Culture ShiftResilience Through Ritualsscroll down arrow

YES! ILLUSTRATION BY FRAN MURPHY

Resilience Through Rituals

A Grounding Source for Connection Essential to Our Mental Health

Photo bY Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images

Photo by Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images

I don’t know if I could have survived seven years of my childhood without the soul-saving rituals of my Persian culture. I grew up in the midst of the Iran–Iraq War, which ended up killing a million people. Besides the horrors of the war, freedom of thought and expression were severely restricted in Iran after the Islamic revolution. Women bore the brunt of this as, in a matter of months, we were forced to ditch our previous lifestyle and observe a strict Islamic attire, which covered our bodies and hair. We lost the right to jog, ride a bicycle, or sing in public. Life seemed unbearable at times, but we learned to bring meaning into uncertainty and chaos by maintaining grounding practices and developing new ones.

It helped that in Persian culture we had ceremonies to turn to. We clung to 3,500-year-old Zoroastrian ceremonies that correspond to the seasons. Several of these rituals take place during the spring as the equinox marks the Persian New Year. Besides a thorough spring cleaning, we jump over a bonfire to cleanse our inner landscape and give our maladies to fire and gain vitality from it. On the longest night of the year, winter solstice, we stay up all night eating fruits and nuts, reciting poetry, playing music, and dancing. This is to symbolize survival and celebration during dark times.

Rituals, which are a series of actions performed in a specific way, have been part of human existence for thousands of years. They are not habits. According to research psychologist Nick Hobson, a habit’s inherent goal is different from a ritual’s. With habit, the actions and behaviors are causally tied to the desired outcome; for example, brushing our teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease and exercising to keep healthy. Rituals, on the other hand, are “goal demoted,” which means that their actions have no instrumental connection to the outcome. For example, we sing “Happy Birthday” to the same melody even though it isn’t tied to a specific external result.

Cristine Legare, a researcher and psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, says, “Rituals signify transition points in the individual life span and provide psychologically meaningful ways to participate in the beliefs and practices of the community.” They have been instrumental in building community, promoting cooperation, and marking transition points in a community member’s life. And as strange as rituals might be from a logical perspective, they have evolved as distinct features of human culture.

While it’s not clear exactly how they help, rituals reduce anxiety, improve performance and confidence, and even work on people who don’t believe in them, research shows. In a University of Toronto study, participants who performed a ritual before completing a task exhibited less anxiety and sensitivity to personal failure than when they completed the task without first performing the ritual.

Additionally, rituals benefit our physical well-being and immune system. According to Andrew Newberg, the associate director of research at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, rituals lower cortisol, which in turn lowers heart rate and blood pressure and increases immune system function.

We live in the midst of a loneliness epidemic where the lack of belonging and community has been linked to high suicide rates and an increased sense of despair. The United States has one of the worst work-life balance scores in the world, while more Americans have become disillusioned with organized religion, as a broad and rapidly rising demographic consider themselves spiritual but not religious. Perhaps with fewer opportunities for people to be in community, many shared cultural rituals are falling away and with them a grounding source for connection and mental health.

In Iran during the war, we found uses for rituals when we were faced with food rations. We gathered family and friends, reciting the ancient story of the poor abused girl who had run away from home and had a vision of being visited by three celestial bibis (matrons). The bibis instructed her to make a sweet halva and donate it to the poor. The girl said she didn’t have any money, and the bibis told her to borrow or work for the ingredients. This worked well with food rations as each guest brought a few ingredients to make the halva. Like the girl in the story, each participant made a wish and took a bite of the halva. I walked away feeling calmer and more supported.

An Iranian boy jumps over a bonfire in Tehran as part of a Nowruz ritual

An Iranian boy jumps over a bonfire in Tehran as part of a Nowruz ritual a few days before March 21, when the Persian new year begins. Photo by Fred Dufour / afp/GEtty Images

Stories, such as those told during the Jewish ceremony of Passover Seder, have become ritualized since they are recited in the same way each time. Rhythm and music play a similar role in ritual. Whether we’re chanting in Sanskrit or singing the national anthem, “our brains tend to resonate with those around us, so if everyone is doing the same dance, hymn, or prayer, all of those brains are working in the same way,” Newberg explains. “This can engender a powerful feeling of connectedness. It also reduces stress and depression through a combination of effects on the autonomic nervous system, which is ultimately connected to the emotional areas of the brain — the limbic system.” According to one study, chanting the Sanskrit syllable “om” deactivates the limbic system, softening the edge of fear, anxiety, and depression.

