Sustainable Community Articles

The Compassionate Instinct

Many question whether true compassion exists at all— or whether it is inherently motivated by self-interest.Recent studies of compassion argue persuasively for a different take on human nature, one that rejects the preeminence of s...

Play Makes Us Human

Have you ever noticed how we, as a society, use agricultural metaphors to talk about parenting and education? We speak of raising children, just as we speak of raising tomatoes or chickens. We speak of training children, just as...

School ADD Isn't Homeschool ADD

I hesitated at the heavy glass doors of my son’s school. I’d cheerfully walked through these doors many times. I’d volunteered here, served on the PTA board, joked with the principal and teachers, and even helped start an annual ...

Be My Guest

By Harnessing Intrinsic Motivation, Unschooling Reflects Current Cognitive Research.As I wrote recently in Life Learning Magazine, unschooling is the way of the future, for all ages. So I’m always surprised that so many people...

The Age of Emptiness or the Coming Creativity

One day, while driving down a freeway, I looked up to see an empty sky where there had been mountaintops. Dust was rising as massive earth graders rumbled across a now-blank plain. Seemingly overnight, they had sliced away the horizon. Later...

Hope for Humankind

People everywhere recognize that our species is in danger. Since most threats to our survival are of human origin, they can be understood by human minds and overcome with human effort. By far the most ominous threat of all is not nuclear weapons,...

Vitamin N: 10 Reasons Children and Adults Need Their Daily Dose of Nature

In Last Child in the Woods, I focused on why children need nature. In my new book, The Nature Principle, I tell how the whole family— and whole communities—can become happier, healthier, and smarter through more contact with the natural world. I do...

School's Out... Forever! How Government Education Cripples Our Kids, and Why

This article is dedicated to all of the amazing teachers who, over the years, have done their best to honor the innate potential in their students.I taught for 30 years in some of the worst schools in Manhattan, and in some of...

10 Homesteading Skills Every Child Should Learn

When we offer our children the freedom to participate, they learn life skills.When kids learn basic homesteading skills, they get a number of really important advantages in life. Here’s a short list of what they gain:

Better Have Another

The first of the blueberries are coming in now, and most mornings one of us stops by the patch on our way in from chores to snag a handful or three. We planted the 90-something bushes 16 years ago, before we’d even broken ground on the house. This...

Money and the Divine Masculine

I recently attended a ceremony at the Tamera village in Portugal in which the officiant invoked “the healing of money.” Immediately a vivid image popped into my head of a man, vast and muscular, bound to the earth with stakes and tethers, straining...

My Father Is a Great Man

He is a man. He is 44 years old. He has black hair and sparkling blue eyes. He is my father. He is by far the person of whom I am most proud. Taking care of his children and relatives is his top priority. Everyone that knows him sees him as a...

The Woman Who Chose to Plant Corn

Not long ago, a Diné (Navajo) friend of mine, Lyla June Johnston, sent me a one-line e-mail: “I am not going to Harvard…. I am going to plant corn.” Her statement signals a profound divergence from the path she’d set out on when...

Aluna: A Message to Little Brother

A black line, a network of hidden connections, links all the sacred places on earth. If that line should be broken, calamities will ensue, and this beautiful world shall perish. Destroying a forest here and draining a swamp there might have dire...

If You Lay Down, The Baby Will Never Come Out

An Overview of Traditional Native American Birth PracticesAs I celebrated Thanksgiving this year, I couldn’t help but remember the culture and heritage of America’s indigenous people, a culture mostly lost because of the establishment of...

How Modern Societies Violate Human Development

Withholding Human Needs Changes Human NatureThe modern world has been making itself into a pathological place by establishing as “normal” various practices that violate basic human needs. This leads to the development of suboptimal cre...

The Health Benefits of Finding Your Tribe

Most of us have been blessed to get at least glimpses into what it feels like to be part of a tribe. Maybe you felt that sense of belonging on your wedding day, when family and friends gathered from afar just to celebrate your awesomeness. Maybe...

Waiting for the Big One

When I was 14 years old I embarked upon a reading program that included The Gulag Archipelago, A People’s History of the United States, 1984, Silent Spring, and a volume by Paul Ehrlich titled The Population Bomb. The latter was a Malthusian work...

10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Change the World

This is a call to inspire action through Sacred Activism—what I define as the transforming force of love and compassion-in-action to bring forth meaningful and radical change in the world.

One Man's Open Letter to all Children: A Message for our Time

Dear Children, I know that this world must often seem confusing to you. It’s noisy, dirty and filled with adults scurrying about their busy lives without noticing you all that much sometimes. It’s filled with rules and people telling you wha...