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Stories of the Great Turning


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Stories of how ordinary people have taken up the challenge of sustainable living and transformed their lives

Table of Contents

Foreword. Joanna Macy. Introduction. Peter Reason & Melanie Newman. 1. What Place is This? Story of a Garden. Annie Davy. 2. Finding My Place in the Great Turning. Kirsti Norris. 3. How to Build a Lifeboat. Celia Sousek. 4. Knickers to That!. Emma Kidd. 5. Material Girl Sees the Flaw. Christine Bone. 6. I Don't Want to be a Passenger in Life. Johannes Moeller. 7. A Journey to the Heart. Patrick Andrews. 8. The Truth Mandala. Claire Power. 9. Leaping Aboard: Onshore Volunteer Work with Sea Shepherd. Elizabeth Claire Alberts. 10. Water Power. Gil Chambers. 11. The Web of Life Community Art Project. Helen Moore. 12. Discovering that We Live in an Ancient and Beautiful Universe. Helena Kettleborough & Nora Kettleborough. 13. Cabbages & Cranes: Weaving Together People and Possibility. Jane Riddiford & Global Generation. 14. The Dignity of Difference. June Boyce-Tillman. 15. Lost in Transition. Nathan Baranowski & Iva Carrdus. 16. Ghdamajori: Migration, Work and our Horizons of Care. Rupesh Shah. Drawing Out Some Threads. Peter Reason & Melanie Newman.

About the Author

Peter Reason is Emeritus Professor at the University of Bath where, until 2009, he taught and led research in the field of sustainability. He now focuses on nature writing for an ecology in crisis. Melanie Newman used to work in business and now teaches creative writing at the University of Winchester. She takes a special interest in stories exploring our relationship with the natural world.


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
A treasure of transformative tales told by grass roots activists. -- Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine
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
The Great Turning ... is the essential adventure of our time. -- Joanna Macy, author, Coming Back to Life

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

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