A Rebellion of the Spirit
Natasha Gartside grasps what it means to be a conscious and active human being. In Defence of Life: Essays on a Radical Reworking of Green Wisdom by Julian Day Rose. Earth Books, 2013. ISBN: 9781782792574
Exploring what it means to be human, to actually live on this planet, Julian Day Rose’s book In Defence of Life exposes a myriad of truths that appear to be just that: the truth. However, this book’s purpose is not just to reveal, but also to suggest ways forward, powerfully inciting its readers to change and to act.
Written by a farmer, campaigner and activist, it tells of the author’s hands-on experience of agriculture, the British government and the European Commission since the 1980s and it focuses primarily on aspects of farming and food. The details often surprise, such as the idea that mass-produced organic food is “as dull in flavour and as lacking in nutritional vitality” as conventional chemically produced foods, and that the high-protein GM soya fed to factory-farmed hens has added synthetic colours to make the otherwise grey egg yolks bright orange.
Rose forcefully condemns GMOs and the irreversible genetic pollution of our food chain, going so far as to reveal that it has been scientifically proven that eating GM food alters our own DNA. Poland is used as an uplifting example of the fight against GM seed and crops: in 2006 the president signed a declaration to ban the import and trading of GM seeds, helping to protect the thousands of small-scale family farms and their fertile, chemical-free soils.
Expanding out from this, Rose takes in the bigger picture, attacking the international corporations that control most aspects of our lives and the politicians we have supposedly elected to ‘power’, labelling the politicians mere puppets of this “unseen shadow regime”. Banking empires, agrichemical conglomerates, pharmaceutical giants, oil magnates and food and seed monopolies such as Monsanto run the show, using mass media and propaganda to indoctrinate us with superficial capitalist consumerism and distract us with light entertainment.
Rose also describes ‘human-made’ weather technology that leaves toxic ‘chem-trails’ in the atmosphere. This is part of Stratospheric Aerosol Geo-engineering, which is a global climate-modification programme that only a few people know about and understand.
Much of what this book reveals is chilling and scary, and you cannot turn its pages without a sense of injustice and without missing Rose’s emphasis on the part played by our own passivity and refusal to acknowledge our responsibility in “the global drama”.
On the final page, Rose calls for a “rebellion of the spirit”, and I certainly feel my spirit stirring, for the vital need to take action – now, today, this moment. Thankfully, he suggests many ways we can do this, from learning how to grow food and harvest rainwater, to investing in local ecological farming ventures and energy initiatives, to weaning ourselves off shopping at supermarkets.
More generally, he urges us to remember that we are part of Nature, and that we exist in a state of flux with every other particle of the universe; and he suggests that we try to find a balance and “learn how to slow down, calm and centre ourselves: to ‘Be Here Now’” – that we practise yoga and show animals the love they so freely give to us.
Throughout the book, in reference to all aspects of our lives, Rose circles back round to ideas of a small-scale, local, community-based existence. He endorses the concept of going back to our roots, emphasising that small truly is beautiful and that “there really are local solutions to global problems”, such as his own interpretation of the ‘Proximity Principle’. In a globalised world undergoing various crises, Rose’s words give us a much-needed kick.
In Defence of Life is a springboard for determining our destinies and unearthing our humanity.
Natasha Gartside is an environmental writer and food blogger. www.brightyoungfood.com
Laura Bruno: In Defense of Life: Essays on a Radical Reworking of Green Wisdom by Julian Day Rose
Julian Rose’s latest book, In Defense of Life, offers twenty-four essays on topics like “The Cult of Passivity” in our world, the story of his successful campaign to protect the right to sell and consume real (raw, organic) milk in the UK, “Health, Balance and the Life Force,” factory farms, consumers’ power, rights and responsibilities, as well as firsthand details of Polish organic farmers’ struggle against EU encroachment, GMO’s, and economic sabotage. Throughout this broad range of discussion runs a common current that encourages readers to rediscover our own Divine spark so that we can reclaim our world from the “Super-State” and runaway global corporate control. Julian shares and analyses specific strategies for change, noting how and why certain forms of advocacy work while others fail to deliver desired results.
