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Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken, introduces the reader to the environmental movement explored by him. The book gives information to the reader about the many non-profit groups and organizations working on many different environmental causes, which Hawken calls the “environmental and social justice movement.” It offers readers a new way of looking at the world and organizations. The book explores the diversity of the movement, innovative strategies, brilliant ideas, and hidden history. From the internet sources I came to know that the author has spent a decade researching organizations dedicated to restoring the environment and fostering social justice, from billion-dollar non-profits to single person causes.
As Hawken describes in his book, this diverse movement neither has a charismatic leader nor is recognized by the public, politicians and the media. Though it has no unifying ideology, it has the potential to benefit the planet. The various organizations working under this movement diversify in their origins and purposes, yet unify in their principles, values and mission statements. The competence of these small groups to accomplish has been revolutionized by the communication technologies like internet.
The last third of the book is describing and categorizing the mind-boggling area of focus that the myriad of environmental and social justice groups are addressing. I think Hawken had hope and faith in this movement and he believes it will prevail. The success of this ‘movement with no leader’ will be defined by “how rapidly it is becoming a part of all other sectors of society.” The movement may fail if it remains isolated and singular. The success of this movement is possible when it is absorbed and integrated into religion, education, business and government. With continuous and collective effort the chances of humans besetting the earth are high.
This movement gained momentum with Hawken’s related efforts, Blessed Unrest and his website www.wiserearth.org. Perhaps he was wise not to examine too deeply the differences and divisions within the movement, or the real-world political challenges of how to reclaim democracy and to build power at the grassroots, taking it away it from the corporate elite, the ultimate challenge. The website and book by Paul Hawken created a place where the movement can better see itself, meet up and collaborate online. Whether the website he calls “Wiser” will succeed, and to what degree, will depend on how it benefits and is used by the movement. In any case, Hawken has taken his best shot and broken new ground trying to help the movement forward. The analogy of examples and stories the author describes to illustrate the points often draws parallels between now and historic events.
The book reveals the twin heart of the environmental and social justice movements. The book beautifully describes the humanity’s collective genius, and the unstoppable movement to reimagine our relationship to the environment and one another. Paul Hawken states eloquently that I believe so passionately to be true – that there is inherent goodness at the heart of our community. Every compassion driven soul who reads it will be stunned by the scope and potential of this movement to change earth and its resources. In the broad sweep of a history of diffuse and seemingly unconnected events and people, he has found emergent pattern. That pattern, amazing simultaneously in its intricacy and simplicity, gives clarity to the direction humankind is moving in its struggle for survival.
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