The Great Turning Or The Great Unraveling: It’s Our Choice with Joanna Macy

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Macy points out, “Our earth is alive. It's not a supply house or a sewer, it is our larger living body with vast evolving intelligence that we are totally a part of and we can draw on.” She encourages us to face the facts of our immense planetary challenges. However, rather than allowing these realities to shut us down, we can choose the practice of active hope. She encourages us to choose the story of “The Great Turning” rather than “The Great Unraveling.”  She describes the “Great Turning” as a vital, creative response and wholesale revision of our values and our perceptions toward this precious planet. She encourages us to get together with others to find our way through, as together we imagine the future we want. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Joanna Macy, Ph.D. is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. She travels the world offering trainings to enliven and empower our responses to planetary crisis and has been an activist for more than five decades. She’s a respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology. 

She is author and co-author of many books including:

To learn more about the work of Joanna Macy to or

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What are the three great revolutions of human history
  • Why we need to look at our sorrow and fear for the world
  • Why we need to sit with other people who are coping with overwhelm in these times
  • What is the Gaia theory that the earth is alive
  • Why is it important for us to imagine a world in which we’d like to live
  • What is the process of speaking to future generations about this time we’re living in
  • What is The Deep Time perspective of expanding the temporal context of our lives
  • What is the promise of “discontinuous change” that jumps evolution
  • How we direct our actions to follow either the story of “The Great Turning” or “The Great Unraveling”

Host: Justine Willis Toms       Interview Date: 7/25/2012           Program Number: 3446

Music Playlist

From Album: Quiet Mind: The Musical Journey of a Tibetan Nomad
Artist: Nawang Khechog
1991 Sounds True #STA M001D

Opening Essay: Track: 01 Year of Tibet
Music Break 1: Track 03 The Flight of a Shepherd Boy
Music Break 2: Track 06 Giving and Forgiving
Music Break 3: Track 04 Freedom in Exile