"The twentieth century was a century of wars: wars within human societies as well as a war on nature. These two kinds of war are not unrelated. The mindset of conquering, controlling, dominating and subjugating others for one's own narrow self-interest leads to wars. Millions of human beings were killed in these wars; and human beings have also wrought havoc on the natural world, causing the extinction of species, the destruction of biodiversity, the depletion of natural capital and the diminishment of atmospheric sustainability, leading to climate change and global warming.

"Of course the power of money, the media and the military has been directed to wage and sustain these two kinds of war. Yet throughout the twentieth century there were individuals who saw the folly of such human arrogance. These visionaries raised their voices, often at great personal cost to themselves. They were often ignored, and worst of all, suppressed, imprisoned and tortured. But nevertheless they were the salt of the earth: they kept the torch of humanity burning, they gave hope to millions, and they restored confidence in the enduring human qualities of compassion, generosity, harmony, reverence and peace. They also achieved concrete results, such as the end of colonialism and the development of sustainable lifestyles. It is thanks to them that now we have a thriving social justice and earth justice movement around the world.

"Towards the second half of the twentieth century Resurgence magazine was launched to give voice to these visionaries, and remind people that small inner voices have more power than might first appear. Resurgence presented a vision of society articulated by these great thinkers and activists who believed that all wars on humans and on nature are ultimately futile. Resurgence advocated that another world — a world of mutuality, reciprocity and solidarity — is possible; and that a world of sustainability, spirituality and frugality is more joyful than the world of consumerism, materialism and militarism.

"Out of a long list of strong contenders, we have selected one hundred visionaries for this book who have made the greatest impact in creating and projecting a holistic world-view, where creativity, imagination and human well-being should be the basis of social, political and economic activities. The list is naturally subjective — there are many other visionaries who could have been included in this book. It is a list of those who have influenced the ethos of Resurgence, have been featured in its pages, and have made a profound impression on the magazine.

"We offer this anthology to the world in the hope that the twenty-first century could be different. It could be the century of peace and ecology, a century of co-operation rather than conflict, a century of mutual respect rather than condemnation, and a century of living in harmony with the natural world rather than the endless exploitation of the earth."