Immense Possibilities, Season 4

The Next System

The problems surrounding America’s growing income and opportunity gaps get plenty of attention–much more attention than the projects and programs underway to narrow them. Gar Alperovitz of the Democracy Collaborative tells us about the startlingly immense possibility of the Next System Project, while Oregon Action describes what’s emerging in our own state.


Smashing the Pipeline

A growing number of restorative justice practitioners are determined to smash the “School to Prison Pipeline” that crams America’s jails and ruins millions of lives. Kids are learning respectful, accountable, remarkably wise ways of relating with others, making their personal relationships and communities stronger and safer.


A New Way to Go — Electric Vehicles

The “obituary” offered by the popular film Who Killed the Electric Car? was premature. EVs are back in a very big, and surprisingly affordable, way. They’ve evolved from this circa 1900 Riker and luxuries for rich gear-heads to practical alternatives for just about anyone who drives. This is a striking story of innovation and inter-generational connection.


The Workers Are the Bosses

Even those with the rosiest views on our “improving” economy recognize that the American Dream has dropped out of reach for millions of diligent workers. But thousands of others, those working for the growing number of employee-owned businesses, can see a clear path to the kind of workplace security and dignity many of their parents enjoyed. How immense is this possibility?


For the Birds

Birds both fascinate us and offer some of the very best indicators for the health of our natural world. The perilous plight of wild birds has professional scientists–like those from our featured guest, the Klamath Bird Observatory–and ever-more amateur birdwatchers focused on a variety of conservation projects, old and new.


Environmental Literacy

“We envision a world,” says the thriving organization NatureBridge, “where every student learns about the science of nature, is inspired by its beauty, and is motivated to take action to protect the natural world.” In partnership with some of our most magnificent National Parks, they’re bringing that world closer every year.


Citizen Wisdom

A growing movement still takes seriously the possibility of government of, by, and for the people. Oregon’s Citizen Initiative Review is one of its projects that organizes the common sense and sound judgment of ordinary citizens in ways that spark confidence that our historic experiment in self-government could succeed after all.


A Black & White Challenge

Fifty years after Dr. King envisioned an America that would judge his children by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin, we’re overwhelmed by headlines across the country. Why, half a century and millions of conversations later, has racial conflict proved so intractable? We probe uncomfortable, unfamiliar corners for answers.


Bees for People, People for Bees

Almost everyone knows our pollinators — and with them, much of our basic food supply — are in serious trouble. But do you know what citizens across our region are doing about it, and how effective their collective efforts are? And how much enjoyment they’re getting from gathering with their neighbors to expand and protect bee habitat? Neither did we, until we invited them in for this episode.


Horses That Heal

“Horses,” in the words of Australian poet Pam Brown, “lend us the wings we lack.” A growing number of equine therapy programs are channeling the quietly profound power of horses to help people with mental, physical and emotional challenges. It is very close to magic.


How Does Singing Build Community?

If you were one of the kids asked by your school music teacher to sing more softly, this episode is for you. Millions of people are joining singing groups to strengthen friendships and communities, and for the simple steady joy that it brings. Performance singers come in all ages and in a broader range of musical experience than you might imagine. Good times are accessible to just about everyone.


Everyday Troops on the Cancer Front

They’ll never quit this fight….Few, if any, health crises spur so many people to volunteer in so many ways as cancer. What makes the national movement to make life better for victims, comfort survivors, and fuel progress towards a cure so compelling? The answers offered by Jeff Golden’s guests from the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Oregon Sparrow Clubs after years on the front lines are persuasive and moving. Meet some local cancer survivors and fighters.


Alternative School Breaks – Vacations of Service

This week, millions of college students head for beaches and other sunny locales to let off steam in ways that sometimes make for spicy headlines. A smaller but growing number will take “alternative breaks,” a sequence of community projects that satisfy them much more than hearty partying, and shine light on their life goals and purpose.


