Seven Springs Speaker Spotlight: Frances Moore Lappé, Hopeful Environmentalist

Reader Contribution by Erica Binns
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Get to know keynote speaker Frances Moore Lappé of the Small Planet Institute.

What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR?

Solutions to global crises — such as hunger and climate change — are within reach. However, in order to bring these solutions to life, we must free ourselves from self-defeating ‘thought traps’ that leave us mired in fear, guilt, and despair. Building on the ideas in my new book EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want, I will explain how certain ‘though leaps’ can shift us from a stance of defeatism and fear to one of empowerment and action and will explain how “thinking like an ecosystem” enables us to create new possibilities in our lives, our communities, and our world.

What are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees?

That hope is a verb. As my daughter Anna and I found while writing Hope’s Edge, “Hope is not what we find in evidence. It is what we become in action.”

Tell us about your background with your particular topic.

Ever since I wrote Diet for a Small Planet, I have been asking “Why are we, as a society, creating a world that none of us as individuals would want?” In the 40 years since Diet for a Small Planet was published, my research and experience have helped me to see that the reason for this is our faulty assumptions about society, nature, and human nature; these assumptions, or ‘thought traps’ as I call them in EcoMind, mire us in fear, guilt, and despair and strip us of power. This is why I wrote EcoMind. Now more than ever, despair is a luxury that we cannot afford; we need to be empowered to make positive change.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation?

My hope is that participants will walk away feeling more inspired, courageous, and empowered to make positive change.

How will you get to the FAIR, and how far do you have to travel?

My home base is the Small Planet Institute, which I cofounded with my daughter Anna, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I will be traveling to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR from there.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR?

Sharing the ideas in EcoMind with others and engaging in discussion and mutual learning around these ideas.

What advice do you have for attendees?

I have two pieces of advice: 1) Always remember that is isn’t possible to know what is possible (or impossible), and 2) constantly talk with and learn from people you don’t know: you never know what you will learn!

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose?

I would want my grand-daughters and couple of rain barrels.

Thanks, Frances. We’ll see you at the FAIR!

Please visit the FAIR website for more information about the Seven Springs, Pa. FAIR September 24-25, and upcoming FAIRs in other locations. Tickets are on sale now.

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