- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (May 10, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670038520
- ISBN-13: 978-0670038527
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 93 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#677,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #118 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Public Affairs & Policy > Non-Governmental Organizations
- #444 in Books > Textbooks > Science & Mathematics > Biology & Life Sciences > Ecology
- #670 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Public Affairs & Policy > Environmental Policy
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Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Hawken (Natural Capitalism) traces the formation of the environmental and social justice movement from the beginnings of natural science across years and continents in this rousing and "inadvertently optimistic" call to action. Though it's argued that globalization; extinction of species, languages and cultures; and economic policies advantageous to the rich have degraded quality of life worldwide and engendered large scale feelings of fear, resentment and powerlessness, Hawken remains surprisingly hopeful. Strength, he contends, lies in the many thousands (if not millions) of nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to environmental protection and social justice that collectively form a worldwide movement geared toward humanity's betterment. A combination of history, current events, motivation and vision for the future, Hawken's book does a lot of work in its relatively few pages, though his perspective comes across in some passages as naïve (the thousands of protestors at the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization meeting merely wanted to "hold WTO accountable"). The book isn't likely to convert members of the World Bank, but readers already sympathetic to Hawken's position will find much here to chew on.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* The profusion of good causes and the nonprofit groups that advance them can seem laughably overwhelming, but without altruistic grass-roots efforts, the world would be a far less merciful place. Environmentalist Hawken believes that we are in the midst of a world-changing rise of activist groups, all "working toward ecological sustainability and social justice." Rather than an ideological or centralized movement, this coalescence is a spontaneous and organic response to the recognition that environmental problems are social-justice problems. Writing with zest, clarity, and a touch of wonder, Hawken compares this gathering of forces to the human immune system. Just as antibodies rally when the body is under threat, people are joining together to defend life on Earth. Hawken offers a fascinating history of our perception of nature and human rights and assesses the role indigenous cultures are playing in the quest for ecological responsibility and economic fairness. Hawken also presents an unprecedented map to this new "social landscape" that includes a classification system defining astonishingly diverse concerns, ranging from farming to child welfare, ocean preservation, and beyond. Fresh and informative, Hawken's inspired overview charts much that is right in the world. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
Our immune systems, and only our immune system, prevent us from becoming everyone else all at once. We are who we are only because we defend ourselves every moment of every day. And who we are is everything. We are pieces of others. Portraits painted somewhere between our brains and thymuses. We are the dirt we've eaten and the songs we've sung. We are the light of the stars and darkness old beyond imagining. We are at once spontaneous fire and sacred water. We are faith and forgiveness. We are our own deaths and we are the eternal thoughts of others.
I love this quote. It speaks strongly of both individuality and connectedness. In his book Blessed Unrest, Hawken describes a correlation between the immune system and the current state of affairs on an economic, social and ecological level. I think, however, that Hawken neglects an important point in his analogy.
The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice,
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice
There is little we can to
Until we notice
How failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.
R. D. Laing
Namely, that he has failed to notice that the achievement of individuality was a hard won human accomplishment. As a species, we needed to separate from the whole and develop our own individualities in order to "serve" the whole with our gifts. Hawken mentions that the very word, `immunity' is derived from the Latin meaning ready to serve. Until recently humans were not separated enough to be able to serve. We were group and tribe identified. It has been a painful and hard earned process originating in the Axial Age he describes later. Now that we are able to identify self from other, similar to the function of the immune system, when we offer our contribution back in freedom, we will indeed be contribution to the whole; which is the point. We, as individuals will be able to contribute to change.
The immune system function, not only distinguishes self from other, but in the very act of separation creates connection and relationship. This is the very gesture that will heal the unrest that currently is plaguing our planet. Accompanying the decision making ability of the immune system, there are also the features of separation and redirection, inflation and depletion, and memory.
In separation and redirection, the immune system mediates between the in-coming `foreign' substance we consume; everything from our food to our daily diet of media. This gesture also holds true on the macroscopic level; whether that is a new person being incorporated into our organization or a new genetically modified organism being introduced into the ecosystem. The immune system stands at the crossroads of this transformative process. One of the things that can help to harmonize and regulate this process is a common agreement on the outcome or goal. In a true picture of the immune system, there is co-existence between the two extremes of the parts and the whole.
Like the immune system, we can become overwhelmed by the shear amount of information we consume. We can become bloated and irritated and as a result overwhelmed. Similar to mononucleosis, we become tired and depleted. We can find ourselves crawling from healing crisis to healing crisis. Instead of reinventing the wheel for each, an important, health giving solution is to call upon the experience and memory of similar predicaments. The immune system holds the immunologic history of disease in its T-cells, and in the same way we as individuals and unities need to hold institutional memory to guide our current and future encounters.
Finser, T. Organizational Integrity. Great Barrington, MA. SteinerBooks
Hawkin, P. (2008). Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is
Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World. Penguin.