A national leader of journalism that focuses on finding solutions to community and global challenges will speak Thursday, April 2 in Williamstown as part of a swing through New England promoting a new book, “Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference.”
Sarah van Gelder is editor-in-chief of Yes! Magazine, the Bainbridge Island, Wash.-based quarterly that won a magazine excellence award in 2013 and has been published since 1996 by a nonprofit, the Positive Futures Network. Yes! also has a fast-growing, frequently updated website, http://www.yesmagazine.org.
“We’re not getting much happiness from all the time, money and natural resources we’re using,” van Gilder writes in the book’s introduction. “And the benefits are going mostly to the top.”
Van Gilder will talk about the book, and her work at Yes! Magazine, during a book-signing event and reception at Water Street Books, 26 Water Street, Williamstown, beginning at 6 p.m. on Thurs., April 2. The event is free and open to the public. People planning to attend can use Facebook to optionally RSVP.
“Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference,” includes reprints of 21 of the best articles from Yes! Magazine that address topics such as social equity, ecological health, biodiversity, mindfulness, consumerism, climate change, economic upheaval and building community. The authors offer resources and ideas for organizing and activism.
Chapter contributors in the book include Annie Leonard (Story of Stuff), restorative justice expert Fania Davis, buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, biodiversity advocate Vandana Shiva and poet Wendell Berry.
“Sustainable happiness is built on a healthy natural world and a vibrant and fair society,” van Gelder writes in her introduction to the book, which she co-edited with other Yes! staffers. “Sustainable happiness, it turns out, multiplies as it’s shared. It blossoms when individuals, families, communities and the natural world are thriving . . . It begins by assuring that everyone can obtain a basic level of material security. But beyond that, more stuff isn’t the key to happiness.”
Part of the reason for Van Gelder’s visit to New England is to appear as a keynote speaker at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, on Sunday, March 29, at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Stockbridge. Yes! Is an award-winning, nonprofit, national media organization that supports people’s active engagement in solving today’s social, political, economic and environmental challenges.