Hobson confirms that rituals aren’t just a benefit to our mental health — they’re actually essential. “We are an intensely social and ritualistic species,” he says. “Take this piece out of our modern human narrative and you lose a piece of our history and our humanity.”

I moved to the U.S. when I was 14. After living here for two decades, I became a mother and was confronted with the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child.” But where was that mythical village and the rituals that made it sane? For example, a pregnant woman in Iran had a rotating menu of dishes made for her by friends and family. A new mother was surrounded by people who took turns assisting with daily tasks. But in the U.S. she was expected to fend for herself and her baby immediately after childbirth. I observed that besides standard holiday traditions, community-building practices were lacking.

So after 20 years of living in the U.S., I decided to create my own community rituals.

left double quoteWe are an intensely social and ritualistic species. Take this piece out of our modern human narrative and you lose a piece of our history and our humanity.” — Research psychologist Nick Hobson

I started with my family. At dinners we banned books and devices, lit candles, and discussed set topics of conversation. We held weekly family meetings with opening and closing ceremonies and used a talking stick to enforce respectful communication. At birthday dinners, we took turns saying, “I love you because … ”

Candle-lit dinners were no longer saved for a special occasion. Using a talking stick helped me listen more attentively and choose my words more carefully. Huddling together at the end of each family meeting provided me with a sense of accomplishment. Each ritual, no matter how small, anchored me in something bigger and provided a sense of belonging.

Then we began to build rituals within the larger community. First, we hosted a multigenerational Sunday potluck with friends and family. Each week, five to 10 of us gathered, shared food, and recounted what made us grateful. During each meal, I noticed I was lighter, more engaged with others, and laughed more.

Later, we built more community rituals into the week. I posted on Nextdoor asking our neighbors to join us on Monday-evening walks to the neighborhood park and back.

In this age of isolation, we need nourishing and uplifting means of creating community by bringing together members of different generations as our ancestors did. From my experience in Iran, rituals can be particularly valuable during hard times. In the U.S., we don’t have to worry about bombs and food rations, but we still have challenges to our security that affect our mental and physical health. Rituals can help us, though, by offering our communities opportunities for healing and support.

Books+Film+Music

“We’re All Indians Now”

How Native and White Communities Make Alliances to Protect the Earth

YES! ILLUSTRATION BY FRAN MURPHY

YES! ILLUSTRATION BY FRAN MURPHY

RESISTANCE TO THE North Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock brought greater media and public attention to Native peoples and our struggles with environmental injustice. It also provided a means for the public to express fears over the environmental threats posed to the Earth by unchecked corporate and governmental exploitation of fossil fuels.

Native Americans, however, have been hollering for generations about the global impact of fossil fuels and the poisoning of water, land, and fish from mining, industrial farming, and industry to anybody who would listen. Native folks knew that eventually nonindigenous people would hear them and realize that no one is immune to the fallout from the colonialism and corporate greed that drives so much of our economy with little concern for the planet’s health.

As Philip Deere, a Muskogee spiritual leader, said back in 1981, “The time is coming. Multinational corporations don’t care what color you are; they’re going to step on you. They’re going to slap you in the face like they did the Indians.”

That time has clearly arrived for many non-Natives in the United States. “Looks like we’re all Indians now, heh?” says Mohawk scholar Taiaiake Alfred in Unlikely Alliances: Native Nations and White Communities Join to Defend Rural Lands, a new book by Zoltán Grossman, professor of geography and Native studies at the Evergreen State College. Grossman’s stated aim for the book is to illuminate how populist movements can be created across historical and cultural divides to address our common human environmental predicament.

In the traditional Native worldview, the land, water, and wildlife are members of the community with equal standing to humans; they warrant the same care that we would extend to other members of our families.

For most Americans, the process of working and surviving in the modern world requires a philosophical and emotional disconnect from nature. But like all humans, they are hardwired to love and care for family and the planet, their home. Given the right circumstances of inclusion and support, people can’t resist expressing their love and concern for this greatest of all relatives, our Earth.

Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Unlikely Alliances

In the tradition of a Western-based worldview, people, especially academics, construct pathologies and syndromes to objectify and compartmentalize our humanness. For instance, I recall reading an article in The New York Times Magazine called, “Is There an Ecological Unconscious?” The author wrote about a newly discovered psychological condition called solastalgia to describe the “pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault.” The author noted that this condition is well-known among indigenous communities that have been displaced from their lands, and that this “place pathology” might not be limited to Native peoples. Nonindigenous people, e.g., modern middle- and upper-class White folks, might actually feel it too! I immediately sensed that all the Indians reading this had to be doing a collective eye roll while voicing an exasperated “Duh, ya think?”

Fortunately, Grossman doesn’t fall into this trap; he describes the history and evolution of Native and non-Native alliances both in sociological and historical terms, but also as indigenous-led research. By treating interviewees as “primary documents,” he forwards an elegant means of legitimizing and valuing oral history as a valid scientific source.

As a journalist, I covered several of the events cited in the book, including Standing Rock, the spearfishing wars and violent anti-treaty protests of the 1980s in northern Wisconsin, the successful shutdown of the Crandon mine, and the Penokee taconite mine protest during this century.

When Wisconsin Ojibwe decided to exercise their treaty rights to fish outside of reservation boundaries, White sportfishers claimed that Indian fishing, especially the practice of spearfishing, would threaten the habitat and ecosystem of fish and compromise the associated tourism economy. The conflict soon gave rise to an often-­violent anti-treaty movement and openly racist anti-Indian sentiments. It was a tough time to be an Ojibwe journalist in northern Wisconsin. In my work as a staff photographer for the Green Bay Press Gazette, it was nearly impossible for me to travel alone in certain parts of the state; I was denied service at gas stations and restaurants, taunted with calls of “timber n*&ger,” “welfare warrior,” and others. People who gathered at lakes to protest Indian fishing threw rocks, bottles, and beer cans at Indians and the media; I was targeted on two counts!

Local White anti-treaty protesters founded Protect American’s Rights and Resources and Stop Treaty Abuse and unified under a national anti-treaty coalition, Citizens Equal Rights Alliance. Their arguments were based on the themes of equal rights, environmental protection, and protecting the local tourism-based economy. Protesters advocated for “equal rights” for Whites and opposed “special rights” given to Indians through treaties.

Remarkably, however, an alliance later grew in the region between Natives and non-Natives as people faced a much farther-reaching threat to fish, environment, and water — mining.

Grossman quotes Red Cliff Ojibwe activist Walt Bresette, who predicted during the fishing wars that non-Native Northerners would soon realize that mercury and toxic waste from mining, in addition to state mismanagement of fisheries, are “more of a threat to their lifestyle than Indians who go out and spearfish.”

The Crandon Mining Company, composed of Exxon and Rio Algom Ltd., began plans to build a huge copper and zinc mine near the Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa reservation. Mining of metallic sulfide ore (copper and zinc) creates sulfuric acid as a waste product; sulfide ores also contain high levels of poisonous heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium, all presenting far-reaching threats to surrounding waterways, ecosystems, and of course fish.

Native and non-Native community members and environmental groups joined together to protest the mine. In a delicious irony, it was tribal treaty rights to hunting and gathering and Mole Lake’s tribal sovereignty to create their own clean water and air standards that won the fight to defeat the mine.

In 1997, Native and non-Native groups worked to pass the Wisconsin Sulfide Mining Moratorium Bill forcing mining companies to “prove it first” by showing examples of sulfide mines that had operated and been reclaimed without violating environmental laws. In 2003, the Mole Lake Sokaogon and Forest County Potawatomi bought the land containing the proposed mining site. As a result, Grossman notes, the mining industry regarded Wisconsin as the most mining-averse state in the country.

That is, until Scott Walker was elected governor in 2010. Republican Walker helped fast-track a mining deregulation bill that was partially drafted by lobbyists for Gogebic Taconite, a company proposing a huge taconite (low-grade iron ore) mine located directly over the Great Northern Divide in the Penokee Mountains near the Bad River Reservation. Waste products from the high-sulfide mine would flow directly into the Bad River watershed and Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world.

Although the mine was presented as an employment generator for the economically strapped region, many non-Natives privately expressed concerns about threats to the environment. Native people and allies helped embolden non-Native residents and county board members to express their opposition to the mine.

The mining debate helped create new and surprising alliances between tribal groups and local citizens as non-Natives learned about the real human cost of the mine.

