You Are Brilliant and the Earth is Hiring! – Be Inspired
Having just ridden into Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia I have been perusing the great website of Pepy Tours who provide cycling tours that are a combination of responsible adventure travel, service learning and which fund educational programs throughout Cambodia. These guys really know what they are doing (and Tim knows where to eat!) and while on their site I found this great speech delivered by Paul Hawken during his commencement address at the
University of Portland. (a fine cycling city).
"When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk
that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and
graceful.” Boy, no pressure there.
But let’s begin with the startling part. Hey, Class of 2009: you are going to have to
figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system
is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation…
but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that
statement. Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers,
and we need it within a few decades.
This planet came with a set of operating instructions, but we seem to have misplaced
them. Important rules like don’t poison the water, soil, or air, and don’t let the earth
get overcrowded, and don’t touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said
that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on
one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seatbelts,
lots of room in coach, and really good food, but all that is changing.
There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you
didn’t bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: YOU ARE BRILLIANT,
AND THE EARTH IS HIRING. The earth couldn’t afford to send any recruiters or limos to
your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that
unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here’s the deal: Forget that
this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by
people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it
was impossible only after you are done.