The founding of Greenpeace. Where Are They Now?
Unitarian minister and University librarian Mac Elrod and his wife Norma took us in and introduced us to local pacifist crowd. I found a job as reporter and photographer at the North Shore News community newspaper. While covering a local story, I met Bree Drummond who was sitting in a platform, high in a cottonwood tree to save it from being felled for a parking lot by North Vancouver maintenance crews. Her boyfriend, Rod Marining, was a wild Yippie environmentalist who had helped stop the construction of a Four Seasons Hotel at the entrance to Vancouver's magnificent Stanley Park by declaring the land 'All Season Park' and camping out on the site until the developers gave up. He also had sailed for the Aleutian Island of Amchitka to protest a U.S. atomic bomb test there as a member of the Don't Make A Wave Committee that had changed its name to the 'Greenpeace Foundation' that spring.
Discuss Ecology in Caf? Utne's: cafe.utne.com
It was here in the Cecil pub that I first met Bob Cummings, writer for the counterculture underground newspaper Georgia Straight, and another crew member from the bomb protest. Cummings would rail against injustice to the free press. 'The straight media ignore the real stories,' he complained, 'and if you write for an underground paper you should expect to be arrested.' Hunter would admonish Cummings about 'leftist rhetoric and posturing' in the Georgia Strait. 'The ideal newspaper,' he said 'will praise the radicals when they're right, and critique them mercilessly when they're wrong.' These debates were never resolved, but rolled on endlessly, washed down with rounds of beer.
It was here in the pub that Dr. Paul Spong, a scientist at the Vancouver Aquarium, appeared in 1974 promoting his radical idea that we should put our lives on the line to save the whales. The anti-war activists were skeptical at first, but Spong's idea would soon change the face of this little band of radicals.
On an Ocean Named for Peace
In 1969 in Vancouver hippies and revolutionaries mixed gleefully in the redbrick coffee houses of Gastown, and in the rainbow-painted organic juice bars of tree-lined Kitsilano near the University of British Columbia. 'Revolutions,' says Hunter, 'start at the outer fringes of the empire, in this case the American Empire.' When the U.S. announced that summer that they were going to test a 1.2 megaton nuclear bomb on the Aleutian Island of Amchitka, Vancouver peaceniks, love children, American draft dodgers, and Marxist revolutionaries began to agitate. In September 1969 Hunter warned in his newspaper column of 'a distinct danger that the tests might set in motion earthquakes and tidal waves which could sweep from one end of the Pacific to the other.' This image of the tidal wave captured the imagination of Canadians opposed to the U.S. bomb test.
Three decades later Hunter recalls 'In Vancouver at that time there was a convergence of hippies, draft dodgers, Tibetan monks, seadogs, artists, radical ecologists, rebel journalists, Quakers, and expatriate Yanks in the one major city that happened to be closest to Amchitka Island, where the U.S. wanted to explode a bomb. Greenpeace was born of all of this.'
Vancouver lawyer Hamish Bruce read Hunter's columns and called the reporter. Bruce wanted to start an organization called the 'Green Panthers.' Hunter and Bruce became fast friends. They plotted to establish the Green Panthers as the ecological equivalent of the Black Panthers, whose leader, Fred Hampton, Hunter had interviewed in Chicago. 'Our idea,' says Bruce today, 'was that ecology was the sleeping giant, the issue that was ultimately going to rock the world.'
At that time, Hunter was writing his third book, Storming of the Mind, about the 'new holistic consciousness,' in which he declares 'In ecology we see the new consciousness finding its roots.' Hunter predicted that continued environmental deterioration would lead to the rise of 'the Green Panthers or their equivalent,' and he advocated 'the hoisting of the green flag.'
On October 2, when the U.S. detonated the bomb at Amchitka, a mob from Vancouver stormed the U.S. border, closing it to traffic for two hours. A banner placed at the border crossing read: 'Don't Make a Wave' in reference to the potential tidal wave. In January 1970 the protestors moved to the U.S. Embassy and 'liberated' Granville Street in downtown Vancouver. The seeds of Greenpeace were in these crowds. Hippies on bicycles milled among the anti-bomb protestors, stopping cars and delivering speeches about ecology.
Among the protestors was freelance journalist Ben Metcalfe, who had a radio program on the CBC. Metcalfe, on his own initiative, had placed 12 billboard signs in Vancouver that read:
Look it up. You're involved.
'It's hard to imagine now, ' says Metcalfe, 'but in those days most people had no idea what the word ecology meant. I was doing environmental stories on my radio program and I started a campaign to stop the Skagit River Dam. In the winter of 1969 and 1970, the U.S. bomb tests were the hot story. The night we closed the U.S. border, Hunter and Hamish Bruce were there, and Jim and Marie Bohlen.'
The Bohlens had fled to Canada from the U.S. to keep their sons out of Vietnam. Jim, a World War II naval veteran and plastics engineer, started a Canadian chapter of the Sierra Club and formed the Canadian Assistance to War Objectors, providing shelter for draft dodgers. 'Our first Sierra Club action,' recalls Bohlen, 'was to save a seagull nesting habitat in Nanaimo Harbour. It was during this campaign that I discovered the power of the press. Later, I met Irving and Dorothy Stowe at an End the Arms Race demonstration.'
Irving Stowe was a lawyer from Providence, Rhode Island who had adopted Quakerism. He and Dorothy had participated in a protest against the nuclear Polaris submarines in Connecticut during which the Committee for Nonviolent Direct Action placed boats in front of the launching subs. Later, the Stowes moved their family to Canada to keep their son out of the U.S. military. When the U.S. announced a new, 5-megaton nuclear bomb test on Amchitka Island, the Bohlens and Stowes wanted to do something dramatic to protest. Exploiting the popular tidal wave image, they formed a spin-off of the Sierra Club called The Don't Make a Wave Committee, which met in the basement of the Vancouver Unitarian Church.
Don't Make a Wave was an ad hoc committee, endorsed by the Sierra Club, the United Church of Canada, the B.C. Federation of Labour, the Canadian Voice of Women, and other peace and ecology organizations.
Hunter, Metcalfe, Cummings, Bruce, and Marining attended the Don't Make a Wave meetings, chaired by Irving Stowe. 'These meetings were marathons,' recalls Hunter, 'lasting 6 or 7 hours, featuring long, philosophical diatribes, and often going nowhere. We wanted to do something significant, but we were trying to operate by consensus. We went around in circles for months.' Marie Bohlen, inspired by the Quaker boat the Golden Rule, suggested to Jim one morning over coffee that someone should 'just sail a boat up there and confront the bomb.' Moments later, in one of the synchronous events that would characterize the evolution of Greenpeace, a Vancouver Sun reporter phoned for an update on the Sierra Club's plans to protest the bomb. 'Before I knew it,' recalls Jim Bohlen, 'I was telling them we were sailing a boat into the test zone.'
