April 2013 Roundup: Social Change, DIY Science, and Too Much Stuff


| 5/3/2013 4:17:38 PM


Tags: Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard, Katie Haegele, Dani Burlison, Maker Faire, Starhawk, Empowerment Manual, Howard Zinn, Nancy Schniedewind, Mara Sapon-Shevin, Jon Queally, Keystone XL Pipeline, Suzanne Lindgren, Citizens United, Lawrence Lessig, Sam Ross-Brown.,
High-Fives

Some of our best online-only material from the month of April. 

While we may have shed our “Best of the Alternative Press” tagline, Utne.com is still all about envisioning and realizing alternatives—whether that’s a different kind of politics or a new way to collaborate on a DIY science project. With that mind, here are some of our favorite blog posts, articles, and book excerpts from the past month.

For Story of Stuff filmmaker Annie Leonard, one big alternative begins with liberating ourselves from overconsumption and recognizing the commons all around us. “We have to learn to share more and waste less,” she says in an interview with former Utne editor Jay Walljasper. “The good news is that these changes not only will enable us to continue to live on this planet, but they will result in a happier, healthier society overall.”

In a similar vein, in “The Ideabook,” author Katie Haegele explores how repurposing vintage clothing—you might call it cross-generational sharing—can help us connect with the struggles, changes, and styles of the past, especially if we approach that past knowingly.

Sharing is also a big part of Dani Burlison’s post on California’s Maker Faire, an annual festival of crafts, science projects, and innovative ideas. With a strong emphasis on collaborative learning and a DIY ethos, the Faire creates a unique space where experimentation is encouraged and cooperation is essential.

For those who envision larger changes, Starhawk’s new Empowerment Manual and a new book of Howard Zinn speeches offer inspiring models for making it happen. While Zinn explores the life and enduring significance of activist, writer, and all-around awesome person Emma Goldman, Starhawk’s blueprint for social change gives us the tools to realize the kind of transformation Goldman had long fought for. As Starhawk writes, the first thing such struggle requires is a positive vision for change: “We are most empowered when we know what we do want, not just what we don’t want.”

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