The Great Turning

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

I was recently introduced to Joanna Macy’s website and was struck by her message of profound hope in the context of our “destroying the world”.

My own research and writing has lead me to predict and paint a very troubling future for our way of dwelling.   The peaking of fossil fuels, climate change, environmental degradation, and a looming water crisis will soon force us to accept the limited carrying capacity of our planet, and the transition to “new relationship to our world” will not be easy.

At best, we will grasp our one last chance to use what’s left of our fossil fuel legacy to create a life supporting foundation of sustainable and renewable energy.  At worst, we will continue on a business as usual course until the systems that support our current way of dwelling implode and the world’s population reverts to pre-industrial levels.

Whatever the outcome, Macy’s vision of a “new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other”, which she calls the Great Turning, offers the hope of a spiritual and social transformation that if achieved, would far transcend the technical challenges and achievements of the next age.

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