The Great Turning Times – a free quarterly email newsletter about finding our power to respond to global crisis. Bringing together ecology, psychology, spirituality and global politics, it lists events, news and resources to support the shift towards a life sustaining society.

Dear Reader,

Apologies for the long gap since last September’s edition: I’ve been in overload and so changed the timing of this newsletter. It now comes out in February, May, August and November. If you’re new to this mailing, you may be wondering what it is about. What is this Great Turning? And why might you be interested? As part of filling in the backstory, I’d like to mention a recent front page story from a UK newspaper.

“We are past the point of no return” announced the main headline of The Independent on January 16th. James Lovelock, the leading scientist behind Gaia Theory, shared his view that we are already too late to reverse global warming. His assessment is based on recognising the role of self-amplifying loops in climate change. Even if we were to dramatically curb our carbon emissions, we have already set off a self-perpetuating cascade. Here is an example. Ice reflects sunlight better than rock or water. When ice melts and exposes the rock or ocean underneath, that area absorbs more heat. So the hotter it gets, the more the ice melts, and the more the ice melts, the hotter it gets. This is just one of a number of ‘positive feedback loops’ that amplify global warming.

A diagram of the change in ice cover in Greenland is shown on the BBC news website at This web page also describes a new report on climate change recently published by the UK Met Office. Summarising the findings of an international conference last year, Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change offers an overview of the current scientific assessment. You can read extracts at I recommend looking at the chapter An Overview of ‘Dangerous’ Climate Change. Here is a section from it.

Based on these temperature forecasts, the IPCC has
produced a list of likely effects of climate change, most
of which are negative (see [25]). These include: more fre-
quent heat waves (and less frequent cold spells); more
intense storms (hurricanes, tropical cyclones, etc.) and a
surge in weather-related damage; increased intensity of
floods and droughts; warmer surface temperatures, espe-
cially at higher latitudes; more rapid spread of disease;
loss of farming productivity in many regions and/or move-
ment of farming to other regions, most at higher latitudes;
rising sea levels, which could inundate coastal areas and
small island nations; and species extinction and loss of

While this catalogue of disasters is disturbing to read (and most of these problems are happening already), there is worse to come. The same page continues:

The IPCC also suggested that, particularly for rapid
and substantial temperature increases, climate change could
trigger ‘surprises’: rapid, nonlinear responses of the climate
system to anthropogenic forcing, thought to occur when
environmental thresholds are crossed and new (and not always beneficial)
equilibriums are reached. Schneider et al. (1998) [66] took this a step further,
defining ‘imaginable surprises’– events that could be extremely damaging
but which are not truly unanticipated. These could include
a large reduction in the strength or possible collapse of the
North Atlantic thermohaline circulation (THC) system,
which could cause significant cooling in the North Atlantic
region, with both warming and cooling regional telecon-
nections up- and downstream of the North Atlantic; and
deglaciation of polar ice sheets like Greenland or the
West Antarctic, which would cause (over many centuries)
many meters of additional sea level rise on top of that
caused by the thermal expansion from the direct warming
of the oceans [61].

The report adds:

There is also the possibility of true surprises, events
not yet currently envisioned [66].

Perhaps films like The Day After Tomorrow aren’t so far fetched after all. But is it possible that ‘true surprises’ could work the other way? Could we help trigger, and participate in, a ‘true surprise’ that has a positive effect? Non-linear responses are those that don’t follow gradual trends. They involve sudden shifts that are difficult to predict. How about, for example, a sudden shift of awakening ecological consciousness. That is the sort of thing that is needed for a Great Turning towards a life sustaining society. And if something like this were to happen, self-amplifying loops would play a role. The good news is that self-generating cycles of positive change can be relatively easy to set off. Here is an example.

At the end of last year, about a dozen people gathered in my front room. This was the first meeting of a study-action group on The Great Turning. We’ve met again since, and plan to every four to six weeks over the next six months. What drew us together was a shared concern about the state of our world, as well as a shared determination to support each other in responding. I’d been much inspired by hearing Joanna Macy talk about the study action groups she’d been part of, and of how these had helped support her in addressing difficult issues like the use of depleted uranium. Here’s how it works.

