Original Green: Paul Hawken on Commerce and the Environment

There’s a source of alternative energy coming to the Spur festival’s Winnipeg edition and his name is Paul Hawken.

A man of grand ideas, Hawken has been called an “enviro hero.” In his spirited commencement speech at the University of Portland, entitled The Earth is Hiring, he articulated his long-held views, often controversial, when he called business and government to task for environmental neglect.

You can print money to bail out a bank but you can’t print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it.  . . . Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.

Hawken has been the rare combination of entrepreneur and environmental champion since the 1970s.

He has pushed for environmental and social responsibility through his books and business initiatives. His work The Ecology of Commerce is a standard college text and Bill Clinton praised the ideas in his subsequent book, Natural Capitalism. This is a huge deal,” he said.

Paul’s latest work reflects on decades of engagement with environmental and social concerns. Blessed Unrest proposes that the proliferating number of organizations involved in environmental welfare and social justice actually represents a unified global movement that will result in nothing less than a better world. “Everyone on Earth will be an environmentalist in the not too distant future, driven there by necessity and experience,” Hawken said.

Some said Blessed Unrest predicted, several years in advance, the seeds of unrest that grew into the Occupy movement. Others suggested he was “hoping for a miracle.”

Form your own opinion during his keynote address at Spur Winnipeg on April 26, 7 PM at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People.


Spur is a national festival of politics, art and ideas and is a catalyst for change in Canada.

Through nationally relevant and locally nuanced discussions, presentations and performances, the festival seeks to spur its participants to action on issues affecting Canadians. Feisty, multi-partisan, forward-looking, and solution-driven, this national railway of ideas will provide Canada with vital new cultural infrastructure for the 21st century.

Founded in 2013, the festival has already grown from three to five Canadian cities, with plans for further expansion across the country. Produced by the Literary Review of Canada in partnership with Diaspora Dialogues, Spur prides itself on its community partnerships, cultural connections and a focus on accessibility and diversity.

© 2017 Spur Festival | Mailing list