PAUL HAWKEN'S COMMENCEMENT SPEECH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND

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Paul Hawken, well known environmentalist, entreprenuer, author and journalist recently gave a moving commencement speech that put our role as caretaker of the planet into a context that reverberates with all of us.  His message has an urgency that I believe needs to be communicated.

Here is how the speech starts:

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....

The full text of his speech is available the University of Portland website.