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Self-Study version of The Great Turning Experiment. Book here.
“The Great Turning imbues a commitment to act for the sake of life on Earth. If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear. People who can open to the web of life that called us into being.”
~ Joanna Macy, leading visionary of the Great Turning
Earth Love in Action – The Invitation
This is a journey into love. Love for our Great Mother Earth, love for every living being, love for future generations of all species and, ultimately, love and appreciation for the very gift of the miracle of life itself.
This kind of love and our innate attraction to nature has an evolutionary basis. Psychoanalyst, Erich Fromm, in 1973 referred to the manifestation of this phenomenon as Biophilia – the passionate love of life and of all that is alive. The word Biophilia is formed from the ancient Greek: “life” (bio) and “love” (philia); it literally means love of life. Biologist, Edward O. Wilson, also used the term in his 1984 work, Biophilia, in which he asserted that our human tendency to focus on and affiliate with nature and other life-forms is, in part, genetic. It is this tendency that compels us to act to preserve life.
When we love deeply we are moved to act. Our love made manifest reveals itself in the choices we make on a daily basis to act for the sake of life on our beautiful planet. We begin to recognise ourselves as full participants and conscious cocreators in the evolution of life, embedded in nature, in reciprocity with the natural world, giving our gifts, in service, for the benefit of the whole, with reverence and respect for all life. Our courage is awakened. Our role becomes clear. Our unique gifts are called forth and strengthened. We begin to act in alignment with a soul mission greater than ourselves – to protect, preserve and help heal the Earth – the ultimate act which determines our future.
David Korten, whom we are blessed to have as one of our session speakers, reminds us that we have the power to consciously choose our collective future:
“Continued human viability depends on emergency action to stop the damage, facilitate Earth’s healing, and advance the emergence of an ecological civilisation. Success depends on the power of the people united by a compelling vision of a possible future that is true to our love of all life, not just our own.”
David Korten, Author of The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community
Alone this may seem like an impenetrable vision and mission, given the extent of destruction visited upon our Earth, but when we join forces with like-minded and spirited souls, Earth lovers and guardians, we create a planetary transformational force field that is undeniable, unshakable and unstoppable. All that previously appeared intractable is transformed through our fierce love in action as together we rise towards a flourishing future.
The Great Turning calls to us to turn from our destructive habit patterns of the past and turn towards the healing and regeneration of the planet. The creative genius of each of us is needed to support the transition to an interconnected, highly creative and regenerative future for all life forms on this beautiful planet we call our ecological home.
“The songbirds and the salmon need your heart, no matter how weary, because even a broken heart is still made of love. They need your heart because they are disappearing, slipping into that longest night of extinction, and the resistance is nowhere in sight.
“We will have to build that resistance from whatever comes to hand: whispers and prayers, history and dreams, from our bravest words and braver actions. It will be hard, there will be a cost, and in too many implacable dawns it will seem impossible. But we will have to do it anyway. So gather your heart and join with every living being. With love as our First Cause, how can we fail?”
~ Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance
Indeed, how can we fail? For 3 months we are inviting you to join hearts and hands with like-minded Earth lovers and guardians in making manifest your love for Earth and all beings to consciously preserve, protect, heal and restore all that is sacred in our living world, that through our collective love in action and mindful stewardship, future beings will inherit a liveable planet and know the magnificence of the miracle of life itself in this Great Turning.
The Mission and Commitment
With love as our first cause, we will immerse ourselves in transformative living through these journey objectives which you will come to live at increasing levels of depth to heal the Earth and accelerate the Great Turning:
- Enquiring deeply into what the Earth is asking of us at this time, recognising our rightful place as one humble member of many within the web of life, and embodying the sacredness and dignity of all life embedded within our ecological home;
- Cultivating a deep ecology of consciousness within, as full participants, and conscious cocreators in the evolution of life, and manifesting our love for Earth through a growing awareness of the gift of the miracle of life and our responsibility to protect and care for all living beings;
- Recognising our power to choose our collective future – the power of the people united by a compelling vision of an ecological civilisation that is true to our love of all life, not just our own;
- Becoming adept at discerning between solutions to our current crises which perpetuate the destruction versus those which are truly regenerative, to enable us to consciously call for and support only that which halts the destruction and helps heal the Earth;
- Exploring transformative pathways to a life-affirming future which, for the first time in our human history, integrates Indigenous wisdom, the great wisdom traditions and observations at the leading edge of contemporary science; and
- Learning how to sustain our commitment to Earth care in practice that we may consistently choose love, and awaken, unite and act for the sake of life in this Great Turning, long after our 3-month journey is complete.
