Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely and important read, 30 April 2012
This review is from: People & Permaculture (Paperback)
This fantastic book invites us to think like a natural ecosystem and apply it to our lives.It nudges you to relate to the patterns in nature by providing many examples of application such as: looking at yourself, improving the functioning of staff within a team and re-energising educational and healthcare institutions. By continually comparing our lives and interactions with that of nature, it reinforces how interconnected we all actually are - we are Guardians for our planet and our actions will affect our future generations.

I particularly like her description of `spirals of erosion' (of natural resources, social structures and personal capacity) compared with `spirals of abundance' - how we effectively turn the former into the latter. The design tool she opts for is a `Design Web' to help facilitate change and turn our ideas into reality. The web has 12 anchor points, each focusing on a different area to build up a detailed and holistic picture of where we want to go and how we are going to get there.

The book goes on to focus our attention inwards - looking deep into the centre of ourselves and how we can connect and reflect upon our internal landscape, in particular: our needs, beliefs and thinking patterns. She opens up the way of looking at our health through a permaculture lens by using the design tools to increase our wellbeing. She explores ways to balance our lives, plug up our personal energy leaks, increase our effectiveness, find the right livelihood, define our real wealth, tap into our creative selves, and enable us to achieve more.

One of the most valuable chapters for me was on `communication,' as it is key to all relationships, and is the `bread and butter' of our social wellbeing. There is an emphasis on observation, active listening and compassionate communication and how they are essential ingredients to glue our positive relationships together - whether on a one-to-one basis or within groups and organisations. An important chapter was how to work in groups, looking at: group structure, roles within groups, group life, decision-making and facilitation. She examines the similarities and differences between our generations and how we can improve the communication and connectedness of each other, to increase our yields and reduce energy loss.

Looby continues to expand our thinking beyond our direct interactions and explores the wider context of society and the bigger systems (such as education and healthcare) that we are part of and also globally. The approach is balanced without completely criticising the current systems; she takes us from where we are...to where we want to be... and asks and suggests how we get there. She also considers the `Transition Town' initiatives and ways in which they engage the community in positive actions for a better way to live within the finite resources of the planet.

I found this book an essential and engaging read. To finish the book leaves one feeling uplifted and positive and acutely aware of how connected everything is, and how we can help the world become a better place (The Great Turning). It has changed me for the better, and I am looking forward to applying it within my life and work situation.
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