Eco-Mind: Creating the World We Want

Author Frances Moore Lappé talks about real change for the planet

Frances Moore Lappé Forty-three years ago, Frances Moore Lapppé published her first book, and it changed many lives and provoked thought and dialogue about the social and personal significance of how we eat. That book, "Diet for a Small Planet," sold over 3 million copies, and is still in print today. On November 18, she spoke at Northampton Community College on the topic, "Eco-Mind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want."

"I wanted to find out the answer to the question, 'Why is there world hunger?'" Lappé told the audience. The answer, she contends, is not scarcity, because food is abundant. Yet 805 million people in the world suffer from severe hunger, and 1 in 4 children in the world are stunted, suffering irreparable harm. "Why are we together creating a world that not one of us as individuals would choose?" she asked.

The answer, she says, is about the lens through which we see the world -- the power of our own ideas. "We suffer from scarcity-mind - we don't feel powerful enough to manifest the solutions." This results in what she calls the "spiral of powerlessness," or the pervasive mental map that there is a lack of goods and a lack of goodness.

Lappé believes we can personally and together move from "scarcity-mind" to "eco-mind" -- from separateness to connection, from stasis to continuous change, and from scarcity to co-creation. She advocates for what she calls a "living democracy -- not something we have, but something we do."

Changing our mental maps, the lens through which we see the world, involves creatively looking for solutions to problems. "Actively bring positive stories into your life. Look for ways people are doing good, and share them! Sharing a solutions story is a revolutionary act!" Lappé says.

"With an eco-mind, it's not possible to know what's possible," she advises, "so we are free -- free to go for the world we want."

Lappé said she is particularly inspired by the "Ban the Bottle" initiative endorsed by 16 NCC organizations, and the success of the NCC East 40 Community Garden. She told students, "Relish your power! Harness it! Grow it!"

Lappé's books and writings are available at