frances moore lappé

frances moore 5 bw

intro’d to Frances when Michel tweeted this article:

scarcity mind by frances

Locked in scarcity-mind, we remain blind to our own power and end up creating together a world that none of us, as individuals, would choose. we got into this mess: Humans beings, it turns out, don’t see the world as it is. “It is theory which decides what we can observe,” wrote Albert Einstein in 1926. We humans see the world through culturally formed filters, what I call our mental maps. They determine what we see, what we cannot see, and therefore what we believe to be possible.

..its assumptions elicit the worst in us while stifling the best, ..

From these assumptions of scarcity-mind flow economic and political systems characterized by three features:

  1. Concentrated power
  2. Lack of transparency, and
  3. A culture of blame (“othering” as the cultural norm.)

Under these conditions, inequalities then widen and ecocide ensues, so more and more people actually experience scarcity—whether psychological or real—no matter how much we produce. The experience of feeling stressed by “lack” seems to have increased greatly in the United States since, say, the 1960s, even as my country’s GDP per capita in real dollars has almost tripled. And extreme, chronic undernourishment harms 868 million people today, even as food production per person has increased 30 percent since the 1960s—now supplying more than 2,800 calories for each of us daily.

The great news is that to get there, and to harmonize our relationship with the earth, we don’t have to transform human nature.

What if we were to define the challenge for our planet today as moving ourselves and our societies from scarcity-mind to eco-mind?

We see that when systems thwart the positive satisfaction of core psychological needs for meaning, power, and connection, many try to satisfy them through negative means—coercion, for example, and addictive consumption. Or, they give up: Globally, suicide now takes more lives annually than do homicide and war combined, with the rate rising by 60 percent since 1945.

Over 40 percent of food in the United States is wasted. 

.. today’s economies are built for wealth accumulation by those already well-placed.

Deprivation in these cases is not the result of the earth’s limits but of concentrations of wealth and power: income of less than 2 percent of the world’s people is as great as that of the bottom 77 percent.

Nature is a wondrous teacher. To name but one tiny example, we learn that the humble spinach plant is such an efficient converter of sunlight to energy that, by combining its unique photosynthetic capacity with silicon, we multiply the power of current photovoltaics.

..experiencing less need for connection through common purchases and enjoying more connection through common purposes. 

Democracy is not a set system, but a set system of values. Democracy itself, says the author, is alive and always changing.

Yaacov‘s definition..


Frances founded small planet institute with her daughter, Anna:

small planet insitute


World Food Prize 2013 – Vandana Shiva and Frances Moore Lappe condemn selection of winner

40% more food per person than when I wrote diet for a small planet in 2002..

the honories of the world food prize – are contributing to the problem


EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think …, Sept. 14, 2011.

why are we together creating a world that none of us would choose..

Eric Fromme – it is man’s humanity that makes us so inhuman

the dominate mental map – that filters what we see – is fundamentally life destroying….

40 min – 30% more food per person (even with population growth) since late 60s..  hunger is not caused by a lack of food.. but rather by what are the relationships that create hunger – no matter how much food is produced…

44 min – making ourselves responsible – by looking for stories of possibility… great means and example: yes! magazine..

50 min – we are not the minority.. common ground – 90% of us think that corporations have too much power,.. democracy being a place where we all have voice – money is side-lined

the liberty of democracy is not safe if a people tolerate the growth of private power to the point that it is stronger than the democratic state itself. that in itself is fascism.    –franklin d roosevelt 1938



book links to amazon


find/follow Frances:

wikipedia small

Democracy’s Edge: Choosing to Save our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life, was released in 2006. This book completed a trilogy which began in 2002 with the 30th anniversary sequel to Diet for a Small Planet, titled Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet, co-written with her daughter, Anna Lappé. Then in 2004 she published with Jeffrey Perkins You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear. Among Lappé’s other books are World Hunger: Twelve Myths and Rediscovering America’s Values.

Her latest book, EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World we Want, was released in Fall 2011.

Lappé has received 17 honorary doctorates from distinguished institutions, including the University of Michigan, Kenyon College, Allegheny College, Lewis and Clark College and Grinnell College. She also held various teaching and scholarly positions:
-From 1984-1985, Lappé was a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of Social Change, at the University of California, Berkeley.
– From 2000-2001, Lappé was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
– In 2003, Lappé taught with Dr. Vandana Shiva in Dehra Dun, India, about the roots of world hunger, sponsored by the Navdanya researching and agricultural demonstration center.
– In 2004, Lappé taught a course on Living Democracy at Schumacher College in England.
– In 2006 and 2008, Lappé was a visiting professor at Suffolk University, Boston.

In 1987 in Sweden, Lappé became the fourth American to receive the Right Livelihood Award. In 2003, she received the Rachel Carson Award from the National Nutritional Foods Association. She was selected as one of twelve living “women whose words have changed the world” by the Women’s National Book Association.

Lappé receiving the 2008 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award

In 2008, she was honored by the James Beard Foundation as the Humanitarian of the Year.In the same year,Gourmet Magazine named Lappé among 25 people (including Thomas Jefferson, Upton Sinclair, and Julia Child), whose work has changed the way America eats. Diet for a Small Planet was selected as one of 75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World by members of the Women’s National Book Association in observance of its 75th anniversary.

Historian Howard Zinn wrote: “A small number of people in every generation are forerunners, in thought, action, spirit, who swerve past the barriers of greed and power to hold a torch high for the rest of us. Lappé is one of those.” The Washington Post says: “Some of the twentieth century’s most vibrant activist thinkers have been American women – Margaret Mead, Jeannette Rankin, Barbara Ward, Dorothy Day – who took it upon themselves to pump life into basic truths. Frances Moore Lappé is among them.”

Lappé’s son, Anthony, is a New York City-based producer and is the director of Invisible Hand Media.


David Korten


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