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Peter Buffett
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Peter Buffett is an Emmy Award-winning composer, New York Times best-selling author and noted advocate for social change. He is the leading voice of Change Our Story, a forum for conversation that encourages people to take an active role in shaping our future as a global community. He is currently touring his "Concert & Conversation" series in support of his book Life Is What You Make It and recording new music. Visit his website for more information.

Entries by Peter Buffett

Open Hearted Hand

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 10:43 AM

"How I got here doesn't tell me who I am"
- Open Hearted Hand

What do you believe and why do you believe it?

We have been living out of stories that we're told. Stories we tell ourselves about ourselves... stories history books tell us... the newspapers tell...

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Poison the River

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 5:02 PM

"Let's all swim upstream..."

Metaphorically, this is the issue of the day. For millennia, the downstream effects of the upstream behavior were never seen. Whether it's in social, economic, political or environmental terms, most people went blindly about their business without seeing the full ramifications of what they were doing....

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SHOUT

(2) Comments | Posted December 12, 2014 | 4:43 PM

I'm no genetics expert, but it appears that we have a moral mutation running through society.

At this stage, it's no one's fault, but it's everyone's problem.

There's a fallacy that with each generation, we become smarter. We are amazed by invention. But the Industrial Revolution and the machinery it...

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Intuition

(2) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 4:11 PM

Intuition is a sense. Just like sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch.

Because it doesn't reside in an obvious organ, this idea can easily be dismissed.
But who hasn't said "I had a feeling" or "I knew it!"?

And -- like many sayings -- women's intuition is also stronger....

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Time and the Machine

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2014 | 3:11 PM

As I know it, being "Indian" -- as indigenous People have been called in the West -- means being deeply aware of one's relationship to everything. Knowing that an unseen force appears when we live this way. One begins to understand that the divine lives inside of relationship -- which...

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Change Our Story: How Do We Turn Judgment into Empathy?

(15) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 2:55 PM

Judgment: the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind.

Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.

Every one of us has, at some point in our lives,...

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Change Our Story: Man Made Extinction Event

(2) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 1:49 PM

Let's start with the assumption that we are all born into two other people's stories. Which continues backwards in time, of course.

At the level of DNA -- whether you believe in "past lives" or not -- we literally carry our ancestors with us. And at an "energetic" or "vibrational"...

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Change Our Story: My 'Complex' Week

(2) Comments | Posted August 7, 2013 | 11:41 AM

What a week! I'm guessing that I might have a few new readers...

I've been writing recently because so many of my songs just didn't seem to say it all. My op-ed in the New York Times came from the same source -- a song....

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Change Our Story: Stories

(5) Comments | Posted July 24, 2013 | 11:55 AM

"How I got here doesn't tell me who I am" -- Open Hearted Hand


What do you believe and why do you believe it?

We have been living out of stories that we're told. Stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, stories history books tell us, the newspapers tell...

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Change Our Story: A New Societ-e

(2) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 11:01 AM

When I think about writing a new blog, it's amazing how easy it is to get paralyzed when I consider how little I know regarding just about any given subject. Or when I read how many ways people can look at just about any given subject.

There are a many...

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Change Our Story: Escape Velocity

(4) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 3:24 PM

When I was young, I remember being awestruck at the massive power of the Saturn V rocket as it lifted astronauts into space toward the moon. It took so much effort to get that rocket off the ground. But then I would see animations of what would happen once the...

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Change Our Story: How Much Is Enough?

(103) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 11:42 AM

I keep coming back to the question, "how much is enough?"

Now you may think that's a pretty ironic question coming from the son of one of the richest people in the world. But actually, it might just make me an expert on the subject. You see, my dad is...

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Change Our Story: Poison the River, Part 3

(2) Comments | Posted May 29, 2013 | 2:06 PM

I hope we can agree on one thing: Everything goes in cycles. Nothing lasts forever (okay... those are two things).

We've been on a 150- to 200-year increasingly rapid cycle of "progress" and now maybe we can settle down a little. Of course, things can still feel productive. And I'm...

