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Embracing Hope, Taking Action, and Transforming the World
With every news report, the world seems to be careening off the rails. It's all too easy to slip into despair waiting for co-opted, self-serving governments to act.
The antidote to fear and despair is hope and action. We each hold the power to make personal changes that can drive local changes and cascade into large-scale social transformation.
This is the guidebook for ordinary people who want to create a new society now. The first section explores the idea of transformative change — what it is, what difference it makes, and how it is connected to learning.
The second section explores powerful new stories of everyday people who have challenged traditional understandings of food, shelter, energy, transportation, waste, and economics, and transformed aspects of their lives, their communities, and wider society.
In the final section, the authors provide a workbook to guide people, wherever they are, through the process of catalyzing change.
We all have the power to create a more just and ecological society. We all have the power to be changemakers.
Fay Weller is a community organizer, homesteader, researcher, and artist. She has focused on broad systemic change in her work and activism, and holds a PhD focused on social transformation. Fay loves the creative spark when working on new community ideas that increase ecological and just choices for citizens. She is engaged in numerous collaborative initiatives from a local bus service to sustainability planning, to affordable, low-impact heating. She nurtures, grows, and sells apples, eggs, and vegetables, and creates clothing from handmade fabrics. Fay has two adult children and a granddaughter. She and her partner Bob live on their Gabriola Island, BC farm with Yu and Mi, their two sheep, and numerous chickens.
Mary Wilson has a longstanding interest in learning and communication for social change. She has worked for two decades as a facilitator, instructor, researcher, and instructional designer, and holds a Ph.D. in education. As a student of Buddhism, Mary is fascinated by the Boddhisatvas — metaphorical enlightened beings who embody wisdom, compassion, and practice. She sees the combination of wisdom, compassion, and practice as central to learning, and central to our collective efforts to live in harmony on our finite planet. An active participant in her Gabriola Island, BC community, Mary lives with her partner, her 92-year-old mother, and several critters. She and her partner are simultaneously caring for her mom, restoring a ramshackle island home, developing a permaculture food forest, and building an engineless catamaran.
"Lots of us would like to stop global warming and endless war, end poverty, save the environment, etc. But none of us seem able to get it done. What can we do? Weller and Wilson show that we can change ourselves: how we live, what we eat, where we gather, how we interact. And out of many little personal changes may come bigger changes— within our families, communities, and the world beyond—leading to different, better outcomes."
Dmitry Orlov, author, Shrinking the Technosphere
"Fay Weller and Mary Wilson have written an inspiring book about how individuals can take actions that lead to transformative social change. From the first rousing story about Anna and her efforts to deal with an inane restriction on selling fresh eggs, to a description of how personal change occurs, through a wide-ranging collection of personal stories about people taking action in their communities, this is a stimulating book about how all of us can contribute to compassionate and positive change."
Peter Robinson, former CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation
"Changemakers is an accessible call to action for everyone. If we're going to find ourselves out of the ecological cul-de-sac that we find ourselves in, this is one more call to mobilize everyday life."
Am Johal, Director, SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, SFU Woodward's Cultural Unit
"In turbulent times, we need threads of hope from which to weave our convictions into actions. If you want a guide to such action, one that is hopeful, inspiring, and practical, look no further. You have found it."
Dan Pratt, 3M National Teaching Fellow, Professor Emeritus & Senior Scholar, Centre for Health Education Scholarship, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
"This is a book that traces the path from here to there: from the individual to the wider world and from the noxiousness of the present to the possibilities of the future. It does so through the stories of people in island communities who make small changes with big implications."
Warren Magnusson, author, Local Self-Government and the Right to the City, Politics of Urbanism, and The Search for Political Space
Living Courageously in Troubled Times
Building Understanding in a World of Hate and Division
The Art of Focused Conversation
100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace
The Art of Living Well
Formulating and Asking Questions for Successful Outcomes