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Stories of the Great Turning, Joanna Macy

Stories of the Great Turning

Eds Peter Reason and Melanie Newman, introduction by Joanna Macy

Stories of the Great Turning is a book of stories written by people who decided to act, in their own lives, in response to the challenges of our time, and found their own way to make a difference. They are not stories about celebrities or gurus of the environmental movement but honest accounts from people who share a concern for the world we live in and who, in the words of one of the contributors, “just got on with it".

It 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 and hope.

These are personal stories for contributors’ everyday lives. Christine Bone is challenged by the facts of global environmental crisis to radically rethink her shopping habits. Celia Sousek describes how she and her husband Paul created first farm run entirely by renewable energy and delivering fresh organic produce direct to individual homes. Kirsti Norris, a Greenpeace activist since her teens, explores how she can contribute now she is a mother. Gil Chambers describes how he and his partner installed a water-powered generator at their home in Wales.

Alongside the written contributions are eleven artists’ responses to the same question.

The book includes a foreword by leading American environmental activist, Joanna Macy – in which she lays out the five guidelines for contributing to change in our world:
· Come from gratitude
· Don’t be afraid of the dark
· Dare to vision
· Link arms with others
· Act your age

PB £13.99, published by Vala (ISBN 978-1908363060)

"The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying the world - we've actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other." Joanna Macy, Eco-Philosopher and Environmental Activist.

“A treasure trove of transformative tales told by grass roots activists.”
Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine


About the Publisher Vala is a Bristol-based co-operative. The storytellers in this book formed a temporary writing community under the guidance of a creative writing tutor and a professional storyteller to learn how to tell their stories beautifully. The members of our co-op include authors, designers, booksellers, printers and designers, and together we decide what happens to our profits. Our second book, If You Sit Very Still, was Rowan Williams’ Book of the Year 2012.

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.

Joanna Macy is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. A respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a ground-breaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application. Her wide-ranging work addresses psychological and spiritual issues of the nuclear age, the cultivation of ecological awareness, and the fruitful resonance between Buddhist thought and contemporary science.

For a review copy, or to find out more, contact or phone 0117 923 1769.

One of the stories in this book is by Celia Sousek about Cottage Farm: our response to the global crisis, regenerative organic farming powered by renewable energy. (

More on the publisher's website: