background conversation.’  Is that enough?  Yes, it is – but will you remember it tomorrow?  How about tomorrow’s new listeners?  Do I have to continue to create context?  Yes!!

So – one of my initial projects for 2008 is to reinvent my signature line.  Here’s how I want to be listened to:  What I’m about is having a world of spiritual fulfillment, social justice in a sustainable environment.  And what I do is support people to achieve these things in their own lives and the lives of their communities.  So I ask you – how would you invent a signature that speaks that?

Food is Not the Answer

December 20, 2007

This is the time of year when we fill the food kitchens- There is a keen awareness of  “the needy,”  but food is not the answer.

My purpose is not to see that people are fed.  My purpose is to feed fewer and fewer people.  Our government is not at work on that issue.  We spend the same obscene amount of money year after year to feed people (40++ Billion dollars) and we spend virtually no money on reducing the number of people who go to those food kitchens.  Incidentally, 40 Billion is only about $1,400 per person per year — clearly not even close to what’s needed and so the issue of feeding people is ongoing, painful and frustrating..

We rob people as we feed them.  We steal their independence, their dignity, their equality.  This is the seedbed of civil unrest, the contrast in living between those who feed and those who are fed. 
When you realize that food is not the answer to ending hunger, you either throw up your hands in total futility or you start asking, “what is the solution?”
With a number of organizations, I have been studying this for many years.  These are some  conclusions.

• There is enough food.
• We must focus on ending the persistence of hunger
• Ending the persistence of hunger is a community issue.
• Hunger affects us all.  When one of us is hungry, we are all hungry.
• Ending the persistence of hunger is a matter of human empowerment.  It is an expression of love and joy.
• Ending hunger is possible – and, therefore, mandatory.

The day that hunger is eradicated from the earth, there will be the greatest spiritual explosion the world has ever known.  Humanity cannot imagine the joy that will burst into the world on the day of that great revolution.”

    Federico Garcia Lorca
 Spanish poet and dramatist, 1899-1936

The End of Hunger

May 21, 2007

On Saturday night Nancy and I were honored for founding Events to Empower Humanity over 15 years ago, an organization committed to the sustainable end of hunger ( 

In the vocabulary of the Internet, ending hunger is a portal.  Why?  Because it opens many doors.  There is no such thing as ending hunger.  I’ve looked at hunger in many communities here.  Sometimes ending hunger means changing immigration policies; sometimes it requires discovering how to deal with the mentally handicapped; sometimes with illiteracy, sometimes with drugs.  Very often it requires dealing with our overall economy, with health care, and so on.  It’s a portal issue.

In the USA there’s something that simply stops us.  We feed people.   So unless hunger is very close to you, it’s invisible.  Hunger is a problem they have.  Or it’s a problem over there.  Like many issues in our country, there is no outcry, no demand.

In a recent commercial for Bill Mahre, he said, “what really pisses me off is that not enough of you are pissed off.”  To me that is the ultimate issue.  Not about people being pissed off – no – it’s getting people to listen.

When tragedy strikes we are the most generous people in the world.  But until it strikes, we are deaf and blind.  We feed people on Thanksgiving and Christmas but on July 4th we have picnics – they don’t.  And when we don’t feed people, we’re bit players in Les Miserables.

I have a simple and profound question – How can we get enough of us to listen so that enough of us are willing to pay attention.  When we feed people, we provide an answer for today.  Tomorrow they’re hungry again.

Here’s what we need to do – provide work, child care, transportation and health care.  Those are the four pillars that support hunger.  What do you need?

Find out more at

Useful Quotes

A hungry man is not a free man.
Adlai E. Stevenson

Hunger steaks the memory.
Louise Erdrich

A hungry man is an angry man
Bob Marley

Creative Corner

Don’t Write

Who can write about hunger?
It’s ugly –
very vivid images of children
fighting rats for food
and rats winning

are we the adult rats?