The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture

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"Mary Pipher takes on our planet's greatest problems with the skills of a truly gifted therapist. She knows why we avoid and deny the truth and she knows how we can heal ourselves and our communities even as we try to heal the earth. This book is a deep and true gift."—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth

In Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher offered a paradigm-shattering look at the lives of adolescent women. Now Pipher is back with another ground-breaking examination of everyday life, ...

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The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture

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"Mary Pipher takes on our planet's greatest problems with the skills of a truly gifted therapist. She knows why we avoid and deny the truth and she knows how we can heal ourselves and our communities even as we try to heal the earth. This book is a deep and true gift."—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth

In Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher offered a paradigm-shattering look at the lives of adolescent women. Now Pipher is back with another ground-breaking examination of everyday life, this time exploring how to conquer our fears about the major environmental issues that confound us and transform them into a positive force in our lives.

Pipher emphasizes the importance of taking small, positive steps to preserve what’s important, drawing from her own experiences as part of a group fighting energy company TransCanada’s installation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline across the Midwest, which will sit atop the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of 40% of the United States’ fresh water. The challenges she confronts reveal surprising answers to the critical questions we face: How do we mobilize ourselves and our communities to work together to solve global problems? How do we stay happy amid very difficult situations?  And what is the true meaning of hope?

Both profound and practical, The Green Boat explains how we can attend to the world around us with calmness, balance, and great love.

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Editorial Reviews

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This book on coping with our still-gathering environmental problems arrives with an unexpected author: Mary Pipher, a writer best known for Reviving Ophelia. Actually, it seems only logical that a psychologist so talented at ferreting out the inner lives of adolescent girls and the elderly would also be able to understand how we can rethink the ways we act in a world of diminishing resources and climate change. With a resourcefulness that her readers will recognize instantly, Dr. Pipher explains how we can heal ourselves and our planet even in the midst of these seemingly intractable crises. Surprising answers to critical questions we all face. A trade paperback and NOOK Book original.

Publishers Weekly
Psychologist Pipher (Reviving Ophelia) brings her wisdom about how individuals interact with culture to this compassionate, beautiful, and personal approach to acknowledging the global environmental crisis while maintaining mental balance and hope. As Pipher lucidly explains, the overwhelming amount of information about the desperate state of our planet leads to stress, avoiding discussion, willful ignorance, and outright denial, while the activist’s call of “Wake up!” is an ineffective remedy. Instead, Piper distinguishes between “distractionable intelligence,” which makes us feel helpless, and “actionable intelligence,” which combines information with suggestions for addressing problems, thus creating hope, motivation, and change. She affirms that with guidance and support, we can reach states of acceptance, action, and, eventually, transcendent growth. Using her experience as an organizer against TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline across the Nebraska Sandhills as an example, Pipher shows the power that groups working together have to provide meaning, healing, and replenishing social support, while allowing individuals to feel like they have a role. Serious, yet accessible, realistic without being alarmist, this could be the most effectively inspirational book available about an individual’s relationship to the global environmental crisis. Agent: Susan Lee Cohen, Riverside Literary Agency. (June)
Library Journal
Pipher is perhaps best known for her groundbreaking Reviving Ophelia (LJ 10/1/01) but has researched and written sensitively about other psychosocial issues, including aging parents (Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders) and eating disorders (Hunger Pains: The Modern Woman's Tragic Quest for Thinness). In her latest work, the author tackles environmental issues, but rather than relying upon shocking statistics, she examines the subject through a psychological lens that focuses on society's reticence to act as well as how to change this attitude. She frames the struggle to improve our environment as an underdog story, much like David fighting Goliath or a group of neighbors protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. VERDICT This title offers hope and encouragement for those who find themselves confronted by a sea of obstacles.
Kirkus Reviews
One woman's response to the threat of global environmental issues. "On a global level," writes Pipher (Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World, 2010, etc.), "almost all major systems are breaking down." These issues include "global climate change, drought and famine, overpopulation, diminishing resources, peak oil, the sixth great extinction of species, financial panic, and the specter of war." But instead of feeling as if "we are in over our heads," writes the author, we can become proactive and take small steps that do make a difference. With compassion, Pipher demonstrates this with her personal and rousing fight against TransCanada and the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Sickened by the idea that this environmentally unsound conduit would pass through her childhood stomping grounds and potentially damage the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of water for 40 percent of the United States, the author turned her anger and despair into activism. She gathered friends for informal meetings held in her home, which grew into rallies on the steps of the Nebraska state capitol building, with hundreds in attendance. Festivals brought together different ethnic groups and put rednecks side by side with landowners and "big beef packers," all with the common goal of doing something to stop a situation governed more by money than common sense. Although the pipeline is still under consideration, Pipher's involvement gained her a sense of accomplishment and community. By following her tactics, readers can turn their own angst regarding global issues into simple, direct actions, which, combined with those of their neighbors, will make a difference, both in themselves and in the world. A therapeutic analysis of global crises and enthusiastic ideas on how to implement changes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594485855
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 282,682
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Pipher

Mary Pipher, Ph.D., is a psychologist and the author of nine books, including the New York Times bestsellers Reviving Ophelia, The Shelter of Each Other, and Another Country, as well as Seeking Peace and Writing to Change the World. She lives in Nebraska.

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    Posted July 16, 2013

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