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Voices of Hope and Humanity

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Podcast Episode's:
Matt Heineman Escape Fire
We hear excerpts from Escape Fire a powerful new documentary that recently aired on CNN, along with comments by its young director, Matthew Heineman, about the over-scheduled work day of doctors and how too many pharmaceuticals don’t make us better.
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Hope In Action, Pt 2
A conversation with Bill Moomaw, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, and his wife Margot Moomaw, a consultant on energy use by homeowners, about the gorgeous all-solar house they built in an effort to live a climate-friendly life.
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Hope In Action, Pt1
Although the consequences of climate change may turn out to be sweeping and dire, experts say there is still time to counteract the worst effects — provided positive steps are taken promptly. Thus pessimism in the face of daunting predictions is self-defeating, because it may sap people of the enthusiasm needed to undertake doable changes.
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Mattie Stepanek’s Heartsong
In this poignant profile taped prior to his death due to complications from a rare form of muscular dystrophy, child poet and peacemaker Mattie Stepanek showed wisdom beyond his years.
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Uncommon Ground, Pt 2
The dialogues among women with opposing views on abortion gave new insight into how to handle difference, without dehumanizing those we disagree with. Hear how the participants struggled to find understanding, to abandon needlessly inflammatory language and to establish meaningful friendships, however unlikely. Although no one expected determined advocates to abandon their belief systems, their […]
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Uncommon Ground, Pt 1
In the wake of shocking violence at abortion clinics, two apparent enemies — women representing pro-choice and pro-life factions in the Boston area, where shootings had occurred — were forced to communicate, for the sake of everyone’s safety. What unfolded over many months was one of the most mysterious and moving conversations among people of […]
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After-Effects of War with Christal Presley
Christal Presley, an English teacher in Virginia who experienced “secondary trauma” in response to the extreme behavior of her father, a Vietnam-era veteran with PTSD, tells how the family began a journey of recovery.
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Rubin Carter’s Hurricane, Pt 2
Following incarceration in New Jersey for a multiple homicide he did not commit, Rubin Carter managed to emerge from prison in 1985 with an astounding attitude about life. A famous prize-fighter on the outside, Carter suffered great deprivation behind bars: Not only more than nineteen years of his life had been taken, he also lost […]
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Rubin Carter’s Hurricane, Pt 1
As dramatized in a Bob Dylan song and ‘The Hurricane’ starring Denzel Washington, ex-prize fighter Rubin Carter tells how he was wrongly convicted of a triple homicide and ultimately exonerated by a federal judge, and trained his mind in prison to transcend hatred. After a court declared his murder conviction a miscarriage of justice, Rubin […]
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Steps to Recovery, Pt 2
Today over two million people partake of the storytelling, the good humor, the words of wisdom and the gallons and gallons of free coffee made available to attenders of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. AA’s basic text has been translated into more than 60 languages and has sold over 35 million English copies. We consider the history […]
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Steps to Recovery, Pt 1
Alcoholics Anonymous marks its beginning when one hopelessly addicted drunk realized that connecting with a fellow-sufferer would create a safe zone in which both could stop their downward spiral. In the second half, we examine the AA recovery principles that have promoted sobriety for millions of recovering alcoholics and have created a template to help […]
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The Way of Tao, Pt 2
“At the end of the day,” says Jonathan Star about his English translation of Tao te Ching from the original Chinese, “it’s not about attaining anything.  The Tao keeps saying ‘it’s everywhere!’  It’s to notice another part of yourself that’s just overlooked.  You know, we see what the mind shows us, but there’s another dimension […]
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The Way of Tao, Pt 1
Jonathan Star took twelve years to master the nuances of ancient Chinese in his quest to produce a remarkably lucid and evocative English translation of Lao Tsu’s brilliant masterpiece of wisdom. Guidance in the subtle art of attaining mental and emotional balance pervades Star’s brilliant translation of Lao Tsu’s timeless poetic volume of Taoist philosophy […]
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The Practice of Forgiveness, Pt 2
When we nurse grudges, the person clinging to a resentment often pays a high price in anxiety, hostility, perhaps depression. What follows from that for many people, says Robin Casarjian of the Lionheart Foundation, are health-related symptoms.  “And it stops you,” she says, ‘from really being able to be fully present to yourself, and to […]
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Aging in Community, pt. 2: Participants
Within a decade, America will be looking different. In addition to other demographic changes, 70 million Baby Boomers are now entering their retirement years. For the first time in our history, there will be more older adults than children. This huge societal change will affect how families provide eldercare, how older Americans access transportation, and […]
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The Practice of Forgiveness, Pt 1
Author and prison therapist Robin Casarjian reframes the act of forgiveness not to condone hurtful behavior, but as a shift in perception that allows us not to take someone’s else’s misconduct so personally. Casarjian has spent decades teaching forgiveness. Drawing on her own experience of having been abused — and learning how to move on […]
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Aging in Community, pt. 1: Connecting to Community
Within a decade, America will be looking different. In addition to other demographic changes, 70 million Baby Boomers are now entering their retirement years. For the first time in our history, there will be more older adults than children. This huge societal change will affect how families provide eldercare, how older Americans access transportation, and […]
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Judicial Independence, pt. 4: Term Limits
The Constitution specifies that once federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, they can hold their office “during good behavior,” in other words for life — unless they’ve misbehaved, that is. But the average American today lives a lot longer today than in 1789, when President George Washington signed the […]
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Judicial Independence, pt. 3: Expanding the Court
The Republican party has not won the majority of votes in six of the last seven presidential elections. And yet vacancies on the Supreme Court have allowed Republican presidents to appoint six of the last ten justices. Does this skew the Court in a way that’s out of step with public opinion? Here we explore […]
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Judicial Independence, pt. 2: Politicians In Robes?
