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Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in Without Going Crazy

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  296 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Most books addressing global issues focus on either our dire problems or grand-scale solutions. Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone focus instead on equipping readers with a transformational mind-set.
ebook, 290 pages
Published February 22nd 2012 by New World Library (first published February 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30)
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Bob Stocker
Jul 18, 2012 Bob Stocker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We're headed for a disaster. Soil is being depleted. Oil is running out. Oceans are getting fished out. Species are dying off. Even the climate is changing. What can we do? Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone don't offer specific solutions, but they do offer hope, Active Hope, you might say. We have a choice of three stories to follow: we can continue gobbling up the earth's resources (Business as Usual); we can despondently bury our heads in the sand (the Great Unraveling); or we can become conduit ...more
Kate Lawrence
Macy and her co-author provide a boost of encouragement to everyone worried about seemingly hopeless environmental and social crises. Practical as well as inspirational, the book includes numerous exercises to strengthen those qualities that will best serve us as we work toward a more life-sustaining world. Macy has been giving workshops on these ideas for many years, testing and refining her methods, and the book reflects the depth of that process.
The principles of her teaching, called The Work
After reading numerous books about environmental issues and the climate crisis, I was drawn to Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone.

The Bottom Line

The authors are well respected advocates for social and environmental justice. Active Hope is a thought provoking book that requires engagement from the reader. It's about expanding our view of ourselves and the world. My favorite quote from the book is from Arne Naess who wrote:

Aug 12, 2012 Norm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Language is a little more accessible than Joanna's other books. Message is inspirational! We need to get together and start taking action rather than carry on with "business as usual".
Jun 06, 2013 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This wasn't quite what I was looking for. Feeling in tune with Gaia doesn't help with what I was concerned about: living near the former Rocky Flats plutonium plant and knowing that the soul of the entire northern metro Denver area has some degree of plutonium contamination from spills, leaks and fires while the plant was operating. What we do know is that there is plutonium in the sediment of the lake that is a drinking water supply for a nearby suburb, that some of the landfills at the plant w ...more
Melissa Stacy
This is an EXCELLENT book. Recommended to anyone who is following the literature on climate change, is acutely aware of the devastating science involved, and suffers panic/grief/living terror every moment they think of the future. This is not a book that promises false optimism. This is a book that says to hope anyway. To keep reading the science, and doing everything you can to stay empowered, and to keep hold of a vision of change and survival.

This book is very much aware of how grim the situa
Not really the kind of book I tend to find helpful. I find books like Solnit's "Hope in the Dark" and Klein's "This Changes Everything" more inspiring, both because of their detailed stories of victories against impossible odds (the stories in "Active Hope" are pretty anemically told), and for their better writing.
Barbara Ardinger
Jun 06, 2012 Barbara Ardinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Macy, a famous metaphysical author, and Johnstone, famous in the UK, write persuasively about "the mess we're in" and how to deal with it. The three sections of the book are "The Great Turning," "Seeing with New Eyes," and "Going Forth." We learn what the Spiral of Work That Reconnects is and how to use it in our own lives to hopefully improve not only our own lives but those of others on the planet. These days, we need more books about social change.
Kelly Barth
Mar 22, 2013 Kelly Barth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those grieving from environmental crises–which the rest of the world seems ill-equipped to help us with and encourages us to ignore–this book offers deep honesty and the promise of healing. Years of pretending we aren’t worried, even despairing hasn’t worked. This book offers an alternative of feeling our despair and, therein, finding hope and empowerment once again.
Mar 25, 2014 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved it.
Jul 23, 2012 Calvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: revolution
In Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy, we read about the Great Turning which is one three stories of our time, ways of describing the conditions we see around us. The first story is "Business as Usual" and the second is "The Great Unraveling." We can see the story of Business as Usual in assumptions like "promoting consumption is good for the economy" and that "economic growth is essential for prosperity." Alternately, we can see The Great Unraveling in the mass extin ...more
A.B. McFarland
Jan 13, 2013 A.B. McFarland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Are you concerned about the Earth and the welfare of those who live on it? Are you worried about the mess we are leaving to future generations? Are you sometimes so overwhelmed by all that needs to be done that you just want to give up in despair? This book can help, with its advice, stories and exercises.

