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The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  246 ratings  ·  52 reviews
"Mary Pipher takes on our planet's greatest problems with the skills of a truly gifted therapist. She knows why we avoid and deny the truth and she knows how we can heal ourselves and our communities even as we try to heal the earth. This book is a deep and true gift."--Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth

In Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher offered a paradigm-shattering look at th
Paperback, 237 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Riverhead Books
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Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Just finished reading an advanced review copy.

First of all, I think definite thanks need to be given to Mary Pipher for all her dedicated work around the Keystone XL pipeline. One of the most valuable elements of this book, for me, was reading an insider's account of the coalition-building in Nebraska around that effort, and hearing a story of such a campaign successfully overcoming ideological and partisan divides.

But, while that story is incredibly interesting, I think the book fails at its ma
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads, non-fic
Just received The Green Boat in the mail today. Thank you to Penguin Group for providing me with a free copy. I really enjoyed Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia, so I'm looking forward to reading her newest book!

I was a little disappointed in The Green Boat. I loved Letter to a Young Therapist and Reviving Ophelia, so I was set to really like this too. It was much more political than I was expecting, and the author & I differ in our views. About global warming, she made this statement: I knew Hurri
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book sat on my shelf for a while, because I didn't want to think about the environmental devastation happening every second in our world. When I started reading this book, I breathed a deep sigh of relief, because this book is about not going crazy in our current world, and not lying to ourselves, and not sinking into inaction and pessimism, and what that looks like for her, and what it might look like universally for people. I really like Mary Pipher's writing style, and also her sly humor ...more
Kate Lawrence
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For anyone struggling to stay hopeful in a society in which corporate power rules and serious action on climate change by our government has not even begun, this timely little book provides strong support. As in her previous books, Mary Pipher writes simply, powerfully, humbly, and with a great heart. Instead of giving some intellectual treatise about how to sustain hope, she movingly describes her own experience, along with similarly motivated friends, in opposing the Keystone XL pipeline in he ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, adult
How can she have captured my feelings today in a book written in 2013? Some of us just must get to places before the rest of us. And so just doing what I can and know it's OK.
Andrea McDowell
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did.

What environmentalist has not at least sometimes felt the way that Mary Pipher did when she set out to write this book? It can be devastating: every day you set out to fight something, and most of the time you lose; when you win, the wins are often temporary and lost again in the future. Climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, all continue to worsen, while society as a whole remains willfully unaware, determined to shop its way to
Sara Dame
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received an advance copy of this book from GoodReads.

This book was not at all what I expected it to be. I assumed it would be another run-of-the-mill book about the environment that emphasized recycling and saving the animals. And in a way, it was. But, to me, it was so much more than that as well. Pipher uses her experience trying to stop TransCanada from building the Keystone XL pipeline and destroying the tar lands in Nebraska. To me, this made a hot-button topic much more interesting and
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society," said Krishnamurti. But is it possible to be well-adjusted if you are painfully aware that society is profoundly and dangerously sick, and you can't accept, forget or ignore that sickness? I may have looked in the wrong places, but I've had a hard time finding books that address this, or that deal with the deep interconnections between the personal and the political on an individual level. Often it seems that psychothe ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Useful reading for those frustrated by political polarization or climate issues.

In some ways, this is two books combined into one.

The first part has some useful insights into how human psychology works in unpleasant, unacceptable situations, and how this impacts responses to the climate crisis. These insights may be second nature for someone in the counseling profession, but they're something I need to go back and re-read after time passes in order to fully operationalize them.

Since the pros lik
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
As a psychology book, The Green Boat is interesting, but as a support for Global Warming, it is a self-righteous diatribe whose every argument could be and indeed is used to by the opponents of Global warming. To cart blanch judge those who oppose the belief in Global warning, and many of them are far more qualified that Mary Pipher to talk about such matters, is ludicrous.
I am an engineer, and I believe that I am significantly more of a scientist than Mary Pipher, and that I've forgotten more a
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-studies
Although she writes simply and clearly, Mary Pipher is able to make her words and thoughts resound. The main idea of the book is relationships, how we value them and use them to improve our lives. She shows how getting together to make a difference is important, but people often join clubs for the companionship. She discusses the individual acts versus the group acts. How we can never know all the effects of our actions. But the phrase that really resounded with me is "Our world needs passionate ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Well written and easy to read and understand. I can see how the ideas presented were revolutionary several years ago. I've encountered most of them before, but reading the book served as a good reminder. A little too much detail for me about the coalition to stop the pipeline from coming through Nebraska.
Bethany Divakaran
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an influential book for me, representing a shift in mindset from taking individual action to finding hope in collective action. Mary's language to describe the process of transcendence from ignorance to despair to hope is still helpful to me today.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
The first portion of the book talks about how we are experiencing a form of trauma from climate change and our awareness of it. That part was interesting, the rest not so much.
Deb M.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found the book slow getting into but glad I stuck with it. Her coping mechanism idea is perfect for the world today.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Love the author message. Especially the last chapter as she talks about the meaning behind the title and it is beautiful.
Glen Grunau
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of my greatest disappointments in Christians has been my discovery of how many there are who care so little for this created earth we have been given by God. Of course, there are many who do not believe in God who also care little for the environment. But this somehow seems easier for me to comprehend.

