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Sarah van Gelder
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Sarah van Gelder is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of YES! Magazine and

YES! explores some of today's biggest challenges, showing how people are creating a more just and sustainable world. Topics include solutions to the climate crisis, DIY job creation, resilience, and visions for a multi-racial society.

Sarah has interviewed Pete Seeger, Winona LaDuke, George Shultz, Harry Belafonte, Vandana Shiva, Chris Hedges, Danny Glover, and many other known and unknown leaders who are working to create a better world.

In addition to her regular features in the printed magazine, Sarah writes for, lectures nationally and internationally, and interviews regularly on radio and television.

Entries by Sarah van Gelder

What Our Breasts Are Telling Us

(0) Comments | Posted February 9, 2016 | 11:07 PM

Florence Williams and her daughter discovered they had high levels of toxins in their bodies. Why are toxins missing from the breast cancer debates?

illustration by Shutterstock

When Florence Williams was breastfeeding her infant daughter a decade ago, she...

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In North Dakota's Booming Oil Patch, One Tribe Beat Back Fracking

(2) Comments | Posted January 26, 2016 | 11:07 AM

While other parts of the west were overtaken with the fracking boom, the Turtle Mountain Band said no thanks. Here's the difference it made.


Drive the long, straight roads of north-central North Dakota, and you pass lake after lake amid hayfields and forests....

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2015: Top Six Breakthroughs That Are Changing Your World

(3) Comments | Posted January 2, 2016 | 5:55 PM


2015 was a year that shook us out of complacency.

Black Lives Matter forced the nation to confront the threat of police violence faced every day by African Americans. The refugee crisis coupled with the movement of ISIS into Europe and the...

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Three Years Ago, These Chicago Workers Took Over a Window Factory. Today, They're Thriving.

(1) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 4:05 PM

When Republic Windows and Doors closed down without giving workers notice, the issue drew national attention. Since then, they've turned the factory into a worker-owned co-op -- where they hold the power.

Back in the day, factory workers at the Chicago-based Republic Windows and Doors were just told what to...

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10 Ways Human Rights and Democracy Won in 2014 (Yeah, You Heard That Right)

(0) Comments | Posted December 29, 2014 | 5:02 PM

Let's be honest: It was a brutal year for human rights. But we still have victories worth celebrating.

Ferguson, Missouri. October, 2014. Photo by Sarah-Ji.

In 2014, we saw a lot of brutality. Unarmed black men and women...

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7 Ways to Get Happy (Hint: It's Not About the "Stuff")

(1) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 2:39 PM

Adapted from Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference (Berrett-Koehler Publishers)


We come into this world naked with nothing to count on but love.

Along the way, we pick up other ideas about what's important -- status, possessions,...

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8 Ways to Make Obama's Opportunity Goals a Reality

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 2:12 PM

While the president called for greater opportunity for poor and middle-class Americans during his State of the Union address, the real action on inequality and poverty is happening elsewhere.

President Barack Obama gives the State of the Union address on Jan....

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The 10 Most Hopeful Stories of 2013 to Inspire Your New Year

(0) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 2:42 PM

There was something almost apocalyptic about 2013.

Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, the strongest storm ever recorded on land. It killed more than 6,000 people and affected millions. But it was just one of the 39 weather-related disasters costing $1...

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4 Election Examples Of The People Winning Out Over Corporate Interests

(35) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 3:16 PM


Here are four cases in yesterday's election where people power won out over corporate interests. And one that went the other way.

With the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, many fear that their votes won't count against the overwhelming power of...

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Solutions to the Climate Crisis: Hidden in Plain Sight

(1) Comments | Posted October 14, 2013 | 12:54 PM

The media can be part of the solution to the climate crisis by reporting on the science and the emerging answers.

The most censored story of our lifetime is hiding in plain sight. We humans are disrupting the climate of the planet to the point where the world our children...

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6 Peaceful (and Legal) Alternatives to War in Syria

(2) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 8:08 PM

Many of the legal and diplomatic processes that led to peace in other times of conflict haven't even been tried in Syria.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's approval of military force in Syria makes military strikes against that country more likely.

But key questions remain unanswered. Will military strikes...

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11 Reasons Why We Should Not Attack Syria

(20) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 1:20 PM

As U.S. political and media leaders prepare for military strikes against Syria, the parallels to the lead-up to the war with Iraq should give us pause. Weapons of mass destruction, we are told, are being used by a cruel Middle Eastern despot against his own people. A military strike is...

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Climate Change Is Happening, But We Can Meet the Challenge

(8) Comments | Posted June 17, 2013 | 12:11 PM

It can be hard for youth to deal with the overwhelming effects of climate change. But, by taking action, we can erode the hold that oil, fracking, and coal has on people and the environment.

"The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere just hit 400 parts...

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The Cooperative Way to a Stronger Economy

(1) Comments | Posted March 7, 2013 | 12:33 PM

Our little group of a dozen families was running out of time. After meeting every weekend for three years to plan our hoped-for cohousing community, and after investing much of our savings to acquire a few acres of land, it looked as though our dream would fail. We...

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Speaking With the Founders of Idle No More

(1) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 5:41 PM

The four founders of Idle No More didn't start out famous. Until flash-mob round dances, prayer circles, and blockades spread across Canada, few people knew Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah McLean, and Nina Wilson.

But today, Idle No More is emerging as a powerful movement for the rights...

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Obama Inaugurates Renewed Energy on Climate Change

(2) Comments | Posted January 23, 2013 | 5:49 PM

That the president put climate change so high on his second-term agenda surprised many. But action must follow words.

President Barack Obama included a call to action on climate change in his inaugural speech on January 21, surprising those who thought gun violence and immigration reform would take top billing.

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Nine Stories That Will Change Your World in 2013

(5) Comments | Posted January 2, 2013 | 5:37 PM

While the Earth didn't end on December 21, 2012, the year's end was marked by a new awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis. Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the preciousness and fragility of life on Earth. That and other cultural shifts are setting the stage for significant...

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4 Ways to Leap the 'Fiscal Cliff' to a Better America

(4) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 3:43 PM

Feeling panicked about the so-called "fiscal cliff?" Don't be. At worst, if would be more of a "ramp" than a cliff, since effects would be spread out over time.

More importantly, the crisis atmosphere is a fabrication created by Congress. The cuts in spending and the end to tax breaks...

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What Climate-Driven Hurricane Sandy Teaches Us About Cooperation

(1) Comments | Posted November 2, 2012 | 10:37 PM

It's 3 a.m. and the wind is howling. Do you know who your neighbors are?

This may well be remembered as the year the climate crisis got real.

Superstorm Sandy followed a summer of record-breaking heat, wildfires, and droughts, during which more than half of U.S. counties were declared...

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5 Things This Election Should Be About, and One to Drop

(2) Comments | Posted September 17, 2012 | 2:32 PM

Cutting through the campaign rhetoric and attack ads, here are five issues that should be at the center of the 2012 election, plus one that has no place in the public sphere.

Every election year, the two parties choose the agendas and issues to highlight and ballyhoo. Often it...

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