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EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want [Kindle Edition]

Frances Moore Lappe
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In EcoMind, Frances Moore Lappé—a giant of the environmental movement—confronts accepted wisdom of environmentalism. Drawing on the latest research from anthropology to neuroscience and her own field experience, she argues that the biggest challenge to human survival isn’t our fossil fuel dependency, melting glaciers, or other calamities. Rather, it’s our faulty way of thinking about these environmental crises that robs us of power. Lappé dismantles seven common “thought traps”—from limits to growth to the failings of democracy— that belie what we now know about nature, including our own, and offers contrasting “thought leaps” that reveal our hidden power.

Like her Diet for a Small Planet classic, EcoMind is challenging, controversial and empowering.

Editorial Reviews


Jane Goodall
"Powerful and inspiring, Ecomind will open your eyes and change your thinking. I want everyone to read it." 

Vandana Shiva, Ph.D, is a philosopher scientist, activist and most recently, author Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development
"Frances Moore Lappé brings us yet another gift in EcoMind. She cautions us to avoid the mental traps that block our thinking. She awakens us to our immense possibilities and potentials. She invites us to release our latent energies to be the change we want to see."
Olivier de Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
"Frances Moore Lappé's exceptionally thought-provoking book is a message of hope. It shows how change is possible, once we open our eyes, look around, and see that we depend on others and on nature. This book obliges us to re-imagine our world, brick by brick, by first re-imagining ourselves."
Mollie Katzen, author of the Moosewood Cookbook
"This book is pivotal in the most literal sense. As I read it, I find myself turning the crucial 180 degrees from frustration and fear to a sense of constructive possibility. Frances's ability to express the most complex, existential yearnings is epic—matched only by her courage. Nothing I can say will do justice to how this book continues to affect me.
Peter Barnes, author of Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons
"Lappé shows how by seeing the big picture we can change it. It's a clarion call in this rising age of rising despair."
John Gershman, Clinical Associate Professor, Robert F Wagner Graduate School of Pubic Service, New York University
"Frances Moore Lappé has done it again. As she has done so insightfully with respect to food, hunger, and democracy, Lappé now turns her sights on the contemporary ecological crises. Her accessible and provocative analysis demonstrates how the ways many people think and talk about these crises – especially the dominant narratives of scarcity – obscure the inequalities of power that lie at the root of these crises and inhibit rather than inspire the kind of effective movements necessary to confront them. EcoMind  is a profound  example of how analysis breeds not paralysis but rather informed and inspired action, and is on track to do so in the 21st century just like Diet for a Small Planet  and Food First did in the 20th. 
Michael Brune, Executive Director, The Sierra Club
"EcoMind reminds us that the most important resource for restoring a clean and healthy planet is the one sitting between our ears. Frances Moore Lappé brilliantly challenges the negative "thought traps" of doom-and-gloom environmental messages and emerges with a positive, people-powered approach."

About the Author

Frances Moore Lappe is the author of 17 books and cofounder of Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy, the Small Planet Institute, and the Small Planet Fund. She works in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Product Details

  • File Size: 605 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; First Edition, First Trade Paper Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005ENK0LW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,234 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changing our mind December 14, 2011
For quite some time, Frances Moore Lappé has been a household name among those concerned with the global crises around food, poverty, and the environment. Her book, Diet for a Small Planet, published in the nineteen seventies, became a world-wide success. Since then, climate change has emerged as an additional, if not all-encompassing, crisis. Among the many authors writing on this range of topics, Lappé, award wining author with eighteen books to her name, educator and activist, stands out not only for her thorough and broad-based and cross-cutting analysis of the roots of hunger, poverty and environmental crises but also for her engaging reflections on solutions that are emerging worldwide through what she calls "Living democracy", initiatives that are based in and growing out from communities - from the bottom-up. In her new book, EcoMind, she presents, among other concerns, a convincing case that "world hunger is not the result of food shortages" but of a lack of sustained access by poor and marginalized people to the means of adequate food production and/or food supplies. Her central argument is that "solutions to global crises are within reach [...] the challenge for us is to free ourselves from self-defeating thought-traps so that we can bring these solutions to life."

EcoMind is structures around seven "thought traps" which the author discusses in turn, providing numerous examples that give context and depth to her arguments. The traps, Lappé finds, hold "widely held environmental messages and related ideas - some of them largely unspoken assumptions - that now shape our culture's responses to the global environmental and poverty crises.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
EcoMind is another thought-provoking and insightful work from visionary author and activist Frances Moore Lappé. I am a professor of environmental studies at a smallish liberal arts college. I face the challenge of motivating and empowering undergraduate students on a daily basis, and I return again and again to Lappé's works. I have used many of her books and articles in my classes, and have already adopted EcoMind for an advanced seminar on critical thinking that I am teaching in spring 2012. Lappé's works have always provided intensely thoughtful and thought-provoking content for both an academic and general audience, and EcoMind is no exception. While I agree with many (though not all, and not uniformly) of the assumptions Lappé confronts in the book, it is the way she writes that so resonates with me and my students. She is keenly aware of the need to weave rhetorical craft, emotional openness, and intellectual rigor into hard questions - this has been her approach since Diet for a Small Planet was first published in 1971 (a book that remains current 40 years later), and is the thread that connects her work in many areas, including international aid, democracy, empowerment, and of course food systems. EcoMind is an easy book to read - because it's so well written - but asks us to grapple with hard questions. In this, Lappé provides access to challenging ideas in a manner that helps us better understand how to position ourselves in a society faced with complex and often frightening problems that are clearly in need of our greater attention. Her work rests alongside that of Bill McKibben and Thomas Friedman, among others, in achieving the balance of depth and readability. Read more ›
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EcoMind will Truly Change the Way You Think December 2, 2011
As a environmentally mindful college student I've read a few environmental books here and there from Bill McKibbon's Eaarth to Colin Beavan's No Impact Man. Unfortunately, I read those books with a regular mind; not an Eco-mind.