The next day, the Sun ran the story, but the Sierra Club had not officially ratified the action, so at the next Don't Make a Wave meeting, the ad hoc group adopted the plan. Typical of those days, the anti-war crowd parted with the V-sign, saying 'peace.' A quiet 23-year-old Canadian carpenter, union organizer, and ecologist, Bill Darnell, who rarely spoke at the meetings, added sheepishly 'Make it a green peace.'
'The term had a nice ring to it,' Hunter recalls. 'It worked better in a headline than The Don't Make a Wave Committee. We decided to find a boat and call it Greenpeace.'
Marie's son Paul Nonnast designed a button with the ecology symbol above, the peace symbol below, and the word GREENPEACE in the middle. The figures were in green (for ecology) on a background of yellow (for sunlight). The buttons sold for $2.00. Stowe managed the money, raising additional funds from U.S. Quaker groups and the Sierra Club. He organized a benefit concert with Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, anti-war folk singer Phil Ochs, and B.C. rock band Chilliwack. The event netted $17,000.
Bohlen and lawyer Paul Cote searched the Vancouver docks for almost a year until one day on a Fraser River wharf they met one of the more rugged fisherman on the west coast, Captain John C. Cormack. Other skippers had laughed them off, but Cormack was intrigued by the challenge. Don't Make a Wave chartered Cormack's 80-foot halibut seiner, the Phyllis Cormack, and on September 15, 1971 the Phyllis Cormack, renamed Greenpeace, set out from Vancouver. 'It was an all-male crew,' Hunter recalls, 'which would never happen in Greenpeace today, but Captain Cormack did not allow 'fraternizing' on board. Marie Bohlen could have gone because she was married to Jim but she declined. Irving Stowe also declined, which surprised me because he was supposedly our leader.' The crew vowed to make policy decisions by consensus although Bohlen was the purser and official representative of Don't Make a Wave.
Dr. Lyle Thurston was the crew medic. Thurston had met Hunter when they served together on the board of the Window Pane Society, providing medical services for Vancouver young people who had overdosed on drugs. Thurston lived in a North Vancouver commune with lawyer Davie Gibbons, Dr. Myron McDonald, and his wife Bobbie, all of whom supported the voyage and would play key roles in the evolution of Greenpeace.
Captain Cormack and engineer Dave Birmingham ran the ship. Hunter, Metcalfe, Cummings, and photographer Robert Keziere were the on-board media. Keziere, a chemistry student, wrote an exhaustive analysis of the reasons Canadians should be concerned about the bomb, covering the tidal wave threat, ecological impact in the Aleutians, and the problem of containing radioactivity. Terry Simmons and Bill Darnell represented the Sierra Club. Patrick Moore, graduate student at the University of British Columbia, was the ecologist. Richard Fineberg was a last minute addition, suspected by some of being from the CIA. 'He wasn't CIA,' says Metcalfe. 'He was just a weird academic who didn't quite fit in.'
These twelve souls headed off across the Gulf of Alaska for Amchitka Island, making landfall on Akutan Island on September 26. The Greenpeace was immediately seized by the U.S. Coast Guard for landing without permission and escorted back to Sand Point, Alaska, where they paid a fine and were released. The bomb test was then postponed until November, but the boat charter with Captain Cormack ran out at the end of October.
'We found out in Sand Point,' recalls Metcalfe, 'that the voyage was getting media attention in Canada and the U.S. Demonstrations had occurred in every major Canadian city.' Twenty members of the Coast Guard vessel Confidence, which seized the Greenpeace boat, signed a letter saying '? what you are doing is for the good of all mankind.' The protestors sensed that they were having an impact, but there was a fierce battle among the crew. Hunter wanted to continue on to Amchitka, while Bohlen and Metcalfe felt they had done their job and should head home. Bohlen took charge and instructed Cormack to head for Vancouver. At Kodiak Fineberg left the boat and Rod Marining joined. In the meantime, the Don't Make A Wave Committee chartered a larger, faster Canadian minesweeper, renamed Greenpeace Too. The two boats met in Union Bay, B.C. where, Simmons, Cummings, Marining, and Birmingham joined the second boat, headed for Amchitka.
'During the voyage,' Hunter remembers, 'Metcalfe, Bohlen, and I discussed replacing Irving Stowe as the leader. But Stowe had control of Don't Make a Wave, so I suggested we start a new organization called Greenpeace.' When they returned, Hunter, Moore, and Bruce founded The Whole Earth Church, using the Greenpeace emblem and Moore's now famous line from the voyage, 'A flower is your brother.' The Whole Earth Church espoused that 'all forms of life are inter-related. Any form of life which goes against the natural laws of interdependency has fallen from the State of Grace known as ecological harmony.' Members of the Church were asked to 'assume their rightful role as Custodians of the Earth.'
It was during this voyage that Hunter read Warriors of the Rainbow by William Willoya and Vinson Brown, which recounts the Cree Indian prophecy that one day, when the earth was poisoned by humans, a group of people from all nations would band together to defend nature. 'Well, this is us, I thought right away,' Hunter remembers. 'We're the Warriors of the Rainbow.'
Bohlen convinced Cote to vote with him to remove Irving Stowe as chairman of Don't Make a Wave. The organization officially became the 'Greenpeace Foundation' on May 4, 1972. 'Foundation' was suggested by Hunter in reference to Issac Assimov's futuristic Foundation Trilogy, in which a 'Foundation' takes responsibility for ushering the galaxy through the dark ages into an enlightened age. Greenpeace installed Metcalfe as the first chairman.
Metcalfe recalls, 'In the spring of 1972 the group scattered. I was battling with Canadian Minister for External Affairs Mitchell Sharp to get the bomb on the UN agenda in Stockholm when France announced a nuclear test for Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific. I woke up at 3am and couldn't stop thinking about it. I turned to my wife Dorothy, and said, 'We're going.' Rather than release the news in Vancouver, where it would have died, I used a simple media trick. I released the story in Australia and New Zealand where the French tests were big news. I sent a telegram that Greenpeace was coming down to protest the French nuclear-bomb test. By that afternoon all the Vancouver media had picked it up off the wire services. The gauntlet was down, but we still had to find a boat.'