Two live sessions per month, via online video-conferencing
Our journey comprises two live sessions per month, over three months. We will be using Zoom video-conferencing to convene our sessions – a very easy, user-friendly way to gather and proactively engage global audiences online. If you haven’t yet used the platform, we will guide you easily through the technology.
Once you’ve registered, and before the first introductory session, we’ll send you the Zoom access information so that you can participate. All you will need is a laptop, computer, tablet, or smartphone with a camera and stable internet access. You will be able to join us from the comfort of your own home or from wherever you are in the world.
The 3-Month, 7-Session Journey Schedule
The three-month journey runs from 7 December 2022 to 1 March 2023 and is made up of 7 sessions. Times stated are London, UK time. Click here to convert to your local time.
What you will receive and experience
- 7 live sessions: The Introduction and Completion sessions are 1.5 hours in duration. The 5 speaker sessions are 2 hours in duration. The format of the speaker sessions will be flexible and emergent but will include: a brief framing of the session and speaker introduction by your journey host (15 minutes), speaker presentation (40 minutes), participant break out groups (30 minutes), return to the large group for Q&A with the speaker and participant sharings (30 minutes), and closing remarks (5 minutes).
- Video recording of each session: All the speaker sessions will be recorded and made available 48 hours following the session. If you are not able to attend one of the live sessions, you will be able to view the recording at your convenience. You may also want to review the recording to integrate the content of a particular session more deeply.
- Study Guides: To help integrate the content and experience of each session, a study guide will be provided including questions for contemplation between sessions, a transcript of the session and additional resources, featuring lists of videos, films, books, projects, events, and blogs relevant to each session.
- Buddy Groups: To support you between sessions, we’ll be placing you into Buddy Groups. Participation in your Buddy Group is vital to your experience and demonstrates your commitment to the journey. These are self-organised, smaller groupings that will enable you to conveniently connect with one another based on your time zones. We’ll allocate 5 to 8 people to each group. Once the journey is underway, we’ll send you an email providing you with a full list of participants, as well as your assigned Buddy Group and suggestions for getting started together.
- 24-Hour Participant Zoom Line: Participants are encouraged to self-organise and initiate small group dialogues between live sessions through our easy-to-use Open Zoom Line available 24/7.
- Private Members Group: This will be your virtual home over the three months and is hosted on Facebook. The Private Members Group will enable you to engage in shared enquiry between sessions to deepen the journey, build alliances, and share your reflections, insights, experiences and questions with a community of peers. You may also choose to stay engaged after the programme as a way to integrate and continue to build community and support one another.
- Free access to our panel discussion: An Intimate Discourse with Visionaries of The Great Turning. The 1.5-hour video talk is a great introduction to Great Turning themes and may be useful to watch before the online learning journey begins. Featuring Craig Schindler, Joanna Macy, David Korten, Chris Johnstone, Pat McCabe – Woman Stands Shining, and Duane Elgin.
You will be expected to give your full, wholehearted commitment to the journey. Please note that you will need to set aside at least 8 hours per month, depending on the level of depth you are willing to go to, in order to:
- engage with the live sessions;
- meet online with your assigned Buddy Group between live sessions;
- work with the questions for ongoing reflection and dialogue contained in your session Study Guides; and
- take dedicated action in your own life and community for the love of Earth.
Meet Our Great Turning Visionary Speakers
All of our inspiring speakers are proactively committed to pioneering new ways of living and being as we reimagine our world. In each session, we’ll have the opportunity to draw from their inspiration to help illuminate the way which, in turn, will compel us to take action in our own lives and communities.
