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This book is not easy: it contains no quick-fix plan for a better, brighter tomorrow, and gives no ready-made answers. Instead, Vanessa Machado de Oliveira presents us with a challenge: to grow up, step up, and show up for ourselves, our communities, and the living Earth, and to interrupt the modern behaviour patterns that are killing the planet we’re part of.
Driven by expansion, colonialism, and resource extraction and propelled by neoliberalism and rabid consumption, our world is profoundly out of balance. We take more than we give; we inoculate ourselves in positive self-regard while continuing to make harmful choices; we wreak irreparable havoc on the ecosystems, habitats, and beings with whom we share our planet. But instead of drowning in hopelessness, how can we learn to face our reality with humility and accountability?
Machado de Oliveira breaks down archetypes of cognitive dissonance—the do-gooder who does “good enough,” then retreats to business as usual; the incognito capitalist who, at first glance, may seem like a radical change-maker—and asks us to dig deeper and exist differently. She explains how our habits, behaviours, and belief systems hold us back…and why it’s time now to gradually disinvest. Including exercises used with teachers, NGO practitioners, and global changemakers, she offers us thought experiments that ask us to:
• Reimagine how we learn, unlearn, and respond to crisis
• Better assess our surroundings and interact with difference, uncertainty, complexity, and failure
• Expand our capacity to hold personal and collective space for difficult and painful things
• Understand the “5 modern-colonial Es”: Entitlements, Exceptionalism, Exaltation, Emancipation, and Enmeshment in low-intensity struggle activism
• Interrupt our satisfaction with modern-colonial desires that cause harm
• Create space for change driven neither by desperate hope nor a fear of desolate hopelessness
For fans of adrienne maree brown, Sherri Mitchell, and Arundhati Roy, Hospicing Modernity challenges our assumptions and dares to ask more of us, for the sake of us all.
Published in 2021 by North Atlantic Books
Softcover | 304 Pages