39 Wonderful Paul Hawken Quotes

Paul Hawken is an American environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author of multiple books. Active in the Civil Rights Movement, Hawken is the founder of ecological businesses and works to positively influence environmental policy. Here is a look at some of the most notable Paul Hawken quotes to be familiar with.

“A local company has more accountability.”

“All is connected … no one thing can change by itself.”

“Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.”

“Being a good human being is good business.”

“Being in business is not about making money. It is a way to become who you are.”

“Biological diversity is messy. It walks, it crawls, it swims, it swoops, it buzzes. But extinction is silent, and it has no voice other than our own.”


“Business is the only mechanism on the planet today powerful enough to produce the changes necessary to reverse global environments and social degradation.”

“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.”

“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.”

“I think an old style of addressing environmental problems is ebbing, but the rise of the so-called conservative, political movement in this country is not a trend towards the future but a reaction to this very broad shift that we are undergoing.”

“I’d rather fail at something important than succeed at something trivial.”

“If everyone thinks you have a good idea, you´re too late.”

“If you look at the science that describes what is happening on earth today and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t have the correct data. If you meet people in this unnamed movement and aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a heart.”

“Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider.”

“Luck is earned. Luck is working so hard at your craft, service or enterprise that sooner or later you get a break.”

“Mother’s milk would be banned by the food safety laws of industrialized nations if it were sold as a packaged good.”

“My advice for people is to love the world they are in, in whatever way makes sense to them. It may be a devotional practice, it may be song or poetry, it may be by gardening, it may be as an activist, scientist, or community leader.”

“Natural capital is easy to overlook because it is the pond we swim in. One can live perfectly well without ever giving a thought to the sulfur cycle or wetland functions. Only when the benefits nature provides are disrupted do we take notice.”

“Only caring individuals can restore the places we inhabit. The ‘simple act of planting a tree’ not only restores the places we live, but makes us whole and powerful again.”

“Real change occurs from the bottom up; it occurs person to person, and it almost always occurs in small groups and locales and then bubbles up and aggregates to larger vectors of change.”

“Sustainability, ensuring the future of life on Earth, is an infinite game, the endless expression of generosity on behalf of all.”

“The bottom line is down where it belongs – at the bottom. Far above it in importance are the infinite number of events that produce the profit or loss.”

“The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them.”

“The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous, and enduring, and thus more intelligent, even competitive.”

“The generations before you failed. They didn’t stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence.”

“The great thing about the dilemma we’re in is that we get to re-imagine every single thing we do… There isn’t a single thing that doesn’t require a complete remake. ”

“The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful.”

“The promise of business is to increase the general well-being of humankind through service, a creative invention and ethical philosophy.”

“This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Civilization needs a new operating system.”

“We are the only species on this planet without full employment.”

“We have an economy that tells us it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time rather than renew, restore, and sustain it.”

“We have the capacity to create a remarkably different economy: one that can restore ecosystems and protect the environment while bringing forth innovation, prosperity, meaningful work, and true security.”

“We need to revise our economic thinking to give full value to our natural resources. This revised economics will stabilize both the theory and the practice of free-market capitalism. It will provide business and public policy with a powerful new tool for economic development, profitability, and the promotion of the public good.”

“We subsidize the disposal of waste in all its myriad forms from landfills to Superfund cleanups, from deep-well injection to storage of nuclear waste.”

“What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.”

“When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data.”

“When you pollute a river, it’s a supreme injustice to those who are downstream and those who live in the river who are not human beings.”

“Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.”

“Wrong is an addictive, repetitive story; Right is where the movement is.”

Paul Hawken shares his thoughts on what is the most comprehensive plan to reverse global warming.