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It embraces a true land ethic, where the community includes the soil, waters, fauna and flora, and also people. The Model is based on 4 over-riding activities: conserving, living, ranching, and resourcing.


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Each of these is animated by an ethos of conservation, and built on a single foundation of core values, including connectivity, sustainability, innovation, partnership, science, and impact. The High Lonesome Model is, without a doubt, one of the most promising conservation models to emerge in the last 70 years. Right now, we are neither recognizing nor celebrating our inextricable connection. Cynicism and distrust have a stranglehold on our hearts.

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Addressing this crisis will require a tremendous amount of courage. My hope is that this research will shed light on why our quest for true belonging requires that we brave some serious wilderness. As people seek out the social settings they prefer—as they choose the group that makes them feel the most comfortable—the nation grows more politically segregated—and the benefit that ought to come with having a variety of opinions is lost to the righteousness that is the special entitlement of homogeneous groups.

We all live with the results: balkanized communities whose inhabitants find other Americans to be culturally incomprehensible; a growing intolerance for political differences that has made national consensus impossible; and politics so polarized that Congress is stymied and elections are no longer just contests over policies, but bitter choices between ways of life.

This sorting leads us to make assumptions about the people around us, which in turn fuels disconnection. My friend was hoping a book would help me understand his America.

High Lonesome () - IMDb

This kind of misperception is likely to be the case for the majority of people reading this—things are not that simple. My husband, Steve, is a pediatrician whose grandmother, a Mexican immigrant, sewed dresses at a factory in downtown San Antonio. The sorting we do to ourselves and to one another is, at best, unintentional and reflexive. At worst, it is stereotyping that dehumanizes.

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Unlike the sorted demographic of our country, my community remains pretty diverse, so the emails I received were from both sides of the aisle. I remember when the rhetoric was at an all-time high. This was around Thanksgiving, and the big joke was about buying plastic knives and forks for family dinners to avoid casualties during the holiday feast. More than family, our factions are where we belong.

It is the most racially and ethnically diverse research university in the United States. About 15 percent of the students said yes or pretty close. Some 85 percent of students described everything from mild embarrassment to mortification when it came to the politics of their family members.

High Lonesome (1950) - Western Movie, Full Length, in Color

But when I asked if they hated their grandparents or were willing to sever relationships with family members over the political and social divides, the answer was no across the board. It is, of course, more complicated than that. The answer to these questions is a resounding and surprising no. At the same time sorting is on the rise, so is loneliness. According to Bishop, in less than 25 percent of Americans lived in places where the presidential election was a landslide.

In other words, we lived next door to, and attended school and worshiped with, people who held different beliefs than ours. We were ideologically diverse. Most of us no longer even live near people who are all that different from us in terms of political and social beliefs. In , approximately 20 percent of Americans reported feeling lonely.

And this is not just a local issue. Rates of loneliness are rapidly increasing in countries around the world. Clearly, selecting like-minded friends and neighbors and separating ourselves as much as possible from people whom we think of as different from us has not delivered that deep sense of belonging that we are hardwired to crave.

To understand this, we have to better understand what it means to be lonely and how the loneliness epidemic is affecting the way we show up with one another. The neuroscience researcher John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago has been studying loneliness for over 20 years.

At the heart of loneliness is the absence of meaningful social interaction—an intimate relationship, friendships, family gatherings, or even community or work group connections. Being alone or inhabiting solitude can be a powerful and healing thing.

Her house gives me the lonely feeling. For that reason, I think places themselves, not just people, can hold those feelings of disconnection too. Sometimes a place can feel lonely because of some sense of a lack of closeness in the relationships that happen in that space. Other times, I think the inability to visualize yourself in connection with people you care about in a particular place makes a space feel lonely on its own. Our neural, hormonal, and genetic makeup support interdependence over independence. Whether we know it or not, our brain and biology have been shaped to favor this outcome.

Cacioppo explains how the biological machinery of our brains warns us when our ability to thrive and prosper is threatened. Hunger is a warning that our blood sugar is low and we need to eat. Thirst warns us that we need to drink to avoid dehydration.