Marc Ian Barasch
Marc Ian Barasch (born 1949) is a non-fiction author, film and television writer-producer, magazine editor, and environmental activist. Major books written by Barasch are The Healing Path (1992), Remarkable Recovery (1995), Healing Dreams (2001) and Field Notes on the Compassionate Life (2005). He has been an editor-in-chief of New Age Journal (which won a National Magazine Award and a Washington Monthly Award for Investigative Journalism under his tenure);  and an editor at Psychology Today (where he was a finalist for the PEN Award); and Natural Health. He has also done journalistic writing for Conde Nast publications on the arts and the environment. He is Founder and Executive Director of the Green World Campaign (2006–present).
As editor-in-chief of New Age Journal in the early 1980s, he was a spokesman for what demographer Paul Ray labelled "the Cultural Creatives." Barasch's cogent, critical, and not infrequently witty perspective influenced a movement which, ignored by mainstream media at the time, has become a driving force in American society. Barasch, a practicing Buddhist, spoke of an "emergent civilization" whose spiritual and environmental values would inform social, economic, and political practice. He radically revamped what had been an obscure, small-circulation magazine serving a parochial audience into a national publication that won a National Magazine Award and attracted a wide readership. At the same time, Barasch wrote skeptically of what he called "new-age Calvinism" and of what he viewed as the woolly-mindedness of some of his cohorts. Barasch went on to edit other national publications (Psychology Today, Natural Health) where he produced a noticeable tilt toward the interests and concerns of the "cultural creatives" (lately grouped under the marketing term,"LOHAS").
The Jungian psychoanalyst Claire Douglas, reviewing Barasch's book Healing Dreams in the Washington Post, cites "a poetic intensity" and "trail-blazing contributions to dream research." Barasch's bestselling study of spontaneous remission, Remarkable Recovery (with researcher Caryle Hirshberg) was the subject of a Newsweek article and garnered wide attention in the medical world. Israeli oncologist Dr. Moshe Frenkel of M.D. Anderson Hospital acknowledged the book as an impetus for a multi-institutional study of spontaneous remission and advocated its call for a Remarkable Recovery Registry. Barasch has participated in several international medical roundtables drawing upon this work, as well as his work championing a rigorous role for spirituality in the medical system. Barasch's Field Notes on the Compassionate Life  a work of literary nonfiction blending scientific findings on altruism and empathy with psychology, spirituality, and a first-person exploration of human potential, attracted the support of figures like South African Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Following its publication in 2005, Barasch lectured extensively around the U.S. calling for compassion and empathy to be "central organizing principles for civic life." He has advocated the practice of compassion as the connecting thread of the faith traditions, which he first articulated in a 2006 keynote address at the influential Episcopal Servant Leadership retreat in Asheville, N.C. He is also credited with helping to incept and catalyze the "Compassionate Cities" movement. The book was re-published in 2009 in paperback as The Compassionate Life.
In broadcast media, Barasch's script for a 1992 global television special "One Child, One Voice" addressed world environmental issues with a blunt urgency. When advertisers shunned it, maverick broadcaster Ted Turner distributed the show minus commercials to 160-odd countries, appending his own on-camera appeal, and a 2002 re-edited broadcast won an Emmy Award. Barasch has executive produced TV specials for the Discovery Channel  and England's Channel Four, and developed film projects at Columbia Pictures. He is credited as a founding producer of the National Public Radio Show "E-Town" (sometimes called the "environmental Prairie Home Companion"). In 2005, he created a short-lived partnership with Fred Fuchs, former head of Francis Coppola's American Zoetrope Studio and former arts and entertainment chief for the Canadian Broadcasting company. Barasch has also produced film shorts to promote environmental causes.