I appreciated how Mary Pipher kept returning to the connection between caring for and protecting our earth and living a life of simplicity. For once we buy into the mad race of getting ahead an
Sandy H
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
I need to start by saying that I'm a huge Mary Pipher fan--I believe I've read every one of her books and often recommend them to others--her book In the Middle of Everywhere is on my "must read" list for anyone volunteering with refugee populations. So as soon as I saw she had a new one out, I pre-ordered it and had great expectations.

Sadly, I was disappointed. I very much appreciate Pipher's work on the pipeline. But I felt the topic of the book was a bit thin, as if Pipher really wanted to w
Psychologist, author, and long-time Nebraska resident Mary Pipher (Raising Ophelia and many others) writes about first feeling overwhelmed by climate change and other environmental issues facing the world, and then responding by becoming an activist. In a warm, folksy, passionate, and intelligent style she points out how much many people do to help without even realizing it, and goes on to describe many more things to do. This is never presented in a judgmental fashion, instead emphasizing the p ...more
Marty Troyer
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I arrived at the last page of Mary's Pipher's The Green Boat, I immediately turned back to the beginning and read it entirely again.
And then I emailed two separate groups of people - for two completely different reasons - and encouraged them to read it also. They almost all did, and found it helpful.

Here are the two reasons I gave.
First, it tells an extraordinary story of how hope is lodged in community. When a network of like-minded people find each other, commit to mission together, and c
Mike Vaughnwilliams
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm one of those who tends to avoid books that dwell on problems like global warming that can seem so overwhelming that you end up with even more pessimism than you had before reading the book. But, our book club decided on this book so I felt duty-bound to read it. I actually liked the book. Mary Pipher is an accomplished author who knows how to combine the local and anecdotal with the big perspective. She traces the incredible success against all odds of the Nebraska-based group opposed to the ...more
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
More promising than fulfilling. A superficial treatment that introduces numerous concepts and phenomena related to despair, which piqued my interest but went no deeper. Pipher indulges in TMI when describing the activism of her friends and colleagues, reading like unedited journal entries. She frequently, if not too frequently, quotes others to the point where I lose sense of her own voice as an author. Despite all the quotes, there is only a two page list of suggested readings, being only a par ...more
Artemisia Hunt
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In The Green Boat, Mary Pipher takes on the hopelessness and anxiety we can feel about the state of our planet and gives us wise and heartfelt guidance for finding a way from "trauma to transcendence". She tells of her own community of friends and co-activists who took on the Keystone Pipeline project in her home state of Nebraska and of all they learned about how community action, peaceful communication and the ability to find ways to stay in touch with the beauty of life, all helped them to tr ...more
Lacey Losh
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was very helpful. In many ways it reconciled the feelings of despair I have when I consider our current environmental crisis with the feeling that what I do for and in my community, and in my home, are helping to better this catastrophe. I feel a strong sense of personal responsibility to better my community and my world.

Since this book is written by a local author, and we're both involved in community activism, I found several paragraphs and even chapters written about folks I know, a
Priscilla Shute
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Reading Mary Pipher is like visiting with a comfortable therapist. I enjoy her writing and her thoughts on life. In this book, she discuses the state of American life especially the environment. Although the beginning is quite depressing, the remainder of the book is filled with humorous and heartfelt anecdotes and also suggestions on what you can do personally to make a difference. She explains the situation about the Keystone Pipeline and relates what grassroots organizations can do ( successe ...more
Deirdre Routt
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-group
I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. Although I greatly enjoy Mary Pipher's book, I wasn't that interested in the topic and it seemed that it would be rather depressing. As she says at the outset, yes, it is depressing. But Pipher manages to make you feel better about what ever steps you are willing to take in order to take action and make change you can see in the world. As an added bonus it was especially nice to read about people in the Lincoln community who I know well. It m ...more
Jennifer Louden
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
While I wanted a bit more detail on how to overcome despair, what I adored about this book is the simple embodied message- feel the pain of what we each have wrought in our world, then find some friends, roll up your sleeves, and have fun changing it. I will interview her about this one - it's an important book.
Jane Wolfe
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Mary Pipher issues a gentle call to embrace and act on issues about climate change. She writes from the viewpoint of a therapist. By the end of the book, I wasn't sure whether she was writing about climate change or how to live a more present kind of life. I admire her for her work against the Keystone Pipeline route in Nebraska. Her writing style does not engage me.
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reading Pipher always makes my IQ rise. The Green Boat gave clarification, perspective and direction to many perplexing issues facing people as a nation and as an international community. She shares her future hopes and dreams for the planet which, by the way, are powerfully relevant and contagious...
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