Metcalfe placed newspaper ads in Australia and New Zealand, seeking a sailor with a boat, who would sail to Mururoa. He received over 150 offers, including a phone call from 40-year-old Canadian David McTaggart, in Auckland. McTaggart's 38-foot ketch, Vega, would become 'Greenpeace III.' In April, Metcalfe flew to Auckland and he and McTaggart set out for Mururoa with navigator Nigel Ingram, British seaman Roger Haddleton, and Australian Grant Davidson.
McTaggart, the tenacious seaman, and Metcalfe, the master of media, soon clashed over leadership of the campaign. McTaggart put into Rarotonga where Metcalfe and Haddleton left the boat. Metcalfe met his wife, Dorothy, and went to Paris, where they were met by Greenpeace campaigners Patrick Moore, Lyle Thurston, and Rod Marining. They organized media coverage and demonstrations until the Metcalfes were arrested and deported. Ben and Dorothy traveled to Rome, where the Pope blessed the Greenpeace flag. In France Marining issued a press release saying, 'France is behaving like invaders from Mars, shooting nuclear missiles at Spaceship Earth!' He was grabbed off the street and beaten by French agents who accused him of being 'a Red.'
'No,' said Marining pleading for his life, 'I'm a Green!' Marining's pronouncement, picked up later by Canadian media, was perhaps the first public usage of 'Green' as a political constituency. The 'Ecology Party' was formed in the United Kingdom shortly thereafter, but the world's first 'Green Party,' Die Grunen, was born in Germany a decade later, in 1982. Marining's statement was the first strong kick of the green fetus, struggling to be born in European politics.
McTaggart sailed the Vega into the nuclear bomb test zone and maintained a position 3 miles downwind from Mururoa. The frustrated French navy rammed the Vega, towed her into Mururoa, made minimal repairs, and towed her back out to sea. The Vega hobbled back to Rarotonga for repairs and the French set off their bombs. McTaggart accused the French of high seas piracy and went to France to pursue his case in the courts. When he arrived, he found that his voyage had inspired a groundswell of support.
The War Resisters International and Peace News groups from London organized a London to Paris peace march, which was stopped at the French border by French Riot police. A few of the activists, some of them carrying a 'Greenpeace' banner, slipped into Paris and held demonstrations at the Eiffel Tower and at Notre Dame cathedral. McTaggart received a letter of support from Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. He returned to Mururoa the following year and was severely beaten by French sailors.
McTaggart was killed in an automobile accident in Italy on March 23, 2001. Two months before he died, he commented on his campaign against the bomb: 'At first, the issue for me was that France had the nerve to cordon off 100,000 square miles of ocean. That was an affront to every freedom-loving sailor. The bomb was, of course, an affront to the entire planet. But when the French rammed the Vega, boarded the Vega and beat me up the following year, then blew up the Rainbow Warrior killing Fernando [Pereira, July 1985], well I made a personal vow each time that they would not get away with it. They didn't.'
McTaggart had grown up in the wealthy, Southwest Marine Drive neighborhood of Vancouver, was a Canadian badminton champion at 17, and a successful entrepreneur. He brought an athlete's toughness and a businessman's determination to the peace movement. 'Greenpeace matured with McTaggart,' says Hunter, 'because he gave Greenpeace a hard edge that balanced the soft, cuddly stuff.'
We Are Whales
As McTaggart fought France in their own courts, Dr. Paul Spong started appearing among the Greenpeace crowd at the Cecil pub in Vancouver, talking about the intelligence of whales and why they should be saved. Some of the anti-war activists thought this was a distraction from more important matters.
Spong, a brain scientist from New Zealand, had been hired in 1967 by Dr. Patrick McGeer of the Neurological Laboratory at the University of British Columbia. Part of his assignment was to perform behavioral research on the Vancouver Aquarium's first captive Orcinus orca, or killer whale, Skana. Spong's subsequent experiences with Skana convinced him that whales were highly intelligent beings that should not be held in captivity nor hunted by whalers. 'It took a lot to push me out of my comfortable, scientific corner,' recalls Spong, 'and it was Skana who did it.'
Spong was testing Skana's visual acuity when the whale suddenly failed all the tests she had already easily learned. Her scores dropped from nearly 100% to zero. Paul concluded that she was failing on purpose, as a sort of protest. This convinced him that she was an intelligent and self-aware creature. He got into the habit of playing flute to her late at night. Skana tested Paul's trust by raking her 3-inch teeth across his feet as he dangled them in the water. Once he learned to trust her and keep his feet in the water she stopped. Paul almost felt that she was the trainer and he was the student.
When he told McGeer and Aquarium Director Dr. Murray Newman that Skana should be set free, he was fired. He then moved to Hanson Island, 200-kilometers north of Vancouver, and established an orca observation post in the wild, where he lives and studies whales to this day. 'I later met Farley Mowat,' recalls Spong, 'and he convinced me to get involved in the whaling issue. When Greenpeace started to have an impact on nuclear weapons, I called Hunter.'
Spong took Hunter to the Aquarium to meet Skana and he convinced Hunter that he could safely place his head inside Skana's mouth. 'I could feel her teeth on the back of my neck,' Hunter recalls. 'I was totally at her mercy. She could have snapped my neck like a matchstick but her touch was as gentle as a kiss. I had the feeling that Skana found out more about me than I did about her. It was as if she looked inside my mind and played with my courage and my fear. I was convinced that Paul was right about her, and about whales in general.'
In November, 1974 Hunter brought Spong to my rented suite on 1st Avenue in Kitsilano, saying they needed a photograph. Spong carried a large cardboard box. While Hunter and I talked, Spong lifted two damp, grey brains from the box and set them triumphantly on my kitchen table. The human brain I recognized, the other brain was twice the size. 'I want a picture of these for the Whale Show,' Spong said. As I set up the photograph, Paul explained to me that the Orca brain was not only twice the size of the human brain, but the cerebral cortex was four-times as big and had many more convolutions, or folds. 'This brain evolved for a reason,' he argued. 'The portion of the brain that drives the motor functions of the body is about the same size in a monkey, a human, or a whale. All the rest of this,' said Spong, passing his hand over the cerebral cortex, 'is for thinking, data processing, and communicating. These creatures have more analytical brain power than we have!'
