Commencement address by Paul HawkenPosted: October 21, 2009
We were read this commencement address today during lecture. I found it so touching and meaningful, I’m going to share snippets of it here, and direct you to the website to read the whole of it.
We are, indeed, in a world today where things are a-changing. No more are we so isolated that we only care for those immediately related to us. Nor are we so detached that we couldn’t care less what was happening on the other side of the world.
Here are some snippets:
If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.
What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.
We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. We are the only species on the planet without full employment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.
The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful.
Read that last quote I pulled out. Then read it again. If that ain’t beautiful, I don’t know what is.
The whole commencement address can be found HERE. Read, think, and then be hopeful. We’ll get there.