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polio

A New Reality: Human Evolution for a Sustainable Future

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The past 200 years have been marked by two worldwide explosions: population growth and economic growth.  The latter, necessary to cope with the former, also dramatically improved how most the of world’s people live. But in the last decades of the 20th century, population growth began to slow, and eventually it will plateau and even decline. Yet the world’s economic system, built for growth, roars on – and is both unsustainable and dangerous.  Climate change, change for the worse, is only the most dramatic of its consequences. So we will soon be at an inflection point.  Call the past two centuries Epoch A.  Call what we are about to enter Epoch B.The transition will be filled with turmoil and conflict,…

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Karen Chase recounts her battle with polio and FDR as a figure of hope

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As the country watches Ken Burns’ latest documentary opus, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, unfold on television, we’ll be given another look at what some have called FDR’s “grand deception”—his campaign to hide the fact that throughout his presidency, he was, due to polio, unable to walk. Apprehensive as to how his public image would suffer if he was seen as disabled, Roosevelt’s family, his aides, and even the media worked together to downplay and conceal the severity of his impairment. Roosevelt and his battle against one of the most dreaded diseases of the 20th century resonate throughout Polio Boulevard (Excelsior Editions, 2014), a touching memoir written by poet Karen Chase. Chase contracted polio as a 10-year-old in 1953—ironically, at…

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