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Monday, December 19, 2011

Paul Hawken: "The Biggest Global Movement in History"


It is my belief that we are part of a movement that is greater and deeper and broader than we ourselves know or can know. It flies under the radar of the media by and large. It is nonviolent. It is grassroots. It has no clusterbombs, no armies, and no helicopters. It has no central ideology. A male vertebrate is not in charge.


This unnamed movement is the most diverse movement the world has ever seen. The very word "movement" is too small to describe it. No one started this worldview. No one is in charge of it. There is no orthodoxy. It is global, classless, unquenchable, and tireless. Its shared understanding is arising spontaneously from different economic sectors, cultures, regions, and cohorts. It is growing and spreading worldwide, with no exception.

It has many roots. But primarily the origins are indigenous cultures, the environment and social justice movements. Those three sectors and their subsectors are intertwining, morphing, and enlarging... This is a democracy movement...It's marked by kinship, communities, symbiosis. It's Pachamama ("Mother Universe"). It's Mama. It's the earth talking back, waking up...
This talk is now five years old––but this clip of Paul Hawken speaking at a 2006 Bioneers conference describing the collective energy of hundreds of thousands of civil society organizations made up of tens of millions of people––if not more, from all over our planet–– is still breathtaking.

The social entrepreneur drew his talk from his 2007 book, Blessed Unrest: How The Largest Movement in the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming.

The movement Hawken describes is not something new. Citing poet/environmentalist Gary Snyder and actor/activist/writer Peter Coyote––Blessed Unrest refers to "the great underground, a current of humanity that dates back to the Paleolithic and its lineage can be traced back to healers, priestesses, philosophers, monks, rabbis, poets, and artists 'who speak for the planet, for other species, for interdependence, a life that courses under and through and around empires.'"

Hawken's imagination was captured by not only the explosion of movements––but also by the shift towards the "intertwingling" of causes––environmentalism; renewable energy and sustainability; biodiversity; indigenous issues; civil society, children's issues; community development; cultural heritage; democratic activism; fair trade; good governance; human rights; social and economic justice; disarmament and peacemaking; water and other resource rights; and gender issues.

Orion excerpts Blessed Unrest here.

2 comments:

Johntaro said...

This video and article were very inspiring! I didn’t notice the date stamp on the video and thought the speaker was referring to OWS, the Arab Spring, the tar sands protests, etc., which I guess are sure signs that this movement is far from dead. Thanks for sharing it and spreading seeds of change so that we may all share in their growth.

TenThousandThings said...

Thanks JT,

Paul Hawken is a visionary - he was involved with organic movement as an entrepreneur early on and is one of the best in the Boomer nonviolent social change movements. Gen X filmmaker Velcrow Ripper's documentaries on nonviolent social change movements are also a conduit of soul force.

The Occupy Movement is a fascinating monster-example of the intertwingling of issues Hawken speaks about and Ripper documents in his films.

I'll re-post on Velcrow again.

BTW, I've been wanting to thank you for your inspirational, lyrical blog and fun Christmas posts, but for some reason the comments don't seem to go through.

Wishing you a peaceful season! Jean