Yeah, we know it. Oceans are acidifying because of our carbon dioxide emissions and this has contributed to the Amazon rainforest being destroyed rapidly! There was a 278% increase in deforestation from July last year to July this year, followed by criminal fires in October, an explosion out of control and hundreds of species becoming extinct daily around the world! If we continue to consume plastic the way we do, there will be more plastic than marine life in the oceans by 2050 – that’s just 30 years. As Australia's vehicle emissions rise, so does the deforestation rates.
Our attitudes as humanity have quickly led us to what scientists claim as the sixth mass extinction in the planet's history, with an aggravating factor: this is the only time that a mass extinction is caused by humans, putting at risk our very existence. Well, two paragraphs about what’s going on and it does not feel good, does it? This is the exact point of this text, dear reader.
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We are alive here on Earth during this time and space. Everything that is occurring in the world impacts on us unitedly, including all the other species. Many people feel the urge to act and do something about it. At the same time, all this negative but realistic news has a negative effect on our phycological health. Amid all this, we all have a role to play and our own lives to take care of. So, how do we get through our personal and collective challenges without suffering a burnout?
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Let me introduce to you two very special people that have pondered this very question and have come to a conclusion: Meet Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone. Joanna is an ecophilosopher, a scholar of Buddhism, general systems of theory and deep ecology. This amazing North American woman is 91 years old and she’s been leading workshops to empower change makers all over the world for the last 41 years! Chris is a former Senior Teaching Fellow at Bristol University Medical School, England. He trains health professionals in behavioural medicine and gives courses exploring the psychological dimensions of planetary crisis. Both have written a book called “Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy”, easily found online.
Photo credit: Joanna Macy's personal archive
This book is for all of those who actually see what is happening in the world and want to do something about it. It helps by empowering people. It teaches that the first step is to take care of one’s self, then, it is to face what we feel and empower ourselves enough to recognise how we can use our talents and resources to become united with like-minded people. This will enable us to create a true pacific revolution, transitioning from business as usual, self-centered individualistic society to an inclusive, collective, compassionate and sustainable one.
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“Books about social and ecological change too often leave out a vital component: how do we change ourselves so that we are strong enough to fully contribute to this great shift? “Active Hope” fills this gap beautifully, guiding readers on a journey of gratitude, grief, interconnection and, ultimately, transformation”, says Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine.
This book is a practical and inspirational answer to all of us who dream about a better world. “Active Hope” is not wishful thinking. “Active Hope” is not waiting to be rescued by the Lone Ranger or by some savior. “Active Hope” is waking up to the beauty of life on whose behalf we can act”, says the begining of chapter two.
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Do you dream about creating a movement for abandoned children? Do you work for an organisation that defends nature’s rights? Do you want to do something to support indigenous peoples from Australia but don’t know where to start? Do you want to write a book or create a Youtube channel to share your inspirations? Do you want to find a job in a big company to implement a sustainability plan? In short: do you want to make a change and somehow sow good seeds that will transform this world for the better, for the actual benefit of our future generations? If so, this book, dear reader, is for you.