Mary Evelyn Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale in the School of the Environment, the Divinity School, and the Department of Religious Studies. She teaches in the MA program in religion and ecology and co-directs the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology with her husband, John Grim. Her special area of research is East Asian religions, especially Confucianism. Mary Evelyn worked closely with Thomas Berry for three decades, edited his books, co-wrote his biography and is his literary executor. She was a member of the Earth Charter Drafting committee and the International Earth Charter Council. She won the Inspiring Yale Teaching Award in 2015 and has been awarded 5 honorary degrees. With John Grim, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.
David C. Korten holds MBA and PhD degrees from the Stanford Business School. He is a former member of the faculties of the Harvard Graduate School of Business and the Harvard Graduate School of Public Health. For 21 years, he lived and worked as an economic development professional in Ethiopia, Central America, the Philippines, and Indonesia. He is founder and president of the Living Economics Forum and co-founder and board chair emeritus of YES! Media. His books include Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth, and the international best sellers When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.
Derrick Jensen has been hailed as the philosopher poet of the environmental movement. He is author of twenty-seven books, including Bright Green Lies and A Language Older Than Words. He holds a degree in creative writing from Eastern Washington University, a degree in mineral engineering physics from the Colorado School of Mines, and has taught at Eastern Washington University and Pelican Bay State Prison. He has packed university auditoriums, conferences, and bookstores across the nation, stirring them with revolutionary spirit.
Lierre Keith has been a radical feminist for 40 years. She is the author of seven books, including The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability, which has been called “the most important ecological book of this generation.” She is coauthor, with Derrick Jensen and Max Wilbert, of Bright Green Lies: How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What We Can Do About It. She lives in northern California with giant trees and giant dogs. She’s also been arrested six times for acts of political resistance.
Jeremy Lent, described by Guardian journalist George Monbiot as “one of the greatest thinkers of our age,” is an author and speaker whose work investigates the underlying causes of our civilisation’s existential crisis, and explores pathways toward a life-affirming future. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning and The Web of Meaning: Integrating Science and Traditional Wisdom to Find Our Place in the Universe. Jeremy is the founder of the Deep Transformation Network, a global community exploring pathways to an ecological civilisation, and the nonprofit Liology Institute, dedicated to fostering an integrated worldview that could enable humanity to thrive sustainably on the Earth.
John D Liu is an award-winning ecological filmmaker, environmental educator, speaker, and writer. Many of his films have appeared on BBC World and other networks. In 2003, John wrote, produced and directed “Jane Goodall – China Diary” for National Geographic. His work promotes the potential of ecological restoration, as presented in the recent films “Hope in a Changing Climate”, “Rwanda – Forests of Hope” and “Emerging in a Changing Climate”. In 2006 he was named the Rothamsted International Fellow for the Communication of Science, and in 2013 he received the Communications Award from the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER). “Green Gold”, a film about his work produced by the VPRO, won a Prix Italia award. “Hope in a Changing Climate” was named the best ecosystem film by the International Wildlife Film Festival and won several other honours. John is currently Chair of the Advisory Council of Ecosystem Restoration Camps; Visiting Research Fellow of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO), Ecosystem Ambassador for the Commonland Foundation, and founding Director of the Environmental Education Media Project for China (EEMPC).
Meet Your Great Turning Journey Host
Mattie Porte holds a degree in Psychology, is trained in alternative energy medicine, and is a lifelong student of Eastern and Western spiritual and mystical traditions. She has over 20 years experience in spiritual and personal development education and mentoring at Findhorn Ecovillage in the North East of Scotland, where she currently resides. She is the director and producer of the feature-length documentary film – An Enquiry into a New Story for Humanity: Change the Story, Change the World. Her focus is spiritual awakening and the evolution of human consciousness from an integrated scientific and esoteric point of view. She is passionate about the potential in moving from our current paradigm of separation and fear to an emerging paradigm of unity and wholeness.