Moving From Despair To Hope In Threshold Times: Part 1 with Paul Rogat Loeb

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We do not have to join the ranks of despair in these challenging times. We have a choice. As Loeb says, “History is not ended, the future is not foreclosed, there are things we can do even if we can’t quite see the path.” He encourages us to find what has meaning for us and take a stand. Only when we step up can our efforts ripple out and have an influence on the arc of time towards peace, justice, and sustainability. This conversation is filled with inspiring examples of people taking both small and large steps in making a positive difference. He regales us with examples of those who have thrown themselves into the breach and contributed to positive social and political change. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Paul Rogat Loeb has spent over forty years researching and writing about citizen responsibility and empowerment. He has been a guest lecturer at many colleges and universities including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and MIT. And, he has been a keynote speaker at a myriad of conferences. He blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and is the founder of the national nonpartisan Campus Election Engagement Project which worked with 750 colleges and universities in 2012 to engage students in the presidential election. This organization continues to help engage students in state and local elections.

Paul Rogat Loeb’s books include:

To learn more about the work of Paul Rogat Loeb go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What is the difference between hope and optimism
  • What is the Campus Election Engagement Project
  • How despair brings about a kind of tunnel vision
  • How does our tendency to want certainty lead to despair
  • Examples of those who have paved the way with inspiring actions for positive change

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 6/12/2014   Program Number: 3511

Music Playlist

From Album: Disfarmer
Artist: Bill Frisell
2009 Nonesuch Records #478524-2

Opening Essay: Track 01 Disfarmer Theme
Music Break 1: Track 25 Natural Light
Music Break 2: Track 04 Farmer
Music Break 3: Track 01 Disfarmer Theme (reprise)