Monday, 1 December 2008

I'm Sorry, Paul

I'm sorry Paul Hawken, but I cannot finish your book.

In 1993 when you published it, the world was a very different place, but your research and findings are nothing new these days. The things about which you wrote are known by all of us, which is great news; that what was once relegated to a niche market is now centre stage of the mainstream.

But what makes your book too frightening to read is that even now, 15 years after publication, nothing has changed.
Business has three basic issues to face: What is takes, what it makes, and what is wastes, and the three are intimately connected. First, business takes too much from the environment and does so in a harmful way; second, the products it makes require excessive amounts of energy, toxins, and pollutants; and finally, the method of manufacture and the very products themselves produce extraordinary waste and cause harm to present and future generations of all species including humans.
Your premises and propositions are all valid and true and important, but because I know how the next decade and half pan out, they are rendered irrelevant.

Your 1999 book, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, was referred to by Bill Clinton as being one of the five most important books in the world at that time. Time seems to be the key factor here, especially with texts that are specific to a particular period.

And so, I shall pedal up to the library now and return your book to the shelves where it will sit among the other important texts that testify how much has changed in our lifetime. Or how much has stayed the same.


Petrus Spronk said...

The image on te book you showed was of interest. I think it was done by the artist Andy Goldworthy

writersdigress said...

She was shown hell and there were rows upon of people hunched over their keyboards, their very perspiration on fire. So she asked to look at the other place, and alas it was not much better. The difference, it was explained to her, was the latter souls' work will be published.