The Occupy Movement – “We Interrupt this Empire for the Following Message…”

Paul Hawken published his book, “Blessed Unrest: How the largest social movement in history is restoring grace, justice and beauty to the world”, in 2007.  In it, he discussed how more than 100,000  “grassroots” organizations have emerged on the planet to confront issues like the destruction of the environment, abuses of free-market fundamentalism, social injustice and the loss of indigenous cultures.

You know these groups, you probably belong to one of them.  They are neighbourhood associations, parent groups, citizen committees; and formal and informal collections of students, farmers, scientists and artists.  They plant trees, run food banks, welcome new comers and generally strive for a more socially and environmentally just world.

Hawken observes that these groups share no unifying ideology or charismatic leader and are largely unrecognized by politicians and the media( I would add business).  Sound familiar?

The “Occupy” movement may be the first tentative step of these groups in coming together.  Hawken likens this coalescence to the immune response system in the human body.  A community of cell components, otherwise seemingly unconnected, coming together, through communication, for a common good.

What is the force that has drawn these groups together?  Perhaps, it is the interconnected nature of all their issues (to hear some examples of this interconnectedness check out the video below – 19:30 min).  We live in a world of systems and interconnectivity, but often don’t see this.  As a species we are evolving our perspective from a simplistic mechanistic and linear view of the world to one which is complex, systems-based and interconnected.  A complex, systems-based world,  is co-created by community not created and ruled by privilege (as has been the case for thousands of years).  This is a point of coalescence.  Like water droplets  drawn to oneanother on a windowpane; this new society will continue to grow.

I think – occupied or unoccupied, this “blessed unrest” is self-generative.  It is an essential part of this new era of sustainability.

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About Kathryn Cooper

Kathryn Cooper is a committed sustainability practitioner and educator moving companies toward “green” profitability and sustainable competitive advantage by unlocking human creativity and technical innovation. Over the last two years she has had the privilege to work with companies like Dupont, Zerofootprint, WWF Canada, and Partners in Project Green on sustainability issues, best practices and renewable energy. Kathryn is a graduate of York University with a Master of Education specializing on Sustainability and the Environment. She holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph.
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