Friday, July 27, 2018

Meet Mr. Wen Stephenson, a committed American radical leftwing fighter for ''climate justice,'' with an important book out and speaking engagements on YouTube archives

Meet Mr. Wen Stephenson, a committed American radical leftwing fighter for ''climate justice,'' with an important book out in 2016 and speaking engagements on YouTube archives:

''What We're Fighting for Now Is Each Other: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Climate Justice'' 


Wendell is his given name. [I asked and he told me.] It's actually Oliver Wendell, Jr. 

His grandparents named his father Oliver Wendell (apparently after the Justice of the Supreme Court ...Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (March 8, 1841 – March 6, 1935) was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932, and as Acting Chief Justice of the United States from January–February 1930. 

Wen's grandparents were sharecroppers and day laborers in northeast Texas. 

His family (on both sides) came from rural, small-town, poor/working-class Texas, but Wen was born in 1968 in Southern California, went to high school there, studied hard, excelled, and went on to Harvard University in 1986, graduating in the class of 1990.

As he recounts in his writings online, Wen was raised in a conservative Christian family -- Republican -- but after he left home in 1996, he left all that far behind in his youth when he went to college in Boston, travelled to India and Thailand after college with a campus pal as backpackers and became a well-known Boston area print and radio and TV journalist. 

His byline is and always has been Wen Stephenson.

Now as a middle-aged adult living in the Boston area, Wen is a Zen Buddhist (with 12 years daily practice) and an ecumenical/interfaith progressive Christian who regularly attends local church services with his wife and two children on Sundays.

Fiona Bristol Tingley, the daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. C. Nicholas Tingley of
Greenwich, Connecticut, was married
there yesterday to Oliver Wendell Stephenson Jr.,
the son of Wendell Stephenson of Los Angeles
 and Pat Stephenson of Dana Point,
California. The Reverend Richard
F. Van Wely performed the ceremony at
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.
[It was reported in 1992 that] Mrs. Stephenson,
who is 24 years old, graduated from
Harvard University and is to
be a graduate business student at
Northwestern University this fall.
Her father is a marketing adviser
with Exxon Company International
in Florham Park, New Jersey.
[It was also reported in 1992 that] Mr. Stephenson, also 24 
and a Harvard graduate, is known as Wen. 
He is to become a graduate student in English 
at the University of Chicago this fall. 
His father is the founder and chief executive 
of Stephenson Financial Services in Los Angeles.


What We're Fighting for Now Is Each Other: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Climate Justice 

An urgent, on-the-ground look at some of the “new American radicals” who have laid everything on the line to build a stronger climate justice movement

The science is clear: catastrophic climate change, by any humane definition, is upon us. At the same time, the fossil-fuel industry has doubled down, economically and politically, on business as usual. We face an unprecedented situation—a radical situation. As an individual of conscience, how will you respond?

In 2010, journalist Wen Stephenson woke up to the true scale and urgency of the catastrophe bearing down on humanity, starting with the poorest and most vulnerable everywhere, and confronted what he calls “the spiritual crisis at the heart of the climate crisis.” Inspired by others who refused to retreat into various forms of denial and fatalism, he walked away from his career in mainstream media and became an activist, joining those working to build a transformative movement for climate justice in America.

In What We’re Fighting for Now Is Each Other, Stephenson tells his own story and offers an up-close, on-the-ground look at some of the remarkable and courageous people—those he calls “new American radicals”—who have laid everything on the line to build and inspire this fast-growing movement: old-school environmentalists and young climate-justice organizers, frontline community leaders and Texas tar-sands blockaders, Quakers and college students, evangelicals and Occupiers. Most important, Stephenson pushes beyond easy labels to understand who these people really are, what drives them, and what they’re ultimately fighting for. He argues that the movement is less like environmentalism as we know it and more like the great human-rights and social-justice struggles of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from abolitionism to civil rights. It’s a movement for human solidarity.

This is a fiercely urgent and profoundly spiritual journey into the climate-justice movement at a critical moment—in search of what climate justice, at this late hour, might yet mean.


As a longtime editor, writer, and producer in national media, I've worked across print, web, radio, and television platforms for two decades.

From 1994 to 2001, I was an editor at The Atlantic Monthly, where I co-created and served as editorial director of the magazine’s acclaimed digital edition. I went on to co-edit PBS, run/edit The Boston Globe's Sunday "Ideas" section, and run/produce NPR’s "On Point."

Now an independent journalist and climate activist, I'm a contributing writer for The Nation and the author of "What We're Fighting for Now Is Each Other: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Climate Justice," forthcoming from Beacon Press in October 2015. I've written about the intersection of climate, culture and politics for The Nation, The Boston Phoenix, Grist, Slate, The New York Times Book Review, and The Boston Globe's Books and Opinion sections. Over the years I've also written for The Atlantic, The American Prospect, The Washington Monthly, Agni, Chicago Review, and elsewhere. 

As a volunteer activist, I helped launch the statewide grassroots network 350 Massachusetts ( in spring 2012 and I served on the volunteer board of Better Future Project, a Cambridge-based non-profit devoted to building the climate movement in New England and beyond. I also helped launch a Transition Town initiative where I live, working to address climate change and build resilience at the local community level.

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