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Margaret's Sustainability Articles

Australia - This is an Australian website


This list has become quite long, even though I have included only what most deeply inspired & encouraged me.
I hope some of these, if you have not yet come across them, will do the same for you.


star Thinking Like A Mountain - John Seed; JOANNA MACY, Pat Fleming, Arne Naess.
NEW SOCIETY PUBLISHERS, Philadelpia PA & Santa Cruz CA. 1988, recently (2009)re-issued.

"When one thinks like a mountain, one thinks also like the black bear, so that honey dribbles down your fur as you catch the bus to work."

A moving collection of poems, essays, meditations, beautiful pen & ink drawings, plus the
COUNCIL OF ALL BEINGS concept & directions. Also contains full text of Chief Seattle's famous speech.

The text of this book is now online - go to: http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/deep-eco/welcome.htm and follow the link.

I have also found two early works by Joanna Macey of infinite value. One, a slim volume called Despairwork, is almost unobtainable, but if you would like a text file please contact me.

"This work is needed because our culture makes it hard to get in touch with the genuine dimensions of our despair, and because until we do, our power of creative response to planetary crisis will be crippled. Until we can grieve for our planet and its future inhabitants we cannot fully feel or enact our love for them.

....................The first stop in despair-work is to disabuse oneself of the notion that grief for our world is morbid. To experience anguish and anxiety in the face of the perils threatening humanity is a healthy reaction. Living tissue is sensitive. This pain, far from being crazy, is rather a testimony to the unity of life, the deep inter-connections that relate us to all beings.
Such pain for the world becomes masochistic only when one assumes personal guilt for its plight or personal responsibility for its solution. No individual is that powerful.
(I find it interesting that the only "sins" Dame Julian of Norwich, in her Revelations of Divine Love, mentions by name are impatience and Despair).

Joanna's book developed into an inspiring workshop manual called " Despair & Personal Power in a Nuclear Age" It's as relevant today as it was in the 70s when it was written. Try secondhand bookshops - or you may find copies through good secondhand booksellers on the Internet. I have found ABE BOOKS to be one of the best, it's a world-wide network of mainly small and independent booksellers, and has excellent security.

Pale Rainbow

HRH Prince Charles, with Tony Juniper, Ian Skelly. Published by Hodder & Stoughton

A comprehensive, deeply thoughtful, & inspiring look at the environmental imperatives we face, possible practical ways forward, and some projects already implemented.

"If we continue to engineer the extinction of the last remaining indigenous traditional societies, we eliminate one of the last remaining sources of that wisdom.".

Pale Rainbow

starThe Wonders of Life
Prof.Brian Cox, & Andrew Cohen. Publ.BBC, Collins
Available as a DVD as well as a lavishly illustrated book with loads of helpful diagrams, this third in the amazing "Wonders" series from the BBC demonstrates irrefutably how deeply connected is every form of life, showing how ridiculous it is to place more value on any, including human, life form than any other.

"DNA is the blueprint of life, but it is also the keeper of a great story, perhaps the most astonishing story ever told, because our DNA not only connects us to every plant & animal alive today, but to every single thing that has ever lived."

And to eliminate the last hint of anthropocentric hubris, watch the earlier DVDs in the series: "Wonders of the Solar System" and "Wonders of the Universe".

Pale Rainbow

The Movement That Is Transforming the Relation of Humanity to Earth - by Tony Federer.

Available as a free download from Tony's website:
or in inexpensive hard copy, this is an amazing & comprehensive work. Essential reading for all those who need further motivation to be part of the solution.

"Dedication - ECOSHIFT is dedicated to my four grandchildren in hopes of improving their future. They will inherit the Earth and will live through the major changes that are coming in the next halfcentury. What their life is like depends greatly on what human individuals, groups, communities, organizations, politicians, corporations, and governments are deciding to do NOW."

Pale Rainbow

starTaking Charge - the Simple Living Collective of the American Friends Service Committee
How YOU can make a difference - practical suggestions for change in our daily lives, our communities - and the world!
Achieving personal and political change through Simple Living.
Using the gentle but thorough Quaker approach of Advices and Queries, it enables you and your family/community to explore every facet of everyday life for it's impact on social justice and the environment.
An inexpensive paperback, it was published in the seventies, and is now out of print. However it's really worth searching for.

