Hazel Henderson, a world-renowned futurist and new economist has died at the age of 89 years old.
A prolific writer, Hazel authored nine books and hundreds of articles leading to what is now known as sustainability and growing the “green” economy. Alongside pioneering work on the social use of technology, she was an early and leading advocate of the shift to renewable energy, outlined in her 1981 book, for example, The Politics of the Solar Age.
If ever anyone was able to bring the future forward, it was Hazel. To call herself a futurist suggested that she inhabited the future, whereas she was energetically and insistently always present too, with columns and opinions and writing shaped to the contours of now while always also looking forward too. I am so very grateful for her enormous contribution to new economic thought and practice, her generosity of engagement and her tireless inspiration.
I remember early on, when I was CEO of the UK based New Economics Foundation, pressing against the growth orthodoxy of the day, she would encourage me by repeating her view that ‘you don’t argue with economists… you hire economists’.
She was encouraging of others in the field and as an example this showed up so often in the references to her cake and icing model of wealth – a sustainable food metaphor before, thanks to Kate Raworth, we discovered the donut.
I was lucky to be able to commission Hazel to write what turned into one of her most powerful short books, Beyond Globalisation. In this, she ended with a reference to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin that if ever humanity discovered the true power of love, it would be as profound a change in our social condition as the discovery of fire.
Hazel, here we were always proud of your Bristol roots, always inspired by your engagement and will, now that you have rest, always be grateful for your full, rich and generous life.