The timing of my conversation with Paul Hawken underscored the gravity of the subject – climate. The IPCC report on Climate Change 2021 had been released the day prior and headlines throughout the world called on policy makers to make extraordinary moves to reduce the current catastrophic trajectory.
“Climate change: IPCC report is code red for humanity” – BBC August, 9, 2021
“The IPCC Climate Report Outlines An Alarming Future: Avoiding The Worst Means Trying Everything” – Forbes, August 15
“Hong Kong Will See More Super Typhoons and Extreme Weather If Climate Isn’t Brought Under Control” – South China Morning Post, August 17
As a result of the IPCC report release, journalists and policy makers from all over the world were reaching out that day to talk to one of the most well-known climate authors and activists, Paul Hawken. He graciously turned off the noise of the outside world to focus on our conversation.
My interest was his new book Regeneration: Ending The Climate Crisis In One Generation and what it might reveal of the role of the food supply chain. It was this topic that Paul wanted to address in his role as climate activist. While he is best known as author and speaker, he has had a parallel life as entrepreneur of green food businesses beginning in the 1960’s managing one of the first organic grocery stores in the US, forming a gardening supply company “Smith and Hawken”, forming Erewon Grocery and being part of a cooperative farm. His books frequently touched on food as paramount to climate and health. I wanted to learn more.
We are grateful that Paul Hawken made time for us and continues to make time for those around the world seeking to guide us with his eloquent and humble examples of leadership and agency.
Paul Hawken is most well-known in his role as author and activist. He has written eight books including four national bestsellers: The Next Economy, Growing a Business, and The Ecology of Commerce, and Blessed Unrest. The Ecology of Commerce, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (co-authored with Amory Lovins) and now Regeneration.
He has founded successful, climate friendly, health and wellness businesses around food and gardening and been engaged on the boards of many movement organizations, such as Kiss The Ground, the Center for Plant Conservation, Shelburne Farms, Trust for Public Land, Conservation International, and the National Audubon Society. He regularly consults with heads of state and CEOs on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy and has traveled the world engaging a diversity of groups on climate creating a unique and authentic following.