Paul Hawken's Commencement Address In Portland

Posted by Nipun Mehta on May 17, 2009
155748 reads  

Paul Hawken is a friend of CharityFocus, renowned entrepreneur, visionary environmental activist, founder of Wiser Earth and author of many books -- most recently Blessed Unrest.

Last week, he was presented with an honorary doctorate of humane letters by University of Portland, when he delivered this superb commencement address.

Commencement Address to the Class of 2009
University of Portland, May 3rd, 2009

When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was "direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful." No pressure there.

Let's begin with the startling part. Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation... but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.

This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don't poison the water, soil, or air, don't let the earth get overcrowded, and don't touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seatbelts, lots of room in coach, and really good food—but all that is changing.

There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn't bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring. The earth couldn't afford to send recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here's the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don't be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren't pessimistic, you don't understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren't optimistic, you haven't got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. The poet Adrienne Rich wrote, "So much has been destroyed I have cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world." There could be no better description. Humanity is coalescing. It is reconstituting the world, and the action is taking place in schoolrooms, farms, jungles, villages, campuses, companies, refuge camps, deserts, fisheries, and slums.

You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. It is made up of teachers, children, peasants, businesspeople, rappers, organic farmers, nuns, artists, government workers, fisherfolk, engineers, students, incorrigible writers, weeping Muslims, concerned mothers, poets, doctors without borders, grieving Christians, street musicians, the President of the United States of America, and as the writer David James Duncan would say, the Creator, the One who loves us all in such a huge way.

There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity's willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice," is Mary Oliver's description of moving away from the profane toward a deep sense of connectedness to the living world.

Millions of people are working on behalf of strangers, even if the evening news is usually about the death of strangers. This kindness of strangers has religious, even mythic origins, and very specific eighteenth-century roots. Abolitionists were the first people to create a national and global movement to defend the rights of those they did not know. Until that time, no group had filed a grievance except on behalf of itself. The founders of this movement were largely unknown -- Granville Clark, Thomas Clarkson, Josiah Wedgwood — and their goal was ridiculous on the face of it: at that time three out of four people in the world were enslaved. Enslaving each other was what human beings had done for ages. And the abolitionist movement was greeted with incredulity.  Conservative spokesmen ridiculed the abolitionists as liberals, progressives, do-gooders, meddlers, and activists. They were told they would ruin the economy and drive England into poverty. But for the first time in history a group of people organized themselves to help people they would never know, from whom they would never receive direct or indirect benefit. And today tens of millions of
people do this every day. It is called the world of non-profits, civil society, schools, social entrepreneurship, non-governmental organizations, and companies who place social and environmental justice at the top of their strategic goals. The scope and scale of this effort is unparalleled in history.

The living world is not "out there" somewhere, but in your heart. What do we know about life? In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. I can think of no better motto for a future economy. We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. We are the only species on the planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time rather than renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can't print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.

The first living cell came into being nearly 40 million centuries ago, and its direct descendants are in all of our bloodstreams. Literally you are breathing molecules this very second that were inhaled by Moses, Mother Teresa, and Bono. We are vastly interconnected. Our fates are inseparable. We are here because the dream of every cell is to become two cells. And dreams come true. In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms. The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe, which is exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a "little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven."

So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life. This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.

This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn't stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn't ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn't make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.

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Comments (158)

  • David Hazen wrote ...

    Absolutely beautiful, poetic, inspiring, Paul Hawken preaches and reaches into my soul.   I've seen him on YouTube, so I can imagine his voice saying these words, yet I wish I could have heard him deliver this speech.

  • Peggy Lauer wrote ...

    You nailed it, Paul.  "Direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate..."   I want to toss my mortarboard up into the sky again.  You have inspired me.  

  • susan ives wrote ...

    In the darkest times, there are people who have come together to kindle light and hope. As Paul points out, change isn't an underground movement any more.  This is our time to shine. 

  • Cindy Reinhardt wrote ...

    My community of coaches are deeply moved by this powerful and inspiring address. Whether you're a member of the Class of 2009 or simply 'graduate' daily from the school of life, this is a powerful call not just to action but to a new way of being. Thank you Paul!

