GreenSpirit Book Series, 2016, 75 pp

ISBN: 978-0-9935983-9-5 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9935983-6-4 (ebook)

Reviewed by Anne Clark
The Rising Water Project, compiled by Ian Mowll and first published by him, is the seventh title in the insightful low-cost GreenSpirit Book Series. In the first part of this very readable book, four captivating and inspiring personal stories of people who turned their lives around in the face of adversity, namely flooding, are presented. This section highlights the traumas of flooding and the destruction and wreckage it can cause. The four people’s heartfelt stories tell of the despair they and their families went through while trying to save their homes from the relentless floodwater that threatened their homes and the regular patterns of their lives.

As a reader, the stories gave me a personal window into the turmoil and upheaval that the people and their families faced, and how through their courage and tenacity they dealt with the aftermath. What was particularly uplifting about their stories was how each of them concluded positively with accounts of how their local communities pulled together to help each other through their ordeals and start over again. Part of this was having to think about the possibility of being flooded again and considering what new steps could be taken to protect their homes.

The second part of the book is about downshifting and gives four very different personal accounts of people who made conscious efforts to lessen their global footprint and live more simply though nonetheless challenging lives. In reflecting upon their inspiring stories, I had to admire the courage of these people who completely changed the way they lived, some more drastically than others, but all with the same intention of transforming their lifestyles in order to be more ‘green’ and ecologically responsible for their actions. As you can imagine, their stories are not always straightforward or painless, but their individual hopes and aims for their families are the same – each wanting a more enriching, meaningful and fulfilled life far away from the trappings of postmodern consumer-centred living.

Overall, I found this compact book, the eight stories and Ian’s foreword an insightful read and greatly enjoyed it. It’s also, like other titles in the GreenSpirit Series, beautifully laid-out, and includes various photos in each section showing the effects of flooding the people faced and two amazing homes the downshifters built. If I was asked to summarise what the book is about in just a few words, I would say that it is how we need to consider living in balance with Nature’s forces, particularly with changes happening due to climate change. It’s also a book about determination, perseverance, valour and resolution. A deep theme running through the pages is that floods and the responsibility of our impact on the natural world are not simply things for others to consider. And this, for me, is why the eight stories are important and need to be shared. Definitely a recommended read!