Frances Moore Lappé, the author of the 3-million copy Diet for a Small Planet, will be coming to USD for Earth Day. Lappé is the author of 18 books including her most recent book EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want. Jane Goodall said, “EcoMind will open your eyes and change your thinking. I want everyone to read it.” Lappé is the cofounder of three non-profit organizations including the Small Planet Institute, which is a collaborative network for research and population education seeking to bring democracy to life. She has received numerous honors including the Right Livelihood Award (considered an “Alternative Nobel”), 18 honorary doctorates, the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award, and the International Studies Association’s Outstanding Public Scholar Award. She is a frequent contributor to television, print, Internet, and radio media including The Today Show, National Public Radio, the British Broadcasting Company, the Huffington Post, the New York Times, Harper’s, The Nation, People, and Alternet.
A foundational concept developed by Lappé and promoted in EcoMind and through her work with the Small Planet Institute is that of a living democracy. Lappé defines living democracy as infusing the power of our voices and values throughout our public lives; not only our political lives but also our economic and cultural lives. It has values of inclusion, fairness, and mutual accountability. Developing a living democracy is critical to developing a sustainable society because it allows us to become powerful agents of change. Lappé posits that many of the problems in the world today are caused by a general “premise of lack” – believing that there is a lack of goods and a lack of goodness in people – when, in fact, there are ample goods and people tend to behave altruistically when put in the right situations. When people become active and engaged citizens, they are able to create the conditions needed to bring about the best in people and to create positive change.