Emerging from a world of suffering with hope

Despite what we see in our daily newsfeeds, life on Earth is actually improving.

On a global level, we see significant drops in child mortality and increases in life expectancy. According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people have gained access to safer drinking water since 1990.

We also see amazing innovations in the production of food and significant drops in the number of undernourished people in the world.

Beyond the world of health, we see drops in extreme poverty and read more

Painting a masterpiece: the art of dissent in search of truth

Ukrainian businessman and philanthropist Victor Pinchuk said, “Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.”

Art has been a part of the human experience as long as there have been people. It’s served many purposes, from the practical to the philosophical. Great pieces of art offer an expression of beauty and human creativity. Art allows for freedom of thought, yet can also be used to influence our thinking.

For centuries, art has been used as propaganda. Churches, read more

Stepping beyond stereotypes to right wrongs

Psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said, “There are two races of men in the world, but only these two – the ‘race’ of decent men and the ‘race’ of indecent men. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society.”

This is a powerful conclusion from a man who witnessed the very best and the very worst of humanity. He gives us a valuable lens to look at the world as we try to make sense of what’s going on around us.

Yet we easily forget Frankl’s read more

Broad social change must first be an inside job

Broad social change must first be an inside job

As we look at the world, it’s very easy to give up hope. We see a lack of integrity in politicians and obscene wages for business leaders, and we fear for the future of our planet.

Some try to tell us that the path to progress is to change the system. If we can overthrow the corrupt establishment, they tell us, we can form a new regime that’s just and equitable. The problems are caused by “those other people.” If we replace them, all will be read more

A question we need to ask ourselves

“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”

By observing history without judgment, we can learn from our mistakes. By examining primary documents – artifacts from a particular era – we can begin to understand the thinking of the people of that time.

In an effort to create a more objective perspective, I tell my students to imagine that they’re living in the future looking at our current society. How will history judge us?

By asking this question, we become aware of the significance read more

Conflict Minerals

As the Christmas season approaches, it’s important to be aware of the power we hold in how we spend our money.

As consumers, we invest in products we believe will serve us best. Companies may try to hide information about their products but eventually the truth comes out. Consumer advocacy is powerful in a free-market economy and we’ve all benefited.

American lawyer Ralph Nader, for example, took on the auto industry in the 1960s over the safety of their vehicles. Most buyers were unaware read more

A Spirit of Hope in the Congo

A spirit of hope shines through tragedy in the Congo

Civil war has been going on since the mid-1990s in the Congolese region and as many as six million people may have died in the conflict. The rape of women, children and even men is common.

The United Nations has a peacekeeping force on the ground and foreign aid workers are present.

International consumer advocacy has put pressure on companies profiting from minerals mined in the region, and countries have passed laws to limit the trade of these read more