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Paul Loeb
Paul Rogat Loeb's Soul of a Citizen:Living With Conviction in a Challenging Time has become a classic guide to involvement with 150,000 copies in print, a wholly updated 2010 edition, and subsequent modest changes. Paul's political hope anthology The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear, was named the #3 political book of 2004 by the History Channel and the American Book Association, won the Nautilus Award for best social change book, and has its own wholly updated edition in 2014, with over 100,000 total copies in print. Paul is also the author of Generation at the Crossroads, Nuclear Culture, and Hope in Hard Times, lectures at conferences and colleges nationwide, and founded the national nonpartisan Campus Election Engagement Project.

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"Paul Loeb brings hope for a better world in a time when we so urgently need it."—Millard Fuller, founder, Habitat for Humanity

"The voices Loeb finds demonstrate that courage can be another name for love." —Alice Walker

"You are part of what's good about this world and I admire your work very much."—Bill Moyers

"Paul Loeb has been doing wonderfully patient work, exploring the American conscience from the inside. I regard Loeb as something of a national treasure." —Susan Sontag

"A lot of smart people who have some influence on the course of history will read and admire you--and learn from you."—Kurt Vonnegut

"I stayed up half the night reading Soul of a Citizen, finding it a beautiful and morally transcendent work that speaks in gentle words directly to the heart. The new edition is magnificent. "
— Jonathan Kozol

Entries by Paul Loeb

Youth Vote at Record Low--Here's How to Reverse the Trend

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2015 | 5:01 PM

The numbers are dismaying. According to a new US Census report, only 20% of eligible 18-29-year-olds voted in 2014. It was the lowest youth turnout in 40 years, below even 2010's doleful 24%, and the lowest turnout recorded since the advent of the 18-year-old vote. Mid-term youth turnout...

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Why the TPP Is Worse Than Mystery Meat

(7) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 10:56 PM

Remember the World Trade Organization, which slipped into the shadows after massive Seattle protests in 1999? The same day last week that Congress initially blocked fast track authority for approval of the TPP trade agreement, the House voted to overturn rules requiring country-of-origin labeling for meat. Those supporting the latter...

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How the Christian Coalition and MoveOn Helped Save Net Neutrality: A Buried Story of a Powerful Coalition

(3) Comments | Posted February 25, 2015 | 10:29 AM

This week's FCC action should bring a long-delayed victory for net neutrality. It's an important victory, without which the online world that we've come to take for granted would risk being auctioned off to the highest bidder. But this victory might never have happened without an unlikely political coalition a...

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Hope, Voting and Creating the World You Want to Live In

(3) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 1:58 PM

This article originally appeared at

We live in a time fraught with bad news. From the toll of violence and poverty to the escalating march of climate change, every week brings temptations to despair. Hope may actually be more beleaguered in the wake of a president who...

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'Political Paralysis' From The Impossible Will Take a Little While

(0) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 1:21 PM

We don't have to be perfect saints or know every answer to every question to begin working for a more just world. We can be wounded or hesitant ourselves, sometimes profoundly so. In one of people's favorite essays from my newly updated political hope anthology The Impossible Will...

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Global Warming: The Inevitability Trap

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 2:00 PM

Is the biggest hurdle on climate change outright denial? Or is it the sense that of being overwhelmed and too late, that there's nothing we can do? As K.C. Golden writes in an excerpt from my newly updated political hope anthology The Impossible Will Take a Little While,...

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Best Commencement Speech Ever for Environmental Hope?

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 12:59 PM

Paul Hawken has long been one of my heroes. He was the press coordinator for Martin Luther King's historic Selma-to-Montgomery march. He turned a small Boston store into Erewon Trading Company, one of the largest natural foods wholesalers in America. His book The Ecology of Commerce inspired the founder of...

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Best Environmental Commencement Speech Ever?

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 5:46 PM

Paul Hawken has long been one of my heroes. He was the press coordinator for Martin Luther King's historic Selma-to-Montgomery march. He turned a small Boston store into Erewon Trading Company, one of the largest natural foods wholesalers in America. His book The Ecology of Commerce inspired the founder of...

