Media That Inspires

This was an interview I did last month on Participant Media’s blog TakePart.com.  You can find more in their Media That Matters section.

“Media That Inspires” is an ongoing conversation at TakePart that recognizes the power that films, books, and other media have to compel change and prompt action. TakePart is asking people who make a difference every day about the works that have inspired them.


Diane Hatz co-founded and is the director of The Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming. The Institute is a creative action tank working to shift the U.S. to a regional sustainable food system where healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all.  Her past work includes founding and directing the consumer education program,Sustainable Table, executive producing The Meatrix animated movies on factory farming and co-founding and directing Eat Well Guide, an online sustainable food directory.

Q: Which film or book was a wake-up call and made you truly aware of an issue?

A:When I was fairly young, an early teen, To Kill a Mockingbird opened my eyes to prejudice, racism and the human condition. I think it was the first time I was able to see beyond my little suburban bubble and into another world that was made incredibly real through Lee’s writing. Everyone should read this book at least once in their life—it is simply one of the best books ever written. Another book is George Orwell’s 1984it was also an eye opener, especially having read it before 1984, and introduced me to Big Brother and corporate/government control.

Q: Which film or book inspired you to take action and get involved in an issue?


A:I didn’t realize it at the time, but Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring had a huge impact on me subconsciously and is one of the reasons why years later I gravitated towards environmentalism, and eventually food issues, and made this type of work my career.

Q:  Is there a book or film out right now that particularly inspires you?

A: Dan Kessler’s The End of Overeating is a must read for anyone interested in food and why we have an obesity problem. It turns out our brains are hard wired for salt, fat and sugar, and we essentially get addicted to them. It inspires me because once you understand a problem, you can find a solution.

Q: What is your favorite escape and guilty pleasure?

A: I find The Daily Show and The Colbert Report simply pleasures, so my guilty pleasure would probably be The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. He’s Monty Python in a suit, and is the only comedian who can make me guffaw at a TV screen. I’ve also been known to watch sci-fi DVDs like X-Files and Star Trek but probably the most guilty, red-in-the-face pleasures are good schlocky, bestselling paperbacks and movies when I need to escape, and trashy entertainment magazines while flying.

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