Although the primary focus of Active Hope is to help environment-minded individuals, I found a lot of what the authors had to say applicable to paralyzing personal dilemmas as well. For example
Nov 26, 2016 Drick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an outgrowth of work done by the authors in the environmental movement encouraging folks to keep up the struggle despite seeming intransigence and denial of climate change. As the title suggests hope is more a verb than a nouns, something one lives into. The authors share a number of insights that makes this book a vital resource for all persons and groups working for social change. Ironically I finished the book the day after the election of Donald Trump, a day where my sense of ho ...more
Annis Pratt
Mar 26, 2015 Annis Pratt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many of us are in such despair about climate change that we are paralyzed in our shoes with uncertainty about how to act. Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone's Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in Without Going Crazy, helps us work through our paralysis by "honoring our pain for the world" so that we can "break the spell that maintains Business as Usual."

Reminding us that simply knowing about the facts is not enough, the authors explain how to strengthen our resolve by working with environment
Feb 04, 2017 Bilgi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mother-earth
Tam bir hayalkırıklığı!
İçinde ne çevreye dair bir bilgi var, ne de nasıl eylem yapabileceğimize dair bir bilgi...
Kısaca, "morelinizi bozmayın, yapabilirsiniz"; "bakın yapana kadar herşey zor görünür, ama bir kere başlayınca neler yaparsınız aslında", gibi yüzme öğrenen çocuğunuza söyleyeceğiniz sıradan, her gün duyduğumuz sözlerden oluşan bir kitap.
Boş boş, geçin zamanınız daha güzel kitaplara harcayın, bence.
Andrew Lee
At times I felt this book was speaking to me, as someone downcast about the state of the world, losing faith in the human race, and searching for motivation to do some good.

The book was well balanced, so at times it felt like a self help, but at others, it offered interesting facts about human behaviour or neat perspectives about life.

While it hasn't sprung me into action, it has given me some more momentum and determination to get out there and make some world-change.
Jessica Davidson
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the many crises now afflicting our world, Active Hope will empower you to transform your life. Based on the Work That Reconnects, it takes you through the steps you can take to build resilience and connect with others. Full review & in depth series here:
Lisa Bonack
Jul 26, 2015 Lisa Bonack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an inspiring to maintain the hope necessary to move forward in one's activist pursuits. The book is peppered with exercises in addition to straight text. The thing I found most surprising is that much of the information is helpful not only for activism, but down-scaled for my personal mental health issues, so it works on different levels.
Nick W.
Not quite what I was expecting. Specifically related to current issues and empowering ourselves. Quite a bit of philosophy, but ultimately a little too much holistic, Great Turning, and new age for me to rate it too highly.
Jul 23, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: activism, non-fiction
I keep trying to write a review for this book but I find myself at a loss for words. What I can say is that this is one of a very few books that I will be buying my own copy of once I return this copy to the library so I can read it again and again.
Eli Brooke
Jan 12, 2015 Eli Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oof. I instinctively agree with the philosophy laid out here, and intend to try to apply some of the ideas to my own life, but WOW am I resistant to dealing with a lot of the feelings it brings up. Powerful stuff.
May 07, 2016 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual-read
Good read and loaned to me by a very dear friend. If you want to know how you can make a change in the world in a very practical and spiritual manner then this is the book for you.
Nov 15, 2014 Alex rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long time to finish this book because I found it rather uninteresting. The advice is rather generic and the activities she does felt really silly. I don't recommend it.
Oct 01, 2014 Marcia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the best book I have ever read, but important and relevant.
Heather Mann
A rare book that is both practical and inspirational. It'll change the way you think about the challenges of our times.
Kathy Nealen
Jan 31, 2016 Kathy Nealen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How to develop and maintain long term efforts, energy and enthusiasm to improve the world and its future.
Vanessa Siemens
Feb 19, 2015 Vanessa Siemens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Challenging and thought-provoking. Good exercises throughout and helpful in looking at our lives and recognizing that we can take small steps toward greater change.
"face your threshold guardians"
Joe Visconti
A practical guide for people who are troubled by our environmental issues so much that they cannot sleep at night. It just didn't work for me
Ian Perkins
Jun 06, 2013 Ian Perkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well written, this book does leave you with hope and a multitude of useful and hope inspiring activities.
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Dr. Joanna Macy, activist, ecologist and author, is one of the pioneers of engaged Buddhism. Her online work includes the article "World as Lover, World as Self"; "Bestiary" (an ode to wildlife); Nuclear Guardianship, her testimony at the World Uranium Hearings in Salzburg, 1992; and The Vegan Vision, on the ethics of a vegan diet. Her other books include Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General S ...more
More about Joanna Macy...

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