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Open Book


Powerful and inspiring, EcoMind 

will open your eyes and change your thinking. I want everyone to read it."

   -Jane Goodall

EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want

By Frances Moore Lappé 

Interested in exploring the themes in EcoMind?
Conduct an EcoMind Workshop in your community!

I wrote EcoMind because I believe that solutions to global crises are right in front of our noses, and our real challenge is to free ourselves from self-defeating thought traps that keep us from bringing these solutions to life. From our eroding soil to our eroding democracies, so much of what's wrong results from ways of thinking that are out of sync with human nature and nature's rhythms.

Humans are doers, I argue, but our capacity for doing is undermined by seven "thought traps" that leave us mired in fear, guilt, and despair—none of which motivate action. Chapter-by-chapter I navigate from "thought traps" to "thought leaps," as challenges morph into opportunities. Drawing on the latest research in climate studies, anthropology, and neuroscience, I weave analysis and stories of real people the world over who, having shifted some basic thought patterns, are shifting the balance of power in our world.

It turns out that gap between the world we long for and the world we thought we were stuck with can be bridged after all—if we can learn to think like an ecosystem. EcoMind shows us the way.

-Frances Moore Lappé

Table of Contents 

  1. Our Challenge: Developing an Eco-Mind

  2. Thought Trap 1: No-Growth is the Answer

  3. Thought Trap 2: "Consumer Society" is the Problem

  4. Thought Trap 3: We've Hit the Limits of a Finite Earth

  5. Thought Trap 4: We Must Overcome Human Nature to Save the Planet

  6. Thought Trap 5: To Save Our Planet, We Have to Override Humanity's Natural Resistance to Rules

  7. Thought Trap 6: Humans Have Lost the Connection to Nature

  8. Thought Trap 7: It's Too Late!

  9. An Invitation: Thinking Like an Ecosystem

  10. Cultivating the Eco-Mind: Moving into Action

Green Vegetables


This book is pivotal in the most literal sense. As I read it, I find myself turning the crucial 180 degrees from frustration and fear to a sense of constructive possibility. Frances’ ability to express the most complex, existential yearnings is epic— matched only by her courage. Nothing I can say will do justice to how this book continues to affect me."

—Mollie Katzen , Author of The Moosewood Cookbook

Frances Moore Lappé brings us yet another gift in EcoMind. She cautions us to avoid the mental traps that block our thinking. She awakens us to our immense possibilities and potentials. She invites us to release our latent energies to be the change we want to see."

—Vandana Shiva, Ph.D, Scientist, Environmentalist, Founder of Navdanya

Frances Moore Lappé’s exceptionally thought-provoking book is a message of hope. It shows how change is possible, once we open our eyes, look around, and see that we depend on others and on nature. This book obliges us to re-imagine our world, brick by brick, by first re-imagining ourselves."

—Olivier De Schutter, The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

A thoroughly researched, overarching look at the political and emotional factors holding us back from making real changes...essential to those feeling powerless in the struggle to reduce our environmental impact. Strongly recommended."

—Jaime Hammond, Library Journal 

EcoMind reminds us that the most important resource for restoring a clean and healthy planet is the one sitting between our ears. Frances Moore Lappé brilliantly challenges the negative 'thought traps' of doom-and-gloom environmental messages and emerges with a positive, people-powered approach."

Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club 

Lappé shows how by seeing the big picture we can change it. It’s a clarion call in this age of rising despair."

—Peter Barnes, Author of Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons

The concepts laid out in well-organized chapters are worth revisiting for veteran activists, or discovering anew for those who have shied from the subject…An accessible introduction to the psychology of this ‘historic challenge,’ providing an enthusiastic shove toward reflection.”

Kirkus Reviews

Frances Moore Lappé has done it again. As she has done so insightfully with respect to food, hunger, and democracy, Lappé now turns her sights on the contemporary ecological crises. EcoMind is a profound example of how analysis breeds not paralysis, but rather informed and inspired action."

—John Gershman, Clinical Associate Professor, 

 Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University

EcoMind is "paradigm altering" and "brimming with useful information and analysis."

Booklist Reviews 


Frances Moore Lappé has long served as a powerful voice for food justice and a more sustainable future. Her new book EcoMind offers an insightful and inspirational ecology of hope, and is a must read for those concerned about the fate of the planet."

—Dr. Daniel Faber, Director, Environmental Justice Research Collaborative, Northeastern University

I have been a social worker for almost 50 years now and I am using EcoMind in my Social Welfare Policy Course because it is one of the most important books that has come out during the past half-century. EcoMind has many important features; however, one of the most important strengths of the book is that it provides a positive way of dealing with all the negatives in the world today.”

—Dr. Charles Frost, Professor, Middle Tennessee State University

"There are, perhaps, three kinds of people: (1) the small but increasing number of those who are already effecting the change you have so eloquently outlined in your book; (2) the majority that is stuck in a trap – in fact, the many traps you have outlined – without being aware of their bondages: and (3) the powerful, the influential, the knowledgeable, the selfish, and the indomitable exploiters, who know that you are right will but will raise heaven on earth to create the illusion that you are wrong. Your book helps all three categories. To the first category, it provides reassurance that they are doing the right things and that their tribe in various parts of the world is increasing. For the second, you visualize the traps they are in, open their eyes, and tell them how to step out and free themselves of the shackles they were not aware of. The third category, you expose: you provide unassailable counter-arguments even before they have given you their arguments. You wake them up by pulling the carpet from under their feet. Now that they are awake, you show them that if they do not change, even their personal interests would suffer, as “the old order changeth, yielding place to new”. In a nutshell, your book is like Thomas More’s utopia, except that your book’s utopia is achievable within the context of modernity, by just doing things differently, and by having a different mindset which looks at the whole integrated (and not fragmented) reality before taking a decision Congratulations for your most readable book…"

—Pushpa M. Bhargava, Founder-director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, India

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