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Henderson, Hazel (1933 – ) English/American Environmental Activist and Writer

Hazel Henderson (1933 ) English/American environmental activist and writer


Hazel Henderson is an environmental activist and futurist who has called for an end to current "unsustainable industrial modes" and urges redress for the "unequal access to resources which is now so dangerous, both ecologically and socially."

Born in Clevedon, England, Henderson immigrated to the United States after finishing high school; she became a naturalized citizen in 1962. After working for several years as a free-lance journalist, she married Carter F. Henderson, former London bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal in 1957. Her activism began when she became concerned about air quality in New York City, where she was living. To raise public awareness, she convinced the FCC and television networks to broadcast the air pollution index with the weather report. She persuaded an advertising agency to donate their services to her cause and teamed up with a New York City councilman to co-found Citizens for Clean Air. Her endeavors were rewarded in 1967, when she was commended as Citizen of the Year by the New York Medical Society.

Henderson's career as an advocate for social and environmental reform took flight from there. She argued passionately against the spread of industrialism, which she called "pathological" and decried the use of an economic yardstick to measure quality of life. Indeed, she termed economics "merely politics in disguise" and even "a form of brain damage." Henderson believed that society should be measured by less tangible means, such as political participation, literacy, education, and health. "Per-capita income," she felt, is "a very weak indicator of human well-being."

She became convinced that traditional industrial development wrought little but "ecological devastation, social unrest, and downright hunger...I think of development, instead,...as investing in ecosystems, their restoration and management."

Even the fundamental idea of labor should, Henderson argued, "be replaced by the concept of 'Good Work'which challenges individuals to grow and develop their faculties; to overcome their ego-centeredness by joining with others in common tasks; to bring forth those goods and services needed for a becoming existence; and to do all this with an ethical concern for the interdependence of all life forms..."

To advance her theories, Henderson has published several books, Creative Alternative Futures: The End of Economics (1978), The Politics of the Solar Age: Alternatives to Economics (1981), Building a Win-Win World (1996), Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and Their Governments (1998), and Beyond Globalization: Shaping a Sustainable Global Economy (1999). She has also contributed to several periodicals, and lectured at colleges and universities. In 1972 she co-founded the Princeton Center for Alternative Futures, of which she is still a director. She is a member of the board of directors for Worldwatch Institute and the Council for Economic Priorities, among other organizations. In 1982 she was appointed a Horace Allbright Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1996, Henderson was awarded the Global Citizen Award.

[Amy Strumolo ]


RESOURCES

BOOKS

Henderson, H. Beyond Globalization: Shaping a Sustainable Global Economy. 1999.

. Building a Win-Win World. 1996.

. Creative Alternative Futures: The End of Economics. 1978.

. The Politics of the Solar Age: Alternatives to Economics. 1981.

. Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and Their Governments. 1998.

Telephone Interview with Hazel Henderson. Whole Earth Review (Winter 1988): 5859.

PERIODICALS

Henderson, H. "The Legacy of E. F. Schumacher." Environment 20 (May 1978): 3036.

Holden, C. "Hazel Henderson: Nudging Society Off Its Macho Trip." Science 190 (November 28, 1975): 86364.

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