Spong still had to prevail on the rest of Greenpeace. 'My role in Greenpeace was conspiratorial from the beginning,' he recalls. 'I had to convince them that whales were worth getting involved with. Then we had to create a sense of public outrage over what was happening to whales, and finally figure out how to make this plan of shielding the whales with our bodies work. It was pretty much all stealth and subterfuge, most of it in our heads lubricated by 25-cent beers at the Cecil.'
'What a brilliant idea it was,' recalls Dr. Myron Macdonald, who had been involved with Greenpeace from the beginning. 'I remember when it first came up at a meeting at Hamish's home. Hunter laid out the entire plan of placing humans between the whalers and the whales and capturing this on film in real time for the media. Many of us thought that since the French were still conducting atmospheric nuclear explosions and there was a global oil crisis, we had more important things to worry about. But Hunter insisted that this would make Greenpeace a truly ecological organization. He carried the day.'
John Cormack made the Phyllis Cormack available for the campaign. I took a leave of absence from my job at the North Shore News to be the photographer. Our plan was to use high-speed rubber Zodiacs to place ourselves between the whales and the whaling boats. Hunter got the idea to use Zodiacs from seeing pictures of French sailors boarding the Vega near Mururoa on McTaggart's second Voyage in 1973. McTaggart had been savagely beaten and partially blinded by the French, but the incident had been captured on film by Ann-Marie Horne. 'When I saw the photographs of the French Zodiacs,' Hunter remembers, 'I knew what we needed to confront the whalers.'
Paul Watson was the leftists radical of the group, known for his red headband and Maoist sympathies. He had been to Wounded Knee to help the Lakota Indians and had been at the Douglas Border closing in 1969. He was seditious and fearless. Watson helped bridge the gap between the hardcore political activists and ecologists when he joined the whale campaign. 'I met with Bob [Hunter] in the Alkazar Pub in November of '74,' recalls Watson. 'He told me the plan, and I agreed to pilot a Zodiac in front of the whaling ships.'
In his book Storming of the Mind, Hunter had introduced the concept of a 'mind bomb,' an electronic image sent around the world to 'explode in the collective consciousness.' Our Mind Bomb in this case was to reverse the Moby Dick image of brave little men in tiny boats hunting leviathan and replace it with the reality of modern whaling: huge mechanical factory ships and exploding harpoons hunting down the last remnants of the peaceful, intelligent whales. Our mission was to plant this image into the collective consciousness. We never doubted that we could do it, but the logistics were daunting. We had to figure out how to find the whaling fleets, not an island, but a moving target on a huge ocean. It was Spong who came up with a plan.
The defining characteristic of Greenpeace in the 1970s was that underneath the radicalism and wild street theater, each member contributed an essential skill or experience. Bohlen and Stowe were accomplished political organizers. John Cormack and David McTaggart were consummate sea captains, and McTaggart was a tenacious political advocate. Hamish had the lawyer's grasp of the big picture, and could express it in few words. Patrick Moore understood ecology and could debate anyone the governments or companies threw at us. The lawyers and the medics were all professionals. Hunter, Metcalfe, and Cummings were inspired journalists. 'Simply speaking,' says Metcalfe, 'We knew how to give a story pizzazz and keep it alive in the media. We were the media!'
Bobbie Innes, who later married Bob Hunter and who ran the Greenpeace office after 1974, was a Project Manager for Rogers Cable television company. 'Every day I was directing hundreds of people in their job flow,' she says now, 'so organizing a bunch of hippies was no big deal.'
Bill Gannon, chief accountant for Daon Development Corporation, the largest developer in Vancouver, was consulting with the North Shore News, when I met him. In addition to being an expert accountant, Gannon was an accomplished bass player. We had formed a band that rehearsed once a week. When I explained to Gannon the financial problems that Greenpeace faced, he began advising us. Gannon later fashioned a credible financial plan and reporting system for the fledgling organization.
And there were stalwart soldiers willing to risk it all, Bill Darnell, Terry Simmons, Bree Drummond, Rod Marining, Carlie Trueman, Paul Watson, and Walrus Oakenbough. 'Today we would say it was right-brain/left-brain balanced,' says Marining. 'In those days we referred to the Mystics and the Mechanics. But in fact, there was a little of the mystic and mechanic in everyone.'
Spong was a serious scientist and with all his quixotic ideas and mystic communications with whales, he was rigorous and observant. His mind had simply been opened by Skana to accept a much bigger picture of consciousness. 'Change,' Spong says, and this from experience, 'can happen at the speed of thought.'
Spong inspired us to put our ecology on the line. Did we believe in the rights of a whale to live in peace? Then we would risk our lives for them. Spong was cautious with his language, but his enthusiasm was contagious. He implied that Skana had imparted to him a message for us. There were doubters, but we all listened, and the message was this: Consciousness is bigger than you, bigger than the human race. Consciousness is a quality of nature. Spong inspired us to look beyond the purely human realm, to see ecology from a new perspective.
Spong's plan for finding the whalers was to visit the International Whaling Commission records office in Sandefjord, Norway, to pose as himself, a respected research scientist looking for data on whale populations. That data, he correctly surmised would be collected by whaling boats. In January Spong, his wife Linda, and their son Yashi, departed for Iceland and Norway to find records of previous whaling routes. The IWC at that time was controlled by the whaling nations of Japan, Soviet Union, Norway, and Iceland, and backed by Canada and the U.S. Spong was entering the lair of our adversary to steal the map that would spell their downfall.
In the meantime, we had to secure the Zodiacs and get the Phyllis Cormack, now Greenpeace V, off the dock in Vancouver, but we were broke. Then one night at a Greenpeace meeting, local mystic poet, Henry Payne, showed up, recited a long, shamanistic ode about our spiritual kinship with 'every creeping, crawling thing' and then donated to the cause five acres of land in Langley. Eyes widened and heads twisted. Is this vagabond poet with an eagle feather for real? Indeed, our lawyers confirmed the land transfer and Bobbie Innes came up with the idea of having a lottery for the land rather than selling it outright. We raised twice the land value in lottery ticket sales, 20,000 tickets at $2 each, and the voyage was on.
Hunter was the great attracter and includer. He led the meetings and encouraged everyone to contribute. People showed up at meetings to tell us about a space alien connection with whales or warn us about CIA infiltration. Hunter was always gracious, but he also moved the discussion along toward the tasks at hand. He was a master of delegation, and the numbers swelled in what we called 'The Great Whale Conspiracy.'
