Blogger profile

Rex Weyler

He was a photographer and reporter on the early Greenpeace whale and seal campaigns, and has written one of the best and most comprehensive histories of the organisation, Greenpeace (Raincoast, 2004). His book, Blood of the Land, a history of the American Indian Movement, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. 

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  • Wisdom & Foolishness

    Blogpost by Rex Weyler - January 9, 2017 at 9:30

    For Earth scientists and environmental activists, the urgent need for a dramatic shift in humanity’s relationship with the world seems painfully obvious, yet we find ourselves pushing against obsolete systems of economics and development and against a relentless commitment to a destructive path. When the wise path appears so obvious to us, why do human social systems continue to make foolish decisions?

    I believe that “intelligence” arises from natural process, inherent in life itself, in all species of life and manifested in myriad forms throughout the biosphere. Intelligence appears as the quality of organisms to interface successfully, and durably, with the world in all its complexity. 

    'Brain' coral, Ashmore Reef, Australia. 01/08/1999 © Greenpeace / Roger Grace'Brain' coral, Ashmore Reef, Australia

    We sense that humans have evolved a particularly dynamic in... Read more >

  • The Anthropocene Debate

    Blogpost by Rex Weyler - December 13, 2016 at 11:58

    “A hushed hundred million years from now, all that we consider to be the great works of man – the sculptures and the libraries, the monuments and the museums, the cities and the factories – will all be compressed into a layer of sediment not much thicker than a cigarette paper?”

    Elizabeth KolbertThe Sixth Extinction

    Two fruit flies hover around our compost bucket, normal in summer, but we are now into December, mid winter in Canada, and I have never before seen fruit flies after October. A little Anna’s hummingbird darts around the rose bush, all ablaze in pink roses. Global warming signs? Maybe: A neighbour recently found a flying fish (Cheilopogon papilio) washed up on the beach. We don’t generally see flying fish on Canadian beaches, and this species is rarely seen North of 26°N. W... Read more >

  • Where is the hope?

    Blogpost by Rex Weyler - December 1, 2016 at 15:28

    I’m not sure we can win with logic. 

    How do we reverse species loss, climate change, toxins, general overshoot of Earth’s generous habitats? We have the science, but humanity at the large scale does not appear to have the political will. We live in a pre-ecological political world, and public discourse seems corrupted by the mad clinging to those pre-ecological models of development and economics. 

    The ecology headlines this year feel disturbing — 2/3 of mammals doomed; drought in Kenya, Mozambique, US, Sri Lanka; dry rivers and water wars; Zika virus spray killing bee colonies; methane releases higher than predicted; meteorologists forced to rewrite climate predictions, for the worse; Great Barrier Reef collapsing; and American soldiers serving as a security force for oil pipeline at S... Read more >

  • This summer, the United Nations International Resource Panel (IRP), published 'Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity', a report that admits what ecologists have been saying for decades: resources are limited, human consumption trends are unsustainable and resource depletion diminishes human health, quality of life and future development.

    The report shows that consumption of Earth's primary resources (metals, fuels, timber, cereals and so forth) has tripled in the last 40 years, driven by population growth (increasing at about 1.1% per year), economic growth (averaging about 3% per year over the same period) and consumption per person, worldwide.

    Coal Mines at the Source of the Yellow River, 20 Jun, 2014. © Wu Haitao / GreenpeaceCoal Mines at the source of the Yellow River, China

    Economic growth has helped lift some regions from poverty and created more middl... Read more >

  • Brent Spar: The sea is not a dustbin

    Blogpost by Rex Weyler - September 24, 2016 at 11:21

    In August 2016, Prestel Books published Photos That Changed the World, including this image of the Greenpeace Brent Spar campaign, captured by David Sims on 16 June 1995.

    Brent Spar

    Greenpeace approaches Brent Spar, 1995, dodging a Shell water cannon. Photo by David Sims, Greenpeace. Selected for "Photos that Changed the World," from Prestel Books.

    The story begins in the 1950s, when Royal Dutch Shell found oil near Groningen, in Permian sandstone linked to North Sea formations. By 1971, Shell had located the giant Brent oilfield in the North Sea, 220km east of Shetland, England. The Brent field produced a valuable, low sulphur crude, and set the standard for the European, or "Brent", oil price.

    In 1976, Shell constructed the Brent Spar, a floating oil storage tank, 147 metres tall, with thick st... Read more >

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