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The Great Turning

Waterfall-Aspects-Narrow


The Great Turning is a name for the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.

The ecological and social crises we face are inflamed by an economic system dependent on accelerating growth. This self-destructing political economy sets its goals and measures its performance in terms of ever-increasing corporate profits--in other words by how fast materials can be extracted from Earth and turned into consumer products, weapons, and waste.

A revolution is underway because people are realizing that our needs can be met without destroying our world. We have the technical knowledge, the communication tools, and material resources to grow enough food, ensure clean air and water, and meet rational energy needs. Future generations, if there is a livable world for them, will look back at the epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society. And they may well call this the time of the Great Turning. It is happening now.

Whether or not it is recognized by corporate-controlled media, the Great Turning is a reality. Although we cannot know yet if it will take hold in time for humans and other complex life forms to survive, we can know that it is under way. And it is gaining momentum, through the actions of countless individuals and groups around the world. To see this as the larger context of our lives clears our vision and summons our courage.

 

Personal Guidelines

Personal Guidelines for the Great Turning

Come from Gratitude
To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe--to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it--is a wonder beyond words. Gratitude for the gift of life is the primary wellspring of all religions, the hallmark of the mystic, the source of all true art. Furthermore, it is a privilege to be alive in this time when we can choose to take part in the self-healing of our world.

Don't be Afraid of the Dark
This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don't be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, for these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings. To suffer with is the literal meaning of compassion.

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Talk on the Great Turning

This talk is in the form of an interview. This is the interviewer's introduction;

My guest on GREEN VISIONS will be Joanna Macy, beloved Buddhist teacher and social activist. We will be talking about what she calls "THE GREAT TURNING" - this extraordinary time in human history when perceptions of reality are shifting, and human minds and hearts are opening to the fact that we are the world, and the world is us.

 

Three Dimensions of the Great Turning

1. Actions to slow the damage to Earth and its beings

Perhaps the most visible dimension of the Great Turning, these activities include all the political, legislative, and legal work required to reduce the destruction, as well as direct actions--blockades, boycotts, civil disobedience, and other forms of refusal. A few examples:

  • Documenting and the ecological and health effects of the Industrial Growth Society;
  • Lobbying or protesting against the World Trade Organization and the international trade agreements that endanger ecosystems and undermine social and economic justice;
  • Blowing the whistle on illegal and unethical corporate practices;
  • Blockading and conducting vigils at places of ecological destruction, such as old-growth forests under threat of clear-cutting or at nuclear dumping grounds.

Work of this kind buys time. It saves some lives, and some ecosystems, species, and cultures, as well as some of the gene pool, for the sustainable society to come. But it is insufficient to bring that society about.

2. Analysis of structural causes and the creation of structural alternatives

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Joanna interviewed on SeaChange radio

Sea Change Radio Co-Hosts Bill Baue and Francesca Rheannon speak with eco-philosopher Joanna Macy about The Great Turning, a concept she helped coin and define. Macy calls The Great Turning “the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.” This is the second in a series of shows on The Great Turning — check out the first show in the series — a conversation with David Korten.

SeaChange Radio Site