Have our courts – intended by America’s founders to be an independent arbiter of justice – turned into another political battlefield? Are today’s judges mere “politicians in robes”? This public radio documentary series looks at crucial flashpoints in recent decades. In this divisive climate, will the frequency of 5-4 decisions by the Supreme Court increase, as […]
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Judicial Independence, pt. 1: Our Divided Court
Have our courts – intended by America’s founders to be an independent arbiter of justice – turned into another political battlefield? Are today’s judges mere “politicians in robes”? This public radio documentary series looks at crucial flashpoints in recent decades. Because federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed the U.S. Senate, inevitably the process […]
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The Worry Solution with Martin Rossman
Bay Area physician and Univ. of California medical professor Martin Rossman, author of “The Worry Solution”, describes ways to distinguish between what we can change and what we must learn to accept.
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Safe Place in a War Zone
Rev. Chris Antal, a Unitarian Universalist minister in the town of Rock Tavern, New York, was drawn to service in response to the attacks of 9/11. He entered military chaplaincy partially as a way to help soldiers who are prone to harming themselves in the wake of war. He also wanted to bring a “liberal voice into a very conservative chaplaincy,” consistent with the commitment of his tradition of acceptance for people representing different faiths and sexual orientation backgrounds.
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Interfaith Understanding on Campus
This episode of ‘Humankind on Public Radio’ is part of a special series, ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’. For more episodes exploring the role of spiritual caregivers helping those in need, look for ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’ on your preferred podcast platform. We hear from chaplains and students on a college campus (Vanderbilt University in Nashville, […]
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Jailhouse Chaplains
This episode of ‘Humankind on Public Radio’ is part of a special series, ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’. For more episodes exploring the role of spiritual caregivers helping those in need, look for ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’ on your preferred podcast platform. The United States incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world. Federal […]
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Welcoming the Stranger
This episode of ‘Humankind on Public Radio’ is part of a special series, ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’. For more episodes exploring the role of spiritual caregivers helping those in need, look for ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’ on your preferred podcast platform. We visit a shelter at Seattle’s Mission for a rich exchange with a formerly […]
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Introducing the Spiritual Care Podcast
David Freudberg, host of Humankind public radio, announces a new podcast on the fascinating practice of “spiritual care”: stories of caregivers (chaplains, nurses, social workers, etc.) who provide nonsectarian support for people in need and sometimes in distress.
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The Diet-Climate Connection, pt. 4: Growing Locally, Thinking Globally
The new urban agriculture movement offers a way for us to re-connect our lives to nature.
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The Diet-Climate Connection, pt. 3: The Carbon Footprint of Your Dinner
Which foods have the largest global warming footprint—and which are most climate-friendly?
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The Diet-Climate Connection, pt. 2: Sustainable Meals for Schoolchildren
Public school cafeterias are changing! We visit two in New England where recent policies reflect much greater attention to healthy meal options than were typically available in the past.
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The Diet-Climate Connection, pt. 1: College Dining Goes Green
Hundreds of colleges are now moving toward healthier, more climate-friendly food choices on campus.
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Simple Relaxation Exercise
A 15-minute stress reduction session to calm the body and mind.
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Passengers, pt. 4: Taxation for Transportation
Gas taxes you pay at the pump go into a huge pool of federal transportation funds. How should the money be divided up? Plus high-speed rail, pro and con.
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Passengers, pt. 3: Cars and Carbon
What is the global warming footprint of cars vs. public transit? Story of a family seeking a low-carbon lifestyle. Also, hear the views of transportation experts, the president of AAA, and others.
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Passengers, pt. 2: The Business of Public Transit
Business people and environmentalists come together: improved public transportation helps to grow the economy, for lots of reasons. Bankers and the Sierra Club on the same side.