Natives and allies built the Penokee Hills Harvest Camp, a demonstration site showing the economic potential and cultural and environmental significance of land near the proposed mine.

Paul DeMain, co-founder of the Harvest Camp, declared that a new tribe, the “water tribe,” had emerged as a result of Natives and allies organizing around the mine issue. “Enrollment requirements are simple; members have to prove they are comprised of at least 60 percent water,” he said. Soon the element that unifies all life became the binding force behind opposition to the mine.

During those days, I attended a public meeting in the town of Hurley, a longtime pro-mining, anti-Indian community. As I reported for Indian Country Today media network at the time, several people spoke of how the mining issue had helped them get to know their Native neighbors and overcome long-held perceptions about them. For instance, Aileen Potter described how she was taught to fear Native people as a child. “My dad used to tell us to duck down in the car when we approached the Bad River reservation,” she recalled.

Visiting the Harvest Camp and learning about how Ojibwe people use traditional plants helped Potter change her view of Native peoples and the potential impact of the mine.

“It was scary for me to go out there. I was nervous but Mel [Gaspar, camp leader and member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe tribe] greeted me at the camp entrance and asked if I’d come to learn about what was going on there,” she told me.

Subsequently, Potter began sharing her newfound information with neighbors and friends, but noted that many feared retaliation by others in the non-Native community if they spoke out against the mine.

In March 2015, Gogebic Taconite announced it was halting plans to build the mine.

The mining debate helped create new and surprising alliances between tribal groups and local citizens as non-Natives learned about the real human cost of the mine. Even the Ashland County board, longtime mining supporters, created mining regulations for the community to address problems, such as noise, dust, and damage to local roads.

As Grossman reminds us eloquently, unlikely alliances between disparate groups have to begin from the ground up. Such relationships can’t be mandated or orchestrated from above by governments or by upper-middle-class membership groups. Superbly authentic and often messy, genuine human communities have to emerge organically.

I recall a conversation I had with my cousin Annie Maday about the mining controversy. “The White people live here for the same reason we do; they love this place,” she said. “We just gave them a way to express that love.”

Books+Film+Music

Truth as Healing

How One State Is Confronting Native American Child Removal

YES! ILLUSTRATION BY FRAN MURPHY

YES! ILLUSTRATION BY FRAN MURPHY

When we think of the history of forced cultural assimilation of Native Americans into U.S. culture, we often point to residential schools. From the mid-19th to the early-20th centuries, residential schools removed Native American children from their communities, punished them for speaking their home language and practicing their religion, and attempted to assimilate them as working-class members of society. These residential schools are widely known to have been sites of abuse and trauma. But the story of removal of Native American children did not end with these schools. The new documentary Dawnland documents other more contemporary child removal practices and one state’s effort for justice.

In February 2013, the state of Maine launched the Maine-Wabanaki Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first government-mandated TRC in the United States. The commission was charged with establishing a more complete account of Native American foster care placement between 1978 and 2012 and with formulating policy recommendations to empower tribal communities and start to reverse generations of colonial violence.

Native American children are overrepresented in the child welfare system. In Maine, in 1972, Native children were placed in foster care at a rate 25.8 times that of non-Native children. They were often placed in non-Native homes, sometimes without any legal proof that their birth parents were “unfit.” Stories like these across the nation led to the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978, which legally declared that it is in the best interest of Native American children to stay within their families or tribes. ICWA recognizes the potential damage that child removal does both to the children and their tribe as a whole: How can a tribe continue to exist if it cannot pass its language, cultural traditions, and history on to the next generation? As gkisedtanamoogk, co-chair of the Maine-Wabanaki Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, reflected in Dawnland on child removal practices, “You take away a people’s understanding of who they are, their self-sufficiency, and you replace it with nothing.”

Dawnland poster
Dawnland

Yet decades after the passage of ICWA, Native American children are still removed from their homes at a disproportionately high rate. Between 2000 and 2013, Native children were removed at 5.1 times the rate of non-Native children in Maine. This is one of the reasons the commission was formed. The commission, along with the advisory group Maine-Wabanaki REACH (Reconciliation Engagement Advocacy Change Healing), began collecting stories in 2013. For the next two years, they gathered testimony from state child welfare staff, children who were placed in foster care or adopted, and parents in Maine’s four remaining tribes who had their children taken away. Dawnland is both an intimate lens into the personal and communal impacts of child removal practices and an exploration of the conflict that arises when White communities and communities of color jointly confront historical trauma and racism.