You can have a study action group on any area. All you need is up to a dozen other people who share your concern and are willing to meet regularly with the aim of deepening understanding and confidence in addressing the issue. Joanna talked about the three S’s of study, strategy and spirituality. In order to face challenging issues, we need to learn about them. So members of the group take on to research particular areas and present their findings at the meetings. However study should not take up more than a third of the time, otherwise, it could become boring abstract or laboured. The strategy part involves looking at constructive responses. It can also involve taking action together, or engaging in joint projects.

A third of the time also needs to be devoted to the last S – spirituality. This word is used in a broad sense to refer to all the aspects of the group concerned with mutual support, deepening connections and developing emotional or spiritual resources. Some of these issues are hard to look at and we need to develop nourishing spaces to sustain us. This part of the group looks at ways of helping us engage with issues that can sometimes be experienced as overwhelming. Here is an example of a process my group did at our last meeting.

This exercise is called Wheel of the Great Turning. Instructions can be found at Joanna Macy’s website at

We gathered in a circle, with three objects in the centre to represent the three dimensions of the Great Turning. The first dimension is the holding actions. I think of this as the “NO”. It involves all acts of protest and campaigning to stop or slow the destruction of our world. We represented this by a cushion. It was something to hold on to. The second dimension is the development of constructive alternatives and new ways of doing things. I think of this as the “YES”. We represented this by a plant. It had plenty of new shoots. The third dimension is the deeper shift in values and perceptions, the recognition that we are part of our world, and deeply connected with life. I think of this as the “WOW”. It involves the shift in consciousness needed to motivate the other changes. We had a beautiful crystal to represent this.

One by one, we came into the circle, and described things we were doing in our lives that contributed to the Great Turning, holding one of the object to represent the dimension we expressed with each action. I held the plant as I described a new course I’ve set up for medical students looking at health and the environment. I held the crystal as I talked of the book I’ve just written about finding our power to take part in positive change. What I remember from that evening was a deep encouragement. I was witnessing the Great Turning. I was hearing about it in its many forms. It gave me a boost. And that boost strengthened my resolve. It did for others too. In supporting each other, we were setting off a self amplifying loop of positive change. The more we’re encouraged, the more steps we take. And the more we move The Great Turning forward, the more encouraged we become. That way the Great Turning occurs through us, through our actions and choices.

The challenge we face is that self-amplifying loops can work both ways. There are plenty of vicious cycles of cascading awfulness. But cycles of amplification can work the other way too and we can become part of these. We have the opportunity to participate in a change that helps itself happen more. The shocks and bad news are important as wake up calls that alert us to the dangers we face. The Great Turning is about rising to the challenge of a constructive response.

This newsletter comes out every three months with the aim of keeping you in touch with both the crisis unfolding in our times and the rising wave of a culture committed to the flourishing of life. For a Great Turning to occur, we need to train ourselves. We need to cultivate the compassion that moves us to respond, the courage so that we are not put off by difficult circumstances and the insight that helps us see how our actions can be effective. That is why this newsletter addresses the psychological and spiritual dimensions of change as well as the political and ecological.

With you in this Great Turning adventure

Chris Johnstone
Editor, The Great Turning Times.

If you like this email newsletter, please do pass it on (that’s another way to become part of a self-amplifying loop). If it has been forwarded to you and you’d like it regularly, email me with SUBSCRIBE in the subject header. If you want to stop receiving it, please email me with “REMOVE” as a subject header. It comes out four times a year, with editions in February, May, August and November. Copy date for entries is last day of month before next edition. Please let me know of events, news, resources etc that you would like included. Please also keep entries short, ideally about 100-200 words.
(1) If you’re from outside the UK and would prefer the international edition of this newsletter that includes the same news and resources for the Great Turning, but without details of the UK events, please email me at with INTERNATIONAL PLEASE in the header, and telling me which country you’re from. The international edition is still in its development phase. The good news is that we’re in the process of setting up a Great Turning Times website, and this should be active by the time the next edition comes out in May. We plan to have an international listings page, with details of workshops and events occurring in different parts of the world. If you’re running events or are a contact person for a Great Turning related activity, please let me know. We are in the process of developing an international contacts directory.
(2) It was Joanna Macy who coined the phrase ‘The Great Turning’ to describe the story of change required in our times.
A recent interview with her is viewable at the Permaculture Magazine website at:

