Sea Change: Australians in pursuit of the good life

by Cindy Dowling

Published by Exisle Publishing, Auckland, NZ.
ISBN 0-908988-26-5

   The first thing about this book is that it is very readable. Cindy Dowling's writing is clear, lucid and entertaining, even when she explains sociological theory or population statistics. This is a considerable achievement.

   She describes twenty families or individuals in detail. I have the honour of being the first, but that's not why I recommend this book as essential reading for everyone, not only Australians. Rather, the reason is that Sea Change documents a ground-swell of social change. This is the kind of change we need if we are to reverse the lunacy of our times.

   For a variety of reasons, the cases she describes have cut back on their work commitments, have downscaled their needs, moved to a materially less destructive lifestyle. Modern society is like the man who heats his house by burning components he has ripped out of the building -- sooner or later the house will fall down. People who, for whatever reason, find fuel elsewhere, or prefer not to have the house so hot, are buying time for all humanity.

   The case studies are preceded by an incisive, interesting and accurate analysis by the author. If her writing was boring and stodgy, it could take its place within a graduate texbook in one of the social sciences.

   This is a must-read for anyone, anywhere, who wants to find long-term contentment, put purpose and meaning back into life, and reduce personal contribution to species suicide.

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