Saturday, October 20, 2012

Holy Books of Guttersnipe Das: Active Hope

Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy.

New World Library, 2012

To read deeply in ecology without having this book on hand would be like deep-fat frying without a fire extinguisher nearby.  Tremendously foolhardy. 

To examine and consider the threats to life on Earth without evasion or self-delusion can be tremendously painful, frustrating and overwhelming.  If you’re feeling optimistic – it may be that you are not paying much attention. 

I remember finishing another entirely essential book -- “Wasted Word” by Rob Hengeveld -- and thinking, “OK, so there’s probably not going to be a future.”  I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to function.  I didn’t know how to go on.

That’s what this book is for.  Feeling overwhelmed or hopeless about the crisis facing life on Earth?  Wondering how your life or anything you might do could make a molehill’s amount of difference?  Here is your book.   

A lot of people think that facing our troubles, as individuals or as a planet, means maintaining some kind of chipper optimism, as if everything were going to be just ducky.  But that’s not necessary at all.  That’s the wrong kind of hope. 

We can look at what is real, we can face what is excruciating and frustrating, and still go on, and still find the heart and energy to act.  This book is the guide for living in this way.  Now that it is here, I don’t know how I got by without it.  

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