Our Roots Grow Deep

When I moved to Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley in 1998, I'd certainly heard of Rodale, the renowned publisher of green and healthy lifestyle...

When I moved to Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley in 1998, I'd certainly heard of Rodale, the renowned publisher of green and healthy lifestyle magazines (Organic Gardening, Prevention, Bicycling) and sustainable-living books (An Inconvenient Truth, The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies). But I never imagined the impact the company would ultimately have on my life - and clearly had no clue of its granddaddy status among organic-lovers and eco-aficionados.In short order, I began witnessing Rodale's broad reach in this region - everything from the Rodale Institute (a model 333-acre organic research farm) to the many friends, neighbors and fellow environmentalists employed as Rodale writers and editors. I, too, eventually freelanced there, co-writing two health books.Thus, I was drawn to Daniel Gross' new book, Our Roots Grow Deep: The Story of Rodale. For someone with Rodale ties, this photo-packed look inside the iconic family owned publisher and its part in birthing the modern American sustainability movement is sure to fascinate - a Rodale devotee's dream-come-true, packaged in attractive coffee-table style.Granted, at 288 pages, non-Rodalephiles may suffer information-overload, not to mention sticker-shock at the hefty $50 price tag. But one aspect makes this worthwhile reading for anyone, and that's the intoxicating story of J.I. (Jerome Irving) Rodale, who started it all, and his son, Robert. In that sense, this is an engrossing account of the U.S. organic/natural-living movement's rise from fringe to mainstream. Lessons abound for anyone laboring to bring green change. "Stick to a thing for a long time," J.I. famously said, "and you'll make it work."Which is exactly what he did. Restless and intensely curious about the world beyond Manhattan's Lower East Side where he was born in 1898, J.I. changed his name to Rodale (from Cohen) and moved with his wife, Anna, to rural Emmaus, Penn., where they bought a 63-acre farm in 1940 and put his then-offbeat theories on chemical-free food and healthy living (influenced by the work of trailblazing British agriculturist Sir Albert Howard) into practice.Called both a quack and visionary, J.I. also began publishing magazines and books extolling his contention that organic food and natural health are good for humans and the planet. Organic Farming and Gardening (later Organic Gardening) debuted in 1942, and Prevention hit in 1950. By the time J.I. died of a heart attack in 1971 while taping The Dick Cavett Show, the '60s and '70s counterculture had caught up.Robert Rodale, who'd been quietly running the company alongside his father, led it into profitability and prominence over the next two decades. Ultimately, Robert, an Olympic skeet shooter, went global with his father's message, broadening the definition of "organic lifestyle" to encompass his own visionary passions for outdoor fitness and "regenerative agriculture" (a precursor to the idea of sustainable communities).After his death in a 1990 car accident, Robert's widow, Ardath, took over, and recently Maria Rodale, their daughter, was named CEO.If you're sniffing for Rodale dirt, you won't find much in this company-published tome. The growing pains are mostly burnished rose-colored (recent ones aren't even mentioned). Still, you can't deny Rodale's towering contribution to green, healthy living. In that regard, this is must-reading for anyone curious about how it all began.Sidney Stevens, a regular contributor to the Mother Nature Network, writes from Pennsylvania.Related Articles on Mother Nature Network:Photo courtesy of Rodale

Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.