You are Brilliant and the Earth is Hiring

Personal fact: in my professional life, I work in the field of industrial ecology.  Personal disclosure: before I got this job I had never heard of Paul Hawken.

But Paul Hawken is a guy who gets it.  He understands what waste, and consumerism, and the environment, and the greater meanings of being ‘socially responsible’ and ‘economically viable’ is all about.  Back in the 1990’s, he wrote the book (literally) on the Ecology of Commerce ( it was voted as the #1 college text on business and the environment).

Anyway, he’s the kind of guy who gets asked to speak at university commencement ceremonies, and he’s the kind of guy who says things like:

“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.”


“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.”

Amen to that.  I highly encourage you to read his whole commencement address to the University of Portland here. (and thanks to Tracy for the link)



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3 responses to “You are Brilliant and the Earth is Hiring

  1. Oh my goodness; what a wonderful, beautiful speech. I was crying, yet edified by the end of it. His words speak such truth that resonates to the core of my being.

    Thank you Jen and thank you Tracy for sharing this. I treasure it.

  2. Auntie Pauline

    from Keith…

    I know what the speaker means when he says we have misplaced the instructions, at least he is partly right. I think we HAVE the instructions but we have chosen to ignore them. I’ll attach a small section from some notes I am drafting on this topic. I believe that all the guidance we need to operate this planet is in the Bible, although it does not speak directly to environment issues, but we are instructed to exercise good stewardship over the earth. Often this has been interpreted as “subdue” and that lead to exploitation. Here are my notes: Our society is largely ignoring the handbook written for the operation of the human race. It’s like buying a new car and throwing away the operating manual. And then never doing any maintenance. Then we have put water in the gas tank, acid in the engine, and removed the battery. Our society has reject the things that are pure and right and true and we have substituted lies, believed false teachings and poisoned ourselves with fear, hatred and immorality. No wonder we are in trouble! Everything we need to know to run our society properly is given to us in scripture. Of course, not every detail is written down, but the principles are there, and the main teachings are clear for all who would read. The Bible does not say ”thou shalt not use pirated software”, but it says “thou shalt not steal”. It does not say “don’t cheat on your tax returns” but it does say “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and teaches us to respect the authorities over us. God does not forget things and He did not forget to tell us any rules that would be essential for our wholesome benefit as we live on His earth that He created for our survival and enjoyment. We can have every question answered by reference to biblical instruction and principles. There is much that is very complex, and there are some difficulties, but we need not worry about that as the teaching is there at whatever level we may understand it. The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.

    With best wishes from Uncle Keith, as we share ideas and learn together.

  3. Pingback: Twitted by FullySustainabl

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