Blessed Unrest, How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming published by Viking Press (New York) in May 2007, argues that a vast world-changing “movement with no name” is now forming, which Hawken believes will prevail. He conceives of this "movement" as developing not by ideology but rather through the identification of what is and is not humane, like an immune system.
Paul Hawken's speech at the Bioneers conference on the world's largest movement, which is comprised of hundreds of thousands of grassroots organizations that address social and environmental justice. This speech stemmed from Hawken's book, "Blessed Unrest," which laid the groundwork for WiserEarth (Wiser.org). Wiser.org empowers and connects like-minded individuals and organizations around the World - Together we are striving to create change through our passion for sustainability and social justice.
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The following passage gives an idea of his conception of the movement: “It is axiomatic that we are at a threshold in human existence, a fundamental change in understanding about our relationship to nature and each other. We are moving from a world created by privilege to a world created by community. The current thrust of history is too supple to be labeled, but global themes are emerging in response to cascading ecological crises and human suffering. These ideas include the need for radical social change, the reinvention of market-based economics, the empowerment of women, activism on all levels, and the need for localized economic control. There are insistent calls for autonomy, appeals for a new resource ethic based on the tradition of the commons, demands for the reinstatement of cultural primacy over corporate hegemony, and a rising demand for radical transparency in politics and corporate decision making. It has been said that environmentalism failed as a movement, or worse yet, died. It is the other way around. Everyone on earth will be an environmentalist in the not too distant future, driven there by necessity and experience.”
Hawken's books have been published in over 50 countries in 27 languages.
Growing a Business became the basis of a 17-part PBS series, which Mr. Hawken hosted and produced. The program, which explored the challenges and pitfalls of starting and operating socially responsive companies, was shown on television in 115 countries.
Hawken took over a small retail store in Boston in 1966 called Erewhon (after Samuel Butler's utopian novel published anonymously in 1872) and turned it into the Erewhon Trading Company, a natural-foods wholesaler. With Dave Smith, he co-founded the Smith & Hawken garden supply company in 1979, a retail and catalog business. He heads PaxFan, which uses geometries found in nature to increase the efficiency of industrial fans, turbines, and electronic thermal management. In 2008, he co-founded Biomimicry Technologies with biologist Janine Benyus, the author ofBiomimicry, Innovation Inspired by Nature, HarperCollins, 1997.
Hawken founded and directs the Natural Capital Institute (NCI) located in Sausalito, California. Its main focus is Wiser.org, an open source database of activists and civil society organizations focused on environmental and social justice.
Mr. Hawken has served on the board of public organizations including Point Foundation (publisher of the Whole Earth Catalogs), Center for Plant Conservation, Conservation International, Trust for Public Land, Friends of the Earth, and National Audubon Society. He was the founder of The Natural Step in the United States.