  • Michael Dowd wrote ...

    This is fabulous!!!

    Thanks for posting this, Nipun!

    ~ Michael

  • Stephen Trinkaus wrote ...

    Wow.  Beautiful and compelling.  Every student graduating from every school in the world should read this speech.  

  • magdalena wrote ...

    Excellent speech - on video, and in print.

  • Tom Brenton wrote ...

    Well said Paul.  An eloquent reminder of the capabilities within ourselves and collectively. We can and will transform our world into a thriving planet again.  Everyone must take serious action NOW!

  • Tanis Day wrote ...

    Brilliant!   We are all part of one interconnected organism, with one spirit living through us all. To know this Oneness within is the greatest comfort a person can find. To live this oneness between people is the greatest blessing one can give to others. Thank you Paul Hawken for stating this with such insight and humor!

  • Maryse Barak wrote ...

    Thank you for going beyond the words of the invitation and sounding your call to beauty, action and love.

  • ella wrote ...

    Hi, is this speech on video??

     

    thanks

  • Tanya wrote ...

    Absolutely brilliant!!  'As within so with-out' - let's start healing our hearts and in doing so heal our planet and let the natural energetic pulse of the universe return.

  • Mary Akers wrote ...

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  • Laura McNeeley wrote ...

    Well said Paul!!  What a beautiful, stirring reminder...to each one of us, to get up off the couch, turn off the tv and BE a part of this life!   We each can do something...ANYTHING be it little or big to help our wonderful planet. Our worth and actions cannot be judged on how much we make $, rather on what type of footprint we leave as we walk, and perhaps whether we held a hand along the way. 

  • Susan Hyatt wrote ...

    This absolutely moved me to tears. What an amazing speech.

  • Ladda wrote ...

    Brilliant, beautiful , and so powerful speech that touch deep in my soul. Thank you, Nipun for delivering this to all of us to feel such an inspiring message.

  • John Vareldzs wrote ...

    Wow, what an amazing speech!  I graduated from U of P and I wish I had heard this speech then!  It is inspiring and most of all CORRECT and I hope that all those graduates related to all or at least a part of what was said and acts on it.

    I have started to get involved in environmental advocacy and have quit my job to make a transition to a green job,  I hope we can all make that change in our lives...that way there would be no place for opposition.

    Way to go Paul Hawkin and thank you!

  • Eric Green wrote ...

    Seeing humanity in it's grandest vision never seen or taught as a young man. As an adult I'm tickled pink at what may be if we change our view about the world and are integrated into the possibility. This is one of the most powerful and simply ways of putting. I'm awe inspired.

  • vinit parmar wrote ...

    Simply inspiring....
    Paul has been an optimist and an opportunist always. And how eloquently has he made his point clear to the next generation. Its all upto us. We are the creators and destroyers of the future. I'm sure we all can take a lesson from Paul's wisdom shared and make a difference. Our being itself has a purpose, and it is to create a better future for us and our children.
    Great!!
    Let's get to work guys....

  • Louise Yates wrote ...

    Staggeringly profound.

    What a heart!

    What a mind!

    Thank you Paul.

  • Terry Lipman wrote ...

    Hi Paul...You won't remember me or maybe you will.  I was the MC of an insurance conference you spoke at in Australia.  I still read you book The Next Economy" from time to time.  You gave a brilliant talk then and you have done it again here.  This is really beautiful.  A lot has happened since we met.  I now live in Austin Texas  - came here to work with John Denver in Aspen Colorado in 1989 and co-produced a number of his "Choices For The Future" Symposia - and am now developing a film -" What One Man Can Do" - inspired by his life.  There is basic info at http://www.donnalipman.com/whatonemancando.html

    Would love to reconnect with you sometime and film an interview as we move forward. Is this a possibility?   Blessings   Terry Lipman 512 912 8722

     

  • Dee Kelly wrote ...

    Thank you ALL.  Besides the brilliant and inspiring words of Paul Hawken is the  HOPE I feel after reading these published comments;  that there are millions and millions more who have heard or seen his address and are inspired, sympathetic, rejuvinated,  There is something to be done by all of us, however large or small the action........be a part of saving the future.

  • Heikki H Attila wrote ...

