Show 411: Stephen G. Post

Stephen G. Post on his new book, The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times

Audio here!

Stephen speaks widely on themes of benevolent love and compassionate care at the interface of science, health, spirituality, and philanthropy. His work has been featured in periodicals such as Parade Magazine and O: The Oprah Magazine, and on such media venues as The Daily Show, John Stossel, 20/20 and Nightline. He has addressed the U.S. Congress on volunteerism and public health.

Research has revealed that when we show concern for others—empathizing with a friend who has lost a loved one, mowing the lawn for an elderly neighbor, or volunteering to mentor a school-aged child—we improve our own health and well-being and embrace and give voice to our deeper identity and dignity as human beings. The Hidden Gifts of Helping explores the very personal story of Stephen and his family’s difficult move and their experience with the healing power of helping others, as well as his passion about how this simple activity—expressed in an infinite number of small or large ways—can help you survive and thrive despite the expected and unexpected challenges life presents.

Show 383: Too Many People?

Too Many People?: Has the “Population Bomb” Exploded Yet?

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In 1968, biologist Paul Ehrlich published the book – The Population Bomb – which became a wake-up call to the world that there were just too many people on the planet; and if something wasn’t done about it soon, there would be grave consequences.  Indeed, almost 45 years later, the world is enduring perhaps the most serious ecological breakdown in human history.  Famine, climate change, poverty, starvation, ever-increasing pollution… and species are going extinct at 1,000 times their natural pace due to human activity, with 35 to 40 species vanishing each day.

Was Ehrlich right then?

In the April/May 2009 issue of Free Inquiry – a flagship magazine of the humanist/skeptic/science advocacy think tank, The Center for Inquiry – the editors published a new essay by Erlich along with three others on the topic of overpopulation.  Only one of the four articles disagreed with Erlich’s opinion that we are at the brink of disaster.

Indeed, it seems counterintuitive to argue that 7 billion humans in every corner of the planet isn’t a serious problem, but is overpopulation the actual cause for our ecological crises?  Is disease, poverty, water and food shortages, pollution, and climate change ultimately a result of what some cynics call a cancer on the face of the Earth… Us?  Or is something else going on here?

We will address these questions and concerns with special guest Ian Angus as we ask, are there too many people? Angus is editor of Climate and Capitalism, an online journal focusing on capitalism, climate change, and the ecosocialist alternative. His previous books include The Global Fight for Climate Justice, and his new book is Too Many People?: Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crises.

Show 234: Fund Drive Special With Dr. Joel Kovel

Joel Kovel has spent the better part of his adult life profoundly concerned with the effects of human relationships as they impact the species as a whole, and indeed the planet itself. Like many of us on the Left, Joel has come to his work from a place of deep emotional and intellectual conflict… a conflict we experience via between the way we see the human adventure, and the way certain forces have shaped where we are today. All too often, the clash between what “is” and what we think “ought” to be, winds up in the end to favor the status quo. We are given all sorts of reasons for this by our more conservative friends from political and economic “practical” reasons, to the “lowly” nature of human beings (whether of the Christian or Hobbesian kind).

Alas, many of us live with the notion that ‘the more things change (for better or worse), the more they stay the same… which is just another way of our accepting what “is,” and putting our aspirations, hopes, and desires into that hidden away bottom shelf labeled “Utopian Fantasies.”

But as we have addressed for a long time now on Equal Time for Freethought – and indeed all across WBAI – Utopia is not a fantasy, but a destination-one no one expects to reach, but is driven by our very nature to come closer to. Those who argue for another kind of human nature that somehow justifies the status quo, do so from either a place of ignorance, fear, or – for those of us who are financially or politically well off – narcissistic comfort. For Joel Kovel, this just won’t do, and he has done his part to see that Utopia is removed from the bottom shelf, brushed off, and returned back to all of us.
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Show 202a: Earth Day Special: Joel Kovel – The Enemy of Nature

Earth Day Special: Joel Kovel

The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World

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As the world’s scientists converge on the all too real crisis of “global warming,” even while Right-wingers and the Bush Administration continue to spin the crises into a Left-wing Conspiracy – probably headed up by Al Gore – too few discussions are taking place concerning the root causes of our ecological dilemma.

Conservatives who are willing to acknowledge what science is telling us, and even those whom exhibit a real sense of urgency, are afraid of what might happen to the economy if we go at environmentalism full force. Mainstream liberals like Al Gore have been working hard to dispel this fear by assuring us that the economy will get even stronger, not weaker, if we take care of our planet.

But what if the economy is at the very heart of the crisis?

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Show 182: Fund Drive Special: Ann Druyan & Stephenie Hendricks

Audio 1 here!

Audio 2 here!

For the 2-hour Equal Time for Freethought October marathon special, the bridge between science and religion will once again be crossed… this time to analyze the special relationship between the two and to find out what can go wrong when the latter steps to hard on the toes of the former. For this program, we talked to Ann Druyan and Stephenie Hendricks.

Carl Sagan is considered one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. His ability to explain science in terms easily understandable to the layman in bestselling books such as Cosmos, The Dragons of Eden, and The Demon-Haunted World won him a Pulitzer Prize and placed him firmly next to Isaac Asimov, Stephen Jay Gould, and Oliver Sachs as one of the most important and enduring communicators of science. This December will mark the tenth anniversary of Sagan’s death, and Ann Druyan, his widow and longtime collaborator, will mark the occasion by releasing Sagan’s famous “Gifford Lectures in Natural Theology,” The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God.

The Varieties of Scientific Experience has been edited and updated with an introduction by Ann Druyan. In the book, Sagan discusses his views on topics ranging from manic depression, creationism and so-called intelligent design, and the likelihood of intelligent life on other planets, to the likelihood of nuclear annihilation of our own.

In Divine Destruction: Dominion Theology and American Environmental Policy, Emmy-winning broadcast journalist Stephenie Hendricks charts the important connections between “Wise Use”—a rabidly anti-environmental philosophy—and dominion theologists—far-right Christian ideologues who believe that there is no reason to protect the environment given the imminence of the Second Coming of Christ. This political collaboration reaches all the way to the Bush administration whose environmental policies are deeply influenced by dominionist thinking. Divine Destruction is an in-depth look at the radical remaking of American environmental policy already underway—in terrifying secret.