Thoughtful Response to Environmental Crises

Monday, January 02, 2012

Small Planet Institute co-founders, Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe, argue that it isn't physical challenges like climate change that threten us the most, but how we think about them. Frances, author of Diet for a Small Planet, also discusses her new book EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want


Anna Lappé and Frances Moore Lappé

Comments [6]

Steve from NYC

Great show, and so much is right about Ms. Frances Lappe's perception about environmental hopelessness as central to the problem. I was a little disappointed that the show failed to address the issue of cost when it comes to good food. It's true you can eat chickpeas all day long and not spend too much. But that isn't realistic. A free range chicken at Union Square market in NY can cost as much as 25$ or more. How do we transition to organic food when you have to be rich to afford it? We will never get there at the mass level without some kind of top down mandate, regulation or subsidy.. The market alone is not going to get us there, of course the deck is stacked the other way. I look forward to reading the book and hope this issue is adressed. Brian, why don't you do another show just on this issue?

Love Ya!

Jan. 02 2012 11:20 AM
John from NYC

Interesting how those who hate the growth in human affluence and liberty invoke PHYSICS to browbeat for their point.

Jan. 02 2012 11:10 AM
Ghassan Karam from White Plains NY

With all due respect to your guest I have no choice but to comment on her totally misguided and factually wrong assertion that a no growth economy is an environmental myth.
The second law of thermodynamics, Entropy, has been described as the premier law of science. It is on the basis of such a law and its applicability to all sorts of physical economic activities that the ideas of a Steady State Economy is built. In a sense Georgescu Roegen, the economist responsible for the popularization of the concept of entropy even a SSE is not feasible since Entropy dictates that the more that we do then the less we have for the future. Entropy is irrevocable and the only possible state in the long run is a declining one. The laws of entropy cannot be overcome and we can go on a pursuit of growth at our own peril. We have an energy endowment and we are free to use it over say, a 1000 years or maybe over only a 100 years. Entropy does not tell us which to choose but it tells us that once we make a decision to produce more then by definition we would have less for the future. This is not an opinion. It is a fact of life. This is science and anyone who tries to peddle anything else is guilty of promoting alchemy.

Jan. 02 2012 11:06 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Jesus said back when all animals were "free range" and all foods were "organic" that "the poor will always be with us." These shrieking "environmentalists" always throw around a lot of factoids to fluster and confuse! What has unemployment or people being on food stamps have to do with any of this? Or plastics ending up in the oceans? Clearly, we should and are becoming more environmentally conscious and doing more to restrain polluting our environment than possibly in the time of Jesus, but the poor will always be with us, and they have tv sets, air conditioning, medicaid, and section-8 housing! These shrieking enviro-radicals are just making us crazier than we already are. What they really are are anarchists! Now she's talking about "getting money out of the system!" Nut jobs.

Jan. 02 2012 10:58 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

We should take things not working as a sign they're not working.

The way I apply the physics behind my method (of natural organizational limits to growth) is to then look for the predicted symptoms empirically. So predicting that the "laws of growth" would be temporary, I take the appearance in ~2001 of irreversible price escalation for commodities as a violation of the economic principle of substitution. It's evidence of organizational limits as a persistent failure of vigorous organizational efforts for finding resources to keep prices from rising.

Any growing trend of things that are never supposed to happen should "focus the attention". Mysteriously it doesn't seem to raise any flags at all for the wider economic and policy community, though. My view is that people have yet to realize that emerging growth curves are usually definitive evidence of fundamental organization change in our environment, and "game changing". To the theory communities the concept of "organization" in complex systems doesn't seem to even exist, just "data".

Jan. 02 2012 10:53 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

We're feeding 3 or 4 times the number of people on the planet as was the case a hundred years ago. This has nothing with food production. And there is nothing wrong with eating well-cooked meat. And Hitler was a vegetarian, and so being a veggie doesn't necessarily make for a better person. Naturally, it is prudent and necessary to regulate and reduce the use of pesticides and excessive pharamaceuticals that can become more harmful than helfpul, but it is crazy to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Overall, our modern systems of food production has been extremely successful, to put it mildly, but everything needs to be watched with a wary eye. But we must not give into silver-tongue enviro-radicals.

Jan. 02 2012 10:51 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.