Democratic Social Change
They - Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé - founded the Small Planet Institute in 2001, after traveling on five continents to write Hope’s Edge. Inspired by the courageous people they met pushing forward the edge of hope, they were determined to create an ongoing tool to explore and share our understanding of the root causes and—most important—the root solutions to environmental devastation and injustices throughout the global food system as well as the democracy deficit that this needless suffering reflects.
They begin from the premise that human being see the world through culturally defined filters—what they call mental maps—that largely determine what we can observe; and therefore even what we believe to be possible. At the Small Planet Institute, they seek to identify these core, often unspoken, assumptions, and the resulting economic and political forces they produce, that are taking our planet in a direction that as individuals none of us would choose. With this understanding, they can replace life-destroying mental maps with those that serve the well-being of people and the planet. From research, they also found the incredible multiplier effect of the many working worldwide to make change. So they work to help people perceive that their efforts, while perhaps feeling like mere “drops in the bucket,” really do add up: For, once we they can see the “bucket”—the global emergence of communities addressing these root causes—they realize our drops are part of something much larger than ourselves, and they are indeed filling the bucket.