environmental movement

Interview: Emily Hunter on the Modern Green Movement and How To Change The World

How did the green movement start and where is it headed? DeSmog UK previewed the new documentary How To Change The World, which depicts a group of idealistic hippies ready to take on the world. In this long-read we speak with Emily Hunter,  environmental activist and daughter of 'eco-hero' Robert Hunter, about today's environmental activism.

As Richard Nixon announced plans to test nuclear bombs in Alaskan waters in the midst of the Vietnam War, Bob Hunter stood on the steps of his high school, burning his college acceptance letter and choosing, instead, to “set off to change the world”.

So begins the film How To Change The World, which tells the story of the young activists who set sail from Vancouver, Canada in 1971 in an old fishing boat to stop the atomic bomb tests, and who would quickly evolve into a passionate and courageous group devoted to saving the whales.

Shooting the Messenger: Tracing Canada’s Anti-Enviro Movement

Vivian Krause

When former environment minister Jim Prentice held his introductory lunch with U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson in November 2009, Prentice described to Jacobson how he had been shocked during a visit to Norway to find heated opposition to the Alberta oilsands during a public debate over state-owned StatOil ASA’s investment there.

This information was contained in a cable from Jacobson, which was obtained by WikiLeaks and posted by a Norwegian paper.

Prentice was clearly feeling the heat from a global campaign by environmental organizations to frame oilsands oil as “dirty” because of its energy-intensive extraction, which make for Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The public sentiment in Norway shocked him and has heightened his awareness of the negative consequences to Canada’s historically ‘green’ standing on the world stage,” the cable reported.

The Resurgence of an Evolving Climate Movement, Part 2

Ken Wu is executive director of Majority for a Sustainable Society (MASS) and co-founder of the Ancient Forest Alliance

For Part 1 of this article, click here.

In the first part of this article, I described what specific challenges the climate movement faces when confronting its own limiting tendencies as well as industry funded public relations campaigns. In this second part I outline what I think are four essential ways the climate movement must evolve in order to overcome these obstacles.

FIRST, we must become a lot more political, in the sense that it’s fundamentally the laws, policies, and agreements that shape our greater society and economy. And it’s our society and economy which are the foundations of our personal lifestyles. What is available, affordable, practical, and possible in our lifestyles is largely a product of the society in which we live – what clean energy sources exist at what price relative to dirty energy, how available public transit is, how well or poorly our cities are designed for walking, cycling, and accessing our needs, how energy efficient our buildings are, and so on.  

No individual is an island unto himself; the way we live is fundamentally shaped by the economy and society in which our lifestyles are nested.  

The Resurgence of an Evolving Climate Movement, Part 1

Ken Wu is executive director of Majority for a Sustainable Society (MASS) and co-founder of the Ancient Forest Alliance. Read Part 2 of this series here.

After years of apathy and political inertia, North America’s climate sustainability movement has found itself in the midst of a timely resurgence, as is evident by the recent massive expansion of Bill Mckibben's 350.org movement against the Keystone XL pipeline.

With climate change regaining its footing as a central political issue, now is the time to pressure governments to enact the needed laws, policies, and agreements required to curtail runaway global warming. But unless the moment is seized right, climate action will be stymied again – and there is no time to wait for another opportunity.

During his State of the Union address on February 12, 2013, US President Barack Obama stated:

“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change…We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.”
Recent studies project that the Earth’s average temperature is on course to rise over four degrees this century, far beyond the two degree rise when “runaway” global warming kicks-in due to positive feedbacks that make it extremely difficult to halt.

Surveillance of the Environmental Movement: When Counter-Terrorism Becomes Political Policing

By Jeffrey Monaghan, researcher with the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University and Kevin Walby, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Victoria.

A recent example of RCMP surveillance of environmental activists was reported last month by the Montreal Gazette.  According to documents released under the Access to Information Act, it appears that a branch of the expansive RCMP national security apparatus - the Critical Infrastructure Intelligence Team - has been monitoring a group of Quebec residents opposed to shale gas development.  The group under surveillance - la Regroupement Interrégional sur le gaz de schiste de la Vallée du St-Laurent - represents more than 100 anti-shale gas citizen committees in Quebec. 

Surveillance practices targeting the environmental movement should not be surprising given recent trends toward an increasing allocation of resources to counter-terrorism programs across the country.

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