Tell Us Your Story…

by: Sara on 06/18/2013
Posted in: Activism

Lyle Estill has been on the vanguard of social change for the past decade, which has placed him at the heart of the sustainability movement. Lyle is a prolific speaker and writer, and the author of Industrial Evolution,   Small is Possible,  Biodiesel Power and now the editor of Small Stories, Big Changes. Unflinchingly honest and compulsively readable Small Stories, Big Changes provides an intimate look at the personal experience of being a pioneer in the sustainability movement, laying bare the emotional, spiritual and financial impact of a life lived in the service of change. Activist, farmer, publisher, philosopher or entrepreneur; each writer has a unique personal tale to tell.


I was in Paris with the family when I bumped into the idea of Small Stories, Big Changes.  We were staying in an apartment on the Left Bank, and the place was lousy with children.  There were teenage cousins and friends of cousins and friends of friends in the entourage and it was not really my crowd at all.

It’s not unusual for me to read when I travel.  Generally that’s when the pile of books on my side of the bed actually shrinks. And it’s not unusual for me to neglect my children in favor of reading.  They are used to it by now.  Normally all that I read is books about energy and society--I tend to read the titles from that part of the bookstore that my own books inhabit.

But on this particular trip I switched back to fiction.  American fiction from Paris to be exact. 

Hemmingway and Fitzgerald and Miller, were filling my head with stories of Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound and James Joyce, and I was marveling at what a magnificent scene it must have been. 

One night it dawned on me that I travel in a similar fascinating world of writers and thinkers and pioneers who reside at the forefront of societal change.  In a rare act of handwriting I scribbled down a table of contents with a chapter title for each author.

Roughly two years later, Small Stories, Big Changes; Agents of Change on the Frontlines of Sustainability came into the world.  At its heart it is a look at the emotional, spiritual, financial, and workaday repercussions of being an agent of change. 

In preparation for its arrival, I was revamping my website, and working on a video to support the book launch, and lining up author events on calendars—the usual stuff.  I was in the midst of those preparations when we held a film premiere at the Plant where I work.

It was Linda Booker’s new documentary about Industrial Hemp entitled “Bringing it Home.”  I kinda know Linda, and I am not a big viewer of documentary, and I’m not in the movie, so I was sort of lukewarm about the whole thing.  Generally big events at the Plant translate into me having to do the recycling, or having to pick up garbage for a week.

But I went to the show, had a fantastic time, and was struck by the fact that Bringing it Home was much more than just another documentary produced by Linda and Blair.  It was a mission.  Despite the paparazzi and the evening’s fashions—despite Linda and Blair being carried into the premiere on a palanquin by wrestlers from our local high school, despite all of that, the movie itself was on a mission to legalize the production of industrial hemp.

The mission was bigger than the film.  Bigger than the filmmakers.  And it dawned on me that Small Stories, Big Changes could be the same way.  The book is an intimate look at activists and their activism, and there is no reason that it should be limited to the rock stars in the book.  They are, after all, just ordinary people like my readers and me.

So I added a Tell Your Story section to my shiny new website, thinking that there might be some activist out there with a compelling story to share.

Here’s hoping I hear from you…


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