In March of 1975, Greenpeace rented its first public office at 2007 West Fourth Avenue, right in the middle of Vancouver's Hippie Row. It was not much of an office, no filing cabinets or desks, just a few shelves and tables, and two phones. Julie McMaster, an older woman with clerical experience showed up to offer her services as our office manager. She set up some basic office systems to help us keep track of our phone messages and meetings. More than that, she became our surrogate mother, reminding us to clean up after ourselves and keep our appointments. Our gear began to collect in the corners: outboard motors, sound equipment, radios, and provisions for the voyage.
The old Cecil hangout was transformed into a strip bar, so we moved our beer-inspired strategy meetings to the Bimini pub across the street from the new office. At an upstairs table near the window we hatched our plans to find and confront the whalers. From the window, we could look across the street to the Greenpeace office window. Julie would come to the window and yell across the street when an important phone call came through. The corner of the pub became a center of activity, with activists, journalists, and sailors coming and going constantly.
In the meantime, Spong was in Norway at the Bureau of International Whaling Statistics, where he'd convinced the director to let him peruse the files. Ostensibly, he was researching the habits of sperm whales, but once he found what he was looking for, his heart skipped a beat. There in a file before him were the dates, longitudes, latitudes, and kill numbers for the entire Soviet and Japanese whaling fleets. He copied it all down in his notebook, went back to his hotel, and called Hunter.
'We believed then, and I still believe,' says Hunter, 'that we were blessed by higher powers. The Pope, the Buddhist Karmapa, and the Kwakuitl Indians had all blessed our flag. We fully believed by then that we were fulfilling the Warriors of the Rainbow prophecy.' The Catholics prayed, the Buddhists meditated, the pagans chanted, but we all believed we were on a spiritual mission. We expected miracles, and we watched for signs. One day a bearded street musician showed up claiming to be 'an animal affinity expert.' His name was Melville Gregory. Hunter gasped. Herman Melville, of course, had written Moby Dick and Gregory Peck played Captain Ahab in the movie! 'Hunter figured it was a sign,' remembers Gregory, 'so I became the crew musician. We got some underwater speakers and microphones to communicate with the whales.' Gregory wrote an anthem for the group, 'We Are Whales,' which was sung at every opportunity.
'It was magic,' recalls Hunter. 'Everything and everyone we needed to pull this off just appeared, like Mel, out of the ether. I was literally sitting in my office trying to figure out how to make a film of the voyage when Michael Chechik phoned.' The young film producer, who now runs Omni Films in Vancouver, arranged for cameramen Fred Easton and Ron Precious to document the voyage.
Lawyer Hamish Bruce abandoned his law practice to work full time as he witnessed the manifestation of his Green Panthers vision. Bruce was the spiritual leader, chief of the 'Mystics.' He rarely spoke, but when he did, everyone shut up and listened. The head 'Mechanic' was electrician Al Hewitt, engineer and radio operator for the voyage, who fashioned a homemade radio-directional finder for tracking Soviet ships. Environmentalist writer and researcher Walrus Oakenbough was crew cook. In anticipation of contact with the whalers, Taeko Miwa and George Korotva were our Japanese and Russian interpreters. Dr. Myron MacDonald was our medic. Now a Ph.D. in ecology, Patrick Moore was our scientist. Carlie Trueman was the Zodiac expert, and Paul Watson was a Zodiac operator. Experimental musician Will Jackson came up from San Francisco with his Moog synthesizer to support the whale communications. Hunter was our campaign leader, and Cormack was our captain.
Bobbie Innes and Rod Marining stayed in Vancouver to run the office and media relations. On April 27, 1975 The Great Whale Conspiracy headed out of Vancouver's English Bay, flying the UN and Canadian flags, a Kwakiutl image of a whale on our sail, and a flag of the earth snapping in the breeze at the top of the mast. 'We Are Whales' blared from the speakers with Mel playing guitar on the hatch cover, 23,000 people waving goodbye from the shoreline, and Hamish Bruce standing at the bow, long golden hair whirling in the gusts of wind. We headed up the west coast of Vancouver Island to Winter Harbour, and then out to sea to find whales and whalers.
We tested our Zodiac skills when we came across wild orcas near Bella Bella in the inside passage. In mid-May we met migrating grey whales in Wickininish Bay near the remote fishing village of Ucleulet. Jazz musician Paul Winter joined us as we stayed with the whales, played music to them, and listened for their response. They seemed less interested in us than we were in them, but the whales were clearly curious, bobbing about our little inflatable boats, gazing at us with enormous eyes. The experience inspired us and provided a story for the media. The information from Spong in Norway suggested that the whalers would be at the Mendocino Ridge sea mounts in June, some 40 miles off the coast of California. The time had come, and we headed south, listening for Russian or Japanese voices on the marine radio.
On the morning of midsummer's day the Phyllis Cormack, rocked pacifically over the Mendocino sea mounts, where the ocean floor rises and sperm whales feed. We twice heard Russian voices on the radio and fixed their position with Hewitt's crude RDF only to discover that they were Soviet draggers. The ocean seemed unspeakably vast. The sea mounts run for hundreds of miles. We drifted to save fuel, listened, and watched for whales from high in the rigging.
Halfway around the world, Spong was in London for the International Whaling Commission meetings, working with Friends of the Earth to pressure the Commission for a ban on pelagic whaling. Our plan was to confront the whalers during the meetings and thereby shine an international spotlight on the whale hunt. But by June 25, two days before the end of the meetings, Spong was frantic because he had not heard from us in days.
Out in the Pacific our radio had mysteriously died. We could hear, but could not transmit. We could not reach Marining in Vancouver nor Spong in London. No one knew where we were or what we were doing. Unless we actually confronted the whalers as we had vowed, we had little hope of making the London newspapers and influencing the IWC vote. The whole campaign was looking like a failure. We were frustrated, tired, and low on food and water. Hewitt had wired a speaker into the galley where we sat for hours, monitoring the radio. On the evening of June 26 we distinctly heard Russian voices. Korotva thought he could hear the word 'Vostok,' the name of one of the Soviet ships on Spong's list. Hewitt fixed the direction, and we headed southeast after them.
Cormack slept about 4 hours each night. His usual routine was to go to bed at midnight and rise at 4:00am. At midnight, Cormack turned the wheel over to Mel Gregory with instructions to keep our heading at SSE. When Gregory took the wheel the moon was dead ahead and the moon's reflection was a yellow trail before him. Disregarding the compass, Gregory simply headed into the moonbeam. The moon, of course, moves across the sky, so when Cormack rose to check on him, we were heading 90-degrees west of our intended course. An enraged Cormack threw Gregory out of the wheelhouse, calling him a 'hippie farmer.'