Other useful web resources include:
An interview about the Great Turning at
An article about The Great Turning is viewable at
There is more material on Joanna Macy’s website at
(3) If everyone lived at the same material standard of living as the average in the West, we’d need another four planets to supply the resources and cope with the waste. To find out how many planets would be needed if everyone lived like you, check your ecological footprint on the website at
If you have difficulty getting it to work, try the low bandwidth option.
(4) For an excellent source of information about environmental issues, check out
It provides a daily cuttings service, with links to articles in newspapers. If you subscribe, they’ll send you daily email updates. I’ve found this an invaluable service. provides a similar service with news related to climate change. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(5) News from Sweden – The Swedish Minister for Sustainable Development, Mona Sahlin, has announced plans to break the country's dependence on oil by 2020.?"The aim is to break dependence on fossil fuels by 2020” she said. “By then no home will need oil for heating. By then no motorist will be obliged to use petrol as the sole option available. By then, there will always be better alternatives to oil."
(6) Encouraging news from California
On January 12, the “California Solar Initiative” was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. The $2.9 billion program, backed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, could make California one of the world's largest producers of solar power.

3,000 megawatts of solar energy will be added over 11 years through the installation of 1 million rooftop solar energy systems on homes, businesses, farms, schools and public buildings. That amount of electricity would be equivalent to about six new power stations.
(7) UK Energy Review Consultation
In the UK, an energy review consultation has just started. The UK government has shown an alarming lack of awareness about issues like Peak Oil, and has provided more talk than action on climate change. This review offers an opportunity to inform them of your concerns and make them aware of the issues. The consultation period is for 12 weeks from Jan 23rd.
I had trouble downloading the pdf version of the consultation document, but if you phone 0845-015 0010 they’ll send you a hard copy for free.
(8) Online course - Deep Ecology in Context

This online course provides the background for the emerging field of ecopsychology, and is in fact a required course for completion of the Master of Arts in Transpersonal Psychology with an Ecopsychology Concentration at Naropa University. If you've ever wondered where ecopsychology came from, what are its roots, or what are related fields and movements, this course reveals all! Although it is officially a graduate course, it is open to everyone who has had at least two years of college, anywhere in the world, and it can be taken for credit or noncredit. The course runs between January 17 and May 10, 2006. Check out the course description at

Check out for info about other Naropa online courses.
(9) The wisdom of the wombat
For an entertaining reminder of truths you know already, see the Foundation for a Global Community website at:
(10) Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN)
COIN is the only active UK charity dedicated solely to educating the public about climate change.
They have recently launched a new resource called Perspectives on Climate Change. Perspectives gathers together the views and advice of leading academics, thinkers, politicians and environmental activists on how we can stop climate change and create the shift in society necessary for an environmentally sustainable future.
For more info, see their website at
(11) Find Your Power – helped needed.
When concerned about the condition of our world, how do we find our power to respond?

One approach to empowering ourselves is the experiential workshop method known as “the work that reconnects”. This was developed by Joanna Macy and others, and is described in the book “Coming Back to Life”, which she co-wrote with Molly Brown Young. See for more information. One of the goals of this newsletter is to keep you in touch with events based on this approach.

I’ve also recently written a pop psychology self-help book about finding our power to make desired changes in our lives and the world. Bringing together the personal and the planetary, it is called “Find Your Power” and is due out in April this year. You can see details on my website at

Drawing on the new motivational psychology developed within the addictions treatment field, the work that reconnects, holistic science and positive psychology, this book introduces The Great Turning, study action groups and peak oil while also providing practical strategies for deepening determination and finding ways through blocks.
I would like to ask for your help in launching it.
• I can send you a free copy if you can review the book in any publication
• You can order advance copies either from me, or from
• I am available to write articles about personal power and the psychology of change, or to speak to groups in the UK about this. As an addictions specialist, I’m particularly interested in psychological approaches to dealing with denial and resistance to change.
• I’m also available to run workshops for local groups on “Personal Power for The Planet”. These workshops draw on both The Work that Reconnects and a range of other psychological empowerment strategies.
If interested, please contact Chris Johnstone at
(12) For an inspiring example of what a group of Norwich activists have been able to get into their local paper,
Recent columns have commented on the UK energy review and the handover of Iraq’s oil to multinational companies.
12th -18th April 2006 in Estonia!

trainers Kay Rung & Liv Larsson (Sweden), Merike Kahju (Estonia),
organising team Tiina Sergo & Marko Puusaar (Estonia)

Our intention with these seven days, is to create an intensive
experience of how relationships are created. We want to try to live
in a community where we explore what can be created when people
value connection and honesty, and learn tools that can help in
living these values.

