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Kids on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. By Yesy Belajar Memotrek under a Creative Commons license. 

Every Community Should be Safe for Walking

November 17, 2015 | By Jay Walljasper

Mounting evidence that a daily walk helps prevent a host of serious diseases is beginning to influence debates about health care, community vitality, poverty, race and opportunity.

Photo by Beth Cortez-Neavel under a Creative Commons license.

New York State Shook by Power of Bottom-Up Politics

November 10, 2015 | By David Morris

New York makes it hard for citizens to influence policy.   They cannot put an issue on the state ballot no matter how many signatures they gather.  And although the state Constitution has a home rule provision, cities and counties lack authority to undertake some of the most basic initiatives.  Even mighty New York City, with over 8 million people, must go hat in hand to Albany to request permission to reduce city speed limits, install red light cameras, open their courts at night, or raise taxes other than those imposed on property. 

By Russell Mondy under a Creative Commons license 

Walking is a Fundamental Human Right

October 23, 2015 | By Jay Walljasper

People have walked for justice and economic opportunity throughout American history.

Slaves seeking freedom hiked hundreds of miles on the Underground Railroad, guided by heroes like Harriet Tubman.  Workers wanting a better life for their families walked on picket lines and at protests, rallied by advocates like Cesar Chavez.  People demanding civil rights marched in Selma, Alabama and the National Mall in Washington, led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 

By 顔なし.under a Creative Commons license.

Texas Takes Aim at Democracy

October 21, 2015 | By David Morris

In Texas liberty trumps democracy.  The Texas Supreme Court itself says so.  In a recent decision, three of the five Justice majority bluntly declared. “(O)ur federal and state charters are not, contrary to popular belief, about ‘democracy’.”  They are about “liberty’s primacy”.  

By Jonl1973 under a Creative Commons license. 

What's On Your Commons Bucket List?

October 8, 2015

Everywhere you turn, people are talking about--- and attempting cross off items from---bucket lists. Only a few people are talking about “generativity”--a term introduced by psychologist Erik Erikson, who described it as an active concern for the next generation and a need to leave something of value for people who will live on after we die. But I feel there is a strong connection between the two.

By Pedro Ribeiro Simoes under a Creative Commons license 

Easy Steps to Walking More

September 29, 2015 | By Jay Walljasper

Find your natural rhythm

Figure out the best times to walk for your schedule. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning. Or with your kids on the way to school. After lunch. Taking the dog out. After dinner.  Before bedtime. With friends or family on the weekends.  


Seize the opportunity whenever you can

We Now Have a Justice System Just for Corporations

September 29, 2015 | By David Morris

In the last 20 years the Supreme Court has created a parallel judicial system to resolve disputes involving corporations that is effectively run by the very corporations whose behavior is under investigation.

Here is how that judicial coup against an independent judiciary occurred.

A three-acre wasteland on the South Side of Chicago is now an urban oasis. (Photo courtesy of Eden Place)

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle---and Reclaim Common Places

September 28, 2015

Serious issues threaten the health and beauty of much of what we call “the commons.”  We all know this, and at times can feel overwhelmed by what to do about it. 

The “three R's” (reduce, reuse, recycle) help us take action to protect the environment, and this has made a dent in the damage we’ve done to our environment.  Practices related to the three R’s have reduced the amount of waste thrown away and have contributed to the conservation of natural resources. 

By the European Parliament under a Creative Commons license

Birth Control is a Social Justice and Environmental Issue

September 23, 2015 | By David Morris

More than 1600 years ago, in the waning days of the Roman Empire, Augustine Aurelius, Bishop of Hippo declared himself a sex addict.   His classical 13 book treatise Confessions of St. Augustine, one of the foundational texts of Catholicism was written “to remind myself of my past foulnesses and carnal corruptions”.  Augustine was the first theologian to equate sex with sin.

(By Janet Schill, Expressions Graphics, Oak Park, Illinois. Rights reserved)

It's Time to Take Back the Law

September 16, 2015

The law has been stolen from everyday people making decisions about how we will live together in our communities and on this land.  My Ph.D-holding husband couldn’t understand his own father’s will.  Most people defer to the lawyer in the room to tell them what the law is all about.  Few people will dare step foot in a courtroom or legal proceeding without a lawyer attached to their hip.

It's Time to Take Back the Law

September 16, 2015

The law has been stolen from everyday people making decisions about how we will live together in our communities and on this land.  My Ph.D-holding husband couldn’t understand his own father’s will.  Most people defer to the lawyer in the room to tell them what the law is all about.  Few people will dare step foot in a courtroom or legal proceeding without a lawyer attached to their hip.

By Scott Beale under a Creative Commons license

Surgeon General's RX for Better Health: Walk More

September 12, 2015 | By Jay Walljasper

We’ve always known walking is good for us--- it burns calories, reduces stress and helps the environment.

You're Invited to Be Part of the US Department of Arts & Culture

September 3, 2015

Forging the world we want to live in requires social imagination, the capacity to envision alternatives to what is, together remaking reality. What if instead of another holiday commemorating the past, we took time to envision and celebrate the future?

How the Right Wing Won the Language Wars

August 24, 2015 | By David Morris

“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me.”  A fine sentiment, but any child subjected to cyber bullying knows that words do indeed matter.

Language evolves.  Sometimes a word that once was negative becomes positive, like “terrific” which originally meant terrifying.  Sometimes a word that was once positive becomes negative, as when “awful” changes from awe inspiring to very bad.

(By Ask the Climate Question under a Creative Commons license

Real Questions for Presidential Candidates

August 14, 2015

People took note when Ronald Reagan, a presidential candidate in 1980, asked “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”  That question got people’s attention and is still often quoted today.  Some say, it’s this question which won Reagan the presidency.

(By Herald Post under a Creative Commons license)

The New Ecofeminism

August 7, 2015

The environmental movement is a microcosm of other realms of society in one troubling way: women are missing. In journalism, academia, politics – on climate change, agriculture, and the economy – men are the visible decision-makers and spokespeople.

(By Robert Huffstutter under a Creative Commons license)  

Does Capitalism Need Fine-Tuning or an Overhaul?

August 5, 2015 | By David Morris

The catalyst for a recent column by David Brooks was a speech delivered by his New York Times colleague Anand Giridharadas at the Aspen Action Forum.

(By RJ under a Creative Commons license)

Putting the Good Back in Common Good

July 29, 2015

Our society has no trouble promoting competence.  In the workforce, we reward productivity and efficiency with promotions and higher pay.  In schools, we promote competence by designing curricula around academic standards and evaluating teachers on how well their students do on standardized tests.  We use the terms “good job” and “nice work” to recognize something we consider well done.  But there’s another term and concept we might like to consider in promoting a better society.  I’m referring to the term “good work,” which is defined by psychologist and writer Howard Gardner and his colle

(By colorblind Picaso under a Creative Commons license)

The Essential Consumer Guide to Buying American & Fair Trade

July 28, 2015 | By David Morris

“Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act,” Pope Francis announced early this year.

How can we spend our money as if our values matter?

An American in Rome

July 27, 2015

Kristin Jones came by the Brooklyn Rail to discuss her collaborative project TEVERETERNO for the revival of Rome’s Tiber River with Ann McCoy. The artist has been working to adopt an 1,800-foot long stretch of the river, and turn it into a site for contemporary art, a first for Rome. Past participants have included an array of national and international artists including Kiki Smith and Jenny Holzer, and composers such as Walter Branchi and David Monacchi. Upcoming is a project entitled Triumphs and Laments, by William Kentridge—a procession of more than 80 large-scale figures.