⚡ Understand how we got into this political mess and how we can get out if it — by rebuilding community, fixing alienation and making real change.

The cover of Out of the Wreckage by George Monbiot

Out of the Wreckage | Book by George Monbiot

This Changes Everything inspired me, introducing me to the idea that different movements can be brought together in the face in the climate change. But it was released a couple of years before Trump became president… so is there still hope? George Monbiot’s Out of the Wreckage is a post-Trump update, with plenty of its own messages of hope.

Out of the Wreckage draws heavily on ideas from Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics — they provide a structure to be aimed for, a set of goals to strive for. These ideas are touched on, described in a little detail… but the goal of Out of the Wreckage isn’t to present the economic changes needed in detail. Although changing our view of economics is vital to addressing every problem facing humanity, Monbiot leaves Raworth’s work to do the talking. The goal of Out of the Wreckage is, as Monbiot explains, to provide a coherent narrative about how we got into this mess and how we can map a path out.

In order to achieve this goal, Monbiot draws heavily on psychology — the reasons behind our sense of isolation and how this sense of isolation has led many people to be enticed by extreme views. The ideas are coherent, cohesive and ring true to me — our economic model celebrates individualism and this, undoubtedly, is alienating. When we feel alienated and unable to exercise control over our lives, we’re prime prey for politicians like Trump.

So how do we fix alienation and isolation? By rebuilding community. And, as Monbiot points out, this is a bottom-up process — we don’t need politicians to tell us that we’re allowed to do it. We can all start, right away — by joining community initiatives like The Sunday Assembly, the Transition Network or the Food Assembly.

Although community initiatives to fight alienation are vital, they must be combined with pressure for political change. Monbiot presents ideas — such as reform to the voting system and to campaign finance — that are quite daunting. But then he tops it all off by talking about how the incredible success of the Bernie Sanders campaign shows us that mass-mobilisation of volunteers can really make these things happen.

If you want hope for the future, read this book.