Russian transmissions continued throughout the morning until, at about 10:00, they went silent. Cormack ordered a steady course toward the last RDF reading. An unrepentant Gregory awoke around noon as a brilliant rainbow appeared off the starboard bow. Figuring this was another sign, Mel made his way to the wheelhouse, calmly relieved Fred Easton of the wheel, and made for the rainbow. Whether it was magic, good karma, or just good luck, thirty minutes later Soviet whaling boats dotted the horizon. To add to the miracle, our radio suddenly began to work and Bob was able to call Marining in Vancouver, who called Spong in London on the final day of the IWC meeting. The chase was on.
Moore and cameraman Easton sped off in one Zodiac, while Watson and I jumped in the second. As we approached the colossal factory ship Vostok, we gagged at the stench. Harpoon boats trailed behind off-loading sperm whale carcasses. High on the main deck of the 700-foot behemoth, huge cranes ripped massive strips of blubber from the whales. Just above the water line, a red torrent of blood pour from a six-inch pipe. Sharks cut through the red water that trailed behind the factory ship. We were horrified.
The Soviet whalers seemed completely confused by this colorful boatload of hippies flying a flag with the earth on it, playing rock music, and zipping around them in little Zodiacs. The workers waved and smiled from decks and the officers glared from the bridge. The first time we got close enough to the whalers to talk to them, a deckhand leaned over the railing and shouted in English, 'Do you have LSD?'
We picked out a departing harpoon boat, the Vlastny, and followed it. It was soon pursuing a pod of sperm whales. Hunter leapt into a Zodiac with Watson, Korotva took Fred Easton, and I went with Patrick Moore. Hunter and Watson tried to position themselves between the harpoon boat and the frantic whales, but Watson's outboard sputtered to a stop and they were thrown aside by the bow of the killer boat. Korotva pulled up, traded passengers with Watson, and sped off with Hunter. They positioned themselves directly in front of the massive cannon, shielding the whales. When they dropped into a trough, however, the cannon fired and the harpoon flew over their heads and exploded in the side of a whale. 'The harpoon cable slashed down beside us,' recalls Hunter, 'nearly ripping us in two.' Easton turned to me with thumbs up. He had captured the entire episode on film.
The story was carried in every London newspaper on the final day of the IWC. Reporters swarmed the Soviet and Japanese delegates, who were completely caught off guard. 'The fight to save the whales changed on that day,' remembers Spong. 'They could no longer ignore us.'
'It was the ultimate Mind Bomb,' says Hunter now. 'The mythology about Moby Dick had dominated the public perception of whales. That perception changed forever.'
'Old Greenpeacers still argue,' says Marining, 'about whether the Mystics or the Mechanics found the whalers. Was it Mel following the rainbow, Hewitt's RDF, or Spong's spy work? It was everything, the Mystics and the Mechanics, divine intervention, good planning, good seamanship, and good karma all rolled into one.'
We followed the Soviet ships for two days, but they stopped hunting whales and ran south faster than we could follow. We turned northeast for the coast. In San Francisco, I was picked up from the boat by two AP photographers and we had the photographs on the wire services within an hour. The film footage was shown on Walter Cronkite's evening news broadcast. The local bars gave us free drinks. Environmentalists, school children, rock stars, and movie agents came to the boat. 'Ben Metcalfe had warned me: 'Fear success,'' recalls Hunter. 'Now I knew what he meant. We had planned to make a global media hit for the whales, and we had succeeded, but we had not planned what to do afterwards.'
The Eco Navy
With McTaggart in France, Spong in London, and the media frenzy in San Francisco, Greenpeace had emerged onto the world stage. Back in Vancouver, the two phones in the little office rang incessantly. Upon our returned, we were $40,000 in debt and half the calls were from local suppliers, camera stores and marine supply shops, wondering when they were going to get paid.
Bill Gannon left his job at Daon Development, opened a private practice, and became our accountant. Gannon guided us in creating a cash-flow projection based on all the campaign and fundraising ideas we had. 'Do the right thing,' he encouraged us, 'and the money will come. It's the first law of money.' Gannon, who still has a private accounting practice in Vancouver, recalls, 'We drafted a budget of $300,000 for the year, to do everything we wanted to do. We put 20,000 names from the first lottery onto a mailing list, then walked into the Royal Bank in Vancouver with a cash-flow plan. The bank gave us a $75,000 line of credit, and another $75,000 secured by personal guarantees. People may not realize that the Royal Bank of Canada helped finance the environmental revolution!'
Watson, Walrus, Hunter, and I published the first issue of the Greenpeace Chronicles newspaper out of the old Georgia Straight office in the fall of 1975, covering our voyage and other environmental stories. Watson organized a campaign to protest the Canadian Harp seal hunt in Labrador. We were sending money to McTaggart in Paris and we were making plans for a second voyage in the summer of 1976 to confront the Japanese whalers, this time with a converted mine sweeper ('Mind Sweeper' we called it) the James Bay.
The money was spent faster than it came in, but magic, it seemed, was still with us. Gannon recalls, 'At one point our bookkeeper stopped keeping the bank balance, and started handing out blank checks to Watson for his seal campaign. By the time we launched the James Bay in June we were overdrawn at the bank.' Gannon oversaw ticket sales for a send-off benefit concert with Country Joe MacDonald at the Jericho Beach site of the UN Habitat Forum Conference, held in Vancouver that summer. 'After the boat left, I went back to the office and took a call from our bank manager who informed me we were $27,000 overdrawn. 'It's okay,' I told him, there was a Brinks truck on the way with a cash deposit from the concert. The deposit was for $27,200.'
The following year, 1977, there were some 15 to 20 Greenpeace groups around the world. Watson led a second seal campaign to Labrador, this time accompanied by actress Bridget Bardot. We were still sending money to McTaggart in France and we prepared the James Bay, Greenpeace VII, for another voyage against the whalers. Spong went to Hawaii to launch a second anti-whaling boat from there. We were broke again and needed money for diesel fuel and for a direct mail funding drive.
'I asked the bank for a $15,000 extension on our line but they refused,' Gannon recalls. 'I went into the office to get some graphs I had prepared, and Julie McMaster handed me a brown paper bag that had arrived in the mail. It was filled with U.S. dollars.' Inside the bag was a note from a hermit in a mountain cabin in Washington. 'I'm dying of cancer,' the note said. 'This is all the money I have. I know you can use it. Thanks for what you are doing.' Gannon took the bag into the bank. 'When I walked in, the manager just shook his head and said 'No way.' I emptied the brown bag out on his desk and asked if he could have a teller count it. It came to $15,500.'
