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The Greatest Modern Presidential Speech Turns 50

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson chose not to believe Americans were condemned to "soulless wealth" and elucidated a new version of American exceptionalism, "The Great Society," valuing quality of life above quantity of stuff. President Lyndon Johnson could have been a…
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by: John de Graaf – May 22, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness

A New Measure of Societal Progress Can Help Save the Planet – and Us

“Open Happiness.” That tagline – the centerpiece of Coca-Cola’s 2009 advertising campaign – sounds like the perfect encapsulation of our culture’s definition of bliss. The idea of happiness on offer (or on sale) couldn’t be simpler: Consumption equals contentment. Pop open a soda and all will be well. If only it were that easy. It’s not, of course. Since antiquity, humans have struggled to define the good life. What makes us happy?…
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by: John de Graaf – Autumn 2011

For Peak’s Sake

Honoring David Brower

The founder of Earth Island Institute, David Brower, died in November 2000 of complications from cancer at the age of 88, a champion of environmental causes until the very end. A week before his passing, my friend – farmer, author, and photographer Michael Ableman – and I went to see Brower at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. When we left, I told Dave I looked forward to seeing him leading environmental campaigns…
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by: John de Graaf – Spring 2009

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