Q&A: RANDY HAYES, ED of Foundation Earth former head of Rainforest Action Network, working to “ecologize” the economyWritten on November 21st, 2012
I’ll be talking with RANDY HAYES, former head of Rainforest Action Network, currently ED of Foundation Earth, whose primary work these days is rethinking and “ecologizing” the economy. While Balog offers evidence of some symptoms of our way of life, the consequences of our actions, Hayes is attempting to develop radical approaches to economics that will enable us to deal with the underlying causes.
RANDY HAYES is a Climate Policy Officer at the World Future Council, a global forum composed of 50 individuals from around the world championing the rights of future generations and working to ensure that humanity acts now for a sustainable future. Hayes is also the founder of Rainforest Action Network, a veteran of many high-visibility corporate accountability campaigns, served as President to the City of San Francisco Commission on the Environment, and as Director of Sustainability in the office of Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown. Hayes has a Master’s degree in Environmental Planning from San Francisco State University and his master’s thesis, The Four Corners, won the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award for “Best Student Documentary” in 1983.
I seldom interview writers of fiction, but the debut novel THE AGE OF MIRACLES got my attention. It’s being heavily promoted as one of THE books of the summer. Enough so that I read the first couple of pages and I really like the writing. It’s about how one family in Southern California responds to a global crisis, the slowing of the earth, and the lengthening of days and nights. The writer, KAREN THOMPSON WALKER joins me for a delightful interview.
RICHARD DAVIDSON, author,
The Emotional Life of Your Brain
DAVID EAGLEMAN, author,
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
PETER BAUMANN, convener,
BEING HUMAN 2012
In 1989 I addressed the 20th reunion of my Harvard class. In 1969, we’d spearheaded student protests that led to a month long strike of the University. Our demands included removing ROTC from campus, creation of an African-American studies program, and reforming Harvard’s behavior as a landlord. Twenty years later, I encouraged my classmates to live up to our youthful ideals. I recall focusing on environmental challenges, including the mounting evidence of man-made contributions to climate change. But when asked where we needed to focus our attention to turn things around, I pointed to the environment within our own minds.
Now, over twenty years later, my conversations about politics, economics, technology, ecology, etc. focus more and more on the need to tinker with the human software that drives or interprets everything we do. As we use the tools of science to explore the nature of humanity, we are learning more and more about how our brains function and what motivates our behavior, built-in biases and blind spots. I find myself paying a lot of attention to the fields of behavioral economics, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, social anthropology, philosophy – that promise to overthrow long-held biases and stories about what it means to be human.
VAN JONES is Co-Founder and President of REBUILD THE DREAM, and a co-founder of three other successful non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All. Jones served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House in 2009, and is currently a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress and a senior policy advisor at Green For All. He holds a joint appointment at Princeton University, as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is the author of The Green Collar Economy.
Also MARC IAN BARASCH, Author
My transition seems mild compared with that of today's guest, TOM SHADYAC. A onetime actor/comedian and the youngest writer to work for Bob Hope, Shadyac achieved huge Hollyood success -- writing, directing, and producing hits like ACE VENTURA, LIAR, LIAR, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, and BRUCE ALMIGHTY, earning four People's Choice awards and a ton of money.
His new documentary, I AM recounts what happened after a cycling accident left him incapacitated for months. Though he recovered, the possibility that he might never be able to work or create again had changed him. He sold his estate, moved to a mobile home community (in Malibu), and set out to make a very different kind of movie.
With a four-person crew, Shadyac documented his journey to find answers to two questions. What's wrong with humans? What can we do to fix it?
Shadyac questions scientists, scholars, activists, poets -- David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lynne McTaggart, Ray Anderson -- and Marc Ian Barasch, who joins the conversation in progress.
MARC IAN BARASCH is a writer, editor, television producer and environmental activist. In his book, The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness, Barasch asks, "What if the great driving force of our evolution were actually "survival of the kindest?"
Are humans basically kind or basically cutthroat? Is compassion our birthright, or a hard won creation of culture? What exactly is compassion - that x-factor that every faith (or its founders, at least) exalts as a supreme virtue?
All proceeds derived from the release of I AM, in all media, will go to THE FOUNDATION FOR I AM, a not-for-profit established by Shadyac to fund various causes and to educate the next generation about the very issues and problems explored in the film.