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Passengers, pt. 1: Going Car-Free
The story of a Virginia man who accepted his county’s “challenge” to go car-free for a month; plus voices of motorists filling up at the pump; bus riders in a low-income neighborhood and others.
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The Search for Well-Being, pt. 4: Maintaining Compassion for Patients
Professors of medicine and nursing describe ways to treat the whole patient. And a look at medical use of acupuncture and meditation, for which evidence of effectiveness continues to grow.  
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The Search for Well-Being, pt. 3: Doctors of the Future
With diet a factor in ailments from diabetes to obesity, medical students at the country’s third largest campus attend cooking classes to learn how to help patients. And future MDs tell how they would heal our health system.
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The Search for Well-Being, pt. 2: When a Doctor Has Time to Listen
The problem of rushed medical visits, now standard nationwide, can strain both doctors and patients. The story of a Calif. woman who was misdiagnosed with MS, until a different doctor had the time to listen and discovered the error.
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The Search for Well-Being, pt. 1: Treating the Whole Person
This look at the emergence of “integrative medicine” begins with a visit to America’s busiest trauma center, in Baltimore, where patients receive both emergency care and natural treatments to soothe the challenges of serious illness.
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Catching Up with Granny D, pt. 2
A lively profile of “Granny D,” (Mrs. Doris Haddock of Dublin, New Hampshire) famous for her 14-month walk across the United States to promote campaign finance reform. (Part 2)
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Catching Up with Granny D, pt. 1
A lively profile of “Granny D,” (Mrs. Doris Haddock of Dublin, New Hampshire) famous for her 14-month walk across the United States to promote campaign finance reform. (Part 1)
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The Right to Vote, pt. 2
Hear a diversity of voices and views on today’s debates over whether voters should be required to show ID at the polls. Some Americans believe that ensures honest elections; while others see it as an unnecessary obstacle to minority voters. And we consider whether people who’ve committed felonies should be allowed to vote, after serving […]
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The Right to Vote, pt. 1
A fascinating history of the much-contested right to vote in America: from slaves freed after the Civil War, to women’s suffrage, to the civil rights movement. Included is the moving first-person story of a young woman who participated in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer project for voter registration of African Americans.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 8: Moral Injury
We hear from veterans who wrestle with healing from “moral injury” which occurs after a violation of conscience, based on events they witnessed or participated in while on military duty.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 7: Healing the Trauma of War
We hear profiles of American soldiers who, after military duty, returned home to face another battle—the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 6: Deep Listening
When we’re in a disagreement, it’s sometimes hard simply to listen to the other person. But skillful listening is a core practice of conflict resolution and, potentially, a doorway to improved relations and greater self-understanding.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 5: Seeds of Peace
A return visit to the Seeds of Peace summer camp, when teenagers from opposing sides of conflict regions, including the Middle East, arrive for amazing encounters of dialogue and fun.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 4: Unblocking our Natural Empathy
How can we avoid reacting furiously when someone provokes us? Hear a fascinating array of answers from theologian Frank Rogers, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rev. Betty Stookey and legendary folksinger Noel Paul Stookey, who performs.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 3: Compassion Practice
In a world given to so much brutality, it would be easy to underestimate the impact of basic human compassion in actually resolving strife, yet even in tense environments, people are transformed by gestures of understanding.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 2: The Spirituality of Nonviolence
We hear stories of peacemakers who draw from their diverse lives and religious traditions as a basis for breaking down barriers and promoting conflict resolution.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 1: Soul Force
We look back on the stunning display of forgiveness and nonviolence by the grieving families and congregants of Mother Emanuel church, where a gunman murdered black worshipers. Roof was sentenced to death today by a federal jury.
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Radioactive, pt. 1
In this episode of Humankind, hear nuclear experts pro and con, an emergency room physician, and a variety of voices telling the story of a controversial reactor in Vermont. Part 1 of 2.
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Resilient Nurses, pt. 4: Compassion Fatigue
This episode explores the very human level at which some nurses interact with patients at their most vulnerable moments. What spiritual questions about life and death arise in such encounters? We do nurses turn for their own support? And we look at the concept of “compassion fatigue” and ways nurses can maintain open-hearted care.
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Resilient Nurses, pt. 3: The Art of Listening
How do nurses, who are exposed to continual suffering by patients, manage to keep their hearts open and maintain compassion? Nurses describe the centrality of communication with patients and the skills of “active listening.” Nurses are regenerated by the bond of caring they build with patients in need.
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Resilient Nurses, pt. 2: Regaining Your Center
Inspiring stories of how active nurses use self-care techniques that help them manage, and transcend, the stresses of their essential work life, both on the job and after hours.
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Resilient Nurses, pt. 1: Facing Challenge and Change
A no-holds-barred look at the stressful conditions in which many nurses work: the long hours, the emotional toll, the rapid pace, and the way that technology and institutional practices can make it hard to form a caring bond with patients.
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