Tuesday, November 1, 2016

If you could design a new world...

What if you were given a superpower that would allow you to design a new society? What would your blueprint look like? What would you keep from our present way of life? What would be unnecessary? What would you add?

There's so much dysfunction in our present existence (especially the US election news these days!) that it sometimes looks like the dystopian novels my young adults read. From the disintegration of families to the breakdown of the environment, the polarization in politics to the rampant over-consumption of our earth's resources -- the hectic and harried pace of society as we know it has dragged us further and further from being soulful people who value life in all its forms. You'd think we could come up with a better plan, no?

Lucky for us, Mark A. Burch has written his own alternate society in his new novel, Euterra Rising: The Last Utopia, which is being released this week. It's a fascinating story of the beginning of something better than life as we presently know it, a renovated existence where people pull together, where everyone has enough, where humans cooperate with nature, and where beauty is appreciated and cultivated daily. I was fortunate to read early drafts of the story, and my initial response to Mark was, "Where is this place? I'll be there in a heartbeat!"

Of course, Mark's view of a simpler world is one that has resonated with me ever since I attended a workshop he gave on Voluntary Simplicity and Personal Wellness, ten years ago this month. He was kind enough to stay in touch because his workshop filled me with many questions, and thanks to the emails that flew back and forth between us, a deep friendship formed. Mark's desire for a world less focused on the material and more in tune with the values of simplicity and sufficiency will always ring true for people who give serious consideration to life's true purpose.

Besides being a wise man in the areas of simplicity and sustainability, Mark is also an excellent writer, having been published many times. It's not easy to pen a good novel that teaches without being overly preachy, but there's an abundance of fresh ideas and suspense in Euterra Rising: The Last Utopia to carry the reader through to the story's end. Chapters begin with wisdom sayings that seem to come from sages beyond our time. The establishment of Euterra is juxtaposed with its later existence and the arrival of an "outsider" whose appearance threatens the community's existence, making for a real page turner. And the bonus is that there's another book in the works, if readers want more!

I would love to see this book become a best-seller, simply because it carries the seeds for many long-overdue conversations about the kind of world we really want to inhabit. We're used to the status quo, to feeling like we have no choice but to go with the flow, but it's past time that we begin to envision and build a better future than the one that's coming down the pipe whether we want it or not. Euterra Rising: The Last Utopia is available via Kindle or in hard copy, with the possibility that Euterra book clubs could be the launch pad for a better world (book club resources are available on Mark's website).

For more information, see http://markaburch.ca/, or visit Euterra on Facebook and meet Nota Dorne, one of the book's characters.

Better yet, pick up the book for yourself, share it with friends, and start imagining and creating the world you really want to inhabit...

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