While perusing my Facebook page this afternoon, I learned that the friend of a friend—a woman named Maria—was recently hospitalized in her battle against an inoperable brain tumor. Maria's name sounded familiar so I looked her up. I know her, I thought. But I don't know her. At least not formally. I remembered her as Mari—her high school nickname. In my memory, she was one of those popular upperclasmen who roamed the halls of St. Brendan High School oblivious to people like me—the outcasts who generally blended...
I have noticed an increasing tension residing in sustainability conversations as to whether the primary focus of attention should be on local or global development, community or organization change. Rather than engaging in this either/or thinking, I believe it is critical to recognize that we have to work on multiple levels in multiple places. We live in a world of complex interrelated systems where change at one level will impact change on many other levels. There is no room for either/or thinking when working with systems. Rather, what is...
Looking at the gridlock in Congress and the failing leadership of our president, I have been reflecting on the relationship between decisions and results. It's hard to think about the wisdom of the hive when we see Congress’ ineffectiveness. Their group process also has aspects of dysfunctional groupthink, indiscriminate blaming, and the avoidance of responsibility. It's a case study of what not to do and a model that we're saddled with. It leads me to recall my experience of other groups where people talk endlessly,...
Are you old enough to remember when “the Internet” was just getting big? Do you remember what people thought it was going to be? It was going to revolutionize democracy and do away with racism (because we’re all one color behind the screen); it was going to level the playing field between rich and poor because we’d all have access to the same information superhighway. Now that we’ve got Facebook, Twitter, and the Huffington Post, how’s the future working out? Not as predicted, except...
During the past few weeks, we've seen countless stories and images of the famine that's gripping East Africa on several media outlets—from cable news shows to online discussion forums. The crisis affecting Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti has shown us deeply disturbing and heartbreaking images of starving families and dying children living in extreme poverty. It is difficult for any citizen of the world, any government, or any world organization to ignore the urgent call to help the people of East Africa. Despite...
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