Cost: choose your contribution between 355 - 450 EUR for Eastern European
participants (Czech, Belarussia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia,
Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia,
Slovakia) and 500-700 EUR for people coming from Western European

Tiina Sergo - (Estonia)
Merike Kahju - (Estonia)
Kay Rung - (Sweden)
Liv Larsson - (Sweden)
(14) CANADA - Council of All Beings – a deep ecology workshop
Friday 31st March – Sunday 2nd April 2006 with Diane Allan and David Johnson

The Council of All Beings was developed by Joanna Macy and John Seed as a part of a body of work to help reconnect with the natural world and empower us to act on its behalf. Over the course of this weekend residential workshop, we will explore the four themes of this work:
• Being grateful for our earthly gifts and the world in which we live
• Honouring our experience of eh earth crisis
• Learning to see through ‘new eyes’
• Empowering ourselves as we go forth on behalf of the earth.

At Humingbird Haven, 25 mins NW of Calgary. Cost $175
To book contact
See for more info.
(15) For a listing of workshops with Joanna Macy, see her schedule at:
(16) Australia – for information about workshops with John Seed and Ruth Rosenhek, see
(17) Australia - For eco-therapy and sustainable living courses, see website at
(18) For ecotherapy and the work that reconnects in Austria, see
(19) For the work that reconnects in Germany, contact Gabi Bott,
(20) If you’ve been to workshops or courses based on the experiential approach developed by Joanna Macy and others, you may be interested in this event. It offers an opportunity to network with others who have too.

Choosing Life - 12th May (evening) – 15th May (mid afternoon) 2006

A gathering in tents and barns at Easterbrooke, Devon

facilitated by Maitrisara, Sandy Lacey and Chris Johnstone

This event is designed for people who have experienced Joanna Macy's 'The Work that Reconnects' or similar workshops. It will be an opportunity to go deeper with this work and connect with our desire to positively choose life. It will help us to build on the connections that emerged in 2005 during the workshops and retreats led by or inspired by Joanna. It will also provide a way to connect people relatively new to the work and those who have been involved from past years.

The gathering will be held on the same land as the 'Positive Seeds Project' which grows some of the food, trees and shrubs needed by Buddhafield. There will be an opportunity to work with the land. We will have opportunities to run workshops for each other on our particular specialisms, skills and interests. We could also form an affinity group and plan an action together.

Buddhafield have kindly agreed to handle the logistics of event and do the catering for us. Food will be vegetarian. The cost is £75/£125/£150 concession (unemployed, student, OAP) / low wage / waged. These are suggested donations, you could pay more or less, down to an absolute minimum of £40. Oh - and if its not obvious, bring a tent!

To book, please write to Buddhafield Retreat Bookings, Trevince House, Hittisleigh, Exeter, Devon, EX6 6LP stating the name of the weekend and including a stamped addressed envelope and your non-returnable deposit of £40. Cheques payable to Buddhafield. Include your name, address, postcode, telephone and email. You can find a full booking form at which is useful if you pay tax because there is a Gift Aid option there where the tax can be claimed back. Ignore the questions about meditation – this isn’t a retreat!! Further information – email
(21) The Camp for Climate Action -26th August - 4th September 2006 in the North of England.
Bringing together people who believe that not enough is being done to stop climate chaos. One of the aims of the camp is to demonstrate and experiment with ways we can take action - and anyone with practical ideas and skills in low impact lifestyle and alternative energy is being asked to get involved: We will be bringing together all the campaigns, projects and people working on the different aspects of climate change - from compost loo builders to anti-roads and airports campaigners, from proponents of veganism to activists protecting peat bogs - all are needed to make this camp happen.

The camp will:

take action against climate change;
provide information on climate change and its causes;
share and live practical solutions;
network with other people campaigning on all the aspects of climate change.

Campaigners involved in organising the camp are drawn from a wide range of climate campaigns and have been inspired by the self-organised eco-village created in protest against the G8 in Stirling July 2006. They aim to create a space that is organised and run by the participants, has a low impact on the environment, and above all, inspires people to take action in their own lives and in wider society. We aim to be carbon neutral - it is vital that the camp and preparations for the camp generates as few emissions as possible. We encourage people to travel in ways that cause least environmental damage - no flying please!