In Defense of Life is a humbly ambitious project. Without knowing Julian’s background, one might assume he has bitten off way more than one author can rightfully chew in one book; however, a lifetime of education and vision, organic farming, professional theater, community involvement and passionate advocacy qualifies Julian Rose as a strong spokesperson and role model for positive change on all levels. Far from spouting off theoretical solutions, Julian walks his talk, and his sensitive, compassionate and deeply aware soul shines through every page.
This book will most appeal to intellectual, creative and/or spiritual people bothered by the direction of our world, but unsure what to do about it. Those who live in Europe will appreciate his detailed descriptions of EU policies and how they really affect organic farmers and countries lured into debt by promises of an economic boon. As an American, I find this information useful for helping less informed people understand the global agenda at work. Recognizing what’s happening elsewhere sheds light on corporate and government shenanigans on this side of the pond. When we see the same patterns emerge in other areas, it becomes more difficult to maintain head-in-the-sand denial of Shadow Governments and conspiracy facts.
Despite his time in Poland, Julian’s prose remains very British – his passion simmers beneath the surface, which might well suit those first learning about some of the more maddening policies and situations in our world.
I do not recommend trying to read this book in one or two sittings. Though short, the essays pack an individual and cumulative wallop. Reading them too quickly diminishes their impact. I suggest first letting an essay wash over you, then rereading it in order to absorb all the information and nuances. Julian Rose is a brilliant man, and he lets that brilliance shine through without apology – as well he should! In this action, he models his own urging or each of us to find our passion and live our own best lives as inspired eings. In its quiet, sensitive way, In Defense of Life drops paradigm hattering love bombs on its readers’ “comfortable” denial. Even if you already now most of the cited facts, Julian Rose’s extreme love for humanity and this world will work on you and in you – urging you to unleash more of your own love in action.
Book Reviews : “In Defence of Life” by Julian Day Rose
By R. Teichmann
Julian’s latest book is a timely and up-to-date contribution to our joint efforts to find ways out of the serious state our society and planet are in. Being a pioneer organic farmer he comes from a “green” background. Responding to developments in society as a whole his book is exactly what the subtitle says – a radical reworking of green wisdom. He transcends the “green” viewpoint and offers a much more encompassing understanding – a holistic understanding of agriculture, economics, politics, activism, spirituality and nature.
His book consists of essays on various topics and can be viewed as consisting of two parts. In the first 10 chapters he deals with distinct issues and in the following he moves on to a much broader perspective.
He starts by looking at the obvious passivity of much of modern society and explores the reasons behind it. Then he writes about the current state of British society and its „special relationship” with the US and the impact this has on us and those targeted in the context of the ongoing neo-colonialistic wars. The following essays are dealing with organic farming and how big business is trying to integrate this movement into the current system. He makes proposals of how this can be overcome through direct cooperation between farmers and consumers. Then he describes the efforts in Poland to preserve small scale farming, the beauty and biodiversity of its countryside in context with the heritage of Poland’s struggle for independence. Organically this leads to the question of the role of the European Union and the devious role of GMOs and the corporate quest to control the food supply.
From chapter 11 onwards he discusses energy and time, human nature, health and balance, the European Superstate and the economic collapse. This leads to proposals how to build the new out of the old. Julian shows that this can only be done by reuniting the spiritual with the practical through activism and by remembering and going back to our roots.
When reading this book one also catches a glimpse of the determination as well as the compassion and caring nature of the human being Julian Rose. It is a book of realism as well as hope and a call to everyone of us to get active. He himself sets an example through his engagement as co-director of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, co-launching a highly successful ‘Campaign for a GMO Free Poland’ as well as leading a high profile defence of peasant farmers whom he regards as the true guardians of biodiversity throughout the world.
I consider this book a ‘must read’. It helped my understanding and encouraged me through its wisdom and insights to continue my personal efforts.