Pale Rainbow

starThe Lord of the Rings - J.R.R.TOLKIEN, published by Allen & Unwin, now by Harper Collins

This book, (for it is one book), which I first discovered in the early 1960s, has influenced my life and outlook more than any other.
Unlike the Bible, which in spite of the lyrical English of the timeless King James Version, is totally middle-eastern in origin and reference, the mythical foundations, and familiar landscapes of The Lord of the Rings are those of my own Northern European and English ancestry, while it's languages owe nothing to either Aramaic or Greek.
I re-read, and refer to it constantly. Visions of Rivendell and Lothlorien are always hovering in my imagination, as all are well aware who know my house and garden, and the way I live.
But I hesitated to include so huge and so complex a work on this page.
Now that Peter Jackson has so successfully translated the main themes to film, the saga is readily accessible on video or DVD, with many excellent appendices.
And I strongly recommend the accompanying film made by National Geographic - if you can only cope with one video or DVD, try BEYOND THE MOVIE - THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.
More about this documentary, which highlights the profound environmental and cultural messages contained within the saga, at at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/12/1219_tolkienroots.html.
PATRICK CURRY, in his book Tolkien - Myth and Modernity reveals "........Tolkien's profound and subtle advocacy of community, ecology and spiritual values against the destructive forces of runaway modernity. Tolkien's remedy, and the project implicit in his literary mythology, is a re-enchantment of the world. In helping us to realize that living nature, including humanity, is sacred, his writings draw on ancient magical mythology, but at the same time resonate closely with the ideas of contemprary radical ecology."
Indeed, so strong and influential are these themes that during the making of the film, meticulous care was taken to protect the environment and ecology of the work areas, to respect and wherever possible employ indigenous people, and the welfare of the animals was paramount.

Pale Rainbow

star The Findhorn Garden - THE FINDHORN COMMUNITY
Findhorn Press, Scotland, 1975; second edition 1988.

"Landscape Angel - 'The personal qualities of the gardener can be used by the nature forces to add to plant growth..........Happiness has an especially good effect on plants, as do children at play.....'. "

"Pioneering a new vision of humanity & nature in co-operation" - the story of the first years of this famous garden, with many excellent B & W photos.

Pale Rainbow

star TheLilypad List - 7 steps to the simple life by MARIAN VAN EYK McCAIN
Published by FINDHORN PRESS Scotland,

Delightfully illustrated with a pondful of frogs by Australian wildlife artist Iris Hill, this book is something really special.
The author leads us on a joyful journey of self-discovery, free from guilt-trips and self-blame. Not at all what you expect from a book about simple living!
As the process unfolds, you come to realise that this is a subtle but potent form of magic. That is if you understand, as I do, magic to be about changing things by working with natural energy flows, using your own life as the means of transmission. The result is a realistic and practical guide to exploring the interior life in order to transform the exterior world.

Pale Rainbow

Pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future
This collection of essays, by distinguished writers and academics, is profound, reflective, and also an inspiration to action; practicing what you believe,
"walking your talk."
Pagan in it's true sense means of the land, those whose spirit dwells in country. It has nothing to do with egocentric "New Age Spirituality", but is deeply biocentric.
The true value of a belief system is demonstrated by the lifestyle it motivates & inspires.
Edited by Ly de Angeles, Emma Restall Orr, & THOM van DOOREN,with a Foreword by Dr.GRAHAM HARVEY, it includes an in-depth interview with the late Dr.VAL PLUMWOOD. Published in 2005 by Llewellyn Worldwide

Pale Rainbow

starHow Are We to Live? - Ethics in an age of self-interest - PETER SINGER - The Text Publishing Co. Melbourne. 1993.

" Deciding to live ethically is both more far-reaching and more powerful than a political commitment of the traditional kind.

Living an ethically reflective life is not a matter of strictly observing a set of rules that lay down what you should or should not do. To live ethically is to reflect in a particular way on how you live, and to try to live in accordance with the conclusions of that reflection."

Pale Rainbow

star LANDPRINTS - Reflections on Place and Landscape
by GEORGE SEDDON, with a foreword by Sir Gustav Nossal. Cambridge University Press 1997

This collection of thoughtful essays distills many years of practical experience as well as observation. Although especially applicable to Australia, this searching book has universal application.

"....gardeners are, in fact, one of the most important groups of land managers in this country, since between us we manage more than 50 per cent of all urban land in Australia, that is, the land that carries 80 per cent of the population:........ Gardeners are key land managers. Our choices therefore lie not in whether but in how we manage the land. We would all agree that we must do it in an ecologically responsible way. But most Australians are not gardening in an ecologically responsible way at present, although some of us are trying."

Pale Rainbow

star The work of ANDY GOLDSWORTHY                      Twigs, © Andy Goldsworthy

Pale Rainbow

starThe Fruitful Darkness - Re-connecting with the body of the Earth - JOAN HALIFAX
published by Harper, San Francisco

Joan Halifax has produced a movingly personal account of her experience of "The World Wound", and the Nine "Ways" by which we may identify with the richness of the dark earth. She quotes from many deeply earthed sources, some of which I have used on this site.
Seldom do I find such peace in sorrow as when I take up this book - the gift of a truly compassionate soul.

"The planet seems much smaller, more interconnected, and more vulnerable to me these days. Human economies and environmental systems, from the World Bank to Brazilian rain forests are intimately related. We can see clearly now how human actions affect all life on earth......."

