Reviewed by Louise Tait for New Renaissance

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This book is for all those who recognise a degree of discontent at the current world in which we live. A world which, through our daily lives and actions many of us continue to unwittingly propagate. It is for those awakening to the realisation that things cannot continue as they are and a change is required.

In Changing Course for Life, Julian Rose spells out the truth of our current socio-economic context in a blatant and transparent acknowledgement of the ills of our society. It is easy to hide behind our ignorance of the finer and less savoury details of corporate greed, of modern industrialised agriculture, of the wide ranging effects of our unmitigated obsession with technological advancement. He explores just how and when our economies and societies departed from the objective of servicing our needs for a happy and harmonious state of existence with the natural world, to the point at which we now find ourselves: disconnected. A condition Rose aptly summarises as a state of being ‘subjugated to a sense of impotence by our own inventions’.

The book covers a broad range of aspects of modern society, from the disproportionate levels of power and wealth, to society’s single minded focus on technological advancement at the expense of labour enhancing techniques to the continuing loss of food biodiversity and steadily declining state of our soils.

But this book goes beyond merely pointing out how and where we have gone wrong. His clear objective is identifying a new way of living our lives. This encompasses a very personalised and spiritual consideration of the ends to which we devote our daily thoughts and energies. He acknowledges the need to realign our energies with the natural rhythms of the earth rather than directing them daily into the current model of degradation of our natural state of being. But he also discusses society at large, considering the necessary changes to our politico-economic environment, to agriculture, education, and greening our city lives. This book is, quite literally, bursting forth with ideas: ideas for change, ideas for how we can move forward into the next phase of consciousness, away from a mechanistic view of us in relation to the universe and the landscape, to a mindset that embraces the concept of living as a holistic integrated whole.

Rose writes with a palpable energy that is infectious. I found that no matter what frame of mind I was in when I sat down to read this book, when I put it down the energy contained within flowed through my veins and made me urgently aware of the need and desire to DO something. This book is full of idealism at a time when idealism is exactly what we need. It is perhaps our current tendency towards too little idealism and too much apathetic acceptance of the status quo that sees us trapped and stagnating as we are. So I challenge you to read this book, to awaken and to transform your way of interacting with the world around you.

(Louise Tait is an economist working in the environmental and development fields and has worked in both South Africa and the UK. She likes to read and think and engage with the world around her. She believes in the harmony of all things and strives to make this a reality.”