The New Possible – Review
The New Possible: Visions of our World Beyond Crisis, Edited by Philip Clayton, Kelli M. Archie, Jonah Sachs and Evan Steiner. January 2021, Cascade Books, ISBN: 9781725285835, 298 pages. RRP: £21
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought crisis to the world, but also a deep questioning of where we are now and where we want to be in the future, bringing with it the very real possibility of change. Threatened with a global health crisis, catastrophic climate change, economic systems no longer fit for purpose and growing inequality, where do we turn for a fresh vision? This book attempts to encapsulate the many positive futures that we could choose.
The New Possible is a collection of twenty-eight essays by global leaders in six continents. Many of the writers may be unfamiliar to readers, although Vandana Shiva and Jack Kornfield are well-known and widely published. After the Foreword written by Kim Stanley Robinson, a renowned science fiction author, the book is subdivided into ten sections: Earth, Us, Change, Wealth, Work, Food, Education, Love, Community and Tomorrow. Each comprises a selection of essays by various experts: activists, academics, social entrepreneurs, economists, scientists and writers, each bringing a wealth of experience to their contribution.
Although the essays are diverse and wide-ranging in their context and content, certain themes begin to emerge: interdependence, community, indigenous and traditional wisdom, the connection between Earth and humanity. There are also darker elements that are explored, such as patriarchy, colonialism, racism and the dominance and destructiveness of global capitalism. This is, however, a book of hope that puts the outcome for the future firmly into our hands. In the final chapter, ‘Telling a New Story’, David C. Korten writes: “We need a new story informed by traditional wisdom, the world’s great religious traditions, and the leading edge of science.”
This is a very accessible book to read as you can dip in and out of the various sections or just pick an essay that interests you. I see it as a valuable resource for stimulating our own visioning of the future we want to see. I can thoroughly recommend it for those looking for inspiration in difficult times and for a readable roadmap to truly “building back better”.