    Thank you Paul speaking the words of wisdom. Totally agree. We have to remember that we have the best youth and children of the  Human history right here and now to solve the  mess of the darkest time of the humanity. There is so much light in everyone of you. Musch more than  in our little star called sun. Thank you Paul again - you see the Truth.

  • Nancy Kline wrote ...

    Dear Paul,  you have inspired more than that one audience. We, the world, needed you. Thank you for being so eloquent and direct,  loving and accurate. I hope to meet you one day and to read everything you have written. With gratitude and admiration, Nancy Kline (Time To Think)

  • Leslie Stewart wrote ...

    What a great speech!

  • Ramonita Santiago wrote ...

    Just brilliant!  A friend sent this to me and asked I read the entire speech and I did. I am thrilled that I did. I am newly inspired!  I never heard of Paul Hawken's but I would go listen to him again and read more of his writings.

    The speech was great and absolutely on point with how our world is functioning today!  Thank you so much for posting his speech. Many more should read it. I would go as far as saying all graduating classes should get a copy to read.

  • tille Cassidy wrote ...

    A message of hope..... just what we all need to inspire us to act.

    Thanks, Paul for your words.

  • harvey wasserman wrote ...

    great speech, paul.   thanks for your great work over the years.

    no nukes, & we'll meet again in Solartopia!!!

    harvey wasserman 

  • Bud Wilson wrote ...

    Hello Paul,  Like my friend and colleague Terry Lipman, who worked with you in Australia, I was privileged to work with you both at John Denver's Windstar Symposia and introduce you at the Sustainable Resources Conference at the University of Colorado.  Your call for caring, kindness, compassion and action is being heard, finally!  Now, as Michael Pollan (author, In Defense of Food and other wonderful books) said just last night in Boulder, CO - the movement must show up with integrity, courage and overwhelming numbers... NOW is our time!  Our President needs us to keep making a joyful noise, louder and louder!  You can reach me through our work at The Way of Nature - http:www.sacredpassage.com  OR call and give me an assignment! 303-449-8100 - the Earth Hired me a while ago!

  • SAI wrote ...

    A profound set of ideas that should have many ruminate on the eternal truth that the Vedic sages expounded - all creation is interconnected and an integral part of the infinite omnipresence.  This is why they enjoined us to live our lives doing the least harm possible to all forms of creation, and to our environment.

  • Kyle Noble wrote ...

    Martin Luther must have consulted rabbinical teachings too. He wrote:

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would fall to pieces,
    I would still plant my apple tree.

  • Beth Easter wrote ...

     SO BE IT!

  • Subash wrote ...

    Awe inspiring !!!!!!

  • Leonard Zunin wrote ...

    You have captured the truth, distilled it and delivered it.  Reading this was like listening to beautiful music or standing by a waterfall or creating a splendid morsel of poetry.  Thanks.  It is what it is.

                                                           

  • Alitra Cole wrote ...

     THANKYOU!!!!!  It's finally time and now the truth is being told.

     I can shut up and forward this to everyone I know.  Thank you for your brilliance!!!!

  • Reality Check wrote ...

    Such enthusiastic comments... and yet most of you will do nothing but chase money and society's idea of "success" all your lives. Maybe all of you are fooled, but I'm not. Buying a Prius and shopping "green" won't cut it. Are you willing to find out what *will* cut ut? I doubt it... but I guess you never know. Maybe a few of you will grow a conscience.

  • Maarten Barckhof wrote ...

    So many people feeling stuck, so many people lost, without a purpose - but if you do stand up, don't forget a deep sense of compassion and joy, otherwise you'll be just adding to the misery.

  • Susan Haymer wrote ...

     

    Brilliant!I  Inspiring!  Passionte!  I wish I were graduating today.

  • Jack Richardson wrote ...

    Nicely added, Susan.  Let's not buy into the fear; positivity is the only wway out of this.  Let's come out smiling with the difficulties of conversion.

    Brilliant!  This was a thousand times less cynical than the graduation speech Sheffield University offered to us.  Let's consider this the point of change.  Instantly refocus and revaluing of everything in our lives.

  • Faith Woods wrote ...

    It is reminders like this that create change.  

