Q&A: JONAH SACHS, author – WINNING THE STORY WARS: Why Those Who Tell and Live the Best Stories Will Rule the FutureWritten on January 14th, 2013
My guest this week is JONAH SACHS, author of WINNING THE STORY WARS: Why Those Who Tell and Live the Best Stories Will Rule the Future. He is also Creative Director at Free Range Studios, who are responsible for many wonderful campaigns, two of which – The Meatrix and The Story of Stuff – are among the most successful videos ever in terms of viral circulation to millions. On their home page, you’ll see this quote: “Great stories make great change possible. Your world-changing message deserves to be heard – really heard. But that only happens when you learn to tell a great story.”
In the year 2000, Germany got 6% of its energy from renewables. That’s about what we get in the US today. But today Germany gets 25% of its electricity from solar, wind and biomass. And Germany is not exactly the American Southwest. Perhaps just as impressive and important, 65% of the country’s renewable power capacity is owned by individuals, cooperatives and communities. Clean and decentralized. I’ll be talking with Osha Gray Davidson about how they did it and what we can learn from their story.
Osha is new to me, but I contacted him immediately as soon as I saw his new book CLEAN BREAK: The Story of Germany’s Energy Transformation and What Americans Can Learn from It. As anyone who listens to this show knows, I feel one of the crucial elements in America’s sluggish response to many of our biggest challenges is our ignorance about what other countries do well.
I’ll be talking with longtime anti-nuke activist Harvey Wasserman about where things stand today in terms of nuclear power. What’s going on in the US — are new plants being built, are old ones shutting down? We’ll get an update on Fukushima. And finally, we’ll address the temporary shutdown at San Onofre near San Diego, and the opportunity to shut it down permanently.
Wasserman is a teacher, author, and activist, focusing primarily on election protection and nuclear power. With Bob Fitrakis, he helped break many of the major stories surrounding the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. In 1973 Harvey helped pioneer the global grassroots movement against atomic reactors, helping to organize mass demonstrations at Seabrook, N.H., as well as 1979’s “No Nukes” concerts and rallies, featuring Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, CSN, James Taylor. He edits the NukeFree.org web site, and is senior editor of www.freepress.org. and author or co-author of a dozen books including What Happened in Ohio?, co-authored with Bob Fitrakis and Steve Rosenfeld, Harvey Wasserman’s History of the U.S.and SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030.
May George McGovern rest –as he lived — in peace. We have lost a great and decent man.
At 24, I worked for McGovern’s 1972 Presidential effort, managing the campaign in what was then the 52nd Assembly District in Los Angeles County. This was the most conservative Democratic district in California and likely favored both Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace over the nominee. In 2005, I had the opportunity to interview him for an hour with the release of the documentary, One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern.
GEORGE McGOVERN was a decorated World War II bomber pilot (his wartime exploits were at the center of of Steven Ambrose’s The Wild Blue) and professor at Dakota Wesleyan Univeristy. After running the Food for Peace Program under John Kennedy, he represented South Dakota for two terms in the House and three terms in the Senate. His opposition to the Vietnam War fueled a grassroots campaign that won him the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination, only to lose to incumbent Richard Nixon in one of the great landslides in US history. Many members of Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President later served jail time for Watergate-connected crimes.
In 1997, Bill Clinton named him the US Permanent Representative to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, and in 2000 Clinton awarded him the nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Freedom. He has written nine books including Terry: My Daughter’s Life and Death Struggle with Alcoholism (about his daughter — also named Terrence — who died in 1994), The Essential America: Our Founders and the Liberal Tradition, and Ending Hunger Now: A Challenge to Persons of Faith.
Happy New Year.
I was lucky enough to get to know the great journalist Molly Ivins in the final years before her death in 2007. We were both annual panelists at the Conference on World Affairs that takes place for a week each April in Boulder Colorado. I have been there every year since 2001. Molly attended basically every other year for quite a while longer.
From writing Elvis Presley’s New York Times obituary to becoming the most widely-read self-proclaimed “pain in the ass to whatever powers come to be,” Ivins, often described as a modern-day Mark Twain, made rabid fans and enemies alike with her sharp-tongued humor and unabashed political criticism.
I speak with Oscar-and-Tony-nominated actress Kathleen Turner who portrays Ivins in Red Hot Patriot at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood January 3rd thru February 12th — and with Lou Dubose who co-authored three books with Molly.