Generous Ventures in Music

While almost everyone agrees that studying music has tremendous value for kids, cash-strapped school districts say they can’t afford to teach it. Enter the Modern Roots Foundation and the Grizzly Fiddlers with creative and generous ways to connect kids with musical instruments. Plus the warm pleasure older folks take from Heart and Hope Musical Ministry and a special clip from filmmaker David Hoffman, “I Made Bluegrass Roots 50 Years Ago.”


Generational Equity

“A society grows great,” according to a Greek proverb, “when its elders plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” That’s the touchstone of SAGE, Senior Advocates for Generational Equity. Their founder exchanges perspectives with millennial leaders of Oregon Climate and Generation Waking Up.


Soaring with the Boy Who Flies

Godfrey Masauli, the one and only paraglider pilot in his native Malawi, visits Oregon to sharpen his skills both in the air and on the ground as a messenger of possibility. He wants children in his country to dare follow their dreams, as he did.


Native Americans Today

They were and are vital residents of Oregon and the Northwest. But many of us know almost nothing—unless you count worn-out cardboard stereotypes—about Native Americans and their culture today. Who are they, and what possibilities would come out of greater mutual understanding and appreciation?


Young Water Champions

The quality of water in our rivers, streams and oceans, and its availability for meeting basic survival needs of people around the world are a future problem for which young people are finding creative solutions. They’re discovering and developing solutions that improve the lives of millions. Featured guests are: Stuart Perlmeter and Aspyn Lysiak of the Water and Energy Learning Lab, Seth Maxwell of the Thirst Project.


The World Is Our Community III – International Aid

We’re amazed at the focus and tenacity of neighbors who travel far from home to serve a human community beyond geographic boundaries. This week we meet Frances Dixon of Adopt-a-Village (Guatemala), student Skyla Patton of Rotary Interact and Brook Golling of Semilla Nueva. Plus we check in again with the Himalayan Cataract Project’s Matt Oliva.


The Big Idea: Upstream Solutions in Education

What to do about low high school graduation rates? Mobilize your whole community — neighbors who will mentor individual kids through the rough spots, professionals from all kinds of disciplines, people excited to share their hobbies with receptive youngsters — to make sure every student can “cross the stage” at the end of 12th grade.


Investment for the People

Community Public Offerings (CPOs) are about to become legal in Oregon, allowing virtually anyone to make modest equity investments in Oregon companies.  Our guests believe that single change can breathe life into struggling small businesses, super-charge local economies, and offer small investors returns that until now have mostly been reserved for the wealthy.


Storytelling Rides Again

Featuring southern Oregon’s “The Hearth” and Portland’s “Back Fence,” the newest rage in communication and entertainment is also the oldest. Storytelling events that spin yarns to flesh-and-blood audiences actually sitting in the same room, with no technology beyond a simple microphone, are selling out in communities large and small. We find out why, and enjoy a good story or two.


Food Banks Rise to the Challenge

About one American in eight needs assistance from food banks these days. How’s this exploding demand being met? Ashland Food Bank, Marion-Polk Food Share, Rotary First Harvest are interviewed.


Closing the Loop: Making Soil from Waste

Discover how dedicated teachers and students are “closing the loop” that petroleum-based products have broken in the last century of agriculture’s development. A couple of simple, time-honored ways are available to everyone to create soil (which is different from dirt). The health and psychological rewards are deep and lasting. S. Oregon Research & Extension Center, Dr. Elaine Ingham, Ashland High School.


Teen Dads

About one American male in fifteen fathers a child while still a teenager. Very few are up to the responsibility without the support and mentoring of mature men like those who volunteer for Portland’s Squires program. We also find out about a nearly unique program to help men in addiction recovery maintain custody of their kids through OnTrack Addiction Treatment’s “Dads” program.


Welcome to 2015

We ask a few of IP’s favorite guests and collaborators (Francis Weller, Ocean Robbins, Charles Eisenstein, Duane Elgin, Frances Moore Lappe) three questions: What has you most hopeful and excited as we enter 2015? What has you most concerned? What would you say to someone who’s especially discouraged about what’s going on in the world?


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