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Change Our Story: Poison the River, Part 2

(2) Comments | Posted May 15, 2013 | 9:05 PM

For many thousands of years, most of life was a mystery. Still today it can feel pretty mysterious walking on an unlit country road. We created many (many, many) stories to account for the things we didn't understand. Unknown places were where the gods and the scary things lived.

Season's...

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Change Our Story: May Day -- A Few Definitions

(3) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 5:00 PM

The definition of "May Day" from Wikipedia:

1) May 1 is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday; it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures.

As Europe became Christianized the pagan holidays lost their religious character and either changed into popular...

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Change Our Story: Poison the River Part 1

(1) Comments | Posted April 17, 2013 | 6:41 PM

My song "Poison the River" was written after watching the documentary film, Last Call At The Oasis.

While I was thinking of all the facts and figures I could research and pull together for this essay, I realized that my own backyard was actually the place to start. As it increasingly is for everyone when there's talk about water.

Now you may think I'm going to bring up the issue of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," that is such a hot button issue here in upstate New York. But if you want to learn more about that -- and how you, too, can light your tap water on fire -- see the various articles on the subject and the film, Gasland.

No, this is about a simple act of dumping silt and other particulate matter from a reservoir into a creek so that the water is more palatable to drink while the waste creates a huge issue downstream (irrigation for farmers etc..). The creek looks more like a river of chocolate in Willy Wonka than the pristine stream it once was.

So I'm just going to focus on the "upstream," "downstream" issue. Metaphorically, this is the issue of the day. For millennia, the downstream effects of the upstream behavior were never seen. Whether it's in social, economic, political or environmental terms, most people went blindly about their business without seeing the full ramifications of what they were doing. This is not to say people didn't care -- although I'm afraid there will always be some of those -- but "out of sight, out of mind" has played a huge role in how we've gotten into the environmental (among others) mess we're in now.

I remember as a child hearing someone say, "finish your dinner. There are children starving in (place name of "developing" country here).

As I got older, and maybe even then, I was wondering why that had to be. There must not be enough to go around. I never considered that something might be broken systemically... that maybe things need to be reprioritized in some way. Are we putting emphasis on the wrong metrics?

If the engine is growth... return on investment. And the fuel is efficiency... productivity. The exhaust is... whatever gets in the way.

If the driver of this car is rewarded in ways considered valuable in society, a lack of respect develops for anything that isn't in right relation to the goals of the driver. The driver is trying to make a little more with a little less -- all the time.

"Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist."
-- Kenneth E. Boulding

To me, the behavior sounds like someone that's afraid -- how can I keep getting more so I can feel safe enough -- or important enough? Or maybe it's just a survival instinct that we all possess -- let's make sure we have enough in case it's a hard winter... or ...I'll look important so I attract a good partner.

Whatever the case, and I'm sure there are thousands of them, we don't live in that world anymore. We can see our brothers and sisters across the globe. We can distribute necessary things far and wide. We are connected in ways that have never happened in history.

In the next blog... one version of how we got to this...

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Change Our Story: From East to West

(3) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 8:28 AM

I'm writing this from China. And now that I have a small outlet for my thoughts, I might as well write them down and see if they make sense.

As many readers know, I've worked on musical projects that include many expressions of my deep feelings regarding American Indian --...

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Change Our Story: When The Hallowed Become Hollow

(1) Comments | Posted March 19, 2013 | 5:13 PM

Hallowed: 1) holy, consecrated (the church stands on hallowed ground) 2) sacred, revered (the university's hallowed halls) (hallowed customs)

Hollow: an unfilled space : cavity, hole

It seems that institutions that once seemed paramount to a "civilized," prosperous and growing culture are crumbling -- or at least being brought into...

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Change Our Story: Silence Broken

(2) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 10:56 AM

Recently, I spent the afternoon with some beautiful souls -- young women who shared their life history with me. I've seen what a broken system can destroy. But it has almost always been on the other side of the world, slightly abstract. Rarely has it been easy to relate to...

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Achieving Global Gender Equality: Men in Support of Women

(0) Comments | Posted October 5, 2011 | 3:25 PM

We must improve the lives of girls and women around the world if we want to make a dent in our most pressing problems. This was the resounding message offered at the Clinton Global Initiative this year.

As the spotlight has finally begun to swing towards girls and women, international...

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