The French finally backed down from their atmospheric nuclear tests in the South Pacific as the Americans had done at Amchitka. Japan and the Soviet Union were isolated at the IWC, and we eventually won a moratorium on pelagic whaling. The Canadian seal hunt was halted. We launched campaigns against supertankers and trophy hunting in BC, against nuclear power plants in Canada and the U.S., and against Trident nuclear submarines in Washington State. A fellow we'd never heard of, Joe Healy, climbed the Chicago Sears Tower and hung a 'Greenpeace' banner protesting the whale hunt. The Greenpeace office in London went after the Icelandic whalers with a boat named Rainbow Warrior, and we were working with the Lakota and Hopi Indians in the U.S. in their land claims struggles.
Greenpeace groups were forming everywhere, in England, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and throughout the U.S. and Canada. By 1979 the consolidated groups were raising over $12 million, and rivalries, splinter groups, and outright frauds were fracturing the loosely-knit organization. Gannon and our lawyers put together an affiliation contract, which some groups signed and some groups refused to sign. Internal tensions were high.
'In 1978 and early 1979 there were two meetings in Vancouver to try to develop a constitution for GP internationally,' recalls Patrick Moore, who was Greenpeace Foundation president at the time. 'The second meeting ended with the San Francisco group walking out. We had to file a lawsuit against them to protect the Greenpeace trademark.
McTaggart came to Vancouver in the summer of 1979 with a proposal to settle the turmoil. I spoke with him one night at my home in Kitsilano. 'Look,' he said, 'this thing can't be run out of Vancouver anymore. The headquarters should be in Europe. The European groups are well organized. There's a million dollars sitting in a bank account in Amsterdam. You know the scams that hucksters are perpetrating under the name. The U.S. wants autonomy from the Canadian group. The only solution is a Greenpeace International, with each country getting a vote.' There was some resistance in Vancouver, particularly with dividing Greenpeace along national boundaries, but in the end, Hunter backed the McTaggart plan, appealed to reason, and swung the vote.
'McTaggart was the only one who could pull all the groups together,' Hunter recalls, 'because he was just a smarter politician than anyone else, he had campaign credibility, and business savvy.' On October 14, 1979 we signed an agreement in lawyer Davie Gibbons' Vancouver office establishing Greenpeace International. In November we met in Amsterdam with Greenpeace representatives from Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Denmark, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. McTaggart was elected as the Executive Director. Throughout the meetings, The Rainbow Warrior sat majestically in Amsterdam Harbour, rainbow flags flying.
The Eco-Navy we had dreamed of came to pass. The Dalai Lama, visited the Rainbow Warrior at the Earth summit in Rio. 'It’s a small boat,' he said, 'a little untidy. But it is a very powerful symbol, and the spirit on board made my spirit stronger too.' From Vancouver, we watched with some pride as the Warriors of the Rainbow mythology manifested around the world. Through all the craziness and wild visions, something profound had been seeded into the culture and was now blossoming on every continent.
Irving Stowe had passed away early, in 1974, of cancer. Then Bob Cummings passed away in 1987, Bree Drummond in 1997, and David McTaggart was killed in the car accident in Italy on March 23, 2001. Although retired from Greenpeace, it is typical of McTaggart that two weeks before he died he was in Amsterdam lobbying Greenpeace to join his campaign to establish a marine protection zone in the Caribbean. A few months before he died, McTaggart warned, 'It's an eternal struggle. We haven't really won anything. Every victory we've achieved could be rolled back in the blink of an eye. The environmental movement isn't something that can ever rest.'
Captain John Cormack died peacefully on November 17, 1988, at the age of 76 in Vancouver. 'Captain John,' recalls Hunter 'was the only fisherman on the westcoast who was willing to take a motley group of protestors up to the Aleutian Islands in 1971 to protest the American nuclear test at Amchitka Island. He skippered the first two whale voyages. Without Cormack, there's no Greenpeace.'
Jim and Marie Bohlen left the group in 1972 when Metcalfe took over. In 1974, they moved to Denman Island, and founded an energy-efficient, organic farm they called 'Greenpeace Farm.' Jim wrote The New Pioneer's Handbook about low-energy living. In 1983 Patrick Moore, then president of Greenpeace Canada, brought Bohlen back onto the board of directors to head the group's anti-nuclear campaigns. Bohlen joined the board of the Green Party of Canada, and in 1992 attended the UN Environment Conference in Rio. 'As the natural environment inexorably deteriorates,' Bohlen says today, 'perhaps that will prompt nation-state governments to relinquish some of their sovereignty and accept global green governance.'
Patrick Moore is now a private environmental consultant for forestry and other resource companies. He has been critical of some Greenpeace positions, and was seen by some environmentalists as a turncoat. Hunter once called him 'The eco-Judas' in his newspaper column, but has since softened and even apologized. In April 2000, on the 25th Anniversary of the first Greenpeace whale campaign, Hunter and Moore hugged in the kitchen of Pat and Eileen Moore's Vancouver home, all grievances forgiven. Gaia Hypothesis author James Lovelock has praised Moore's 'scientific environmentalism.'
'By the mid-1980's,' says Moore, 'we had won over a majority of the public in the industrialized democracies. Presidents and Prime Ministers were talking about the environment on a daily basis. At that time, I made the transition from confrontation to building consensus. After all, when a majority of people agree with you it is probably time to stop hitting them over the head and sit down and talk to them about solutions.' Moore now tours the world, speaking with governments and companies about environmental policy. 'The key points to a global environmental policy,' he says, 'are renewable energy and material resources, humans learning to control our population and urban sprawl voluntarily, and the protection of forests, primarily from inefficient agricultural production, by far the biggest cause of deforestation.'
Ben Metcalfe lives a reclusive life on Vancouver Island. He spends his days, he says, 'looking after my dogs, fishing, reading, and writing.' His advice to Greenpeace today is 'Be creative. Never argue the numbers. Do your homework, yes, but don't get drawn into debates that only benefit the perpetrators. Go after the owners of the companies. Make them visible. Find out who's profiting from the destruction of the earth and name them. Take their picture. Set up outside their house. Believe me, their own children will reform them faster than any deal you could cut. Remember, don't imitate what went before. An image only works once.'
