Duane Elgin
Biography & Resources


Duane Elgin is an author, speaker, educator, consultant, and media activist. For more than three decades, he has defined the cutting edge in consciousness research, in the ecology movement, and in future studies. He pioneered the “Voluntary Simplicity” movement with his now classic first book, titled by the same name, published in the 1980s. The book provided an exploration of the practical and philosophical meaning of simplicity, as well as a comprehensive overview of the precarious ecological predicament of our planet. His current activist agenda is to transform the media, particularly television, which he sees as our greatest environmental risk factor because violent and materialistic programming has a devastating effect on human consciousness and behavior. Elgin has cofounded three nonprofit organizations concerned with media accountability; see: www.ourmediavoice.org

In his most recent book, Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity's Future (2000), Elgin chronicles how momentous "adversity trends" (such as climate change) are meeting equally momentous "opportunity trends" (such as the global communications revolution). He believes that within two decades, these converging forces will create a global, whole-system crisis where the human family will have the choice of either pulling together to create an evolutionary bounce, or pulling apart to precipitate an evolutionary crash.

Elgin has worked as a senior social scientist with the think tank SRI International, where he coauthored numerous studies on the long-range future for government agencies such as the National Science Foundation. He has also worked as a senior staff member of the joint Presidential-Congressional Commission on the American Future. He has an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, an M.A. in economic history from the University of Pennsylvania, and an honorary Ph.D. for work in "ecological and spiritual transformation" from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA.

selected books

Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity's Future
(Quill, 2001)
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Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life that is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich
(Rev. Quill, 1998)
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Awakening Earth: Exploring the Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness
with Joseph Campbell (William Morrow, 1993)
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organizational affiliations

Our Media Voice
A nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing effective feedback from the public to the conglomerate-owned broadcast media. Its goal is to influence the media to become a positive social force and use its power to address the growing needs of citizens.

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