Thursday, September 20, 2007
Author and environmentalist Paul Hawken coming to Chico State University
By DAN BARNETT
Paul Hawken, who lives on Cascade Creek in Marin County, has for years chronicled the growth of what he calls a new kind of social movement, one that combines environmentalism, concern for social justice and an affirmation of the rights of indigenous peoples.
His research bears fruit in "Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming" ($24.95 in hardcover from Viking). Hawken says there is no name for this movement, but it likely encompasses more than a million nonprofit organizations around the world that are working, mostly on the local level, not to "save the world" but to "remake the world."
Hawken is scheduled to appear at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Chico State University's Laxson Auditorium as part of the On The Creek Lecture Series. Sponsored by Chico Performances, tickets are $15 for adults and seniors, $10 for students and children. Tickets are available at the University Box Office at 2nd & Normal Streets; call 898-6333.
The first half of "Blessed Unrest" offers a brief history of the movement's development, and he is optimistic. "The as yet undelivered promise of this movement is a network of organizations that offer solutions to disentangle what appear to be insoluble dilemmas: poverty, global climate change, terrorism, ecological degradation, polarization of income, loss of culture, and many more. ... If you examine its values, missions, goals, and principles ... you will see that at the core of all organizations are two principles, albeit unstated: first is the Golden Rule; second is the sacredness of all life, whether it be a creature, child, or culture."
The combined work of these organizations acts almost like an invisible hand, transcending the excesses and selfishness that creep into any group, helping the world heal itself: "Specifically, the shared activity of hundreds of thousands of nonprofit organizations can be seen as humanity's immune response to toxins like political corruption, economic disease, and ecological degradation."
The second half of the book is a taxonomy of the organizations in the movement, thousands of which are presented on the WiserEarth (www.wiserearth.org) site, which lists dozens of nonprofits in the Chico Area, including the Butte Environmental Council and the Chico Peace and Justice Center. Anyone can add to the database online.
For Hawken, the movement is one of cooperation and compassion, dedicated in all its forms to sustainability, "stabilizing the currently disruptive relationship between earth's two most complex systems - human culture and the living world." He adds, "I believe this movement will prevail."
Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. To submit review copies of published books, please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2007 Chico Enterprise-Record. Used by permission.