With only a quick glance at today’s overheated political climate—the balkanized geography between red and blue states, the bombastic outgoing president, the strident social media culture, all culminating in the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol—you get an unmistakable message: We don’t know how to talk with each other anymore, let alone build common ground. An expert in linguistics explores our new argumentative culture to find ways that Americans of different beliefs can start believing in each other again.
By MICHAEL ERARD
While COVID restrictions shutter businesses right and left, a more positive picture is emerging from worker-owned companies like Mondragon, the Spanish enterprise that’s become the world’s largest co-op, and Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio. Both operations keep proving that, during economic crises, co-ops adapt better than traditional companies, and they continue paying their workers more equitably as well. Why don’t more businesses follow “the Mondragon model”?
By ROBERTO LOVATO
Confined to our homes during the Covid-19 quarantine, many of us have realized this is an ideal time to start baking our own bread. The idea has spread so fast that stores are running out of flour and yeast. But…
Mark Sturges doesn’t advertise — clients have to find him by word of mouth, but find him they do. He’s become a master of an agricultural art as old as agriculture itself: basic compost.
As our environmental challenges mount — from devastating wildfires to hurricanes and floods — one solution, largely ignored thus far, may lie in using an unlikely-sounding material for home-building: straw. Has the lowly straw bale home’s time finally come?
Through years of painstaking, often combative detective work, Hugo Kohl rescued an era of early American jewelry manufacturing technology that was on the brink of extinction. And what Kohl makes with these old machines turns out to be superior, in…
Confined to our homes during the Covid-19 quarantine, many of us have realized this is an ideal time to start baking our own bread. The idea has spread so fast that stores are running out of flour and yeast. But fear not. Resources abound for how to make your own yeast, and even your own flour.
By TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photos by ERIC WOLFINGER
Everyone in the fashion world wants to find a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way to make cotton clothing—or a benign (and equally comfy) alternative to it. In Scandinavia, an enterprising cadre of materials scientists is on the brink of succeeding. But almost no one appreciates these innovations’ social costs.
Story and photography by ALDEN WICKER
For a brief time in the mid-1970s, a British economist named E.F. Schumacher changed the conversation across the Western world with a daring book entitled “Small Is Beautiful.” Schumacher argued that the push for endless growth was destroying the foundations of meaningful work, and it was doomed to fail. Although Schumacher died before he could develop his ideas, a center founded in his name has tried to continue his legacy. Might his message be even more timely today?
By BRYCE T. BAUER