We would like the camp to be organised around neighbourhoods and invite groups to come forward to host them. For example a neighbourhood may be made up of people from a certain action group or a geographical area. They may have their own kitchen and meeting space. We envisage that these will be the spaces in which people make links and find ways to organise at a local level. If groups are interested in hosting a neighbourhood they are encouraged to send at least one to each monthly meeting. The next meeting is 11am - 6pm 11th and 12th February at The Sumac Centre, Nottingham. Accommodation is available if you contact us in advance. Please also contact us – at about any access, dietary or creche needs. The meeting space is fully accessible.

For more information see climate camp's website at
(22) The Buddhafield Festival: 12 – 16th July 2006

The Buddhafield Festival is annual festival in Somerset for around 2000 people. It has a no drink, no drugs, no dogs policy and is a particularly great place for children. You can dip into as much or as little of the Buddhist aspects as you like. There’s plenty to do. This year’s theme is “Dharma Warriors; transforming self and world” and the Work that Reconnects is sure to be an influence on that. Numbers are limited so booking is recommended. For more information contact General Enquiries on 01647 24539 <> or see the Buddhafield website Do visit the Social Action area and also the Activist Sangha area where we ran a Council of All Beings circle last year. Look out for the workshops on the information boards or, if you have a workshop to offer which brings together aspects of social and environmental action and Buddhism - offer a workshop.
(23) Joanna Macy, on behalf of The Network of Engaged Buddhists
is leading a retreat on The Work that Reconnects

6 – 10 July 2006, Hourne Farm, Sussex, UK.
Cost: £130/£90

The retreat is open to Network of Engaged Buddhists (NEB) members (to join go to <> ) and will begin in the evening of the 6th July and end after breakfast on the 10th July. Though NEB membership is open to all whether you call yourself Buddhist or not, this workshop will highlight the Buddhist aspects of the approach so a keen interest in the Buddhist element of the work is important.

A condition of attending the workshop is to read the first five chapters of Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World by Joanna Macy and MollyYoung Brown, New Society Publishers 1998, try .

To book a place on the retreat, send an email to with your name, address, phone number, email address, what Sangha you are part/Buddhist tradition you are interested in if applicable, stating whether you are intending to pay £130 or £90 and any dietary requirements (food will be vegan). Then post a deposit for £30 (made payable to NEB) to Maitrisara, 18 Bhandari Close, Oxford, OX4 3DT. There are only 31 places and they will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Receipt of the deposit will secure your place. Further enquiries to
(24) The Big Green Gathering – August 2nd – 6th 2006, in Somerset UK.
The Big Green Gathering is for people who care about health, the environment, sustainability, our children's future and life in general. It is a celebration of our natural world and our place within it. As such it is a place for enjoyment, learning and fun. It is a camping based festival with music, workshops, stalls and lots else besides.
For more information, check their website at

If you come, check out The Great Turning Times stall in the Ethics/ Philosophy / Spirituality field. There will be regular workshops based on The Work That Reconnects. Contact Chris at if you’d like to help with this.
(25) Gaia Cooperative aims to promote understanding and awareness of our ecological footprint on the planet and to support people in finding new values which offer more fulfilling and healthier lifestyles while reducing their impact on the planet's ability to sustain itself.
We run a series of workshops and courses each summer which address this. Here are some examples:

March 17-19 or March 24-26 or April 7-9
Craft, Creativity & Care for the Soul
with Paul Swatridge
Designer, craftsman & Psychosynthesis Guide, Paul Swatridge shows you how to discover your creativity using natural wood gathered in nature. The experience can lead to a gentle integration of the practical with the emotional in a grounding and healing way.
Choice of 3 weekends, maximum 5 in each group, personal tuition, no experience necessary.
£240 residential (single rooms) including all materials.

July 7 - 9
Gaia Theory; Deep Time with Stephan Harding
Stephan is resident ecologist and co-ordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science at Schumacher College.
His ability to combine scientific expertise with humour and simplicity gives insights into a deep sense of connectedness with the earth. Understanding how our planet has maintained life-supporting conditions over millennia indicates ways of living which integrate with this self-healing process.
£140 residential, £110 camping

August 11 – 13
Eco-homes & Eco-villages with Peter Harper
Co-founder of the now-famous Centre for Alternative Technology, Peter Harper has a depth of experience and information about the blend of theory & practicality needed to develop an ‘eco-house’ that will be healthy for its inhabitants as well as for the planet.
Interest in eco-villages - clusters of eco-houses - is growing rapidly, and Peter will share his insights (and humour) into the process and practicality that supports this lifestyle.
£140 residential, £110 camping

These take place at a centre on the Welsh borders near Hay on Wye.
For more information, phone: 0845 458 4718
Or see website at
(26) The Work that Reconnects
With Alex Wildwood, Chris Johnstone and Jo Hamilton
September 15th-17th 2006 , at Monkton Wyld Court, nr Bridport, Dorset
Cost £154 (concs available) for fully residential weekend workshop.