In 2006, Barasch founded the Green World Campaign, a nonprofit whose stated mission is restoring the ecology and economy of struggling villages living on degraded land. With its slogan, "ReGreen the World," the organization has proposed massive regeneration of degraded woodland landscapes and anthropogenic savannah through holistic agroforestry, eco-agriculture, and afforestation/reforestation (A/R). It has connected donors and the public to grassroots efforts, particularly tree-planting, with interactive technology and media-driven campaigns. Barasch, who has referred to his strategy as "green compassion," has focused on planting multi-purpose trees (MPTs) to address a synergistic grab-bag of issues: restoration of indigenous ecology, poverty, sustainable rural economy, soil remediation, cultural preservation, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. (Such an approach has lately become known by the term-of-art, "landscape restoration," with some 1.6 billion hectares worldwide deemed suitable by the U.N.) The first pilot program was in Ethiopia's Gurage Zone, and work then expanded to Ethiopia's Menegasha-Suba forest; Mexico's San Juan Atzingo forest; Orissa, India; Mindanao, Philippines; Kenya's Great Lakes region; and Bulumbi, Uganda. In 2011, a Green World Campaign office opened in Mombasa, Kenya, the country where it now focuses its work. The group evolved what it calls "holistic low-carbon development pathways" for struggling rural communities including Green World Schools programs (now numbering 85 in Kenya; co-management of Kenya's 15,000-acre Rumuruti Forest with an association of 5000 smallholder farmers; "clean" cookstoves (low-emissions, low fuel);"green" charcoal from agricultural waste (with the M.I.T.-based group Takachar); and a complementary currency project, Eco-Pesa, in Kenya's Kongowea slums. Barasch has served on the advisory committee of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat for the International Year of Forests 2011.
In 2012, a Green World Campaign project was begun in Miyani, Kenya to plant drought-tolerant moringa trees, which some claim is the world's most nutrient-dense plant, for soil restoration, food security,and climate change adaptation. This led to a partnership with the Kenyan Red Cross, and a village-based women's social enterprise pressing seed-oil for local use in cooking and body-care. Barasch coined the term "regenerative enterprise" to describe a proposed business of commodities produced from moringa seed oil and high-protein leaf powder. Barasch conceived and launched the Green World Children's Choirs in 2012, collaboarting with Disney and Broadway composer Alan Menken, Broadway lyricist Lynne Ahrens, and educator Yunus Sola of the Abraham's Path Initiative. The first choir was drawn from Malaysia's Tenby Schools. In 2013, Green World Schools programs began to incorporate peace and conflict resolution, which expanded into a "Trees for Peace" movement initiated by GWC-Kenya country director Will Ruddick to avert violence in the Kenyan elections. This was joined by youth organizations like the Kenyan Scouts and the national Wildlife Clubs. It led to a new project, funded by Walt Disney Company Foundation, to restore Kenya's Pungu Watershed. In 2013, Barasch began an outreach to global faith communities under the slogan, "Plant a seed of spirit in the soil of the world," in partnership with Dirk Ficca, former director of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions.
Barasch designed an interactive art installation for public participation in "re-greening the world" for a Google-sponsored exhibit at New York's Chelsea Art Museum and the Streaming Museum (a virtual consortium of public art groups in 23 global cities focused on urban media facades). The project, originally titled "Mission to Earth," culminated in an interactive motion graphics display, running on a dozen screens in New York's Time Square on Earth Day, 2011. The project spread widely through social media, and received an International Green Award in London. It was subsequently adopted by pop star Jason Mraz, who integrated "Text TREE" and its "Treemometer" into his summer-fall, 2012 "Love is a Four Letter Word" tour. A popular lecturer and "thought-leader," he has appeared on TV shows like "Good Morning, America" and "Dateline," and made appearances at Art Center College of Design's Big Picture, Mindshare L.A. University of California’s Mind/SuperMind series,Oxford,T.E.D.-x, et al.
He had a co-starring role in a feature documentary by director Tom Shadyac ("Bruce Almighty," "Liar,Liar") entitled "I Am," a film based in part on Barasch's Field Notes on the Compassionate Life, and which was theatrically released in 70 U.S. venues to mostly favorable reviews.
Barasch grew up in New Rochelle, New York and is the son of well-known film and television writer/producer Norman Barasch. He was educated at Yale University, where he studied literature, psychology, anthropology, and film. He was a founding member of the psychology department at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, the first accredited Buddhist-established university in the U.S. He has served on the faculty of the Institute for Religion and Health (Houston, TX), and on a white paper advisory panel at George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences that was tasked with advising the National Institutes of Health on integrating "spirituality" into the health care system.
A trained musician, he has played and recorded with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a "lit-rock" band consisting of authors Amy Tan, Stephen King, Maya Angelou, and others. He has collaborated as a lyricist with Grammy and Academy Award-winner Alan Menken, composer of "Beauty and the Beast,""Little Mermaid," "Aladdin," et al., with whom he continues to work on the international Green World Children's Choirs to engage global youth in treeplanting efforts.
- Barasch, Marc Ian (1983, 1984). The Little Black Book of Atomic War. HarperCollins (hardback), Dell/Doubleday (paperback). ISBN 978-0-207-14983-2, ISBN 0-207-14983-6
- Barasch, Marc Ian (1994). The Healing Path: A Soul Approach to Illness. Tarcher. ISBN 0-87477-743-7, ISBN 0-14-019486-X
- Barasch, Marc Ian (1995). Remarkable Recovery. Riverhead. ISBN 1-57322-000-0, ISBN 1-57322-530-4
- Barasch, Marc Ian (2000). Healing Dreams: Exploring the Dreams That Can Transform Your Life. Riverhead. ISBN 1-57322-167-8, ISBN 1-57322-897-4
- Barasch, Marc Ian (2005). Field Notes on the Compassionate Life: A Search for the Soul of Kindness. Rodale Books. ISBN 1-57954-711-7
- Barasch, Marc Ian (2009). The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness (revised paperback edition of Field Notes on the Compassionate Life). Berrett-Koehler.ISBN 9781576757567
- "Welcome to the Mind-Body Revolution," July/August 1993, http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19930701-000031.html; "A Psychology of the Miraculous," March/April 1994, http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19940301-000026.html
- Barasch,Marc Ian, "Searching for the Heart of Compassion," The Best Buddhist Writing 2006, ed. Melvin McLeod (Boston: Shambhala Books, 2006)
- Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, see www.lohas.com
- Washington Post Book Review, January 7, 2001
- "Remarkable Recoveries: Research and Practice from a Patient's Perspective," Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America, Volume 22, Issue 4, Pages 755-766. See http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0889858808000658
- "Exceptional Survivors in Cancer", Brussels, Belgium, April 28, 2011.
- In September, 2013, Barasch joined a national leadership panel convened by George Washington University Institute of Spirituality and Healthcare and Caritas international to recommend standards and strategies in research, clinical care, education, community engagement, communications, and policy for implementation into the national and global health system.
- In May, 2005, Barasch's friend Jon Ramer convened a meeting of several dozen civic leaders in Seattle to hear Barasch present a proposal to introduce empathy and compassion as "organizing principles" in civic institutional life (e.g., "restorative justice"). Ramer, a dynamic community organizer, online innovator, and interfaith leader, was inspired to create the Compassionate Action Network (CAN), and helped found the Campaign for Compassionate Cities, drawing upon the Charter for Compassion.
- See http://www.compassionatelife.com, http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/64/marc-ian-barasch/, and http://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/family-matters-1/dda2f90b3dad628e780bcb5ed36f0b76
- Outstanding Achievement: Television Programming Excellence Public Affairs Program, 2003,National Academy of Arts and Television Sciences SouthEast, http://www.natassoutheast.tv/NATAS/Emmy2003Winners.html
- On Earth, Spring, 2008, "How to Plant Trees," http://www.onearth.org/article/how-to-plant-trees
- See http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=13747
- Barasch, M., & Fedorova, K. (2011). Mission to Earth: Planetary proprioception and the cyber-sublime. In J. J. Copeland (Ed.), The Projected and Prophetic: Humanity in cyberculture, cyberspace, and science fiction (pp. 89–98). Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press. Retrieved from https://www.interdisciplinarypress.net/my-cart/ebooks/ethos-and-modern-life/the-projected-and-prophetic
- July 16, 2009 http://www.mindshare.la/archive
- Yale Alumni Magazine, May, 2001, review of Healing Dreams under "Class of '71"
- "Stranger Than Fiction," Don't Quit Your Day Job Records, http://www.dqydj.com/prod15.htm