July 5, 2014
For almost a decade a new energy boom has been underway using new technology known as “Fracking.” This invasive and disruptive technology is already having negative impacts on people and the environment. Most of the public and regulatory attention has focused on human health impacts through drinking, breathing and other means of exposure. Real life experience in communities across the country also demonstrates the social and economic problems that come along with fracking as just as uncertain and unwanted. This is particularly true for those states where the Fracking boom has been underway the longest (i.e., North Dakota and Pennsylvania.) States like North Carolina that are rushing into Fracking should slow down and learn from the troubles of others!
This article compiles the most insightful and credible news stories and research reports about documented social problems that go along with Fracking. This is not surprising to Rural Sociologist (like yours truly.) For over three decades, sociologists and others have systematically evaluated the social and economic impacts of a wide range of actions – particularly related to mining. In fact, the formal practice of Social Impact Analysis (SIA) was mandated under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) signed by Richard Nixon in 1970. This required Federal government agencies to conduct Social Impact Assessment as part of their Environmental Impact Assessment (e.g., Army Corps, NOAA, Depart. of Interior and others.) In addition, SIA has become strongly established in Europe, Australia and elsewhere.
Click Below to Learn about the Social Impacts of Fracking.
October 5, 2013
Americans tend to not be as happy as we should be – especially considering our disproportionate share of the world’s wealth and resources. Having been one for almost 60 years, I can personally and professionally attest to the fact Americans tend to be among the most up-tight and least content of all cultures. We have been conditioned to expect more, better, and cheaper – a real sense of entitlement and ego-driven arrogance. One of the problems is that most Americans equate having fun (i.e., play) as something they need to pay for (e.g., new gadgets and games; tickets to sporting events; fast cars and more.) As a culture, we need to rediscover our willingness and ability to have fun (play) that does not cost so much. We need to play our own music and dance our own dances.
In this article I focus on the important role that play has in keeping us happy and healthy – as well as hip and high. In particular, I review a wonderful book entitled “Play” by Dr Stuart Brown. You can also read interviews with the author. He is also the founder of what must be a great place to work: The National Institute for Play which uses science to discover all that play has to teach us about transforming our world. Then I have collected a “Top 40” awesome quotes about play – why, how and when to do it. Then I present a series of articles about how and why we need to play more. BTW – when reading about how play affects children recognize that the information generally applies to adults and children of any generation. Click below to read how to play more now – and Why it OK to do it!!
September 10, 2012
Creative Community Profiles
I was fortunate to visit the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte on Wednesday, September 5. This was a great experience, thanks largely to the cool community center provided by MSNBC. The city was very well-prepared in terms of security and logistics. However, for those of us without credentials, there really was no public welcome center or place to get an orientation. Fortunately, MSNBC was ready, willing and able to serve as a community center for the thousands of convention delegates and international media, as well as for plain-old citizens like me.
MSNBC’s efforts paid off very well. Read here about how and why their ratings rocked during the DNC (and will continue to grow.) You will also learn about the positive experiences they provided daily for thousands of people in Charlotte, as well as millions of viewers around the world. Their nearly constant coverage and the overall MSNBC experience have clearly cemented their position (in many minds) as the world leader in all form of news – not just progressive politics. It was also the one place for thousands to turn on Thursday night after the big speeches were moved indoors (see right.)
Click Below for a Behind-the-Scenes look at the MSNBC Experience and their Coverage of the DNC.
May 1, 2011
Bruce Sprinsteen, Center for Poverty, Poverty, UNC
Two events warned us about the serious social problems associated with poverty in the US. First, Bruce Springsteen sent a letter to the editor of his local paper warning about the impacts of Republican budget cuts on the poor. Also last week, I attended a great conference sponsored by the UNC School of Law. You can read a summary of the conference and download some helpful publications. Some common themes emerge from the Boss’s letter and the UNC conference. Right-wing conservatives in many states (including New Jersey and North Carolina) are aggressively pushing pro-corporate economic policies. Their give-aways to big business will be paid for on the backs of the poor and less fortunate who can least afford such cuts.
This is a symptom of the massive wealth gap between the richest families and the rest of us. In fact, just one percent of Americans now control 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. Just 25 years ago, the top 12 percent only controlled one-third of the wealth. These articles also point to the importance of educating the public about how the problems of poverty affect us all. Clearly, these issues will be important during the 2012 political campaigns. It should be an area for the Democrats to win the debate– particularly with stronger White House leadership. However, these stories also stress the important role that state-level politics and budgetary problems have in making the problems of poverty even worse. Click below to learn why poverty problems are more serious and important now than ever.
January 7, 2011
Creative Community Profiles
This article evaluates what makes certain communities like Madison, Wisconsin more likely than others to become socially innovation and ecologically sustainable. People who live in such places also tend to be happier, hipper, and healthier than the average. Bottom line is that Madison has developed in sustainable and socially innovative ways. This articles also highlights the important roles played by the liberal politics and progressive culture that has made Madison famous.
Click below to Learn More.