Humankind on Public Radio

David Freudberg

Weekly podcast from public radio’s award-winning program Humankind

All Episodes

The vast majority of Americans are now Internet users and the number is growing year by year. And the number of cell phones in the U.S. is now roughly equal to the number of people in the country. And yet our unprecedented access to information and communication has a potential downside: people may get so […]

Dec 2

30 min 14 sec

Cultivating our capacity for gratitude is one of the core spiritual traits advocated across all the great traditions. Being grateful can restore our perspective when the slings and arrows of life temporarily bend us out of shape. To reinforce this focus, some people maintain a “gratitude journal” in which they record various things they are […]

Nov 25

30 min 25 sec

Would you invite homeless men into your apartment? One woman did just that. On this episode of Humankind, you’ll hear a story of commitment and service to the poor in which Kathy McKenna founded Haley House, a homeless shelter in downtown Boston. McKenna was inspired by Dorothy Day, the Catholic Worker Movement, and the belief […]

Nov 18

30 min 25 sec

After entering World War One in 1917, the US government established a military draft to call up young men to serve as soldiers. 65,000 of them applied to be excused from combat and to be recognized as Conscientious Objectors (COs) by their local draft board. They opposed the war either on religious grounds (some traditions, like […]

Nov 11

30 min 25 sec

Within a decade, America will be looking different. In addition to other demographic changes, 70 million Baby Boomers are now entering their retirement years. For the first time in our history, there will be more older adults than children. This huge societal change will affect how families provide eldercare, how older Americans access transportation, and […]

Oct 28

23 min 29 sec

Within a decade, America will be looking different. In addition to other demographic changes, 70 million Baby Boomers are now entering their retirement years. For the first time in our history, there will be more older adults than children. This huge societal change will affect how families provide eldercare, how older Americans access transportation, and […]

Oct 21

31 min 18 sec

The Constitution specifies that once federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, they can hold their office “during good behavior,” in other words for life — unless they’ve misbehaved, that is. But the average American today lives a lot longer today than in 1789, when President George Washington signed the […]

Feb 4

26 min 30 sec

The Republican party has not won the majority of votes in six of the last seven presidential elections. And yet vacancies on the Supreme Court have allowed Republican presidents to appoint six of the last ten justices. Does this skew the Court in a way that’s out of step with public opinion? Here we explore […]

Jan 28

28 min 14 sec

Have our courts – intended by America’s founders to be an independent arbiter of justice – turned into another political battlefield? Are today’s judges mere “politicians in robes”? This public radio documentary series looks at crucial flashpoints in recent decades. In this divisive climate, will the frequency of 5-4 decisions by the Supreme Court increase, as […]

Aug 2020

27 min 24 sec

Have our courts – intended by America’s founders to be an independent arbiter of justice – turned into another political battlefield? Are today’s judges mere “politicians in robes”? This public radio documentary series looks at crucial flashpoints in recent decades. Because federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed the U.S. Senate, inevitably the process […]

Aug 2020

27 min 20 sec

Bay Area physician and Univ. of California medical professor Martin Rossman, author of “The Worry Solution”, describes ways to distinguish between what we can change and what we must learn to accept.

Mar 2020

30 min 14 sec

Rev. Chris Antal, a Unitarian Universalist minister in the town of Rock Tavern, New York, was drawn to service in response to the attacks of 9/11. He entered military chaplaincy partially as a way to help soldiers who are prone to harming themselves in the wake of war. He also wanted to bring a “liberal voice into a very conservative chaplaincy,” consistent with the commitment of his tradition of acceptance for people representing different faiths and sexual orientation backgrounds.

Jun 2018

33 min 30 sec

This episode of ‘Humankind on Public Radio’ is part of a special series, ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’. For more episodes exploring the role of spiritual caregivers helping those in need, look for ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’ on your preferred podcast platform. We hear from chaplains and students on a college campus (Vanderbilt University in Nashville, […]

Jun 2018

32 min 33 sec

This episode of ‘Humankind on Public Radio’ is part of a special series, ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’. For more episodes exploring the role of spiritual caregivers helping those in need, look for ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’ on your preferred podcast platform. The United States incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world. Federal […]

Jun 2018

34 min 44 sec

This episode of ‘Humankind on Public Radio’ is part of a special series, ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’. For more episodes exploring the role of spiritual caregivers helping those in need, look for ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’ on your preferred podcast platform. We visit a shelter at Seattle’s Mission for a rich exchange with a formerly […]

May 2018

33 min 34 sec

David Freudberg, host of Humankind public radio, announces a new podcast on the fascinating practice of “spiritual care”: stories of caregivers (chaplains, nurses, social workers, etc) who provide nonsectarian support for people in need and sometimes in distress.

Jan 2018

2 min

The new urban agriculture movement offers a way for us to re-connect our lives to nature.

Jan 2017

30 min 24 sec

Which foods have the largest global warming footprint—and which are most climate-friendly?

Jan 2017

30 min 25 sec

Public school cafeterias are changing! We visit two in New England where recent policies reflect much greater attention to healthy meal options than were typically available in the past.

Jan 2017

30 min 27 sec

Hundreds of colleges are now moving toward healthier, more climate-friendly food choices on campus.

Dec 2016

28 min 59 sec

A 15-minute stress reduction session to calm the body and mind.

