Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World
Google Authors (2007)
In the following video, social entrepreneur Paul Hawken discusses Blessed Unrest, his book about trying to count the millions of local social change groups around the world. After several years of research, he concluded there were 1-2 million of them. They involve 100-200 million people and focus around three broad categories: social justice, human rights and ecological restoration. What they all have in common are their efforts to disperse a pathological concentration of power in a wealthy elite.
Hawken asserts this massive movement is virtually invisible because it’s solution-focused, rather than ideological. We’re accustomed to movements in which a charismatic white male leader founds a centrally-based organization and endeavors to expand it outwards to the grassroots. The movement Hawken refers started as small widely dispersed independent groups which are beginning to coalesce into networks.
He believes this diverse non-centralized movement had its origins in the anti-slavery movement. The past 1,000 years, in Hawken’s view, has been dominated by a system in which political power is based on privilege. With the abolitionist movement, which started as small local groups in England and the US, society began moving towards a system in which political power is based on community.
The high point of the video is where he scrolls through a screen shot listing the millions of groups. He asserts it would take more than four weeks to read through them all.
He predicted the number of social change groups, which is growing fast, would reach five million by 2013.