Retired sea captain, activist, writer, poet, amateur musician and editor of www.news-beacon-ireland.info
By Rowan Wolf
This is a review of Julian Day Rose’s new book “In Defence of Life – Essays on a Radical Reworking of Green Wisdom” published by Earth Books.
Julian Rose is an early pioneer of UK organic farming, an actor and a writer. He has broadcast regularly with the BBC and authored hundreds of articles on ‘green’ issues. He is currently President of The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside. He lives in Whitchurch on Thames, UK.
Mr. Rose speaks from his decades of experience as an activist and organic farmer in this insightful, integrative book. The book is a series of articles focused at informing people of the mechanisms of domination of the globalized corporate agricultural machine, and how various peoples’ choices and movements can shift us onto a sustainable path.
What Rose has done with this compilation of essays is something that great authors should aim for. He has taken grounded base of organic farming and woven the story that depicts how the power of the corporations can transform that basic idea.
Here is one example of the many integrative tasks Rose successfully navigates. “Organic farming” conveys the idea of small and local, but lots of care and even a sense of community around the food that is produced. The “consumer” is ideally part of that community and not simply a consumer/customer. In comes corporate agriculture and suddenly we are looking at has become the standard food model complete with factory farms, mono-agriculture, and organic food actually covering more miles from farm to plate that non-organic. Rose integrates globalized agriculture and demonstrates how the very concept of “organic” has become just another “label” and one that is also more expensive.
Mr. Rose does not leave us a drift in the world of corporate cooptation, but also discusses how we can take the power back.
If you care about how things work, and also community organizing, “In Defense of Life” is an excellent resource and I highly recommend it.
Review for Changing Course for Life
Reviewed by Louise Tait for New Renaissance Magazine
This book is for all those who recognise a degree of discontent at the current world in which we live. A world which, through our daily lives and actions many of us continue to unwittingly propagate. It is for those awakening to the realisation that things cannot continue as they are and a change is required.
In Changing Course for Life, Julian Rose spells out the truth of our current socio-economic context in a blatant and transparent acknowledgement of the ills of our society. It is easy to hide behind our ignorance of the finer and less savoury details of corporate greed, of modern industrialised agriculture, of the wide ranging effects of our unmitigated obsession with technological advancement. He explores just how and when our economies and societies departed from the objective of servicing our needs for a happy and harmonious state of existence with the natural world, to the point at which we now find ourselves: disconnected. A condition Rose aptly summarises as a state of being ‘subjugated to a sense of impotence by our own inventions’.
The book covers a broad range of aspects of modern society, from the disproportionate levels of power and wealth, to society’s single minded focus on technological advancement at the expense of labour enhancing techniques to the continuing loss of food biodiversity and steadily declining state of our soils.
But this book goes beyond merely pointing out how and where we have gone wrong. His clear objective is identifying a new way of living our lives. This encompasses a very personalised and spiritual consideration of the ends to which we devote our daily thoughts and energies. He acknowledges the need to realign our energies with the natural rhythms of the earth rather than directing them daily into the current model of degradation of our natural state of being. But he also discusses society at large, considering the necessary changes to our politico-economic environment, to agriculture, education, and greening our city lives. This book is, quite literally, bursting forth with ideas: ideas for change, ideas for how we can move forward into the next phase of consciousness, away from a mechanistic view of us in relation to the universe and the landscape, to a mindset that embraces the concept of living as a holistic integrated whole.
Rose writes with a palpable energy that is infectious. I found that no matter what frame of mind I was in when I sat down to read this book, when I put it down the energy contained within flowed through my veins and made me urgently aware of the need and desire to DO something. This book is full of idealism at a time when idealism is exactly what we need. It is perhaps our current tendency towards too little idealism and too much apathetic acceptance of the status quo that sees us trapped and stagnating as we are. So I challenge you to read this book, to awaken and to transform your way of interacting with the world around you.
(Louise Tait is an economist working in the environmental and development fields and has worked in both South Africa and the UK. She likes to read and think and engage with the world around her. She believes in the harmony of all things and strives to make this a reality.” )