    Each reminder is so important since each hears it when ready.  We import, dowload and create when invited and impelled to move forward.  Thank you.

     

     

  • Chris Turzo wrote ...

    Thanks Paul.  As always, an inspiration.  Pachamama's wisdom knows itself and faces another day!

  • Zach S wrote ...

    So eloquent, so conscious. And wonderful, positive comments. Susan, you said you wish you were graduating today. But you are! Every day!

    Ghandi: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

  • Jennifer wrote ...

    Truth cannot be denied.  The message in the words where deniably heart felt.  Great ones talk about this crucial time of raising our conciousness and vibration and living in the heart to bring forth what is coming in the next few years.  Time is NOW!!  I came across this today as well -

    It is possible the next Buddah will not take the form of an individual, The next Buddah may take the form of community - A community practicing understanding and loving kindness -  A community practicing mindful living....   This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the Earth  -   Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Christina Boyce wrote ...

    It is gratifying to hear my prayers verbalized in others' words.... the change is happening. Blessed Be! 

  • kevin Jones wrote ...

    really brilliant call to action and rationale in one

  • marlena wrote ...

    this is for the world to read  -   thank you!

  • Cindy wrote ...

    Wow, what a way to start the day, this will be my morning prayer. Such inspiration..................it should be broadcast on TV around the world, without notice, on every station about 8pm as a PSA, I wonder how many TV's would be turned off and discussions would follow?

  • Fabiola wrote ...

    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    And thanks again.

     

  • Shabaz wrote ...

    This is what is needed. Anybody have the video link???

  • Russell Salamon wrote ...

    What a high purpose--entering the truth of life and speaking and from it! As beings, we are experienced universe creators. We need to stay connected to a policy that gives life and makes future survival.  A culture, when healthy, is a living organism. Paul, you are asking us to put to use our experience of creating life from the first half of eternity.. And it is happening. Great work, thank you.

  • Mu'ina wrote ...

    Paul, you are an intergalactic being who has been around the block more than twice.  I think you are really nice to re-mind us to Unite, tonight, while the stars shine bright!!!

     

  • joanne Colman wrote ...

     Bless this man and the planet we live on.  I, too, want to make a difference at my age of a  young sixty. Love life, love being, and love this planet. 

  • Susan Osgood wrote ...

    Absolutely Brilliant!  Paul Hawken's eloquent words go directly to my senses, confirming my intuition and stirring my creative, eternally optimistic soul.

    Thank you!

  • Danne wrote ...

    I am an angel sent down from earth with a very spcial mission. My mission is for you all to listen and make the tears go away. I am a star that is not so far for you to see forever. I ain't pissen' for this is my mission. So pull up a chair do not dispair it's never to late to fill your plate with just joy and glee and this my dears is just the beginning for all to share, do you dare?

    THE MOUTH THAT ROARED. AUTISM is the issness of all is well. Go ahead what the hell pull up a chair and simply listen. I am an angel at your table, dress it nice and we will all have a slice of her mssion "FIX IT". Well that's my story in all it's glory don't be late or you may wait for a very full plate of gold. Go ahead be bold  always remember you will be told by an angel this is from a heaven, that I am not told. So listen up all you litle pups for I am gettin' old.

    ALL IS WELL!!!

    "BLONDIE" the mother of a son perfect in every way.it is my mission  pelase always do listen and pray. For I shall stay out of ones way if only you will listen I am not just  a pissen 'so do listen well.

    In another life it may be right but sense we are here please do stay near to this angel, pull up a chair and have a plate of gold not mold. Ok, now that I have nearly rhymed all the time it your turn to talk. Stop your baulking and begin a talking for I am listening.

    Hang on tight with all your might and know  for sure that we are pure at heart not like a fart not a smell from hell rahter like a flower with much power. Please drop your mop and float your boat on a clear smooth day. I promise you this I will listen if only you will stay.

