This wonderful evolution from a passion for the sea to a passion for the planet and its well-being makes my heart sing. Many of us hear the call to adventure but how many are prepared to give up everything and devote themselves to its fulfilment? This is truly the hero’s journey and Dame Ellen MacArthur is a quintessential hero of the twenty-first century. We need more of her like.
So what characterises this journey? Can it be mapped? Is it something we could all dare to do? This is work of Dr Chris Johnstone, who sets out to discover the answers to these questions. As a young man, he singlehandedly took on the NHS and fought a legal battle to reduce the hours of junior doctors working in hospitals and won, against huge odds.
Chris has helped me to unravel the structure of my journey of positive change – the call to adventure, how the journey unfolds, how to respond creatively and with my potential – and how to overcome the many pitfalls that may occur along the way. In his book, Find Your Power, he has created a map to help us navigate our own voyages, whether they are to overcome an addiction, learn new skills or nothing less than to become an effective activist for positive social change, a planetary server.
Here are two role models: Ellen MacArthur is one of the world’s greatest adventurers, both brave and vulnerable, and a steely, uncompromising gambler who has a vision and is compelled to follow it to completion. She inspires me and gives me courage.
Chris Johnstone, on the other hand, holds a light that helps illuminate the path. He helps me find my way and overcome my lack of faith in my magnitude (and we all have the potential for unbounded magnitude). Chris is able to unpick the delicate complexities of how we can find our inner power that enables us to live our dreams.
Finding your power
I know that I have a steely determination and a vision. 21 years ago my partner, Tim, and I decided to found a publishing company to provide ‘information which encourages people to live more healthy, self-reliant and ecologically sound ways of life.’ We started with practical books about permaculture and launched Permaculture magazine in 1992 with just 600 readers. It was not easy. Today, it is read in 78 countries by over 100,000 people. We are now developing the idea of transformational media, connecting together inspiring, information-based, empowering material in every sphere – still producing books and magazines, but also websites, downloads, films, YouTubes, blogs, using social media to network, share information and inspire people globally. And of course we meet and talk with people too.
We are passionate about sustainability. We want to share these messages as widely as possible. There are practical ways in which we can live together on this beautiful planet in peace and in ecological balance and permaculture design is a practical, tested strategy for restoring habitat and creating ecologically sound communities. We know that time is running out for the Earth’s many species and habitats and that climate change is a very real threat to humanity’s survival – let alone all the creatures with which we share this planet.
We are shamelessly in love with this world. We think it is miraculous. We do not want to see it driven to extremes – overheated, flooded, frozen, parched – by atmospheric changes caused by human actions and we want to help prevent as much suffering as possible. We also know that climate change and our collective response to it is the greatest call to adventure humanity has yet to face. It has become a matter of evolution for our species. We are being asked to entirely change the way we live on this planet and to evolve beyond selfishness, fear, greed and instinct into intuition, harmlessness, service, love and reverence for life. This is the call. This is our journey.
To learn more about permaculture go to the hub at www.permaculture.co.uk or contact Permanent Publications, The Sustainability Centre, East Meon, Hampshire GU32 1HR. 01730 823311