Pale Rainbow

star The Sculpture of WILLIAM RICKETTS                      © William Ricketts

Pale Rainbow

star Poetry
I turn constantly to the poets, and it is extremely difficult to make a selection
So I list here only a few of those whose work is closest to my heart, and who may not be as familiar to you as, say, Keats or Wordsworth

JUDITH WRIGHT - Arguably Australia's greatest nature poet (1915 - 2000)
'Sanctuary', the sign said, 'Sanctuary'.
Trees, not houses, flat skins pinned to the road
Of possum and native cat.
And here, the old tree stood for how many thousand years,
That old gnome tree that some axe new boy cut down,
'Sanctuary' it said. But only the road has meaning here.
It leads into the world's cities like a long, fuse laid.
This emotive poem was written in the 1950s.

GERARD MANLY HOPKINS    - (1844–89)"Hopkins is rightly regarded as one of the great nature poets in the English language............... ‘Pied Beauty’ is one of his best known and most popular nature poems. It emphasises, as most of his nature poems do, that the beauties of nature derive from the Creator-God. Yet the distinctive beauty of the poem and the multiple beauties of nature with their own distinctive patterns or inscapes, as Hopkins would call them, are respected and cherished for what they are in themselves." Professor Enda McDonagh

JOHN CLARE -     - "John Clare was an English poet who lived mostly in rural Northamptonshire from 1793 to 1864. He is now regarded as the most important English poet of the natural world..........."

WILLIAM LANGLAND    - " c. 1332–c. 1400............. His great work, Piers Plowman, or, more precisely, The Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman, is an allegorical poem in unrhymed alliterative verse, regarded as the greatest Middle English poem prior to Chaucer."

Pale Rainbow

starThe stories and anthologies of - ELIZABETH GOUDGE (1900 - 1984)
These works are now, unfortunately, all out of print, but recent enough to be easily found secondhand.
Miss Goudge wrote in the 1930s - 1960s, for both adults and children. Her best-known book, Green Dolphin Country (1944) was made into a film.
While this is certainly the most powerful of her works, I consider her trilogy The Eliots of Damerosehay her most important and influential work for adults.
These are among the books I constantly re-read, refer to, and have indexed for quotations. Her anthologies A Book of Peace and A Book of Comfort live beside my bed.

Pale Rainbow

star Handbook for the Positive Revolution - EDWARD DE BONO, published by Viking, 1991. - http://www.edwarddebono.com/

"This practical handbook was originally written for Brazil, which so badly needs a revolution, but whose intellectuals are much too old-fashioned to design one.......this original purpose may account for some aspects of the book, particularly the need to be simple & definite."

Pale Rainbow

starGardener George Goes to Town - Susan Moxley, illustrated by Sara Sharpe.
A delightful children's book which can teach adults a great deal. George must have been the first Green Guerilla! Now out of print, but worth searching for.

Pale Rainbow

star The cartoons, poems, musings, and animations of - MICHAEL LEUNIG

Michael 's books published by Penguin.

The Travelling Leunig - bookcover

'Even the bleakest Leunig cartoons always contain that ray of hope that will survive if one keeps faith and keeps on:
"The moon is another symbol I like and compulsively put into things. It’s a remote, friendly light, a symbol of nocturnal wisdom, otherness, a feminine symbol. One seems to have a relationship with the moon. I do angels a lot, too because angels are friendly, winged spirits. When all else is squalor, an angel adds a hopeful dimension.
"And ducks, well, ducks just waddle along and get on with it, they are pristine and wonderfully self-cleaning, their beaks are smooth and non-threatening, they like food and sex and can be very comical. One of the great English poets wrote, ‘From the troubles of this world, I turn to ducks…’"'

Pale Rainbow

starWinning Back the Cities - Peter Newman & Jeff Kenworthy,
published by AUSTRALIAN CONSUMERS' ASSOCIATION, Pluto Press, 1992.

"Urban villages offer safe traffic-free environments "{illustration}(der Seepark development, Freiburg, Germany)

Large booklet, giving an overview of the problems faced by the world's cities. Solutions, examples, strategies, colour photos. Mostly applies to first world, but just as applicable elsewhere, if the money can be found.

Pale Rainbow

starZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - ROBERT M.PIRSIG, now published by Vintage (Random House publications)

Sub-titled "An Enquiry into Values", this book records and triumphantly validates the constant struggle endured by those who insist on thinking for themselves.
I strongly recommend it to anyone who has ever felt isolated from the mainstream because their actions are both preceded and accompanied by deep thinking.
It's also worth re-visiting when faced with an important life decision, and feeling overwhelmingly pressured by the dominant paradigm.