    Now pray for yourself take it off your shelf and be one with all stand very tall . Shout with yur mouth I am a MOTHER THAT ROARED.... AND THAT MY SON IS WHERE YOU CAME FROM. ALL IS WELL THE NAME OF MY SHOPPE IS " A PLACE TO TALK", NO ADMISSION, A DONATION. IF YOU  CAN NOT , DO TRUST  IT IS NOT A MUST  HAVE A SEAT FOR I AM AN ANGEL TO JUST SIT AND LISTEN. HAVE A CUP OF JAVE AND A BISQUIT OR TWO  WE TOGETHER WILL GET TO FIXIN'. THAT IS A PROMISE I AM NOT A LIAR AND CAN GO MUCH HIGHER AND HERE I BE FOR YOU. PLEASE PULL UP A CHAIR IT IS WAITING SO GET ON A GETTIN" ALL IS WELL. LOVING ALL OF YOU  I AM NOT RARE I JUST DARE  YOU  TO  STARE AND YOU WILL SEE I AM AN  ANGEL FROM HEAVEN WITH A VERY SPECIAL MISSION. THANK YOU.

  • Mike wrote ...

    A wonderful address. How lucky these students were to get that parting gift of Paul Hawken's thoughts.

    We must remember what Albert Einstein said.
    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

  • Danne wrote ...

    said to perfection...I'm still clapping...we are all this and MORE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GRACEFUL WORDS. YOU TOO! ARE AN ANGEL....WITH LOVE  BLONDIE

  • Macquigg wrote ...

    Great speech! Well put! and even a quote from David James Duncan. I thought I was the only one who read him. I really love this speech because he's right, it's never to late (but we must start now). All of us can redirect, reuse, replenish...all the good "re-" words, I like that.

    Oh and- OMG Bono breathed my air!!

  • Mark wrote ...

    One of the best speeches of all time!  If only our president, congress, and business leaders would listen to this and act accordingly.

  • patty williams quincy wrote ...

      i think that we as one should think about planting gardens when all the seasons change for the earths benifit.. we can give back by putting nitrogen back to the earths core....

    enjoy life \\

    god only gave you one.... thanks be to be....

  • yamin chehin wrote ...

    Thank you for the inspiration and the reminder!!!!  Let's start now then!

  • Rae wrote ...

     What an inspirational speech to today's generation and a GREAT BIG reminder to us all. In our hearts we know it's time for a change and today, right now, is a perfect time to start living consciously.....thank you for sharing the thoughts that many of us share. With Love and gratitude.

  • Bruce Elkin wrote ...

     I began working for the Earth in 1973, and have done so -- in different ways -- for the last 36 years. Some ups, lots of downs. Mostly I think because environmenalists have taken a pessimistic and antagonistic approach to change.

    I agree with Paul that that a realistic optimism is key. And a vision-driven, reality-grounded approach to creating what matters seems to work far better than so called "problem solving."  The age of problem solving has created more and worse problems than it's solved. We need to usher in a new age of "creating" -- focused on mastering the act of creating what we love, and want to see in our lives, work and world.

    For more: http://www.BruceElkin.com/free. html

     

  • Elizabeth Bowser wrote ...

     

     

    Wow, what else is there to say? Wow. You know, i sometimes wonder if i am doing something wrong, when i am just sitting there. Now i know, i always have been. Every breath i take, is not respected, NEVER respected enough. i thought i was made to be here, just appeared, when really, i was reborn out of the sun. HE who made us, does mot make us, he creates us. So, why not follow his rules? You said it, not me Mr. Paul, why not be on Nature's side, when it was she who created us? Thank you Mr. Paul, for clearing a cloud of confusion over what was wrong.

    ~Bowser

  • Judy Miller Dienst wrote ...

    I may be antiquated, I have never "blogged" before...but I am moved by your speech!  I indeed witness God speaking through you, as you. (as through all of us, maybe just not so elloquently!) Thank you. NAMASTE!

  • Juliana wrote ...

    A big thank you from Europe for this inspiring and very touching speech!

  • Antoinette de Colville (Australia) wrote ...

    Thank you for enlightening & sharing your insights ... eceptionaly eloquent and inspiring ...

  • Flossie Horgan wrote ...

    Yes!!!! wonderful ,

    We are all stardust manifested as human. Let's reconnect and remember and restore.  

     

  • rachel wrote ...

    hi there,

     

    i don't see the link for the video of this speech and would LOVE to view it and share the video with others.

     

    can you tell me where/how to find?

