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From What Is to What If

Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want
Narrated by: Rob Hopkins
Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

The founder of the international Transition Towns movement asks why true creative, positive thinking is in decline, asserts that it's more important now than ever, and suggests ways our communities can revive and reclaim it.

In these times of deep division and deeper despair, if there is a consensus about anything in the world, it is that the future is going to be awful. There is an epidemic of loneliness, an epidemic of anxiety, a mental health crisis of vast proportions, especially among young people. There’s a rise in extremist movements and governments. Catastrophic climate change. Biodiversity loss. Food insecurity. The fracturing of ecosystems and communities beyond, it seems, repair. The future - to say nothing of the present - looks grim. 

But as Transition movement cofounder Rob Hopkins tells us, there is plenty of evidence that things can change, and cultures can change, rapidly, dramatically, and unexpectedly - for the better. He has seen it happen around the world and in his own town of Totnes, England, where the community is becoming its own housing developer, energy company, enterprise incubator, and local food network - with cascading benefits to the community that extend far beyond the projects themselves. 

We do have the capability to effect dramatic change, Hopkins argues, but we’re failing because we’ve largely allowed our most critical tool to languish: human imagination. As defined by social reformer John Dewey, imagination is the ability to look at things as if they could be otherwise. The ability, that is, to ask What if? And if there was ever a time when we needed that ability, it is now.

From What Is to What If is a call to action to reclaim and unleash our collective imagination, told through the stories of individuals and communities around the world who are doing it now, as we speak, and witnessing often rapid and dramatic change for the better.

©2019 Rob Hopkins (P)2019 Chelsea Green Publishing

Critic Reviews

“Rob Hopkins has long been a leader in imagining how we could remake our societies for the benefit of nature and humankind. His new book is a powerful call to imagine a better world. It should be widely read and appreciated.” (Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; lead negotiator, Paris Climate Agreement)

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  • rowan
  • 11-06-19

realistically optimistic

this book gives an inspiring view on the future, a must read for all.