The Great Turning

The “Great Turning” refers to the transition and transformation from the ideologies of the industrial age to the new perspectives of respect for the planet, sustainability of the biosphere, and a sense of participation and connectedness with our habitat. This new philosophy is manifested in three main areas of focus including interventions to slow the pace of environmental degradation, “analysis of the structural causes and creation of structural alternatives and a fundamental shift in worldview and values.” (Joanna R. Macy and Molly Young Brown, p. 17). Many people are currently involved in these endeavors and global consciousness is steadily increasing as to the urgency of environmental concerns as well as needed action on a wide-scale basis.

Holding Actions are the tangible interventions that are action oriented such as blockades, boycotts, civil disobedience and any other interventions that go against unfriendly environmental practices. 

Examples of holding actions include:

Being aware of and documenting the effects of industry and technology with regards to nuclear power and its waste products, weaponry manufacture, mining of heavy metals, fossil fuels production and usage, incinerators and toxic landfills, pesticides, factory farms, food additives and preservatives and clear cutting for agriculture and development.

Political action to initiate legislation to curb pollution, poverty and the loss of natural habitats, limit arms buildup and stop nuclear weapons testing, limit greenhouse gasses, eradicate all weapons programs, and raise the minimum wage to a viable level.

Creating legislation that oversees and enforces environmental and social regulations and initiatives that would include public oversight and monitoring.

Illuminating illegal and unethical practices by businesses and corporations.

Boycotting business entities that pollute the environment or exploit their employees either by low wages or unsafe working conditions.

Lobbying against trade agreements that have negative environmental impact or have negative ramifications related to economic and social injustice.

Demonstrations, blockades, vigils and civil disobedience to illuminate and educate society about injustices of any kind, either toward people or any other living and non-living entities.

Helping the poor and homeless with basic necessities.

Activism is empowering, difficult and frustrating work, but due to its visibility, can be instrumental in enrolling others to join a cause and create a critical mass that can have significant positive outcomes. As much as activism reduces negative effects, saves species, saves human lives and buys time, as we continue to invent new and better interventions, it alone, is not enough to halt the environmental crisis.

In order to emancipate ourselves from the negative effects of the Industrial Growth Society, we must be able to comprehend its principles and manifestations.  Why must material wealth be unequally distributed in favor of the wealthy and powerful and how has this dynamic developed? How have we come to exploit and pollute the Earth in the selfish fashion that has gone almost unexamined for many generations? 

As we come to understand how our thinking and actions have led us to the brink of disaster, we can also start to take responsibility for the misconceptions and practices of others, however misguided and even unethical, which have left us with a major crisis to resolve. Many of those responsible for our present dilemma acted from their own need fulfillment without adequate knowledge of the repercussions of their philosophies and behaviors on future generations while others knew their actions would cause suffering and misery but were too invested in their wellbeing and happiness to consider and include the plight of others.

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