The Earth is Hiring

by: Heather on 06/16/2009
Posted in: Events

Paul Hawken's recent Commencement Address to the University of Portland's Class of 2009 is making the internet rounds. It's a ray of hope delivered at a time when the darkness can seem overwhelming. The entire speech is available on the University of Portland website, but here's a short excerpt:

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.

Inspiring words for those poised on the brink of a less-than-certain future (i.e. all of us). There is a fine line between the brink of disaster and the edge of evolution. We may know that we are headed for collapse, but we must focus on the opportunity that collapse provides for transformation. This is our chance to reinvent ourselves and our world. As Graeme Taylor writes:

The weakening of the existing system is not only a time of great danger, but a time of great opportunity.

We are now entering a time of increasing global crises that can only result in either the catastrophic collapse of our unsustainable industrial system or its transformation into a sustainable planetary civilization. We are already well into the first part of this process -- growing global crises. The question is no longer whether our unsustainable system will eventually collapse; the question now is whether humanity has the time and ability to avert disaster through creating a sustainable planetary civilization.

Graeme's book Evolution's Edge recently won the Independent Publisher's (IPPY) Outstanding Book of the Year Award in the category "Most Likely to Save the Planet" because it "exhibits the courage and creativity necessary to take chances, break new ground, and bring about change, not only to the world of publishing, but to our society."

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Please share your words of inspiration or motivation in the comments section below.


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