Dec 2016

14 min 59 sec

Gas taxes you pay at the pump go into a huge pool of federal transportation funds. How should the money be divided up? Plus high-speed rail, pro and con.

Dec 2016

30 min 19 sec

What is the global warming footprint of cars vs. public transit? Story of a family seeking a low-carbon lifestyle. Also, hear the views of transportation experts, the president of AAA, and others.

Dec 2016

30 min 24 sec

Business people and environmentalists come together: improved public transportation helps to grow the economy, for lots of reasons. Bankers and the Sierra Club on the same side.

Nov 2016

30 min 19 sec

The story of a Virginia man who accepted his county’s “challenge” to go car-free for a month; plus voices of motorists filling up at the pump; bus riders in a low-income neighborhood and others.

Nov 2016

30 min 25 sec

Professors of medicine and nursing describe ways to treat the whole patient. And a look at medical use of acupuncture and meditation, for which evidence of effectiveness continues to grow.  

Nov 2016

30 min 15 sec

With diet a factor in ailments from diabetes to obesity, medical students at the country’s third largest campus attend cooking classes to learn how to help patients. And future MDs tell how they would heal our health system.

Nov 2016

30 min 25 sec

The problem of rushed medical visits, now standard nationwide, can strain both doctors and patients. The story of a Calif. woman who was misdiagnosed with MS, until a different doctor had the time to listen and discovered the error.

Nov 2016

30 min 19 sec

This look at the emergence of “integrative medicine” begins with a visit to America’s busiest trauma center, in Baltimore, where patients receive both emergency care and natural treatments to soothe the challenges of serious illness.

Oct 2016

29 min 49 sec

A lively profile of “Granny D,” (Mrs. Doris Haddock of Dublin, New Hampshire) famous for her 14-month walk across the United States to promote campaign finance reform. (Part 2)

Oct 2016

30 min 19 sec

A lively profile of “Granny D,” (Mrs. Doris Haddock of Dublin, New Hampshire) famous for her 14-month walk across the United States to promote campaign finance reform. (Part 1)

Oct 2016

30 min 25 sec

We hear from veterans who wrestle with healing from “moral injury” which occurs after a violation of conscience, based on events they witnessed or participated in while on military duty.

Sep 2016

30 min 25 sec

We hear profiles of American soldiers who, after military duty, returned home to face another battle—the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Sep 2016

30 min 24 sec

When we’re in a disagreement, it’s sometimes hard simply to listen to the other person. But skillful listening is a core practice of conflict resolution and, potentially, a doorway to improved relations and greater self-understanding.

Sep 2016

30 min 19 sec

A return visit to the Seeds of Peace summer camp, when teenagers from opposing sides of conflict regions, including the Middle East, arrive for amazing encounters of dialogue and fun.

Sep 2016

30 min 25 sec

Hear a diversity of voices and views on today’s debates over whether voters should be required to show ID at the polls. Some Americans believe that ensures honest elections; while others see it as an unnecessary obstacle to minority voters. And we consider whether people who’ve committed felonies should be allowed to vote, after serving […]

Sep 2016

30 min 25 sec

A fascinating history of the much-contested right to vote in America: from slaves freed after the Civil War, to women’s suffrage, to the civil rights movement. Included is the moving first-person story of a young woman who participated in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer project for voter registration of African Americans.

Aug 2016

30 min 41 sec

How can we avoid reacting furiously when someone provokes us? Hear a fascinating array of answers from theologian Frank Rogers, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rev. Betty Stookey and legendary folksinger Noel Paul Stookey, who performs.

Feb 2016

30 min 25 sec

In a world given to so much brutality, it would be easy to underestimate the impact of basic human compassion in actually resolving strife, yet even in tense environments, people are transformed by gestures of understanding.

Jan 2016

30 min 27 sec

We hear stories of peacemakers who draw from their diverse lives and religious traditions as a basis for breaking down barriers and promoting conflict resolution.

Jan 2016

30 min 28 sec

We look back on the stunning display of forgiveness and nonviolence by the grieving families and congregants of Mother Emanuel church, where a gunman murdered black worshipers. Roof was sentenced to death today by a federal jury.

Jan 2016

28 min 59 sec

In this episode of Humankind, hear nuclear experts pro and con, an emergency room physician, and a variety of voices telling the story of a controversial reactor in Vermont. Part 1 of 2.

Apr 2015

30 min 24 sec

This episode explores the very human level at which some nurses interact with patients at their most vulnerable moments. What spiritual questions about life and death arise in such encounters? We do nurses turn for their own support? And we look at the concept of “compassion fatigue” and ways nurses can maintain open-hearted care.

Mar 2015

30 min 19 sec

How do nurses, who are exposed to continual suffering by patients, manage to keep their hearts open and maintain compassion? Nurses describe the centrality of communication with patients and the skills of “active listening.” Nurses are regenerated by the bond of caring they build with patients in need.

Mar 2015

30 min 25 sec

Inspiring stories of how active nurses use self-care techniques that help them manage, and transcend, the stresses of their essential work life, both on the job and after hours.

Mar 2015

30 min 24 sec

A no-holds-barred look at the stressful conditions in which many nurses work: the long hours, the emotional toll, the rapid pace, and the way that technology and institutional practices can make it hard to form a caring bond with patients.

Mar 2015

30 min 27 sec