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Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author. His work includes starting ecological businesses, writing about the impact of commerce on living systems, and consulting with heads of state and CEOs on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. He has appeared on numerous media including the Today Show, Larry King, Talk of the Nation, Charlie Rose, and has been profiled or featured in hundreds of articles including the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Washington Post, Business Week, Esquire, and US News and World Report. His writings have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Resurgence, New Statesman, Inc, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Mother Jones, Utne Reader, Orion, and many other publications.
He authors articles, op-eds, and peer-reviewed papers, and has written seven books including four national bestsellers The Next Economy (Ballantine 1983), Growing a Business (Simon and Schuster 1987), and The Ecology of Commerce (HarperCollins 1993) and Blessed Unrest (Viking, 2007). The Ecology of Commerce was voted in 1998 as the #1 college text on business and the environment by professors in 67 business schools. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (Little Brown, September 1999) co-authored with Amory Lovins, has been read and referred to by several heads of state including President Bill Clinton who called it one of the five most important books in the world today. His books have been published in over 50 countries in 27 languages. Growing a Business became the basis of a 17-part PBS series, which Mr. Hawken hosted and produced. The program, which explored the challenges and pitfalls of starting and operating socially responsive companies, was shown on television in 115 countries and watched by over 100 million people.
Paul has founded several companies including some of the first natural food companies in the U.S. that relied solely on sustainable agricultural methods. He presently heads OneSun, LLC, an energy company focused on ultra low-cost solar based on green chemistry and biomimicry; and Highwater Global, a social impact fund that employs the highest standards of corporate social, ethical and environmental behavior.
In 1965, Hawken worked with Martin Luther King Jr.’s staff in Selma, Alabama prior to the historic March on Montgomery, Alabama. As press coordinator, Hawken registered press, issued credentials (he describes it as a battle zone, and people needed to be identified), gave dozens of updates and interviews on national radio, and acted as marshal for the final march. That same year, Hawken worked in New Orleans as a staff photographer for the Congress of Racial Equality, focusing on voter registration drives in Bogalusa, Louisiana and the panhandle of Florida, and photographing the Klan in Meridian, Mississippi, after three civil rights workers were tortured and killed. Hawken has spoken, conducted research, and traveled extensively throughout the world, undertaking journeys into insurgent-held territories of Burma to research tropical teak deforestation, as well as a 1999 humanitarian / photojournalistic trek to war-torn Kosovo and Macedonia.
Paul founded the Natural Capital Institute (www.naturalcapital.org), a research organization located in Sausalito, California. The Natural Capital Institute created Wiser Earth (www.WiserEarth.org), an open source networking platform that links NGOs, foundations, business, government, social entrepreneurs, students, organizers, academics, activists, scientists, and citizens concerned about the environment and social justice.
As a speaker, he has given keynote addresses to the Liberal Party of Canada, the King of Sweden at his inaugural Environmental Seminar, American Bookseller’s Association, Urban Land Institute, SRI International, Harvard University, Stanford University, the Wharton School, Cornell University, Prime Minister of New Zealand’s Conference on Natural Capitalism, US Department of Commerce, Australian Business Council, Yale University and Yale University Commencement, University of California (Berkeley) Commencement, Ministry of Agriculture France, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Prince of Wales Conference on Business and the Environment—Cambridge University, Commonwealth Club, Herman Miller, National Wildlife Federation, State of Washington, American Society of Landscape Architects, American Institute of Architects, American Institute of Graphic Arts, American Solar Energy Association, Apple Computer, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Cleveland City Club, Conference Board, U.S. Forest Service, Ontario Hydro, Environment Canada, EPA, and several hundred others.
He has served on the board of many environmental organizations including Point Foundation (publisher of the Whole Earth Catalogs), Center for Plant Conservation, Conservation International, Trust for Public Land, Friends of the Earth, and National Audubon Society. Among recognition and awards received are: Green Cross Millennium Award for Individual Environmental Leadership presented by Mikhail Gorbachev in 2003; World Council for Corporate Governance in 2002; Small Business Administration “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 1990; Utne “One Hundred Visionaries who could Change our Lives” in 1995, Western Publications Association “Maggie” award for “Natural Capitalism” as the best Signed Editorial/Essay” in 1997; Creative Visionary Award by the International Society of Industrial Design; Design in Business Award for environmental responsibility by the American Center for Design; Council on Economic Priorities’ 1990 Corporate Conscience Award; Metropolitan Magazine Editorial Award for the 100 best people, products and ideas that shape our lives; the Cine Golden Eagle award in video for the PBS program “Marketing” from Growing a Business; California Institute of Integral Studies Award “For Ongoing Humanitarian Contributions to the Bay Area Communities”; Esquire Magazine award for the best 100 People of a Generation (1984); and six honorary doctorates.
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By Alex Robinson
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