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Stories of the Great Turning

Stories of the Great Turning

Peter Reason | Melanie Newman | Joanna Macy


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Book Details


This book tells stories of how ordinary people in their everyday lives have responded to the challenges of living more sustainably. In these difficult times, we need stories that engage, enchant and inspire. Most of all, we need stories of practical changes, of community action, of changing hearts and minds.

This is a book that takes the question, "What can I do?" and sets out to find some answers using one of our species' most vital skills: the ability to tell stories in which to spread knowledge, ideas, inspiration and hope.

Read about the transformation of wasteland and the installation of water power, stories about reducing consumption and creating sustainable business, stories from people changing how they live their lives and the inner transformations this demands.

The story behind this inspirational book is itself an interesting story. It developed partly out of a lecture given by Joanna Macy at the University of Bath in which she had spoken about ways in which we could participate in the Great Turning away from the Industrial Growth Society. Joanna contributes the foreword, outlining five principles that form guidelines for the book: come with gratitude, don't be afraid of the dark, dare to vision, link arms with others, and act your age, stepping forward on behalf of the Earth. After trawling through various networks, potential contributors were invited to two writing workshops, which I am sure must have significantly influenced the quality of the writing, a striking aspect of this collection. The editors were looking for practical stories to engage, enchant and inspire.
They have certainly succeeded in this quest, and any one of the stories could be used as an example. At the end, they reflect on the contributions in the light of Joanna Macy's principles outlined above. The honesty and integrity of the contributors shines through, and they have made challenging decisions that many of us might have avoided.
One of the most engaging stories is of a couple deciding to move smallholding in Cornwall as a way of devising a more sustainable livelihood. They undergo many trials and tribulations, mainly connected with their livestock, but all this is recounted with delightful humour. Another story relates the persistence required to create a community garden and get past the regulations involved. Still others find themselves changing identity and career in order to be true to themselves. In every case, an inner transformation precedes the outer manifestation in action. The book shows that we can do something significant if we choose.

David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network Review
The Great Turning ... is the essential adventure of our time.
Joanna Macy, author, Coming Back to Life
All sorts of people from a rich variety of faiths and philosophies, have collaborated in this beautifully written anthology of prose and poetry to tell their inspiring stories of revolution: a turning away from a society dominated by the quest for economic growth, to one committed to justice and sustainability, a turning towards human flourishing and the well-being of all God's earth, a turning from a tired and destructive way of living to an unknown, but exciting and collaborative future.
David Atkinson, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Southwark, formerly Bishop of Thetford
A treasure of transformative tales told by grass roots activists.
Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine
History tells us about our past. Stories tell us about our future. These very human testimonies from ordinary yet extraordinary people will help to chart the paths.
Alastair McIntosh, author of Soil & Soul

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Stories of the Great Turning, edited by Peter Reason & Melanie Newman 1
Playing Our Part in the Great Turning – Joanna Macy 5
The Story of the Book – Peter Reason & Melanie Newman 9
1. What Place is This? Story of a Garden – Annie Davy 15
2. Finding My Place in the Great Turning – Kirsti Norris 27
3. How to Build a Lifeboat – Celia Sousek 37
4. Knickers to That! – Emma Kidd 47
5. Material Girl Sees the Flaw – Christine Bone 57
6. I Don’t Want to be a Passenger in Life – Johannes Moeller 67
7. A Journey to the Heart – Patrick Andrews 75
8. The Truth Mandala – Clare Power 85
Great Turning Artful Inquiry – James Aldridge, Chris Seeley & Kathy Skerritt 95
Cathy Fitzgerald 97
Nika Newcomb Quirk 99
Liesel Beukes 101
Claire-Lilith Suscens 103
Debbie Warrener 105
Sophie Jane Twiss 107
Merry Crowson 109
Siobhan Soraghan 111
Ruth Ben-Tovim 113
Jo Crowson 115
Karen Dodd 117
9. Leaping Aboard: Onshore Volunteer Work with Sea Shepherd – Elizabeth Claire Alberts 119
10. Water Power – Gil Chambers 129
11. The Web of Life Community Art Project – Helen Moore 137
12. Discovering that We Live in an Ancient and Beautiful Universe – Helena Kettleborough & Nora Kettleborough 149
13. Cabbages & Cranes: Weaving Together People and Possibility – Jane Riddiford with Gabrielle Harding, Lilienne Isebor,Toyosi Adebenojo & Silvia Pedretti 159
14. The Dignity of Difference – June Boyce-Tillman 169
15. Lost in Transition – Nathan Baranowski & Iva Carrdus 179
16. Ghdamajori: Migration, work and our horizons of care – Rupesh Shah 189
Drawing Out Some Threads – Peter Reason & Melanie Newman 199
Contributors 208