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: Book: Infinite Energy Technologies: Tesla, Cold Fusion, Antigravity, and the Future of Sustainability

About the Author
Finley Eversole, Ph.D., has lectured widely on the arts, philosophy, metaphysics, and creativity. He served as executive director of the Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture from 1966 to 1969, collaborating with Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts, W. H. Auden, and Alfred H. Barr Jr., founder of the Museum of Modern Art. The author of Art and Spiritual Transformation, he lives in Birmingham, Alabama.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1
Blessed Unrest
How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice,and Beauty to the World
Paul Hawken

Over the past fifteen years I have given nearly one thousand talks about the environment, and every time I have done so I have felt like a tightrope performer struggling to maintain perfect balance. To be sure, people are curious to know what is happening in their world, but no speaker wants to leave an audience depressed, however dark and frightening a tomorrow is predicted by the science that studies the rate of environmental loss.

To be sanguine about the future, however, requires a plausible basis for constructive action: you cannot describe possibilities for that future unless the present problem is accurately defined. Bridging the chasm between the two was always a challenge, but audiences kindly ignored my intellectual vertigo and over time provided a rare perspective instead.

After every speech a small group would gather to talk, ask questions, and exchange business cards. These people were typically working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights. They came from the nonprofit and nongovernmental world, also known as civil society; they looked after rivers and bays, educated consumers about sustainable agriculture, retrofitted homes with solar panels, lobbied state legislatures about pollution, fought against corporate-weighted trade policies, worked on green inner cities, and taught children about the environment. Quite simply, they had dedicated themselves to trying to safeguard nature and ensure justice.

Because I was itinerant, and the organizations they represented were rooted in their communities, over the years I began to grasp the diversity of these groups and their cumulative numbers. My interlocutors had a lot to say. They were informed, imaginative, and vital, and offered ideas, information, and insight.

A Native American taught me that the division between ecology and human rights was an artificial one, that the environmental and social justice movements addressed two sides of a single larger dilemma. The way we harm the Earth affects all people, and how we treat one another is reflected in how we treat the Earth. As my talks began to mirror my deeper understanding, the hands offering business cards grew more diverse. I would get from five to thirty such cards per speech, and after being on the road for a week or two, I would return home with a few hundred of them stuffed into various pockets.

I would lay them out on the table in my kitchen, read the names, look at the logos, envision the missions, and marvel at the scope and diversity of these groups that were doing so much on behalf of others. Later, I would store these cards in drawers or paper bags as keepsakes of the journey. Over the course of years the number of cards mounted into the thousands, and whenever I glanced at them, I came back to one question: Did anyone truly appreciate how many groups and organizations were engaged in progressive causes? At first this was a matter of curiosity on my part, but it slowly grew into a hunch that something large was afoot–a significant social movement that was eluding the radar of mainstream culture.

Curious, I began to count. I looked at government records for different countries and, using various methods to approximate the number of environmental and social justice groups from tax census data, I initially estimated a total of 30,000 environmental organizations around the globe; when I added social justice and indigenous peoples’ rights organizations, the number exceeded 100,000. I then searched to see if there had ever been anything historically equal to this movement in scale or scope, but the answer was no, neither in the past, nor in the present. I soon realized that my initial estimate of 100,000 organizations was off by at least a factor of ten, and I now believe there are more than one–maybe even two–million organizations working toward ecological sustainability and social justice.

I sought a name for this movement, but none exists. Many outside the movement critique it as powerless, but that assessment does not stop its growth. When describing it to politicians, academics, and businesspeople, I find that many believe they are already familiar with this movement, how it works, what it consists of, and its approximate size. They base their conclusions on media reports about Amnesty International, the Sierra Club, Oxfam, or other venerable institutions. They may be directly acquainted with a few smaller organizations and may even sit on the board of a local group. For them and others, the movement is small, known, and circumscribed–a new type of charity with a sprinkling of ragtag activists who occasionally give it a bad name.

After spending years researching this phenomenon, including creating with my colleagues a global database of its constituent organizations, I have come to these conclusions: this is the largest social movement in all of human history. No one knows its scope, and how it functions is more mysterious than what meets the eye.

What does meet the eye is compelling: coherent, organic, self-organized congregations involving tens of millions of people dedicated to change. When asked at colleges if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science that describes what is happening on Earth today and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t have the correct data. If you meet the people in this unnamed movement and aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a heart.

What I see are ordinary and some not-so-ordinary individuals willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in an attempt to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.

Paul Hawken has written seven books including four national bestsellers: The Next Economy (Ballantine 1983), Growing a Business (Simon and Schuster 1987), The Ecology of Commerce (HarperCollins 1993), and Blessed Unrest (Viking 2007). His book Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (Little Brown 1999), coauthored 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. Hawken’s books have been published in more than 50 countries in 27 languages. He is CEO of OneSun, LLC, and cofounder of Highwater Global Fund and has served on the board of several environmental organizations, including Point Foundation (publisher of the Whole Earth Catalogs), Center for Plant Conservation, Trust for Public Land, and National Audubon Society.


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