Home Featured Review The Collegiate’s Q&A with Mary Pipher, author of ‘The Green Boat’

The Collegiate’s Q&A with Mary Pipher, author of ‘The Green Boat’


By Brittany Miller – Collegiate Staff

21-9781594485855_large_The_Green_BoatAfter reviewing “The Green Boat,” I decided to create a list of questions for author Mary Pipher regarding her book, her journey and wisdom to pass onto future generations. I managed to contact Pipher via email and gather her responses to the following questions.

You mention in the beginning of your book that your “news junkie” friends no longer read the news, and those who liked political conversations avoided said discussions altogether. Were these the people you had in mind as your target audience?

My target audience was anyone who is open-minded about the facts and curious about their own and the culture’s reaction to these facts.

How does “The Green Boat” differ from “Reviving Ophelia” when it came to the message you wanted to spread to your audience?

Both books are nonfiction, but the topics are completely different. My goals were the same however, in that I always try to help people think clearly, act intentionally and feel more hopeful.

Do you think we can change the world with just courage and trust? Do we just need to change our perception of our surroundings?

This question is difficult to answer because it is forced choice. I don’t actually think what either sentence suggests. My argument is that whether or not we can change the world, acting as if we can gives us hope. Also, unless we act, we have no possibility of changing anything.

You mentioned life in the 1950’s and compared it to life now. What’s the biggest change you see in the world today? In the people?

People move much more quickly now. Their lives are more stressful.

Maslow created the theory that we must have the basic needs (water, food) before needs such as love and respect. You argued against this theory, saying we cannot be happy without love. Why?

My own experience is that people can live quite a long time without food and many other basic needs being met. However, once they lose hope, they are not able to survive.

Your mentor Dr. Jim Cole is mentioned in many of your publications. Where do you think his mentoring and/or lessons came into play when writing “The Green Boat”?

Dr. Jim Cole believed that it was all of our responsibility to take care of the people and the places around us. He worked for this all of his life and he taught others to do the same.

You and your husband Jim came up with the title “The Green Boat” as a representation of your home. What were other title ideas that crossed your minds?

We only had one idea for our home–the green boat.

What advice do you give to future generations when it comes to creating a better world?

My idea about how to be helpful is the same for people of all ages – care about something, educate yourself, find a group of people to support you as you work to improve the situation, and keep working.

Do you believe we can fix the world if we start paying closer attention to it and those who live in it?

I can’t answer that last question. Or rather, that is an incomplete idea to me. I think there are a 100,000 ways to fix the world, and they all began with paying attention, but that is not enough. Action must follow attention.

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