Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
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It’s an amazing line-up of movies this year. With so many to choose from, it was hard decide which to see and which to wait until their theatrical or Netflix release. I did count myself lucky to be among one of two packed audiences at the Bloor Hot Docs theatre to see the Canadian premiere of the Greenpeace bio pic How to Change the World.

Having worked on several stories about Greenpeace and its co-founder Robert Hunter, it was particularly rewarding to see (and hear) how British director, Jerry Rothwell, used the narrative from Hunter’s eight books to bring the Greenpeace story to the big screen.

Casting Hunter as the reluctant leader of an eclectic band of early Greenpeace co-founders, the film follows these unlikely heroes through three key campaigns: The initial voyage to stop nuclear testing on the island of Amchitka, the campaign to save the whales from Russian whalers off the coast of California, and the controversial campaign to stop the annual seal hunt in Newfoundland. The documentary uses these three chapters as acts to show the inspiration and pluck, struggle and success, and eventual breakup of the founding team.

CineFocus Canada’s own film Greenpeace, A Canadian Discovery was produced in 1996 for the Discovery Channel to celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary. Be sure to check out Green Heroes’ short video profile and the half hour TV episode for more inside stories of Greenpeace from Hunter’s daughter, Emily and his wife Bobbi.

More than 40 years later, it is still incredibly moving to hear the passion of the original founders and see their exploits come to life in footage of their fantastic and inspired voyages. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Watch How to Change the World when it airs on CTV in December 2015 or look for it at an upcoming film festival.

GreenHero Tzeporah Berman, who we are currently featuring on our home page, recently wrote an Opinion piece for the Globe and Mail from Durban, South Africa where she was attending the United Nations climate change negotiations.

Tzeporah praises the advancements made in a “cleaner, safer and more stable economy.” She also criticizes Canada’s loyalty to oil and reminds us of the urgent need to act on climate change.

As you can see in her piece, Tzeporah is a passionate writer. If you’d like to read more of her writing, check out her recently released first book This Crazy Time.

Tzeporah Berman

Check out our latest newsletter to see Tzeporah’s campaign and our retrospective post on the work of our Heroes’ work in 2011!

Also, if you haven’t done so already, please fill out the CineFocus online survey to help this production company enhance its productions and understand how online activities can lead to participation in environmental initiatives. The deadline for completing the survey is January 7, 2012!

Credit : Justine Warrington

By John Bessai

Sometimes you remember details about an experience long afterwards once something jars your memory.

I met Emily Hunter I thought for the first time when she gave a speech to some high school students in September 2010. Below is a video of the event:


But after she gave her speech that day I realized that I had actually met Emily over 15 years ago one sunny afternoon in the suburbs of Toronto.

I was working on a video acknowledging the 25th anniversary of GreenPeace and was over at her Father’s house with a camera crew.

I had just read Robert Hunter’s Warriors of the Rainbow which had completely inspired me.  This book told the incredible story of the founding of GreenPeace in the 1970’s.  And, in stunning fashion how a bunch of 20 something adventurers (like Emily today) had confronted a Soviet whaling fleet on the Pacific high seas and brought world wide attention the senseless slaughter of these super intelligent mammals who were by then endangered.

This actually led to an international moratorium which largely ended the hunt.

The interview with Robert 20 years later remains one of my most treasured memories, but also to my amazement that day I met another mammal, the Hunter family turtle who was the size of a large beaver and who wad swimming in the back yard pool! Emily rushed in just home from school to ask her Dad if she could go swimming too.

Lucky for her, I thought.  Such a cool dad and even a  cool turtle to swim with!  I am glad Emily has continued on with the work of her parents, keeping us inspired to stay conscious about ecological imperatives.  Her call to action makes me think there is hope that in future millions more turtles will be still swimming!

– John Bessai, Creative Director & Executive Producer, GreenHeroes Campaign

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, consumption and everyday actions have consequences. Share your story of making the eco-conscious switch in your choices by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

My entry into the history of the environmental movement came at a key time in its evolution. The Don’t Make a Wave Committee of Vancouver B.C., had sailed a ship “The Greenpeace” to Amchitka Island near a fault line on the Aleutian Chain in an attempt to stop nuclear testing.

This brave act resonated globally with incredible success.

I was there with the fledgling group to open their first office on Fourth Avenue in Vancouver.

I met; fell in love with and soon married Bob Hunter, the first President and Father of the current day Greenpeace International.

I became the Treasurer of Greenpeace and the first woman to place my body in front of a harpoon to save a whale.

There were many acts of heroism stemming from our small group, one act that still resonates is the image of Bob and Paul Watson (now founder and Captain of Sea Shepherd) standing in front of icebreakers to save the Seals.

At that time, in the early 70s, we were a small band of eager idealists and intellectuals, yet we spun images, of heroism that have effected all the forthcoming generations of environmental crusaders.

Robert, Emily, & Bobbi Hunter

Robert, Emily, & Bobbi Hunter

We used non-violent means to create what Bob called “mind bombs” in the media that changed environmental consciousness of the western hemisphere.

Now, today, I look at the diversity of people and groups of activists, and I am proud that my daughter has this same spirit raging in her soul. I am proud of her brave actions. We don’t have Bob to turn to any longer, but, his passion carries on.

Bob always wondered if he had made a difference. I know he has, because of his inspirational actions and books he has helped mould many of the Eco-Heroes of today, whether they know it or not.

Today I am involved in many legacy projects such as advising on a documentary, a park and a biography, helping to continue to spread our message.

While there is more knowledge and resources available today, there are more battles and more urgency than ever. For the Planet, never give up!

– Bobbi Hunter, Eco-Activist

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, consumption and everyday actions have consequences. Share your story of making the eco-conscious switch in your choices by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!