Monthly Archives: June 2009

A Compelling Commencement Speech


Came across the commencement speech that Paul Hawken gave to the 2009 graduating class of the University of Portland. Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author. He was asked to give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” phew…talk about pressure ! But boy did he deliver….here is an excerpt

“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.”