Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Jane Sarre, actively hoping - and working towards a fairer future for all

Jane Sarre, actively hoping – and working towards a fairer future for all

Active Hope: a book club

Active Hope: How to Face the Mess we’re in Without Going Crazy. The challenges we currently face can be difficult even to think about. Climate change, the depletion of oil, economic upheaval, and mass extinction together create a planetary emergency of overwhelming proportions. HOT’s Zelly Restorick asked Jane about the catalyst for forming the book group and her future vision. 

Active Hope‘, a book co-written by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, proposes a 3 part process of first facing the true state of the world, then envisioning the best possible future and finally going on to identify what steps we can take starting from the situation we are in to making that best future more likely.

HOT Qs for Jane Sarre, initiator of the ‘Active Hope’ Book Group:

Why are you initiating this book club, why is it important to you – and what would you personally like to see happen?

I first read the book this summer. Initially I borrowed a copy from the library. I raced through it, struck by how it brings so many issues together; gives a coherant narrative for lots of things that had previously seemed disparate and un-graspable – and is inspiring. So much so that I felt I needed my own copy to be able to read again and again, so I ordered a copy from Lee at Printed Matter Bookshop.

What struck me most about the book is the way it brings together the inner and outer work, of seeing the true state of the world, of finding a way to process and work with the pain and fear and sense of powerlessness that causes, helps you to envision a more equitable and sustainable future – and then how to do ‘active hope’ ie finding concrete things you can do now, either alone or even better with others to make that envisioned future more likely, building community and gaining support networks so that burn-out is less likely on the way.

I felt that the book offered an important, timely and helpful message and method, and wanted to share it with others. So I talked to a few people to see if there was any intial interest, which there was in spades, and then arranged with Lee to be able to hold a regular reading group at Printed Matter Bookshop. For a bookworm like me the bookshop is a great resource to have locally and it’s great to see people getting involved, so I’m really pleased that this new reading group can become part of that larger network.

The book that's catalysed the group

The book that’s catalysed the group

My hopes for the group are multi-layered…
* at the simplest level a group to help me re-read and digest fully and implement it in my own life
* sharing the wisdom of the book with others who may also be struggling with what a mess the world is in and not quite knowing where to start to try and make a positive change
* create a supportive community within the group
* I imagine that if the maximum number of participants (12) all come and are as powerfully affected by it as I have been, then each of us will soon be joining forces with other local people to start making things happen, so it could well end up having some sort of positive benefit for the local community and environment
* And the authors talk about The Great Turning, how this is a pivotal moment for change, when human societies take steps to turn towards their envisioned better future. If many of us take these steps individually and jointly then who knows where it could take us!

Tell us a bit about yourself, about what you like about Hastings and what brought you here? And your future vision?

I love being closer to nature here, having the sea and the country park and lots of woods in the locality, being able to see the stars at night and having badgers visit the garden. I enjoy Hastings’ independent spirit, the amount of creativity and the commitment of the local community to work together to make this a good place to be.

I have led a bit of a zigzag life. I am now a potter making both functional and creative ceramics in my studio in the garden (more details on my website: Jane Sarre). Before that, I worked in museums for many years trying to involve local people more in the way their history gets told. I have lived in housing co-ops and an intentional community for many years, given training in concensus and conflict resolution – and have been involved in various activist movements.

My vision for the future is to see a fair and just society that meets everyone’s needs rather than being driven by an economic profit motive; a society that lives in the world sustainably alongside all the many other species of plants and insects and birds and animals, to create a simple but fulfilling and creative life. In the shorter term, I’m dreaming of a community orchard.

‘Active Hope’ Book Group

Join this group to read Johnstone & Macy’s inspirational book, ‘Active Hope‘ and make the journey for yourself – alongside others – into ‘active hope’. Over 7 monthly sessions we will read and discuss the book and together do selected activities to help us through the process.

First session open to all, discussing Chapters 1 & 2. Up to 12 people can then book a place in the regular group for sessions 2 – 7.

Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone: a new Book Club. Meeting at Printed Matter Bookshop, 185 Queens Road, Hastings, TN34 1RG. Wednesday 3 October, 7pm – 9pm and then meet monthly. Book available from Printed Matter Bookshop, 10% discount.

Posted 20:35 Monday, Sep 24, 2018 In: Literature

Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

Leave a comment

Also in: Literature

More HOT Stuff

    HOT is run by volunteers but has overheads for hosting and web development. Support HOT!


    Advertise your business or your event on HOT for as little as £20 per month
    Find out more…


    If you like HOT and want to keep it sustainable, please Donate via PayPal. It’s easy!


    Do you want to write, proofread, edit listings or help sell advertising? then contact us

  • Subscribe to HOT