Read The Next Eco-Warriors Online
Authors: Emily Hunter
A new generation is coming forward to save the world.
They are passionate optimists who believe that their efforts can make a difference, and they are addressing every conceivable “environmental” issue around, from energy use to overfishing, food distribution and hunger to waste management, green jobs to the disappearance of indigenous cultures and rainforest. And they are using every path and tactic they can think of.
In this collection, 22 of these young eco-warriors tell the stories of their own green revolutions
and incite you to start your own. Enei Begaye, a Dine activist, is bringing green jobs to the reservation; Jamie Henn, co-founder of 350.org (350 parts per million is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
we are currently at 389), is building a global movement to solve the climate crisis; Tanya Fields, an African American woman, is fighting poverty in her community through guerilla farming in New York City; David Nickarz, a Canadian cancer survivor, engages in direct action to end the use of dangerous pesticides; Wen Bo, a Chinese student, dared to become an eco-activist just after the Tiananmen Square massacre; Kevin Ochieng, a young Kenyan, is leading a climate movement with underprivileged youth across Africa. In all their stories, one common theme emerges clearly:
anyone can be an eco-warrior. Just identify the issues you are passionate about and get out there and do something for change
“Never say that today's young people are apathetic—as Emily Hunter makes absolutely clear in this great volume, youth are out there in force, trying every creative tactic they can think of to safeguard the planet on which they will live out their lives. The only question is if the rest of us will follow their lead. I know I'm inspired!”
BILL MCKIBBEN, AUTHOR OF
CREATOR OF 350.ORG
“More and more young people are having to give up ‘youthful innocence’ in pursuit of saving their very future from the hands and decision-makers of those who are destroying it. It is a profoundly powerful testament to these same young people that not only are they willing to do this but that they are doing so with such clarity, commitment, and creativity. This book will break your heart, then inspire you, and hopefully move you into looking at how you can use your life to make a positive difference for the planet and all the life it sustains—now and for future generations.”
JULIA BUTTERFLYHILL, TREESITTER, ACTIVIST, AUTHOR OF
THE LEGACY OF LUNA
“Seeing all these brilliant activists and reading about the work they are doing on so many fronts has had an enormous impact on me. Together, their stories make this abundantly clear: No matter what your passion or calling, no matter your resources or circumstances, you can get out there and DO SOMETHING to effect change. So, what are you waiting for? Go do something to save our planet. Now!”
JOHN ROBBINS, AUTHOR OF
THE FOOD REVOLUTION, DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA, AND THE NEW GOOD LIFE
“We've arrived at a point in time when being an activist is no longer enough, it's about being an actionist! Emily Hunter's
The Next Eco- Warriors
is a rich and compelling read that provides insight into the world of today's real planet 2.0 heroes. Any young aspiring actionist really can't afford not to have this brilliant book front and center in their library.”
DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD, AUTHOR OF
THE LIVE EARTH GLOBAL WARMING SURVIVAL HANDBOOK
“A persuasive collection of personal stories by the next generation of environmental activists. Although some might not agree with all of the methods advocated, the different points of view make this book very much worth the read.”
KUMINAIDOO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL
First published in 2011 by Conari Press
An imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser,
With offices at:
500 Third Street, Suite 230
San Francisco, CA 94107
Copyright © 2011 by Emily Hunter
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from Red Wheel/Weiser,
Reviewers may quote brief passages.
ISBN : 978-1-57324-486-2
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The next eco-warriors : 22 young women and men who are saving the planet / editor, Emily Hunter.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-57324-486-2 (alk. paper)
1. Environmentalists—Biography. I. Hunter, Emily.
Cover design by Barb Fisher
Interior design by Maureen Forys, Happenstance Type-O-Rama
Typeset in Karmina Sans, Chalet, Chalet Comprime, and Futura Condensed
Cover photographs: Allana Beltran by Matthew Newton; Enei Begaye by Calvin Johnson; Benjamin Potts by Jo-Anne McArthur; Rob Stewart by Brennan Grange; Tanya Fields by Flonia Telegrafi.
