Edited by Nina Simons with Anneke Campbell, Foreword by Terry Tempest Williams

Moonrise is as spectacular as a Harvest Moonrise. It soars large into the sky, gathering with it the visions, dreams and actions of a collective of true visionaries; setting the readership into a distinctively uplifting and edifying journey into the solutions being bantered about by some of this earth’s greatest minds and hearts. Moonrise cleverly and systematically creates an arch of comprehension, sensitization, and yes, illumination onto the pressing social and environmental issues of the day and beyond. Nina Simons, cofounder of the legendary Bioneers organization, has amassed a spectacular collection of thirty-seven essays written by herself and other leading pioneer thinkers of our time who are tackling some of the world’s greatest social ills – all in a fashion distinctively outside of the box; and yes, the box is recycled!

Whenever I open a book devoted to discussing social/environmental/political problems, I do so with a hefty sense of trepidation. After all, contemplating the world’s ills can be overwhelming if not depressing. Yet with Moonrise, the moon sheds little glare and spawns soothing rays of inspiration as the reader is provided truly innovative solutions and ongoing programs that are successfully battling the very ills of which we despair. That’s 37 chapters of solutions in motion.

One such visionary providing a solution is Judy Wicks with her essay on a Local Living Economy. Wicks is the founder of the landmark White Dog Café in Philadelphia. She has rethought success, community, and relationship – to say nothing of her concept of business. Her very successful restaurant not only feeds its clients food concocted from green, organic, local suppliers, but she has educated her “competitors” and community as to the value and means by which to do the same. She takes her clients on solar house tours, educates them on biodiesel, organic farms (as well as prisons), and instills in them a sense of activism in their community, inspiring them to become vibrant members of society. Wicks is an agent of change advocating a local living economy based on maximizing relationships, not profits. She’s been doing all of this successfully for twenty-six years. It’s astounding what she has created!

Another example of note is Janine Benyus’ chapter on “What Life Knows.” Benyus is a naturalist, educator and writer who advocates learning from nature’s engineering genius to develop green solutions to some of our most confounding design problems. She calls this “biomimicry.” Benyus points out that nature has 3.8 billion years of engineering experience relating to sustaining life, and that this vast knowledge can be a wise well from which to draw. Looking closely at silica and plankton reveals that photosynthetic plankton makes its cell walls out of silica without emitting toxins and carcinogens, as silicon chips and solar cells do through our manufacturing processes. University of California scientists are now mimicking this model, which may alter the way computer chips are made. Benyus examines other such innovations borrowing from nature’s design such as Geoffrey Coates’ creation of biodegradable plastics inspired by the way mollusks use C02 to make seashells, or the way a scientist named Frank Fish redesigned the Japanese Magnet train to avoid the boom it created when traveling in tunnels as well as increasing its fuel efficiency by redesigning it’s beak to mimic the Kingfisher. Fish was a committed birdwatcher, and his astute observation brought him this design solution.

Other submissions from the likes of Julia Butterfly, Eve Ensler, Alice Walker, and the ever inspiring Terry Tempest Williams, make this two hundred ninety-five page book an anthem of sounds, solutions and glimpses of what’s possible and what is to come. These profoundly gifted visionaries and leaders cut an intelligent, sustainable and inspirational path of life that we can journey along in the days, weeks and years to come. Moonrise gives me the juice to bound into the future with hope and excitement.

Candy Jones is a freelance writer, documentary producer, and certified dog trainer. She has lived in Santa Fe with her husband and Great Pyrenees since 2000.