New Release: Change Here Now

Posted by – May 30, 2017
Categories: Excerpt New Release

There’s a lot of political energy in the world now. Many of us are eager to create positive, tangible, and lasting change in our communities, but we may struggle over what can we do—or how to do it.

In Change Here Now, award-winning social entrepreneur and permaculturalist Adam Brock draws from ecology, sociology, community economics, social justice, and indigenous practices to present more than eighty proven solutions for building healthy communities. Using the “pattern language” framework developed by architect Christopher Alexander and his colleagues in the 1970s, Brock outlines strategies for redesigning our social and economic systems to mimic nature’s resilience and abundance.

Practical, innovative, and visually compelling, this book presents easy-to-understand tools for a compassionate and methodical approach to building better communities.

Continue reading for an exclusive first look at Adam Brock’s Change Here Now.

Part 5. Training the Sacred Warrior

For all the social struggles being lost and won on picket lines, courtrooms, and dining room tables, some of the most insidious barriers to social change lie in our own heads and hearts. Internalized narratives of shame, guilt, or apathy can cripple our plans before they even hatch. The food we choose to nourish our bodies—and the media we choose to nourish our minds—can dull our senses and raise our blood pressure. And even our most well-intentioned actions can end up recycling age-old patterns of domination, keeping ourselves and others locked into spirals of social erosion.

In short, we can’t heal the systems around us if we don’t heal ourselves first. For those dedicated to social change, self-care frequently means going beyond the trite (but true) reminders about good diet, exercise, and sufficient sleep to encompass an entire mindset and lifestyle. The work of building a better society isn’t suspended in the evening or on the weekend—it just takes a different form. As feminist poet Audre Lorde once put it, self-care is an ‘act of political warfare.’

What self-care strategies are most effective for warriors of peace and justice like Lorde? They’re myriad and diffuse, but many of them boil down to one thing: self-knowledge. If we’re to be effective stewards of social and environmental change, it’s our responsibility to understand who we are as individuals, where we came from, and where we want to go. We all need to develop our capacities for self-awareness and self-improvement and to learn to read our internal compass on an ongoing basis. We’ve got to know our strengths, acknowledge our weaknesses, and serve our communities with dedication and joy. Each one of those tasks could easily entail years of study and practice. But in order for those journeys to even begin, we’ve got to carve out the time for them to take place at all. Whether it’s through journaling, meditation, yoga, dancing, or prayer, many of the most successful changemakers cultivate a practice that helps them connect with their deepest selves.

As we each engage with our own processes of self-awareness, we inevitably uncover some warts and scars that are difficult to face. Even when we have the courage to acknowledge these challenges, our default response is to keep them out of our interactions with others and project a confident, seamless facade. Yet, as noted social scientist Brené Brown has found, this kind of cover-up only serves to further erode our connections with our peers. “When leaders choose self-protection over transparency,” explains Brown, “when money and metrics are more valued than relationships and values, and when our self-worth is attached to what we produce, learning and work becomes dehumanized….The equation is simple: Invulnerability in leadership breeds disengagement in culture.” The corollary, proven by brave leaders again and again, is that being honest with peers about our challenges and fears engenders respect and trust, bringing groups closer together. Vulnerability—counterintuitively—is strength.

Adam Brock is an award-winning social entrepreneur and permaculturalist based in his hometown of Denver, CO. His work lies at the intersection of urban agriculture, sustainable business, and social change. In 2009, Adam co-founded The GrowHaus, a food justice nonprofit, and served as its Director of Operations until 2014. He is active in the local and national permaculture communities, serving on the board of the Denver Permaculture Guild and organizing committee of the inaugural North American Permaculture Convergence. He has been a TEDxMileHigh speaker, a contributor and guest editor of Permaculture Design Magazine (formerly Permaculture Activist), and serves on Denver’s Sustainable Food Policy Council.

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About the Author

Before officially joining NAB, Katie earned her BA in English at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. There, she learned that working with books was an actual career! After her first year at school, she worked for two small publishing houses as an editorial intern. Returning from a four-month adventure in Spain, she began working for the Graduate Education Office as a thesis editor. She then stumbled upon a marketing and publicity internship with (drumroll please) North Atlantic Books—and loves that she’s back! Katie spent her last year of school publishing a literary facsimile and contemplating life’s greatest questions. As a former fitness instructor and current avid reader, Katie is thrilled to work with a wide range of books that matches her range of hobbies!