Printed in Canada
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper
To all eco-warriors—
yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's—
you are my hope
At its heart, this movement sought to give political form to an awareness that predates Buddhism but is at the same time as new as the science of interdisciplinary ecology. It grew out of a flickering awareness that all our relationships are political, and that the crucial political relationships with which we must concern ourselves now have almost nothing to do with the man's relation to man, but with man's relation to the Earth itself. It is our relationship to our planetary environment, which is the most important issue of all. All human structures inevitably rest upon it
The time has arrived when we must begin to examine the underlying realities of our relationship to all life around us. ... Otherwise, in our lifetimes, we shall suffer the enactment of the saga of Genesis: our expulsion from paradise and the fall of nature itself
ROBERT HUNTER, WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW (1979)
Not the End, Just the Beginning!
350: The Movement behind a Number
The Yes Men: Surviving in a Time of Climate Chaos
Tasmania: We Will Always Be Together in the Forest
Sharkwater: The Rising Tide to Save an Ocean Predator
Toxic City: A Cancer Survivor's Struggle
Earth Hour: The Hour Is upon Us
Through the Lens of Compassion: Capturing an End to Bullfighting
The Little Urban Farm that Could
We Shut Them Down: Ending Coal at the Capitol Power Plant
WAS COINED BY MY FATHER, Robert Hunter, after a Cree Indigenous prophecy called the Warriors of the Rainbow. It is because of original eco-warriors like him that this next generation could exist.
Special thanks to Olivia Scobie, my assistant editor, whose hard work, support, and friendship made this book possible. To my assistant researchers, Marco Oved, Dayna Boyer and Graham F. Scott whose talents made this book shine. To Alisha Sevigny, my literary agent, for taking a chance on a new writer when nobody else would.
To Farley Mowat, for contributing a foreword to this book and whose prose continues to inspire new generations. To my friend and personal hero Paul Watson, who taught me to push the boundaries of activism and never apologize for it. To the crew of Sea Shepherd, who showed me for the first time that the next eco-warriors do exist.
Many thanks to my mother, Bobbi Hunter, who empowers me every day and whose love made it all possible. This world would not be what it is today without you.
And thanks to all the next eco-warriors who submitted writing for this book; you are my hope!
WE ARE CURRENTLY WITNESSING THE MOST SIGNIFICANT conflict ever to engage the human species. It is the conflict between those who possess the means and the will to exploit the living world to destruction and those who are banding together in a desperate and last-ditch attempt to prevent the New Juggernaut from trashing our small planet.
If the right side wins, this combat may become known to future generations as the crusade that rescued the Earth. If the wrong side wins, there will be
future generations of humankind, or of innumerable other animals.
But let's make no mistake, the living world as we know it is dying in our time, and dying quickly
The struggle is an unequal one. The Big Battalions belong to and are commanded by some of the most powerful individuals and cabals history has ever recorded. Their battle cry is “Progress!” Their arsenals are supplied by Commerce and Industry, misusing Science and Technology. Politics is their handmaiden.
They are now the effective masters of our destiny. They believe they can and will become masters of the planet, if not the universe. Since it is so dominant, this master class is all too well-known to us. However, we know all too little about the forces that oppose it. These are so new, so diverse in character and composition, and present such a confused and kaleidoscopic set
of images that we bemusedly lump them into one amorphous aggregation, which we vaguely refer to as the environmental movement.
These opposing forces are in fact the leaders and the rank and file of an army of eco-warriors who are taking it upon themselves to defend our world from despoliation, destruction, and dissolution. Unfortunately, they are almost invisible to the generality of humankind because of the overwhelming communication control exercised by the vested interests, which have the power to literally destroy our living world.
So it is vitally imperative that we become acquainted with the 21st-century eco-activists who are devoting themselves to winning the struggle. We need to sing their praises, celebrate their courage and dedication, make them the icons of our age ... and support and follow where they lead.
My own hopes for a revival and continuance of life on Earth now turn to this newfound resolution to reassert our indivisibility with life, recognize the obligations incumbent upon us as the most powerful and deadly species ever to exist, and begin making amends for the havoc we have wrought. If we preserve in this new way, we may succeed in making humans humane ... at last