Are you concerned about the condition of our world? Would you like to
strengthen your ability to respond? This residential weekend workshop
introduces "The Work That Reconnects", an empowerment approach developed by Joanna Macy (see for info). Deepening our feeling of connection with life, we will open up spiritual and psychological resources needed to face and respond to global issues. Through experiential practices we will explore how to use the energy of our emotional responses, reconnect with our passion to act for life and transform concern for the world into creative engagement.

For more information and booking, see and click events.
(27) ''Ecopsychology; Life in the Balance'. A weekend workshop facilitated by Hilary Prentice, 5th and 6th May 2006.
This workshop is part of the Professional Training Workshops run by Temenos, an independent, person-centred, professional training organisation ( <> ) based in Sheffield. It would be ideal for anyone involved in counselling, psychotherapy and related fields who would be interested in exploring ecopsychology.

'Living, as we do, with the knowledge of numerous potentially catastrophic assaults on the ecosystem within which we dwell, and on which we depend, has been referred to by Joanna Macy as 'The pivotal psychological reality of our time'. Despite this, many schools of psychotherapy and counselling work with the human psyche largely as though only human lives, human stories, affect us and are affected by us. In this workshop we will explore the burgeoning field of ecopsychology. Much of this exploration will be experiential, and we hope to spend a good part of the workshop outdoors'.

Booking; Through Tracey Taylor, Temenos Administrator, Temenos, 289 Abbeydale Road, Sheffield S7 1FJ. Tel 0114 258 0058. Cost; Individuals £130, Funded Places £165, Deposit £45.
(28) Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility Eco-psychology Conference
24th June 2006 at the Hockerton Housing Project, Newark, Nottinghamshire
Morning - workshop on Personal Power for The Planet with Chris Johnstone and Maitrisara.
Of all the problems of our world, perhaps the biggest is that of the blocked response. The morning session explores how counsellors and psychotherapists can help people rise to the challenge of responding to ecological crisis.
Afternoon - tour of Hockerton Housing Project - an earth sheltered self-sufficient ecological housing development.
For details, see webpage at
or email
(29) For more on eco-psychology trainings in the UK, keep an eye on Mary-Jayne Rust’s website at
Exploring Clowning & Deep Ecology 26-28 May 2006

"... if the activity to save the world doesn't give us joy, what's the point in having a world, and how will we have the wholeness and energy to carry on?"
Stephen Nachmanovich

The clown's exaggerated physical and emotional responsiveness gives us a heightened sensitivity to the world around us. What if the natural world could speak to us directly? What would it say? Through the clown's empathy and playful imagination, we open ourselves to the wonder and mystery that is Gaia's playground.

This weekend offers an opportunity to let go of the thinking, controlling part of ourselves and open up to what is present in the here and now. The course limited to 12 people.

Facilitators: Chris Seeley - Vivian Gladwell

Venue: Hawkwood College, Stroud, Gloucestershire

For further information, contact
or see website at
(31) Gaia Theory for Beginners - a one day course March 25th 9.30am - 4.30pm
With Chris Johnstone at Bristol University Public Programmes Office,
8-10, Berkeley Square, Bristol BS81HH Cost £22 (concs available).
Gaia Theory proposes that the Earth is more than just a dead lump of rock that we happen to live on. Rather it can be viewed as a single living system, or ‘super-organism’, that we are part of. This course introduces the science behind Gaia Theory and also explores what it might mean for us in the fields of psychology, ecology and spirituality.
Advance booking essential: please phone 0117 928 7160 or email: Diane Thorne at
Details at:


