My first introduction to author Paul Hawken's work was his 1994 book The Ecology of Commerce. It is essential reading for anyone grappling with issues surrounding capitalism, social justice and ecological sustainability. Hawken is, among his plethora of accomplishments, a highly successful businessman, but The Ecology of Commerce pulled few punches in its criticism of even those companies truly trying to set and reach a higher standard of business social responsibility.
I met Paul in person the first time in early 1999 over dinner in his hometown of Berkeley, California, some months before the now-legendary "battle of Seattle" protest, a world-changing event that catalyzed his thinking and eventually led to his newest book, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming.
The November 30, 1999, anti-corporate protests at the Seattle meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) became a global media moment, a highly visible but inaccurately reported coming out party for the movement Hawken documents and touts in Blessed Unrest.