Today’s Solutions: July 21, 2024

A new understanding of an old

A new understanding of an old story—part IV of True American, a mini series

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat." - Audre Lorde Over the course of the True American mini-series, we’ve deconstructed symbols that we think of as “typically American.” In the process, we’ve gained a more nuanced understanding of Read More...

Rhiannon Giddens performs at The Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island.

The birth of the banjo— part III of True American, a mini-series

The banjo, widely considered a quintessential symbol of the United States (along with square dancing), is an instrument that tends to conjure up images of white rural life in the Appalachian mountains, or memories of the dueling banjos from the 1972 film "Deliverance" or TV shows like "The Beverly Read More...

The square dancers of today—

The square dancers of today—part II of True American, a mini-series

Last Friday we shared the fascinating history of the square dance in the United States of America. Together, we traced back how it became an emblem of American society that forced so many school kids to endure the often awkward square dancing lessons. Do-si-do anyone? We also discussed the Read More...

Square dance in rural home in McIntosh County Oklahoma. They dance in a simple interior with butcher paper covered walls

The history of square dancing in America—part I of True American

The Optimist Daily is taking a journey into ideas and symbols that shape the world with our our mini-series True American. Our first episode explores what many consider a cornerstone of American culture: Square dancing. Square dancing, contrary to popular belief, is not just a “Southern Read More...

Front side of typical american porch colonial house with white traditional columns and pillars and American flag

Introducing "True American"— a mini-series

Last month on Independence Day, The New Yorker published an issue featuring cover art by graphic illustrator Christ Ware. The narrative piece, called “House Divided,” boldly captures the sense of polarization underlying this past year’s Fourth of July festivities, and the general atmosphere Read More...

Possibility: Refugees drive af

Possibility: Refugees drive affordable housing innovation in Europe

From The Intelligent Optimist Magazine Fall/Winter 2016 European nations are finding that by working on one problem—sheltering the waves of refugees in ways that help integrate them into their new homes—they also can address other, seemingly intractable problems: Affordable housing for Read More...

Back to nature

Back to nature

From The Optimist Magazine Summer 2014 For most of my life, I have enjoyed taking long walks by myself in the woods and fields. When I was a young girl, these walks might have lasted a couple of hours. We lived in the Berkshire foothills, so the woods were hilly and full of boulders. As I grew into Read More...

Wildlife whistle blowers

Wildlife whistle blowers

Possibility From The Optimist Magazine Summer 2014 WildLeaks.org is a whistle-blowing website where people can anonymously submit information about wildlife and forest crime. Andrea Crosta, executive director of the Elephant Action League, an elephant-welfare group, started WildLeaks in early Read More...

Possibility: Keeping refugees

Possibility: Keeping refugees afloat

From The Optimist Magazine Fall 2015 A quarter of a million. That’s the number of immigrants and asylum seekers who have already tried to get to Europe in 2015 by crossing the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the highest number on record, according to the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees. Thousands Read More...

Profit with a purpose

Profit with a purpose

As earnings, bonuses and stocks creep back to pre-crisis levels, will markets resume business as usual? A plea for a new kind of investing that blends good sense, good causes and good financial returns. Adam Smith | April/May 2010 issue From the moment she arrived in the U.S. from Trinidad and Read More...