An interdisciplinary conference linking the themes of 'Spirituality' and
'Consumerism' is being organised as the major culminating event of an
ESRC/AHRB Cultures of Consumption Phase Two research project on
'Alternative Hedonism and the Theory and Politics of Consumption'. The
project is being undertaken by Professor Kate Soper and Dr. Lyn Thomas
within the Institute for the Study of European Transformations (ISET) at
London Metropolitan University . The conference will be of interest to
academics in the following fields: anthropology, philosophy, geography,
history, religious studies, politics, media and cultural studies,
sociology of consumption and/or religion, and/or secularity. It should
also interest NGOs, charities, political parties and pressure groups
concerned with consumption, sustainability and environmental issues; and
religious and secular groups concerned with issues of consumption and

Jackie Ashley of The Guardian, Madeleine Bunting, author of Willing Slaves,
Colin Campbell, Professor of Sociology, York University and Professor
Ziauddin Sardar, Editor of Futures will speak at the conference, and we are
in discussion with a number of other invited plenary speakers. We shall also
consider suitable responses to this call as potential plenary speakers.

Details +44 (0)207 133 2927
(33) WildWise design and deliver excellent environmental education and training programmes for national and regional environmental organisations. To see what they have on offer, see their website at

Based in Devon, the courses coming up this year include:-

July 1-3 Vision Quest - Carlos Philip Glover
Immerse deeply into the wild and into yourself supported by medicine wheel
teachings, an expert guide and an age-old tradition. Cost £135

July 7-9 Introduction to Bushcraft - Chris Holland (In aid of Survival Int.
Bushmen Appeal)
A gentle way to familiarise yourself with this amazing subject in a
convivial camp atmosphere. Skills taught will include firecraft, basic
woodcraft, shelter building and natural cordage.
Suitable for families. Cost: £125/£50 children/£295 Family of 4

September 8-10 Council of All Beings
A creative, dynamic and soulful enquiry into the nature of our
environmentalism. With its roots in deep ecology, this potent multi art-form
workshop invites you to dive deeply into the challenges facing us as
environmentalists, educators, trainers and activists. Cost: £130
organisations £85 individuals

For details, contact
Chris Salisbury
WildWise Events Ltd
Devon TQ9 6EB

Tel: 01803 868269
Mobile 0781 349 2825

(34) Activist Trauma Network Gathering on 4th Feb in London
The Activist Trauma Network is organising a day of discussion and networking for all who are involved in promoting practical mutual support in activist, campaigning and community groups. This is an ever expanding area, as political work of any kind can be extremely demanding on every level. Many, but not all of us, became involved in this work by having first hand experience of trauma related to activism, police brutality, burn-out, stress-related physical illness and mental health issues. We are planning to discuss our own chosen work in these areas and expand on ideas we may have for projects, make new contacts and give/receive constructive feedback.
Workshops include:

An introduction to the Activist Trauma Network.
"Are we well enough ourselves to do this work?" Discussion.
"Supervision: what is it
"How can we improve the activist-trauma website?"

Please note: This is not a therapeutic event; unfortunately there will be no space for sharing our personal trauma on the day. However, we have plans to do this in the future, so come along if you would like to make it happen.
People are encouraged to come for the whole day.
London Action Resource Centre (LARC), 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, London E1 1ES. 0207 377 9088 <
(Main meeting space is wheelchair accessible).
Vegan lunch provided – do bring vegan food to share if you want!
This event is free; any donation for the space and food will be appreciated.
We are going for a cheap local curry in the evening.
If you are coming please email: activist_trauma at or 01865 243121 (10-5)
(35) WRITING TO RECONNECT Saturday 12 March: 10-4
Sharpham College of Buddhist Studies, Totnes
Led by Kim Clancy

'Dismiss what insults your very soul and your very flesh will become a great poem' - so wrote the poet Walt Whitman. Supported by the silence of meditation and the beauty of the Sharpham landscape, we will explore how writing and creativity can nourish both our own soul, and the collective soul of the world we inhabit.

Kim has studied Buddhism and other spiritual traditions since 1990, and taught literature and creative writing since 1984. She is particularly inspired by the work of Buddhist activist Joanna Macy.

Cost: £12 + dana
To book: Sharpham College, tel: 01803 732542
(36) Low-Impact Living Initiative (LILI) is dedicated to helping protect the global environment by promoting sustainable alternatives to various aspects of everyday life. Contact them to find out more about their courses, manuals, information sheets, products and presentations. Here are two courses they’re running in March.