Pale Rainbow

starPermaculture - A Designer's Manual - BILL MOLLISON,
Published by Tagari publications,1988. New edition, Angus & Robertson, ?1995.

"Nowhere do we create. Everything we depend on we have evolved from what is already created, & that includes ourselves. Thoughtful people (those who get recreation from trying to understand) need wilderness as schools need teachers. Should we lose the wilderness, or suffer it to be destroyed, we will be recycled for more appropriate life.....When we settle into wilderness we are in conflict with so many life forms that we have to destroy them to exist. Keep out of the bush. It is already in good order.
It is my belief that we have two responsibilties to pursue: primarily, it is to get our house & garden, our place of living in order, so that it supports us. Secondarily, it is to limit our population on earth, or we ourselves become the final plague."

A Ph.D course in Permaculture a deep read, but hard to put down, so full is it of challenging concepts, which the author presents so as to make them seem obvious.

Pale Rainbow

star The photography of STEVE PARRISH                      © Steve Parish

Pale Rainbow

starSymbolic Landscapes - PAUL DEVEREUX Published by Gothic Images, Glastonbury,UK. 1992

"Our present day model of the world, our mindset, will have to be significantly modified in certain areas if we are to continue for any appreciable number of future generations. We will need to learn from ancient, wiser models - not to copy them, for that would be pastiche wisdom, & in any case inapplicable to our present conditions, but to decipher what their underlying principles relate to."

This book brings together many different strands of unusual research over 20 years, in an attempt to reconcile the inner landscape with the land itself. Extraordinary yet oddly familiar ideas firmly rooted in realities.

I should mention that in 1977 and 1978 I had the privilege of living and farming in the area of Wiltshire UK chosen by Mr.Devereux for his in-depth study

Pale Rainbow

starThe Prophet - KAHLIL GIBRAN, published by Heinneman, London

"And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house
It is to sow seeds with tenderness, & reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit........"

This classic was first published in 1923, & I read it for the first time in 1957. It changed the way I thought about life! Get an illustrated version if you can, the engravings are as beautiful as the prose/poetry style of the text.

Pale Rainbow


How can I possibly select, or even list, all the wonderful and varied music which inspires, comforts, and heals? This is why for so long I have not even mentioned music on this page.
So the following is simply an introduction to those who do not know her work, featured because I love her message

starThe Music-making of JEANNIE LEWIS

Free Fall Through Featherless Flight - front cover

"If you want to fly beyond the Sun, you have to fasten your wings with Love........"

Pale Rainbow

starTruth or Dare - STARHAWK, published by Harper Collins

"Any psychology, to be useful, must look at two basic questions: How did we get into this mess? and How do we get out of it? A psychology of liberation, rooted in a magical description of the world, sees that the process of getting into our mess is long, complex, & historic; that we are in pain because we live in psychic & social structures that destroy us.

Our way out will involve both resistance & renewal...."

The stories, processes, exercises, rituals, & meditations in this workbook of 'Encounters with power, authority & mystery' are rooted in the ancient myths of the Indo-European races, & peopled with familiar archetypes. Not a book to be read lightly, it could take many years to work through. It is a powerful instrument for personal & group change.

Pale Rainbow

starPiP PiP - JAY GRIFFITHS published by Flamingo (Harper Collins) 1999

"Switch off the pips. Bury your alarm clock and digital watch. Forget the global calendar of the world-wide mono-day....And come with me to visit the Karen, a hill-tribe in the forests of Northen Thailand, and see how a forest can be teeming full of times. Or to the East Indies on the night of the 'little pig moon'. Or to the Andaman forest and smell your way through the scent calendar. See cow-time, and bee-time, coconut clocks, watermelon months, and the month of the Snowblind. See how seas and oceans are full of time, in rhyme and rime chiming in the mind of humanity. there are thousands of times, not one. To say any one time is the time is both untrue and highly political."
As soon as I got into this book, I began to relax and unwind. To have our deepest feelings about time expressed and validated, to have the fascinating concept of time explored and so reverently, yet irreverently laid bare, is an extraordinary experience.
Keep it handy, and read whenever a deadline threatens your creativity!


Song & Dance are ancient & effective ways of re-earthing - the trees delight in harmonious sound, & the Earth loves to feel our bare feet

The Sacred Grove
Image 36.5KB, Midi 11.7KB, total page 49.6KB

Story telling is an extremely important re-earthing process - telling our own stories, the re-telling of the old stories, & the creation of new ones.


And by far the finest site on the web for anything to do with Myths and legends
Master story-teller J.R.R.Tolkien believed that Myth, far from being untrue,
was perhaps the very thing needed to save the modern world from itself

This site is responsive, please contact Margaret RainbowWeb with your questions & suggestions.

I can personally recommend ABE BOOKS
An affordable & secure worldwide service for finding and purchasing secondhand & out of print books.

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Margaret's Sustainability Articles

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