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The Sun Interview

Throwing Away The Key

Michelle Alexander On How Prisons Have Become The New Jim Crow

Yes, during the original Jim Crow era Whites Only signs hung over drinking fountains, and black people were forced to sit at the back of the bus. There was no denying the existence of the caste system. But today people in prison are largely invisible to the rest of us. We have more than 2 million inmates warehoused, but if you’re not one of them, or a family member of one of them, you scarcely notice. Most prisons are located far from urban centers and major freeways. You literally don’t see them, and when inmates return home, they’re typically returned to the segregated ghetto neighborhoods from which they came, leaving the middle class unaware of how vast this discriminatory system has become in a very short time.

The Sun Interview

Dangerous Love

Reverend Lynice Pinkard On The Revolutionary Act Of Living The Gospels

For me, churches exist only to serve people and planet. The church is not an empire, a way for leaders to build monuments to themselves, for congregants to take pride in the curb appeal that a lovely edifice affords. The church is not a building. The church is an extension of Christ — literally Christ’s body — and an alternative to the militaristic, consumerist, alienated way of life that has become the norm.

The Sun Interview

By Fire And Water

An Interview With Michael Meade

All this violence is a fire screaming for the water of human attention. I don’t think we’re going to be able to keep going unless we deal with it. To me the two big events of the last two years are the fires in L.A. and the flooding of the Mississippi River. I think they are strangely related.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Grace Of Great Things

Reclaiming The Sacred In Knowing, Teaching, And Learning

Community goes far beyond our face-to-face relationship with each other as human beings. In education especially, community connects us with what Rilke called “the grace of great things.” We are, in reality, in community with the genes and ecosystems of biology, the great questions of philosophy and theology, the archetypes of literature, the artifacts of anthropology, the materials of engineering, the logic of systems and management, the shapes and colors of art, the patterns of history, the elusive idea of justice under the law — we are in community with all these great things. Great teaching is about knowing and feeling that community, and then drawing your students into it.

Fiction

Inventing Wyoming

Everything we take from the earth, every drop of rain and every blade of grass, every bit of flower and fruit, the sinew and muscle of the animals we kill, we borrow these things for a brief time and we will pay them back. The records are kept from the beginning of time.

The Sun Interview

Not On Any Map

Jack Turner On Our Lost Intimacy With The Natural World

One of my essays starts: “My cabin is located next to a stream that runs through a meadow, but it is not on any map.” It’s not on a map because the places I’ve lived and loved are labeled with my own names: Where Rio chases her stick. Rio’s favorite pool. Where Rio ran into the bear. It’s a private mapping, a personal geography projected onto the land. It requires a long time living in one place and studying its plants and animals. If you follow them and their lives, you gain a deeper sense of home.

The Sun Interview

Nature-Deficit Disorder?

Richard Louv Asks Whether We’re Raising Our Children Under House Arrest

So though our fears and restrictions arise from the best intentions, we have to ask what effect they are having on the health of children, and on the earth itself. Environmentalists and conservationists, almost to a person, had some transcendent experience in nature when they were kids. If we take that opportunity away from today’s kids, who will be the future stewards of the earth?

The Sun Interview

The Good Hunter

David Petersen On The Ethics Of Killing Animals For Food

My point is that, in our culture, in order to even entertain the idea of an ethical predator, the observer must approach the subject with an open mind. Ethical hunting is predicated on dignity and respect: Dignity in our private thoughts and public words as well as in our actions afield when, as hunter Aldo Leopold pointed out, nobody is watching us. And respect, not only for the animals we hunt, their habitats, and the greater natural world, but also for ourselves as hunters and human animals. Carry those two blessed burdens in your heart, and you will do no moral wrong as a predator.

The Sun Interview

Down The Garden Path

How Ten Thousand Years Of Agriculture Has Failed Us — An Interview With Daniel Quinn

Famine doesn’t occur among hunter-gatherers, because they don’t sit there and starve: they go wherever the food is, as all animals do. One reason why famine and agriculture are connected is that, when crops fail, practitioners of totalitarian agriculture stay put and starve, because there isn’t anywhere else for them to go. If you look at famines throughout history, you’ll find that almost every one is connected to crop failure.

The Sun Interview

Uniting The Opposites

An Interview With M.C. Richards

I think that as we become more creative, we move toward a concern with social justice and compassion. That’s the natural movement. We come, maybe through times of loneliness, toward experiencing the reality of another person. As we create, you might say, we are created. We move toward a deepened awareness of reality. Outwardly, we move toward social justice; inwardly we move toward compassion.