Duane Elgin

Duane Elgin

  • Internationally-recognized social visionary
  • Author on humanity’s evolutionary journey
  • Senior staff member on joint Presidential Commission on the American Future

Travels from San Francisco

Keynote Fee: Contact Forte Speakers


Duane Elgin is an internationally-recognized speaker, author and social visionary. For more than three decades, he has defined the cutting edge in the ecology movement and in future studies. Elgin looks beneath the surface turbulence of our times to explore the deeper trends that are transforming our world, examining how momentous “adversity trends” (such as climate change) are meeting equally momentous “opportunity trends” (such as the global communications revolution) and what the implications of such a convergence may hold.

Elgin’s books include: The Living Universe: Where Are We? Who Are We? Where Are We Going?;  Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity’s Future; Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life that is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich and Awakening Earth; Exploring the Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness. With Joseph Campbell and other scholars, he co-authored the book Changing Images of Man. In addition, Elgin has contributed chapters to sixteen books, and has published more than seventy articles.

For more than thirty years, Elgin has been speaking and writing in four major areas: the big picture of humanity’s evolutionary journey at this pivotal time in history, more sustainable and satisfying ways of living, media accountability for an empowered citizenry and society, and the convergence of science with the world’s wisdom traditions and their shared views of a living universe.

In the early 1970s, Elgin worked as a senior staff member of a joint Presidential-Congressional Commission on the American Future. He then worked as a senior social scientist with the think-tank SRI International where he co-authored numerous long-range, futures studies, such as: Anticipating Future National and Global Problems (for the President’s Science Advisor), Alternative Futures for Environmental Policy (for the Environmental Protection Agency), The Future of the Automobile (for the Ford Motor Co.), and Limits to the Management of Large, Complex Systems (for the President’s Science Advisor).

Elgin earned an MBA from the Wharton Business School, an MA in economic history from the University of Pennsylvania, and an honorary Doctor of Philosophy for work in “ecological and spiritual transformation” from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco.

In 2005, Elgin received the Japanese “Goi International Peace Award” in recognition of his contribution to a “global vision, consciousness, and lifestyle” that fosters a “more sustainable and spiritual culture.” As a speaker,he has given more than 300 keynotes and workshops with audiences ranging from business executives and civic groups to churches and college students. He brings an engaging, conversational approach to his presentations, which audiences often describe as “absolutely captivating.” Elgin’s presentations “inspire our deepest thinking.”

Over the past twenty-five years, Elgin has co-founded three non-profit organizations concerned with media accountability and citizen empowerment.


Green Business and New Consumer Values in a World of Rapid Change

The World at The Tipping Point — A Hopeful View of Our Future

Understanding Our World in a Time of Great Transition

Sustainable Futures and the Role of the Media, Community and Simplicity

Collective Crisis Meets Collective Wisdom: Science and Spirituality in the New Paradigm of a Living Universe


“Thriving in a Post-Consumerist Society” posted 1/12/11 on Huffington Post Blogs. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/duane-elgin/simplicity-is-not-sacrifi_b_868482.html

“Change the Story to Change the World,” posted 2/1/2012 on Huffington Post Blogs. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/duane-elgin/change-the-story-to-change_b_1247046.html

“Timeless Games- Survival of the Kindest” posted 11/19/12 on Huffington Post Blogs.  See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/duane-elgin/compassion-games-survival_b_2133146.html


“Duane totally engaged more than 2,000 green building professionals in a spirited dialog about the future, and in the process began conversations between individuals that spilled over into the conference halls.” Jerry Yudelson, Chair, 2005 US Greenbuild Conference – See more at:

“Duane Elgin gave an absolutely captivating presentation to a very bright and savvy group of business leaders in our ‘Executives Leading Sustainable Change’ program. He provoked our deepest thinking and inspired urgent action! Hiring Duane is one of the best investments we have ever made!” Rayona Sharpnack, President of the Institute for Women Leadership, Redwood City, California

“Among the nationally distinguished presenters in our ‘Technology and Society Series’ at Santa Clara University, Duane Elgin was one of the finest. His talk and ensuing discussion on alternative futures and ecological lifestyles was rated by students and community participants as one of the most engaging and entertaining presentations of the series. I give Duane Elgin my highest recommendation.” Mitch Saunders, Director of Programs, California Leadership