It can be difficult even to think about the challenges our species face: climate change, the depletion of oil, economic upheaval, mass migrations and extinctions. In this time of planetary emergency, it’s all too easy to find ourselves slipping into denial; to feel overwhelmed, numbed and paralysed by the enormity of what we are witnessing. But bogged down in these undercurrents of despair and anxiety we will never play our part in creating the collective transition towards a life-sustaining society.
In the early 1970s, Joanna Macy began to develop a deep ecology workshop format that was carefully structured to help people respond creatively to the climate/extinction crisis. She found that by facing their fears for the future, placing them within a larger landscape and giving them a different meaning,people actually became more resilient and discovered the ‘active hope’ and the creative tools they needed for navigating the ‘Great Turning’.
Since then many people around the world have participated in Joanna’s workshops and trainings. Her group methods - adopted and adapted widely in classrooms, churches, and grassroots organising - have helped people transform despair and apathy in the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, into constructive collaborative action. The Work That Reconnects brings a new way of seeing the world as our larger living body and, by liberating ‘the ecological self’ can free us from assumptions and attitudes that potentially threaten the continuity of life on Earth.
If you’re interested in these ideas and want to find out more, we recommend