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Transition Matters

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Stories of the Great Turning review

A really appreciative review of the book by David Lorimer in the Scientific and Medical Network Review

Stories of the Great Turning
by Peter Reason (SMN) & Melanie Newman

Vala Publishing Co-operative 2013, 207 pp., £13.99, p/b.

The story behind this inspirational book is itself an interesting
story. It developed partly out of a lecture given by Joanna
Macy at the University of Bath in which she had spoken about
ways in which we could participate in the Great Turning away
from the Industrial Growth Society. Joanna contributes the
foreword, outlining five principles that form guidelines for the
book: come with gratitude, don’t be afraid of the dark, dare
to vision, link arms with others, and act your age, stepping
forward on behalf of the Earth. After trawling through various
networks, potential contributors were invited to two writing
workshops, which I am sure must have significantly influenced
the quality of the writing, a striking aspect of this collection.

The editors were looking for practical stories to engage,
enchant and inspire. They have certainly succeeded in
this quest, and any one of the stories could be used as
an example. At the end, they reflect on the contributions
in the light of Joanna Macy’s principles outlined above.
The honesty and integrity of the contributors shines through,
and they have made challenging decisions that many of us
might have avoided.

One of the most engaging stories is
of a couple deciding to move smallholding in Cornwall as a
way of devising a more sustainable livelihood. They undergo
many trials and tribulations, mainly connected with their
livestock, but all this is recounted with delightful humour.

Another story relates the persistence required to create a
community garden and get past the regulations involved. Still
others find themselves changing identity and career in order to
be true to themselves. In every case, an inner transformation
precedes the outer manifestation in action. The book shows
that we can do something significant if we choose.

Publisher's website and ordering: