Marc Ian Barasch

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 at New Age Journal (which won a National Magazine Award and a Washington Monthly Award for Investigative Journalism under his tenure); Psychology Today[1] (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[2] and the environment.[3] He is founder and C.E.O. of the Green World Campaign[4] (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,[5] 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").[6]

The Jungian psychoanalyst Claire Douglas, reviewing Barasch's book Healing Dreams in the Washington Post,[7] 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[8] and garnered wide attention in the medical world.[9] (E.g., oncologist Dr. Moshe Frenkel of M.D. Anderson Hospital has acknowledged the book as an impetus for a multi-institutional study of spontaneous remission[10] and a Remarkable Recovery Registry) Barasch's Field Notes on the Compassionate Life [1] 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 become "central organizing principles for civic life."[11] In a seminal talk at an Episcopal "servant leadership" retreat in Asheville where he and theologian Karen Armstrong were the featured speakers, he proposed a renewed emphasis on compassion as the linking point of all religions. The book was re-published in 2009 in paperback as The Compassionate Life.[12]

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 a regional Emmy Award,[13] and was nominated for a national Emmy Award. Barasch has executive produced TV specials for the Discovery Channel [14] and England's Channel Four, and developed film projects at Columbia Pictures. Barasch 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 media partnership with Fred Fuchs, former head of Francis Coppola's American Zoetrope Studio and arts and entertainment chief for the Canadian Broadcasting company) to produce entertainment with spiritual, cultural, and environmental values. Barasch has also produced film shorts to promote environmental causes.

In 2006, Barasch founded the Green World Campaign, a nonprofit whose stated mission is linking "holistic" development models like agroforestry with the broader environmental movement.[15] With its motto, "Re-Green the World," the organization has proposed a massive global afforestation effort of billions of trees, connecting donors to grassroots NGOs via media-driven, Web-based campaigns. Barasch, who in an interview called his strategy "green compassion,"[16] has focused the group's work on ecological restoration at a village level, 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. 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. Under the direction of a former Lawrence Livermore particle physicist and Peace Corps volunteer, Will Ruddick, and a Kenyan staff drawn from other NGOs, it has expanded its activities into a Green World Schools program; co-management of the 15,000-acre Rumuruti Forest; "clean" cookstoves (low-emissions, low fuel0; a complmentary currency project (Green World Credits); and a fledgling "for-benefit" business based on moringa trees and other indigenous herbs and crops. He serves on the advisory committee of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat for the International Year of Forests 2011.

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[17] and the Streaming Museum[18] (a virtual consortium of arts groups in 17 global cities). The project, originally titled "Mission to Earth," culminated in an interactive motion graphics display, "Text TREE," running on a dozen screens in New York's Time Square on Earth Day. He has presented at Art Center College of Design's Big Picture,[19] Oxford’s Visions of Humanity, Mindshare L.A.[20][21] University of California’s Mind/SuperMind series, et. al.

Barasch had a prominent role in a feature documentary by director Tom Shadyac ("Bruce Almighty," "Liar,Liar") entitled "I Am," a film significantly inspired by 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,[22] 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. A trained musician, he has played and recorded with the Rock Bottom Remainders,[23] 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" et al.



  1. ^ "Welcome to the Mind-Body Revolution," July/August 1993,; "A Psychology of the Miraculous," March/April 1994,
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Barasch,Marc Ian, "Searching for the Heart of Compassion," The Best Buddhist Writing 2006, ed. Melvin McLeod (Boston: Shambhala Books, 2006)
  6. ^ Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, see
  7. ^ Washington Post Book Review, January 7, 2001
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Remarkable Recoveries: Research and Practice from a Patient's Perspective," Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America, Volume 22, Issue 4, Pages 755-766. See
  10. ^
  11. ^ In May, 2005, Barasch's friend Jon Ramer orchestrated a meeting of twenty "network of networks" leaders in Seattle to hear Barasch's ideas about empathy in the practice of civitas and in the life of institutions. Ramer, a dynamic community organizer, online innovator, and leader in the interspiritual movement, later founded the Compassionate Action Network (CAN), and helped found the Campaign for Compassionate Cities (Seattle being the first to so declare itself in April, 2010), drawing upon the Charter for Compassion produced by Karen Armstrong.
  12. ^ See,, and
  13. ^ Outstanding Achievement: Television Programming Excellence Public Affairs Program, 2003,National Academy of Arts and Television Sciences SouthEast,
  14. ^
  15. ^ On Earth, Spring, 2008, "How to Plant Trees,"
  16. ^ See
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ July 16, 2009
  21. ^
  22. ^ Yale Alumni Magazine, May, 2001, review of Healing Dreams under "Class of '71"
  23. ^ "Stranger Than Fiction," Don't Quit Your Day Job Records,

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