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"My Vote Doesn't Matter": Helping Students Surmount Political Cynicism

(66) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 2:07 PM

Co-authored with Alexander Astin and Parker J, Palmer

You've heard it again and again. "My vote doesn't matter," students too often say. Others complain that politicians are "all the same and all corrupt." How do we overcome this cynical resignation and encourage students to register and vote despite their conviction...

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Two Ounces of Kafka: How a Little Oil Caused a Ton of Trouble

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2012 | 11:00 PM

For years, Seattle salmon fisherman Pete Knutson has developed pioneering environmental alliances between commercial fishermen, Native American tribes, conservation groups, and even highly conservative Pentecostal churches, successfully defeating huge corporate interests. Pete's also been fighting the Port of Seattle to keep Fishermen's Terminal true to it's historic mission...

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If You Care About Keystone and Climate Change, Occupy Exxon

(273) Comments | Posted December 26, 2011 | 12:56 PM

It seemed like the afterthought in the payroll tax cut extension fight, a small consolation prize to the Republicans on what should have been the easiest of bi-partisan votes. But the two-month clock is now ticking on whether Obama will approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada's environmentally disastrous tar...

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Burying Your Victories: What if Obama Taxed the Rich But Never Told Anyone?

(68) Comments | Posted December 8, 2011 | 3:52 PM

Did you know Obama's health care bill contained a $20 billion a year tax on the richest Americans? I didn't until I stumbled onto a mention of this the other day, although writing about politics is my life and I knew enough to be angry at the gutting...

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From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy the Neighborhoods

(83) Comments | Posted November 9, 2011 | 8:37 PM

The Occupy movement has done something amazing, getting Americans to start questioning our economic divides. It's created spaces for people to come together, voice their discontents and dreams, creatively challenge destructive greed. It's created powerful political theater, engaged community, an alternative to silence and powerlessness.

But it also faces...

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Praising the Hostage Takers: Will Obama Ever Hold the Republicans Accountable?

(529) Comments | Posted July 22, 2011 | 10:23 AM

Will Obama ever hold the Republicans accountable for their reckless and destructive actions? No matter how outrageous their demands, he keeps giving them legitimacy, first resisting, then compromising, then praising the result as bipartisanship. He's forgotten the basic lesson of negotiation -- you don't hand everything over before you start,...

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Making Mountaintop Removal Real: The Last Mountain

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2011 | 1:36 AM

It's easy for mountaintop removal to seem abstract to those who don't live in coal country. I just saw the powerful documentary The Last Mountain, about mountaintop removal, and it brings the issue home like no other portrayal that I've seen. I've followed the issue through friends active...

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Glued to the Weather Channel While the World Burns

(99) Comments | Posted June 6, 2011 | 11:53 AM

Following the weather is beginning to feel like revisiting the Biblical plagues. Tornadoes rip through Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma -- even Massachusetts. A million acres burn in Texas wildfires. The Army Corps of Engineers floods 135,000 acres of farmland and three million acres of bayou country to save...

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Three Cups of a Flawed Hero: The Limits of Greg Mortenson's Model of Change

(22) Comments | Posted April 27, 2011 | 2:44 PM

It's tempting to expect perfection from those we admire, but we romanticize lone heroes at our peril. A few years before one-time supporter Jon Krakauer challenged the truthfulness of Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea, a professor asked me my thoughts on using the book as a reading...

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Go to Wisconsin, President Obama

(52) Comments | Posted March 3, 2011 | 1:43 PM

Dear President Obama,

I'm glad you've opposed the attacks on Wisconsin's public workers, but you need to do more. You need to go there and speak out, or at least speak out again and more strongly, because Americans need to understand what's at stake, and those who are...

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Standing Against Republican Greed: Participate in the Step Forward

(21) Comments | Posted February 26, 2011 | 2:14 AM

What if a quarter of the people who read this stood up today against Republican Greed?

Today is one of those times when we could actually take a step forward. We're not guaranteed that we'll begin to shift America back politically if we join one of the rallies

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Seeking Republican Patriots: How Reining in Anonymous Attack Ads Can Help Save Our Democracy

(4) Comments | Posted November 24, 2010 | 1:56 PM

Does Olympia Snowe really want to be the target of waves of anonymous attack ads in support of some conservative primary challenger? Wouldn't a retiring George Voinovich prefer to leave some shards of our democracy off-limits to being sold to the highest bidder? Could John McCain remember why McCain-Feingold was...

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