Frances Moore Lappe's EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create a World We Want contains amazingly unique analysis I have not found elsewhere. I have read books detailing why we must focus on certain issues, what society needs to do, what individuals need to do, what technologies need to be advanced, etc. but EcoMind is the first book that has changed the way I think and address those problems. It's a very difficult concept to explain but the book allows you to see what's currently wrong with our thinking and addressing issues with seven "Thought-Traps," then you see how to fix that way of thinking with "Thought-Leaps," and in between the two she gives several examples of people already making those leaps, which are incredibly inspirational.

Particularly interesting was her analysis of the debate of whether we need to reduce our growth to sustain the planet. Basically, she makes us examine whether we should be using words like "growth" and "progress" when our way of life is ruining our environment and distancing us farther from our roots. But alas, I won't give anymore of the book away.

Read the book, I highly doubt you'll regret it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A collection of great information to challenge viewpoints December 18, 2012
In the introduction to EcoMind, Frances Moore Lappé wisely states that "if our mental frame is flawed, we'll fail no matter how hard and sincerely we struggle." This statement is a reasonable summary of the main theme of the book. Moore Lappé guides the reader through a tour of seven "Thought Traps" that she contends are responsible for the stagnation we have seen in achieving sustainability.

These Thought Traps include notions such as the idea that in this brave new world of Facebook, fried foods, and freeways, we urban humans have lost our connection to nature; or that humans have a natural tendency to over-consume, making exploitation of the Earth inevitable; or indeed that even if we as a society collectively decide to take action, it's already too late.

Whether you agree with Moore Lappé's characterization of these Thought Traps or not, it is hard to argue with the central premise: that people often don't even look at the frameworks that guide our thinking, and that only by looking closely at why we hold certain opinions can we begin to shape them in a more positive direction.

For example, one subtle misconception that Moore Lappé discusses is the idea that humans have always lived in the way we do now in the United States (with the corollary being that this lifestyle is "natural" or "non-negotiable"). Moore Lappé does not challenge people's right to live comfortable lives (in fact, she takes the opposite view, that it is a myth that we have to give up comfort in order to live sustainably), but she hammers home the case that we currently live is most certainly an aberration. Case in point: "In the one hundred years of the twentieth century, humans used ten times more energy than we did in the previous 1,000 years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 10 days ago by Ernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired
Much of this book is already in my mind, but it's an inspirational read nonetheless. I'm grateful for the author's work and dedication to these matters.
Published 5 months ago by Laurie Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this book!
Published 8 months ago by Krista Orcutt
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative yet refreshing!
As an Environmental Studies major and recent college graduate, I found this book both informative and thoroughly invigorating. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rachel G.
5.0 out of 5 stars I would recommend it to anyone with an interest not only in ...
EcoMind examines the issue of environmentalism in a way that is accessible to everyone. Instead of the usual approach of treating eco issues as a big, unapproachable problem that... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ellen Donahue
5.0 out of 5 stars Francis Moore Lappe is well-known and renowned in the field ...
Francis Moore Lappe is well-known and renowned in the field of sustainability as an avid activist against world hunger. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Zulakha
5.0 out of 5 stars Modelling her thesis: "thinking and acting as an ecosystem" ...
Modelling her thesis: "thinking and acting as an ecosystem", Frances Moore Lappè gathers examples from research and her audience to articulate her argument.
Published 9 months ago by Pat Dorobek
4.0 out of 5 stars "EcoMind" will change your thinking about our looming environmental...
So what else can be written about our looming environmental and ecological disaster. Well, Frances Moore Lappe has once again found a unique voice and vision to share. Read more
Published 10 months ago by David W. Gagne
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Perspective
I believe everyone should read this book. You learn very valuable insight on things you could change in your life, to help the betterment of the world. Read more
Published 13 months ago by MAG10
4.0 out of 5 stars Opening up possibilities
An excellent book if judged by what it is and not what one would have wished it to be. It is about possibilities, possibilities that open up only beyond the current binary thinking... Read more
Published 15 months ago by A Teleb
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More About the Author

Frances Moore Lappé is a democracy advocate and world food and hunger expert who has authored or co-authored 18 books, including the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet. Her most recent work, released by Nation Books in September 2011, is EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want, winner of a silver medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Environment/Ecology/Nature category. Jane Goodall called the book "powerful and inspiring. "Ecomind will open your eyes and change your thinking. I want everyone to read it," she said.

She is the cofounder of three organizations, including Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy and, more recently, the Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education seeking to bring democracy to life, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. Frances and her daughter have also cofounded the Small Planet Fund, which channels resources to democratic social movements worldwide.

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