These tensions play out in real time in Dawnland. One of the community events for gathering testimony did not have a high turnout, so members of Maine-Wabanaki REACH asked staff from the commission to leave the room to ensure all participants were comfortable sharing their truths. This did not go over well with the commission staff, the majority of whom were White women. REACH co-director Esther Anne Attean defended the decision, saying that the goal of truth-telling is “not about making White people feel welcome.” She argued that part of being an ally is recognizing when you need to leave the room and allow Native peoples the space to share their stories as a form of healing.

We are left to ponder: Who is this truth-telling for? Is it to educate White people on colonial violence and how it continues to harm indigenous communities in Maine, or is it for the Native participants to heal and be heard? Can it simultaneously be both, or should one be privileged over another?

An elementary report card for Georgina Sappier (Passamaquoddy)

An elementary report card for Georgina Sappier (Passamaquoddy) from Mars Hill elementary in Maine for the years 1947–53. Photo by Ben Pender-Cudlip / Upstander Project

Though child removal is a sensitive and at times traumatic subject matter, conducting research and making recommendations is the easy part. Sustained healing and an assertive confrontation of colonial and White supremacist violence are much harder. But as the commission’s executive director, Charlotte Bacon, reflected in the report, “None of us is exempt from that responsibility.” We have a collective responsibility to address the ongoing violence of colonialism, and the impacts of child removal on tribal communities and tribal survival.

As the testimony of children removed from their homes makes clear in the film, changing policy alone cannot end the impacts of colonial violence. The commission focused specifically on Native American children in foster care from 1978 to 2012 — after the passage of ICWA. Whether intentional or not, racism from foster parents and racism from child welfare staff continues to traumatize Native families.

Whom is this truth-telling for? Is it to educate White people on colonial violence and how it continues to harm indigenous communities in Maine, or is it for the Native participants to heal and be heard?

“My foster mother told me that I was at her house because nobody on the reservation wanted me. … And that she would save me from being Penobscot,” remembered Dawn Neptune Adams in the film. She also said she had her mouth washed out with soap when she spoke her Native language.

Like Adams’ foster mother, not everyone sees distancing Native children from their tribal cultures as violent. As with residential schools, some view it as benevolent. Jane Sheehan, a retired child welfare worker who worked in the system for decades, is shown in the film saying that “two sneakers for the feet is sometimes more important than learning an Indian dance.” Intentionally and aggressively confronting racism — particularly unintentional racism coming from ill-informed rather than overtly hateful viewpoints — must be addressed in any truth and reconciliation effort.

Tracy Rector, a producer for the film, is hopeful that Dawnland can help with this process. “In the majority of the screenings to date, the audiences have been primarily non-Native and more specifically White,” she told me. “The vast majority of these audience members often comment that they were not aware of the policies involved in colonization, the boarding schools, or forced adoption and foster care. I see and hear in these discussions that we are building allies.”

Dawnland makes clear that any effort to empower tribal sovereignty and right historical wrongs — what some may call reconciliation — must center indigenous leadership and indigenous healing. While it remains to be seen how the state of Maine and its tribal communities will continue to work toward justice for those most impacted by violent child welfare practices, truth-telling is a vital and historic first step. And non-Natives must be willing to listen deeply. As activist Harsha Walia asserted: “Non-Natives must be able to position ourselves as active and integral participants in a decolonization movement for political liberation, social transformation, renewed cultural kinships, and the development of an economic system that serves, rather than threatens, our collective life on this planet. Decolonization is as much a process as a goal.”

Books+Film+Music

Hear Me Now

Podcasts That Inspire

YES! ILLUSTRATION BY FRAN MURPHY

YES! ILLUSTRATION BY FRAN MURPHY

From the misinformation that American intelligence agencies have accused Russia of spreading on social media to the negative coverage that President Donald Trump derides as “fake news,” it feels like we’re awash in more reporting — real and otherwise — than ever. It can be hard to know when, exactly, to tune in. But here are some podcasts we think merit a listen for insight into pressing issues such as environmental health, the economy, and racial justice. These shows bring clarity to the daily news cycle. Sometimes, they deliver a little levity, too.

