Review of “Active Hope” Up on Our Hen House

Hello, dear readers!

I’ve emerged briefly from my three-week blogging hiatus to let you know about my most recent piece on the fabulous online animal advocacy magazine, podcast, and nonprofit Our Hen House. The piece offers a review of a book that I’ve mentioned on multiple previous occasions entitled “Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy.” I think that this book provides a necessary (and hugely helpful) read for anyone struggling to face the profound societal and ecological problems of our modern world—especially those who call themselves activists.

active_hope_joanna_macy_chris_johnstone_book_cover-297x460

Here’s a small taste of the review:

“Macy and Johnstone recognize the sometimes negative social implications of acting out of sync with the ecologically destructive status quo, pointing out that “[h]istory has shown us many examples of people [such as Gandhi] whose allegiance to wider circles of life impelled them to act in ways that brought discomfort to, and even persecution from, their peers.” However, the authors offer gems of encouragement for activists to remember in the face of persecution, frustration, and disheartening news. Most notably, Macy and Johnstone urge readers to become familiar with “deep time” – a.k.a. the geologic time scale – and realize that humans exist as part of a history vastly greater than we can even comprehend. Doing so frees us from the short-term thinking to which we’re accustomed in our fast-paced society, thus allowing us to see how our individual actions can “contribute to a much bigger picture of change,” and “open[ing] up a sense of possibility” that humankind can evolve – as did land-based mammals into dolphins – into a more compassionate species. The former enabling mechanism strikes me as responding to a question I occasionally field, inquiring if I really think I’ll make a difference simply by not consuming animal products. Viewed by itself, no, my veganism will not change the world. However, when viewing it as combined with the greater movement towards animal rights, it proves a necessary and worthwhile action on my part.”

Thanks for reading, all! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must burrow back into my cave of schoolwork and VARC presidency.

Until next time, Ali.

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