The Power In Our Stories with Rebecca Solnit

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Rebecca Solnit is a storyteller for our time. For thirty years she's been chronicling our social, cultural and political evolution. She takes a keen interest in the amazing things that happen when those who see themselves as powerless take action anyway. In this inspiring conversation she reminds us that some of the most radical ideals of our predecessors are the norms of mainstream society today - only because they took action even when a positive outcome seemed unlikely. Telling their tales, according to Solnit, helps us maintain the inspiration to continue, because "what we're able to imagine and achieve depends on how we tell the stories. There's a sense that we don't have power, that we don't change things. That comes partly out of not remembering how profoundly the world has been changed in the last forty or fifty years in so many ways." We're reminded that whether or not we participate, whether or not we remain hopeful, has a powerful impact on how the world will look seven generations from now. (hosted by Michael Toms and Beck Kageyama)


Rebecca Solnit is the author of fifteen books about art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory. She is a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Lannan Literary Award. She works with the group on climate issues and is a contributing editor to Harper’s and regular contributor to the political site

Her books include:

To learn more about her work go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How you can recognize the power of your actions even when you feel powerless
  • How you can keep hope alive in the midst of challenging times
  • Why we tend to think about the one person who's angry at us, and forget the many who still love us
  • How you can recognize your role in the mainstream, even when you march to a different drummer
  • Why people "on the fringe" of society may actually be its most potent leaders

Host: Michael Toms & Beck Kageyama       Interview Date: 5/17/2005        Program Number: 3092

Music Included

From Album: Lotus
Artist: Jimmy Harry
1999 RaSa RASA6006
Tracks – Interzone, Cicadas, Quiet, Village Rain