The Great Turning

Initiatives that may illuminate and guide us toward intelligent thinking and action include:

Studying our present economic and technological structures for their beneficial and non-beneficial aspects so appropriate changes can be initiated where needed.

Education on the expenditures related to human and ecological needs within the context of our consumer-based economy. Information on this topic can be obtained from the Worldwatch Institute, the Northwest Earth Institute, the Positive Futures Network, the Natural Step, the Schweisfurth Institute, the Club of Rome, the Baltan groups and through the numerous think tanks and other consultancies that address specific issues.

A replacement for the Gross Domestic Product indices to measure wealth and prosperity in the world.

A replacement for litigation that is locally based and mediation oriented.

Programs to address conflict that are non-violent and would replace traditional military intervention.

A transition to total renewal energy sources and less reliance on fossil fuels with the elimination of them as a committed strategy in the near future.

Utilizing land trusts and conservancies to act as communal land ownerships with sustainable usage in mind.

An increase in communal and collaborative living situations such as co-housing and eco villages that allow for shared living responsibilities and less environmental impact on the lands utilized.

Community based initiatives such as community gardens, cooperatives, tool sharing, skill banks and restoration projects to address habitat degradation and preservation.

Localized composting and recycling programs.

The promotion of holistic and wellness methods and practices to accompany traditional medicine.

The promoting of local currencies and practice of bartering for services and goods.

Reforming the education system so it is a place of real learning that is oriented toward the self- actualization of the individual and not just to prepare one for a place in the job market.

Enhanced communication globally for activists and reformers so vital information about the state of the world can be shared quickly and effectively. This would help head off serious problem development and conflicts and foster positive responses and action.

The interventions that will result in radical change must be empowered by insight, appropriate values and a vision of what we want to create for our habitat and ourselves. A profound shift in our perception of reality is needed and is being created by those who have committed themselves to transforming their relationship with the planet. We must now draw upon our despair, our preferred vision for the future, our scientific knowledge and the wisdom of our ancestors to create a new paradigm out of which we can proceed on our evolutionary journey. The old concepts of competition, and individualism must give way to cooperation, a sense of community and a deep affinity with the Earth. The ingredients and forms for this type of transformation include: 

The Gaia theory espousing the Earth to be a living organism, general living systems theory, the self-organizing nature of reality and the notion of consciousness in nature.

The deep ecology, green psychology and ecopsychology movements giving us a new vision of the human-nature relationship.

The employment of creation spirituality and liberation theology to resolve the problems incurred with religious hierarchical thought and promote the sacredness of the cosmos.

Engaging in religious and philosophical beliefs that promote respect for the natural world and subsequent appropriate practices.

Reincorporating shamanic traditions and other practices taught by indigenous cultures.

Incorporating ecofeminist ideas and practices within all social and political systems.

Utilizing the theories of ecopsychology to better understand human behavior in relationship to the natural world, how human interactions with their habitat have become so exploitive and how we can re-invent ourselves as a sustainable and loyal species.

Learning to live more simply and with less consumption as to deter and stop unnecessary resource depletion.

Engaging in the arts to express our interconnectedness and affinity with the biosphere. 

The shift in perception that is needed and is beginning to materialize and gain momentum, will be instrumental on the road ahead which will be filled with social, political and ecological challenges and setbacks, but with a sound and holistic philosophy and concerted action, positive outcomes may well be possible. Whether we are acting in time is a question of great concern, but we must do what is ethically right and be responsible for whatever outcomes might prevail.

Reference:

Coming Back to Life; Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World, Joanna R. Macy and Molly Young Brown, New Society Publishers, 1998, chapter one, To Choose Life, The Great Turning, p. 17, Holding Actions in defense of life on Earth, pp. 17-18, Analysis of Structural Causes and Creation of Alternative Institutions, pp. 19-21, Shift in Perceptions of Reality, both cognitively and Spiritually, pp. 21-24. Accessed 29 June 2020.

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