Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy PhD, is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. A respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a ground-breaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application.
Her wide-ranging work addresses psychological and spiritual issues of the nuclear age, the cultivation of ecological awareness, and the fruitful resonance between Buddhist thought and contemporary science. The many dimensions of this work are explored in her books Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age (New Society Publishers, 1983); Dharma and Development (Kumarian Press, 1985); Thinking Like a Mountain (with John Seed, Pat Fleming, and Arne Naess; New Society Publishers, 1988; New Society/ New Catalyst, 2007); Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory (SUNY Press, 1991); Rilke’s Book of Hours (1996, 2005) and In Praise of Mortality (2004) (with Anita Barrows, Riverhead); Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World (with Molly Young Brown, New Society Publishers, 1998); Joanna’s memoir entitled Widening Circles (New Society, 2000); World as Lover, World as Self (Parallax Press, 2007), A Year With Rilke, (with Anita Barrows, Harper One, 2009); and Pass It On: Five Stories That Can Change the World (with Norbert Gahbler, Parallax Press, 2010).
Joanna is one of the pioneers in awakening people to what was happening in the world with the phrase, ‘the great turning.’ In 1989, Craig Schindler and Gary Lapid published The Great Turning: Personal Peace – Global Victory, with an endorsement from Joanna Macy who has played a major role in acquainting people with the term and its underlying concept of deep change through her writing and workshops for years. In 2006, David Korten, who picked up the term from Joanna, published The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community to describe the dimensions of the current human crisis, its historical origin, and the crucial elements of the cultural and institutional transformation we must now navigate.
Many thousands of people around the world have participated in Joanna’s workshops and trainings. Her group methods, known as the Work That Reconnects, have been adopted and adapted yet more widely in classrooms, churches, and grassroots organizing. Her work helps people transform despair and apathy, in the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, into constructive, collaborative action. It brings a new way of seeing the world, as our larger living body, freeing us from the assumptions and attitudes that now threaten the continuity of life on Earth.
Joanna travels widely giving lectures, workshops, and trainings in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. She lives in Berkeley, California, near her children and grandchildren.