Dr. Lyle Thurston is retired, lives in Vancouver, and spends time on Wickininish Island near the site of our first encounter with grey whales. 'It just seemed natural to us at the time,' recalls Thurston. 'We weren't trying to be pioneers. The earth needed a constituency and defenders.' Dr. Myron MacDonald lives in Vancouver and has a practice in North Vancouver. 'I'm involved in the medical battle against osteoporosis and I'm active in preventing this disorder globally.' Carlie Trueman is a British Columbia magistrate. Fred Easton practices law in Nelson, B.C. Michael Chechik and Ron Precious still make environmental films.
Mel Gregory runs an organization called the Jonah Project, monitoring whaling activity, fighting for the release of captive orcas, and experimenting with human/orca communication. Dr. Paul Spong continues the work with live orcas that he started thirty years go on Hanson Island. 'The best thing I can do for whales,' says Spong now, 'is to learn things about them that will take humans to a new level of relationship. We're still not there, and whales are up against the wall again. I was upset with Greenpeace for years because they abandoned whales while still making money off them. Nevertheless, the world needs Greenpeace and I'm encouraged by most of what I see.'
Hamish Bruce, the original Green Panther, left his law practice to homestead with his family on remote Murrelle Island in Northern British Columbia. Recently he's moved back to Vancouver and runs a nursery and gardening business. 'The vision came to pass,' he says. 'It doesn't matter who gets credit for it. There were a lot of people who contributed from day-one who never worried about getting credit.'
Linda Spong and Bill Gannon are married and live in Vancouver. Linda is a ceramics artist and has produced a commercial recording of orca sounds. Gannon helped McTaggart set up the financial systems for Greenpeace International, founded a music software company, and continues his private accounting practice.
Walrus Oakenbough , a.k.a. David Garrick, was an environmental consultant for Canadian Member of Parliament Jim Fulton and now works with First Nations to document cultural claims to forest lands. He produced a book on culturally modified cedar trees for the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, helping preserve thousands of acres of old growth forest from logging.
Paul Watson left Greenpeace in 1977 to start his own group, The Sea Shepherd Society, and has had bitter conflict with Greenpeace ever since. In 1994 Watson was confronted by Greenpeace in Norway after he rammed a Norwegian whaling boat. 'Greenpeace is not opposed to whaling,' said Greenpeace Norway Chairman Leif Ryvarden. 'One must be allowed to harvest a renewable resource.'
'That infuriated me,' says Watson today. 'That was a denial of everything Greenpeace stood for. However, there are many campaigners within Greenpeace who are sympathetic to our Sea Shepherd campaigns, and we receive useful information from them all the time. I don't want to see the destruction of Greenpeace but I have to kick the monster in the ass now and then to remind them where they came from.'
Rod Marining is still active in forestry and other environmental protests in British Columbia. In April 2001 he returned to the U.S./Canada border with anti-globalization activists protesting the FTTA Quebec City Summit. 'The young protesters were all milling around with signs, and one of them asked me what they should do. 'Close the border,' I told him. They were concerned about the police. 'Relax,' I said. 'We closed this border for two hours in 1969 to stop the atomic bomb tests. Let's see what you can do.' They all huddled together to talk, then they walked out on the road and sat down. They closed the border for six hours. Broke our record.'
Bob and Bobbie Hunter moved to Toronto in 1988. Bobbie is a Project Coordinator for Rogers Cablevision, designing and overseeing construction projects. 'When we opened the first Greenpeace office in Vancouver,' Bobbie recalls, 'no one was paid. Our entire overhead was the $50 rent and the phone bill. Other than that, every penny we raised went toward getting the Phyllis Cormack out to confront the Russians. Greenpeace Germany just built a US$35 million office building. More power to them, but times have changed.'
Bob Hunter was hired by Toronto's Citytv as an Ecology Specialist. He has remained active with Greenpeace as well as with Watson's Sea Shepherd Society. His Storming of the Mind is considered a media-activist's classic. After four books about Greenpeace, he wrote Occupied Canada, Cry Wolf, On The Sky, and Red Blood: One (Mostly) White Guy's Encounters with the Native World, in which he recounts his discovery at his mother's deathbed that her great grandfather had married a Huron woman.
'If anything,' says Hunter now, 'the ecology crisis is more urgent and I would advocate even tougher environmental law. Let's see the CIA, Mossad, M-I5, and UN Security Council put to work in defense of biosphere diversity. I want to see the Coast Guard and Navy out there saving whales and halting over-fishing at the point of a cannon, if necessary. I want to see Mounties throwing loggers in jail instead of treehuggers and wildlife being defended instead of hunted, with heavy sentences and staggering fines and zero-tolerance for eco-crimes. Greenpeace helped put ecology on the consciousness map, but we have work still to do.'
Frank Zelko, a historian writing his doctoral dissertation on Greenpeace at the University of Kansas, says 'Unlike Friends of the Earth, for example, which sprung fully formed from the forehead of David Brower, Greenpeace developed in a more evolutionary manner. There was no single founder, but Hunter was significant because he had the vision and the guts to take the organization in a new direction once the anti-nuclear aspects wore thin. He made plenty of mistakes along the way, but he also got many things right. He was the archetypal hippie intellectual/activist but with a knowledge of media and a commitment to ecology. People took a liking to Bob and were willing to put their trust in him.'
'Greenpeace captured the public imagination because it resonated with their own instinctive fears of extinction and hopes for survival,' says Hunter. 'It was reality mythology.'
In the summer of 2000 Thilo Bode, then president of Greenpeace International, invited Hunter to Europe to speak to the young activists. 'They're just like we once were,' he observes proudly, 'sincere and dedicated. But the bureaucracy of Greenpeace is a whole other matter. They showed me their 'Media Protocol Manual.' My god! It was thicker than the Toronto phone book.' Hunter took the media representatives out for a beer and shared with them some of the media secrets of early Greenpeace. 'Chuck out the manuals,' he told them. 'Think for yourselves. The media is not interested in yesterday's hashed-over stories.' And he reminded them:
'In the beginning, there was no protocol.'
Rex Weyler was a director of the Greenpeace Foundation and campaign photographer from 1974-1979. He was publisher of the Greenpeace Chronicles magazine from 1975 to 1979, a cofounder of Greenpeace International, and a director of Greenpeace Canada until 1982. In 1980s he helped draft legislation for BC's new pulp mill effluent regulations, limiting dioxin releases into the Georgia Strait. He is currently the publisher and editor of Shared Vision magazine. He lives in Vancouver with his wife Lisa Gibbons, and has 3 sons.