We are beset by problems.

Some are global. Some are uniquely local. Some are universally acknowledged. Some are disputed. Some have been around as long as our species. Some are very new.

A farmer in Japan tends to biwa, or loquat, in the prefecture of Chiba. Hawaii could learn a lot from Japan when it comes to agriculture, says Ken Love, one of the first guests on Civil Beat’s new show. Courtesy: Ken Love

Give yourself a couple of minutes and you can likely list dozens of problems. They’re swirling around in our minds these days: Systemic racism. Systemic greed. Environmental destruction. Authoritarianism. Land monopolization. Extreme economic inequity. Too many people who can’t afford shelter. Unhealthy food everywhere. A broken criminal justice system. Hypocrisy. Hegemony. The patriarchy. The pandemic.

And that’s just what’s already here. Add the threats that lurk on the edges of our minds: A hurricane. A tsunami. The virus mutating into something much more deadly. A new virus. Famine. Nuclear war.

In the midst of it all, we are, each one of us, still so very human. The forces that elevate us remain within us, freely available. They have not been and cannot be commodified. Ingenuity. Compassion. Creativity. Collaboration. The ability to imagine. The ability to love. These are the birthrights of our species. They belong to each and every one of us.

Civil Beat’s IDEAS section exists within that reality. We intend it to be a place where you can be inspired, reassured, provoked. Where you can find innovation and goodness along with rigorous and honest thinking.

In our Sunday Essays section and in Civil Beat IDEAS Live, a new Facebook Live show we’re beginning Wednesday, we aim to offer you ideas that will stimulate and energize you and direct you forward with a greater sense of possibility, community and hope. We intend to offer the voices of people who are bringing experience, reasoning and reflection to our problems and who are offering specific, tangible solutions.

Kona Farmer Nancy Redfeather will be a guest on the first episode of Civil Beat IDEAS Live. 

Things in our world are changing all the time. Sometimes the scale of that change is geologic. Sometimes it’s instantaneous. Sometimes a change that seems good turns out to be bad. Sometimes it’s the other way around.

Sometimes our ability to influence change for the better seems clear and immediate. Other times change seems impossible and everything seems hopeless.

But it’s not. Each one of us always has it within ourselves to pay attention deeply, keep an open mind and be willing to act and grow. We have models to inspire us all around, people who made the world a better place by taking on a regime, inventing a new medicine, espousing a new philosophy, loving their neighbors as themselves, planting trees — people who took action in service of good.

Ken Love, head of Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, will also be on our inaugural show. 

Civil Beat’s IDEAS section is less than a year old. Since it began, it has offered ideas about, among other things, health care, tourism, education, agriculture, the economy. In the weeks ahead, there will be ideas about energy, housing, government, the justice system. The section is still a work in progress but some things about it are certain, most of all this:

It exists to offer solid antidotes to those problems swirling around in your mind.

We hope you’ll join us Wednesday at 2 p.m. for our inaugural episode of Civil Beat IDEAS Live, which will feature a conversation with longtime Kona farmers Nancy Redfeather and Ken Love, both of whom recently wrote essays for the IDEAS section. The discussion will be livestreamed on our Facebook page and it will be open to your questions. Please join us.

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