The Outside World, In and Around Duluth

The New School at Commonweal


I’m always sampling new podcasts.

I have been trying out a new podcast series put out by The New School at Commonweal recently. It reminds me a little of Ted Talks or Radio Lab – explorations of big ideas, only the News School seems more focused on the idea of, well, saving the world. “Ecology, culture and the inner life.” Heady, no?

They were interviewing (and being interviewed by) Fritjof Capra about his new book, The Science of Leonardo.

Fritjof Capra ( and The Science of Leonardo

I became familiar with Fritjof Capra working at Mr. Movies – I would play the rarely-rented movie Mindwalk during my shift and ruminate on its ideas while I was putting away the thirty copies of ‘Ernest Goes to Camp’ that were rented over the weekend.

Here’s a link to where you can find the New School at Commonweal archive. Search for ‘Capra’ or go to Episode 48 to listen to the interview.

The conversation about the book started out great – what a cool idea – rich with possibilities. And as often happens in these heady conversations, the talk drifted and flowed, far and wide.

It wasn’t even halfway through the broadcast that I started thinking about everything they were talking about and its relevance to my environmental education grad program at UMD.  There is so much in our world that is happening, being considered, being planned for, so many problems with no solution. So many solutions that are being dreamt up and then discarded… In some ways, it made me feel that my grad school work was… maybe not irrelevant, exactly. But less important. Or perhaps less relevant. That our learning about grant writing models or educational theories or the finer points of APA 6… Shouldn’t we be figuring out how to save the world? But we are being distracted in the chase for our degree.

On the other hand, even as I type that, I am reminded of the challenge of learning a skill. Baby steps first, proficiency later.

Baby steps are so dissatisfying.

In the meantime, I’m going to go listen to some more podcasts.


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