Time for Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest, in EEA. Green’s nothing new, it’s been around for a long time. If we’re to be around long-term, he suggests, we’re going to need to hitch our respective movements and activisms and causes and “restore, grace, justice, and beauty to the world.” For we now “have the same impact in five minutes that our ancestors had in a year, the same in a year as our ancestors did in 100,000 years.” The least we can afford to think about is the next 10,000. So Hawken told the Long Now Foundation.
Taking the long view on the environmental movement, Paul Hawken discovered that something very large and transformative is going on. For four decades Paul Hawken has created organizations and books that advance the environmental agenda. The books include the now-classic NATURAL CAPITALISM (1999, with Amory Lovins), THE ECOLOGY OF COMMERCE (1993), GROWING A BUSINESS (1987), and THE NEXT ECONOMY (1983). Currently Paul is founding the Natural Capital Institute and several companies for Pax Scientific. He chaired the US introduction of The Natural Step and co-founded the great gardening mail order catalog, Smith & Hawken. His 1966 company Erewhon helped create the natural foods movement.
In “The Long Green” he reminds us that environmentalism didn’t just happen when a bunch of young idealists thought it would be cool to have an Earth Day, or even when Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962 (the contention of a new book by William Souder).
No, environmentalism’s always been latent but real (if not so labeled) for as long as there have been indigenous peoples with a deep sense of themselves as nature’s children. In the western world it’s more recent, coinciding with social justice movements in general and the rise of biological science in particular. “The 19th century may come to be called the Age of Ecology, thanks not only to the scientific ethos of Darwin and Huxley but to a popular mindset framed by the likes of Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Horace Greeley, and John Muir.
As for conservation: George Perkins Marsh’s legacy of domination is a mixed bag, and Gifford Pinchot’s “conservation” lends itself to a “wise use” policy that undercuts the aggressive activism some of us think is overdue. “Wise use” has become a catchphrase used by right-wingers to fight against environmental organizations” like Friends of the Earth, Earth Island Institute, the Rainforest Action Network and more. It’s become a euphemism for environmental exploitation in the name of jobs and economic growth – the subject of the next chapter.