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The Sun Magazine

The Sun Interview

Every Reason To Stay

Eva Saulitis’s Life With Whales

I have to say, what kept me there was not the science but the place. I wanted to be there in a way that had purpose. I didn’t want to visit or go on long kayak trips. I wanted to spend my life in Prince William Sound. For five years I lived at a field camp for three or four months at a time. The work gave me a purpose for being there: a part to play in protecting the ecosystem.

It’s Easier Than We Think

Ralph Nader On How We Can Change Society

But it’s not that hard to turn the country around. Most people, whatever they call themselves — conservative, liberal, libertarian, progressive — have a deep sense of fair play and justice. They’re not sadists. They care for other people. We see this during a national disaster. All labels go out the window, and everybody helps rescue people from floods or fires. That’s what we want to tap into. That’s why I say fewer than 1 percent of the people, if they represent a majority opinion, can make a lot of changes. It won’t produce a utopia, but it will certainly produce a better country than we’ve been experiencing.

The Long Shadow

Bruce Perry On The Lingering Effects Of Childhood Trauma

One of the most important variables, in my experience, is when things happen. If you experience emotionally disengaged caregiving, humiliation, or a sense of being unwanted in the first year or two of life, even if you then escape that environment — maybe you’re adopted, or your parent who was depressed gets better — that early experience can still cause profound social and emotional problems for you all the way into adulthood. On the other hand, kids who have a good first year of consistent, predictable caregiving and then end up in shelters or foster homes and bounce around the system, maybe get sexually and physically abused, and so on — those children often function reasonably well as adolescents.

An Unlikely Friendship

An Israeli And A Palestinian Make The Case For Peace

Do not give up hope. Despite the Holocaust there is now a German ambassador in Israel, and an Israeli ambassador in Berlin. Fortunately the Palestinians didn’t kill 6 million Israelis, and the Israelis didn’t kill 6 million Palestinians. There is hope that we can reconcile, too.

To Have And To Hold

Stephanie Coontz On The Past, Present, And Future Of Marriage

One quality that helps a marriage work is when partners respect each other and are each grateful for what the other brings to the relationship. Relationships run on an economy of gratitude. And if your partner needs to change his or her behavior, it’s important to ask for that change without attributing bad motives to the behavior. When you do argue, or when your partner gets angry, look for the soft emotion under the hard one and talk to that. A belief in the goodwill of the other person is critical.

Signs Of Intelligent Life

Carl Safina’s Evidence That Other Animals Think And Feel

And each year we kill for food billions of animals we raise as prisoners and whose lives are often more terrible than their deaths. Even if we do continue eating animals, we could do much better by them and raise them more humanely. The way people treat animals affects the way they treat people: if you brutalize animals, you are probably hardhearted toward humans, too.

Who Are You Calling Crazy?

Gary Greenberg On How We Define Mental Illness — And How It Defines Us

Mental illness is a function of consciousness, and consciousness is something we see through a glass darkly. We simply are not prepared to understand it with the same certainty that we are prepared to understand, say, liver disease.

The Skeleton Gets Up And Walks

Craig Childs On How The World Is Always Ending

We think of apocalypse as a moment — a flash of light, then you’re gone — but if we study the earth’s history, we find that it’s not one moment. It’s actually a long process. In fact, it’s hard to see where it begins or ends. Like right now: evidence indicates that we’re experiencing the planet’s sixth mass extinction — a period when the rate of extinction spikes and the diversity and abundance of life decrease. Each such extinction event takes hundreds of thousands of years to play out, and it’s generally 5 to 8 million years before the previous levels of biodiversity return. So are we at the end or the beginning of a cycle? This could just be a temporary spike. The pattern could swerve in a different direction.

Righteous Babe

Ani DiFranco On Music, Politics, And Staying Independent

You have to practice tuning out the noise of the culture to hear the messages transmitted from your gut and your heart. You have to become like a bird-watcher and be vigilant and develop the skills to spot and name the quick flash of awareness in yourself.

Two Ways Of Knowing

Robin Wall Kimmerer On Scientific And Native American Views Of The Natural World

I prefer to ask what gifts the land offers. Gifts require a giver, a being with agency. Gifts invite reciprocity. Gifts help form relationships. Scientists aren’t comfortable with the word gifts, so we get ecosystem services instead. These terms arise from different worldviews, but both recognize the way the land sustains life.