Health and Happiness
This Is Love
Mostly Clean
This is Love

Love is patient, love is kind, love is confusing, complicated, and sometimes completely baffling. Enter Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer, creators of the popular podcast Criminal, back with an investigation into one of life’s enduring mysteries. Hear stories about people dealing with love, obsessing over love, and making sacrifices for love — and not just the romantic kind. In the show’s inaugural teaser, Judge explores the maternal instincts of a spider that encourages her young to eat her.

The Hilarious World of Depression
Explicit
The Hilarious World of Depression

What’s funnier than a disease that hampers the health of millions worldwide? Host John Moe expertly uses humor to destigmatize one of the most common mental disorders in the country with a roster of guests including comedian Maria Bamford, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, and celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern. The show notes that it isn’t a substitute for therapy, but maybe stories that encourage connection when we’re feeling alone are their own medicine.

Social Justice
Battle Tactics for Your Sexist Workplace
Explicit
Battle Tactics for Your Sexist Workplace

A practical guide to fighting back against sexism in the workplace, think of this KUOW show as armor for the water-cooler crowd. With the help of experts, hosts Jeannie Yandel and Eula Scott Bynoe explore what to do when your co-workers don’t take you seriously, how to negotiate your salary, and why women on the Supreme Court are interrupted more than their male colleagues. But this isn’t just for females — there’s good advice here for every gender.

Race Relations
Yo, Is This Racist?
Explicit
Yo, Is This Racist?

Can White people dance to Childish Gambino’s “This Is America”? Should you still listen to the Smiths after Morrissey made racist comments? What do you do with a racist roommate? On this weekly show, host Andrew Ti, co-host Tawny Newsome, and guests answer listener-submitted questions about whether something is racist and explore broader themes, like being Black in America, actors of color playing the parts of characters of different races, and hard-to-pronounce names.

Democracy and Politics
Stay Tuned With Preet
Clean
Stay Tuned with Preet

Before Trump fired him, Preet Bharara was a U.S. attorney who took on corruption, financial fraud, and violent crimes. His second act as a podcast host dovetails with his former career in this show about justice and fairness, featuring inside looks at what might be going on in the White House.

Pod Save the People
Explicit
Pod Save the People

A show by the people, for the people. Joined by fellow activists, civil rights organizer DeRay Mckesson leads discussions each week about social, political, and cultural issues with experts, candidates, journalists, and more. The podcast is care of Crooked Media, which was founded by former Barack Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor. But the company’s name is a nod to another president.

Economy
The Indicator
Clean
The Indicator

History, they say, repeats itself. So why not mark the 10th anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis by investing in your business acumen? This daily show from the creators of Planet Money is short — less than 10 minutes — but packed with ideas and insight into work, the economy, and more (like why the cost of a bag of Fritos in the White House press corps break room shot up by 20 percent as corn prices fell).

Native Rights
Native America Calling
Clean
Native America Calling

A live call-in program turned podcast taps guests and listeners alike for conversations about national issues from a Native American perspective. Host Tara Gatewood, a Pueblo of Isleta tribal member, leads discussions on timber for profit in Indian Country, suicide, and new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, among other topics. The podcast is a production of Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, a Native-operated media center in Alaska.

Environment
Living on Earth
Clean
Living on Earth

This environmental news program predates the podcast — veteran host Steve Curwood created the weekly show back in 1990 and today it airs on more than 250 public radio stations. But between rising sea levels and endangered species, it’s nice to have reliable ecological dispatches on demand. And it’s not all gloom and doom. One recent episode profiled an app that helps folks find free fruit in urban areas. Listen to the show while you forage.

Outlandish
Clean
Outlandish

This show about public lands from the U.S. Forest Service brings a variety of stakeholders to the table to talk about topics like environmental policy, cattle grazing, fisheries, and glaciers. Hosted by Liz Townley and Mindy Crowell, and in partnership with Salmon Valley Stewardship and the creators of More Than Just Parks, episodes aim to increase awareness of the nearly 200 million acres of forests and grasslands nationwide.

Small Works

How to Not Be (Completely) Depressed About Climate Change

Download the full-size PDF

Small Works graphic story No. 1

Small Works graphic story No. 2

Small Works graphic story No. 3

Small Works graphic story No. 4

The Yes! Crossword

Making Money

Download the puzzle and print out to play

Crossword teaser

shift
signs
theme