We are in a time when humanity is facing many challenges to social and economic equity, environmental sustainability and meaningful democracy. A great amount of literature exists trying to explain the causes of these issues. However, few have gone the depth in historical context or envisioned the scale of social change like Journey to Earthland. In the book, Paul Raskin offers well-researched theoretical explanations of these interconnected challenges through the the lens of history, political economy, geography and cultural values. He offers a grand vision of the Great Transition which would “make solidarity, fulfillment, and resilience the heart and soul of human endeavor”.
However, the insightful vision is not the only thing that makes Journey to Earthland stand out. Filled with elegant lyricism, Journey to Earthland is not only a compact atlas of political activism, it is also a beautifully written piece of literature. It is appealing to both the rigorous practical logic of political scholars, and the passionate eager hearts of activists pushing for progressive social change. It reminds us that even with activism growing, we lack is a unifying force that gathers voices and mobilizes us to push for truly revolutionary changes, collectively. Journey to Earthland is an important contribution to that force.
Part one of the book provides a historic overview of different phases of humanity, leading up to this current epoch that Raskin coined the “Planetary Phase”. Part Two elaborates on what needs to happen in all aspects of society and the world for the Great Transition to take place, and to enter the planetary phase of civilization. Part Three engages the reader in a careful discussion of possible future scenarios in such a new civilization.
For those who are rather new to the ideas of rethinking the meaning of human progress and revaluing the growth imperative, Journey to Earthland might not be the most approachable opener, because it touches quite a variety of issues and theories. Nevertheless, it is a complete chronology from the perspective of a veteran scholar-activist who has decades of experience, and offers a compelling view of how to reverse civilizational deterioration through collective action. It is a scintillating read for anyone looking to understand alternatives for our planet.