Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Changing from Confrontation to

Consensus Building

By the mid-1980's Greenpeace had grown from that church basement to an organization with an income of over US$100 million per year, offices in 21 countries and over 100 campaigns around the world, now tackling toxic waste, acid rain, uranium mining and driftnet fishing as well as the original issues (forestry and ecosystem). We had won over a majority of the public in the industrialized democracies. Presidents and prime ministers were talking about environment on a daily basis.

For me it was a time to make a change. I had been against at least three or four things everyday of my life for 15 years; I decided I'd like to be in favor of something for a change. I made the transition from the politics of confrontation to the politics of building consensus. After all, when a majority of people decide they agree with you it is probably time to stop hitting them over the head with a stick and sit down and talk to them about finding solutions to our environment problems.

Coming from British Columbia, born into a third generation forest industry family, and educated in forestry and ecology, it made sense that I would focus on the challenge of defining sustainable forestry. After all, forests are by far the most important environment in British Columbia and they are also by far the most important basis of economic wealth for families and communities.

Forests are home to the majority of living species; not the oceans, nor the grass lands, nor the alpine areas, but ecosystems that are dominated by trees.

Environmentalist Propaganda.

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