Residential Weekend Course: low-impact smallholding
Location: Low-impact Living Initiative, Redfield Community, Buckinghamshire
Date: March 17-19 2006
Cost: high-waged £180 / waged £150 / unwaged £120
All food and accommodation included - plus free beers, wine, tea and biscuits!
For more details, see

Residential Weekend Course: Living in Communities
Location: Low-impact Living Initiative, Redfield Community, Buckinghamshire
Date: March 24-26 2006
Cost: high-waged £120 / waged £95 / unwaged £75/ children over 5, £30
All food and accommodation included - plus free beers, wine, tea and biscuits!
For more details, see

For further information, contact:
LILI, Redfield Community, Buckingham Road, Winslow, Bucks, MK18 3LZ
(01296) 714184 web:
Consumer culture rests on an assumption that the path to happiness is through spending money. The new science of happiness questions this, with studies showing that materialism reduces life satisfaction; it suggests instead that more enduring paths to happiness come from using your strengths to serve a purpose larger than yourself. Chris Johnstone is joined by well known media psychiatrist Raj Persaud to introduce the new science of positive psychology.
Cost £15 (concs available), to book, phone Bristol University Public Programmes Office, tel: 0117 928 7172
Or email:
More information will soon be available on Chris’s website at
Local Groups
(38) OXFORD - A group in Oxford have been building on their experience of the Work that Reconnects in 2005. Currently there is a study action group on Climate Change, another study action group on Creativity and plans for an introductory day on The Work that Reconnects. If you are interested in being in touch with the group, please contact: Jo Hamilton Tel 07941 134664 or Fiona Mullins 01865 204446.
(39) HEREFORDSHIRE/MONMOUTH AREA ECOPSYCHOLOGY GROUP - We have been growing slowly in numbers but are getting to know each other and to identify what it is we want this group to be and do. Starting with the paradox that we humans continue to plunder and pollute our Home despite many of us caring deeply about Her, we have been inviting people to form a small core group who want to look at why this is so and to work towards an understanding of the dynamics of this. So essentially the group offers a safe space (ie non-judgemental) in which to
a) Meet each other at depth
b) Listen to each other and validate each other
c) Honour the pain we feel for the Earth
d) Ask questions about how it feels to come from fear or guilt or anger - what does it lead to and what are the consequences?
e) Search for a way to make sense of living in the present time, to explore a view of the larger context: a philosophical, spiritual and cosmological dimension so that as Joanna says we "can hold an awareness that you have a life now and that you are are going to make it meaningful for the story of conscious life on earth."
For information contact Rosemary Bell email:
(40) Are you in a local group exploring The Great Turning, Deep Ecology, The Work That Reconnects, Eco-psychology or related areas? If so, please send brief details for the next Great Turning Times due out in May. Copydate end of April.
UK National and Regional Contacts
(41) For information about The Work That Reconnects in the UK, contact
To join a network of people training in running workshops in this approach, contact Alex Wildwood at
(42) Earthfirst UK have a website at which lists actions and local groups. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(43) The Greenlinks directory at
Every local area has many inspired people, working as individuals or in small businesses or voluntary groups, all dedicated to creating a fair society and healthy environment.

In some counties these groups are linking up to form networks based on local green directories, for mutual support, co-operation and sharing of resources, as well as for joint promotion to the public This enables everyone in the area easy access to information on fresh local food, recycling, transport, health, education and other green and healthy options.

The unique greenlinks website design enables local areas (counties/cities) to create and run their own directory in which participants can input their own information online, and keep it up to date.
All this at a minimal cost.
(44) Creating Connections
If you have and apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.
George Bernard Shaw
This is a quote from the website of Creating Connections, which offers services and support to individuals, groups and agencies that contribute to building Sustainable, Empowered Communities. One of their projects is “The Melting Pot”, which aims to create a space in central Edinburgh to act as an “incubator for progressive initiatives”. see for more info.
(45) This list is incomplete. What do you think should also be here? We are producing a links page for the Great Turning Times website. Let us know of any essential information resources and contacts that should be there.
(46) Copydate for next entry is end of April. Contact The Great Turning Times at
And a few words to end, taken from the current letter on Joanna Macy’s website ( )

“"Radical uncertainty" has emerged, I see now, as an ever more important theme in my work this year. As we set our sails for the Great Turning, it brings a kind of sober, bracing freedom from demands and complaints of the small self. And it brings an ever-fresh recognition of the power of intention and choice, which, like the rudder of our craft, is what we can put our hands to--and the only thing we can control.”