WISER Earth: User Created Directory of 'the Largest Movement on Earth'


TreeHugger is a huge fan of Paul Hawken. We've interviewed him on TreeHugger Radio here, we've been honored to have him as a judge on our Convenient Truths video contest, and we've been gushing in our praise of his book Natural Capitalism. This TreeHugger has just finished reading Hawken's latest offering, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came Into Being, and How No One Saw it Coming. A full review will have to wait till a later date, but suffice to say, the book is awesome. Hawken thoughtfully and meticulously describes the origins of the environmental and social justice movements, arguing that they are converging into one, global, leaderless movement that looks set to transform the way we do business, the way we treat each other and the planet, and, ultimately, our entire values system. Hawken argues that there are so many non-profits, foundations, individuals and businesses that are working on separate, but related, aspects of environmental and social sustainability that combined, they make up the largest social movement in history.

Hawken is no naïve dreamer though. He recognizes the huge challenges facing us, the vast array of ideological and tactical differences within the movement, and the fact that, ultimately, its disparate nature may make it ineffectual in influencing the centralized powerful forces of big business and government. The solution, however, is not necessarily a more uniform movement, or stronger leader. Hawken argues that the most powerful way to increase these groups' effectiveness is to improve and increase their networking capabilities. To this end, he and his colleagues at the Natural Capital Institute have created WISER Earth, an "open source, community-editable international directory and networking forum that maps, links and empowers the largest movement in the world — the hundreds of thousands of organizations within civil society that address social justice, poverty, and the environment." It's essentially a kind of Wikipedia of green and social justice groups:

"The more than one million organizations and the one hundred million individuals who actively work towards ecological sustainability, economic justice, human rights, and political accountability work on issues that are systemically interconnected and intertwined. However, their effectiveness to prevent harm and institute positive change is undermined by the lack of a collective awareness, duplicative efforts, and poor connectivity. A widely diverse network of organizations is the best defense against injustice, but to be effective, it needs to be connected and intelligent. What is missing is a map and directory of this network that includes the resources for communication and cooperation, created and managed by the community; in essence, an infrastructure through which to coordinate our efforts. WiserEarth provides this movement a way to see itself and become connected."

WISER Earth has since been followed by WISER Business, a collaboratively-written, free content site of environmentally and socially responsible business resources, and they will soon also be complemented by a similar site called WISER Government. We believe these sites have huge potential in encouraging, incubating and developing the groups and organizations that are leading the way to a better world, and we're very glad that Paul Hawken is out there fighting the good fight. We just can't wait to see what he comes up with next! ::WISER Earth::

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