     

    thanks and peace,

    rachel 

  • james wrote ...

    now we need to make sure we do as much as we can for these well articulated goals .. everyday .. and trust that LIFE will take care of the rest ... it is not what we say to others, but what we do ourselves ... it is clear that there are those who would destroy our world, and it is clear they will reap their reward .. but let us not be distracted from our mission ... to fix what can be fixed and especially to make ourselves worthy of what this planet can become with our help ...

  • Eric Huttlestone wrote ...

    Poignant, eloquent and without self promotion (ego), a man of grace, thank you Paul Hawken for your contribution to this precious Earth and humanity.

    Eric

  • Claudette Paige wrote ...

    Paul and Brian Swimme are my heroes.  This is the "awaken and act" message that everyone, not just the class of 2009, need to hear.  Humanity is ascending and it is picking up speed.  Thanks for brilliant voices such as Paul Hawken.

  • Gini Dalgas wrote ...

    mmmmmm.......

  • James Taylor wrote ...

    Very inspiring Paul. You really know how to connect with the students of 2009. This is what we need to hear. Young kids need to start thinking about how they are going to help our global issues and this is a great speach to inspire them to get ready, and think about how they are going to change the world. Thank you!!

  • Timonie wrote ...

    Thank you for sharing Paul's Commencement Address and to everyone for the wonderful comments.

    Paul also founded WiserEarth -

    http://www.wiserearth.org

    an online community space connecting the people, nonprofits and businesses working toward a just and sustainable world.  

    The site includes free Group spaces for collaboration with wiki, discussion board, and mapping tools.

    With thanks for the important work you do.

  • Les wrote ...

    A message of truth and connection, an inspiration to all to think bigger, live bigger. Doubly incredible in that I was at last year's University of Portland commencement speech, given by Peggy Noonan. The polar opposite. Academic schizophrenia? A balancing of the destructive and the beautiful, fear and hope in the name of giving voice to both sides?

  • SB wrote ...

    This is truly incredible…his passion explodes out of every word!

  • mohan chandra pargaien wrote ...

     What a nice and vivid description of todays world with lot many ideas for amelioration.Thank you Sir Paul. making us feel the realities which we are willingly ignoring and avoiding to face. Hope to get many more such provocations in future.

  • Jim Scott wrote ...

    I find Paul's 'Blessed Unrest' book and video, and this Commencement Address, all deeply encouraging and uplifting at this time when everything appears to be falling apart.  I recommend them to many people and have enthusiastically incorporated his message into an editorial on the www.save-our-world.net website about 'Taking a Positive approach to Climate Change.'

    However, it is so ingenuous and important that I believe we need to prepare to defend it from both sentimentalists and cynics by developing our critical faculties in wise and insightful ways.

  • Malcolm Parlett wrote ...

    I appreciate the comment from Jim Scott about 'developing critical faculties in wise and insightful ways'. I believe we have to begin with ourselves and realize the fantasy worlds that we live within -- waking up to the supercommercialism, the lack of inner peace one sees as we look at others and often when we look in mirrors, the whole containing milieu of human cultural attitudes and beliefs that render the human species unintelligent and un-enabled, and which Paul Hawken is calling us to comprehend in its entirety.

  • Rachel Green wrote ...

    Such beautiful inspiring words for such a dire subject - wonderful. I am builidng a nature retreat as my bit - had 64 bird species visit/stay so far.

    Thank you.

    Rachel Green.

    Director.

    Confident Woman Australia.

  • Paula Tomsett wrote ...

    A call to action for not only the young at the beginning of this century but for all of us with a passion for our little blur planet home.

    Thank you Paul, from an Australian Earthling

  • sally breen wrote ...

    I will be teaching an Adult Ed class in Portland, Maine in the fall of 2010 called "Walk Softly Upon This Earth." I would like to be able to show a video of the commencement speech to the class. Is there a way I could get a copy?

  • latoya wrote ...

    Curious what everyone thinks of the highly anticipated book “You Have A College Degree, Now What?” Has anyone seen it on Amazon yet? Haven't picked a copy up yet, but I plan on it.

  • Daniel wrote ...

    Good luck

  • Tom wrote ...

    If someone has a link to this video can the please send it to

    tom_aus@hotmail.com

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