Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Getting a Grip

If the Obama-induced optimism you felt last month is ebbing away with the usual doom and gloom in the news, get over to the University of Alberta. February 2-6 is the 24th annual International Week at the U of A, with another rich menu of inspiring speakers, workshops, performances and displays. This year’s theme is "Hungry for Change: Transcending Feast, Famine and Frenzy". It is perhaps counter intuitive, but listening and talking about global issues like climate change, economic disparity and food security can be cheering.
Look at Monday's keynote speaker, activist and writer Francis Moore Lappé. You would think a talk on hunger and global inequity would be depressing, but she left the crowd at Horowitz Theatre filled with the possbilities of change. Known as a "warrior for hope" she once noted: “Hope is a stance, not a calculation. We don’t find hope. We become hope.” Lappé is well-known for her 1971 book, Diet for a Small Planet, which sold over 3 million copies. Her most recent book, Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity and Courage in a World Gone Mad, is an empowering call to action.
Lappé is interviewed by Byran Birtles in Edmonton's Vue Weekly here. Todd Babiak wrote about her and local food and land issues in this column in the Journal here.
Other Lappé books at the Library:
Today's special speaker (via live TV feed) is writer George Monbiot, who published Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning in 2006 to great acclaim. His latest, Bring on the Apocalypse: Essays on Self-Destruction (cheery title that!) is a collection of his columns written for The Guardian.


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