Readers' Forum

Land Trust for Healthy Community

Another example of inspiring efforts to regain power over a basic element of community and economic health is the community land trust (CLT) movement. Over 150 CLTs across the U.S. are shifting control of land from the speculative market to the local community. By holding land as a community asset that can be leased to individuals to provide permanently affordable access to land for housing, farming, small businesses, etc., CLTs are creating a solid foundation for healthy, stable and diverse communities and local economies. For more information on CLTs, visit

— Sheldon Cooper, Homestead Community Land Trust (Seattle, WA)

Diet for a Cool Planet

I really appreciate YES! Magazine's social justice stance, and I enjoy sharing articles with my university students, so thanks for putting it online.

However, while the magazine talks about exploitation of the environment, it does not typically discuss the welfare or rights of the nonhuman animals that inhabit much of that environment.

I would like to see more focus on the connection between human and nonhuman animals, particularly our exploitation of them. There is a strong, documented connection between veganism and the environment, since an animal-free diet helps reduce pollution of our land and water and helps prevent the release of global warming gases. Veganism also leads to a fairer distribution of world food resources.

— Carrie Freeman (Eugene, OR)

Buying Local is Not Enough

“Buy local” campaigns are useful tools for raising consumer awareness, but to reverse the trend of corporate chains driving out independent businesses, we must take charge as citizens.

As Stacy Mitchell reveals in her excellent book, Big Box Swindle, the proliferation of chains has resulted as much from governmental policy as consumer decisions. To reverse today's dismal trends, those policies must change.

To that end, dozens of local Independent Business Alliances now help community-based businesses compete successfully. These Alliances organize group purchasing, cooperative marketing, and public education campaigns to shift consumer spending, but also engage locals as citizens to shift political power.

Many of these communities have defeated once-routine subsidies to chains and instead advanced public policies favoring local entrepreneurs. Ultimately, these Alliances can join forces to counter entities like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which push the agenda of transnational corporations—often while harming communities and the small businesses they purport to represent.

Promoting conscious purchasing decisions is important, but to revitalize communities and thwart corporatization, we must change more than our shopping habits.

— Jeff Milchen, Co-Founder, American Independent Business Alliance (Bozeman, MT)

A Convenient Web Site

After seeing Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth and reading the summer issue of YES! Magazine, I was inspired to take action. I wanted to help people become aware of the complexities of the looming global crises while also finding their way to a sane response, one enlivened with hope, joy, and action. To do this, I learned how to design a basic Web site and created “Living Well in a Global Crisis” ( This site includes great quotations and a page of useful links, as well as original photos, poetry, and songs.

Thanks so much for all the inspiration.

— Michael Levy (Santa Cruz, CA)

Health Care Primer

Our organization has been looking for a reader-friendly resource to provide new members an overview of health care in the U.S. I am excited to announce that we have finally found a great concise guide: the YES! Magazine “Health Care for All” issue. From rising costs, to an international comparison, to U.S. drug costs, to an overview of state efforts, to personal stories, the issue paints a complete picture for the universal health care argument.

— Igor Gorlach, Health Care for All Texas (Houston, TX)


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