“Walking Home From Walden: A Suburban Awakening”
Sunday, January 22nd at 5:00 PM
First Parish Church of Newbury
How a 40-something suburban American woke up to “the spiritual crisis at the heart of the climate crisis” — with some help from Henry David Thoreau — and found the basis for a new (or maybe very old) kind of engagement, both political and spiritual, that transcends environmentalism. The climate crisis is more than an environmental crisis, it’s a human, even spiritual crisis, and we need a new politics to address it on those terms — much as Thoreau addressed slavery as the great human and spiritual crisis of his time. Far from being a solitary back-to-nature trip, Walden is a call to action — a call to wake up to one’s immediate surroundings, human and wild, and engage the world, starting right where we live.
Wen Stephenson, a writer and editor in Wayland, is a co-founder of Transition Wayland. In his career as a journalist, he served as the editorial director of TheAtlantic.com from 1995 to 2001, managing editor of PBS Frontline.org from 2001 to 2004, and editor of the Sunday Boston Globe’s Ideas section until mid-2007. Most recently he was the senior producer of NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook. He’s now writing about climate, culture and politics for publications including Slate, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Grist. His five-part essay “Walking Home From Walden” appeared in Slate magazine last June. He served on the steering committee that organized the large Moving Planet New England rally in Boston on Sept. 24, and his opinion piece “Why Walden Matters Now” — about why he walked with friends and neighbors to Walden Pond for Moving Planet — ran on the Globe’s op-ed page and, in expanded form, in Grist. He and his wife have two children and have lived in Wayland for going on 15 years.