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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  • Missing the Target

    Blogpost by Rex Weyler - February 21, 2017 at 9:22

    The urgency to solve our climate crisis feels something like a ship heading off course: The longer you delay, the more you have to turn the wheel.  

    Consider these numbers: 2, 350, 1990. These were the original climate goals. In 1975, at the time of the first Greenpeace whale campaign, environmental economist William Nordhaus proposed that the danger threshold for a temperature increase above Earth’s preindustrial average would be 2°C. This goal was not considered entirely safe, but beyond this target we risked severe climate disruption and likely runaway heating.

    James Hansen from the US, Climate Scientist and professor, outside the Norwegian courthouse in Oslo while an unprecedented legal case is filed against the Norwegian government for allowing oil companies to drill for new oil in the Arctic Barents Sea. The plaintiffs, Nature and Youth and Greenpeace Nordic, argue that Norway thereby violates the Paris Agreement and the people's constitutional right to a healthy and safe environment for future generations. The lawsuit has the support of a wide group of scientists, indigenous leaders, activists and public figures.  © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
    Dr James Hansen, 2016

    The 350 figure came from several climate scientists, including Dr James Hansen, who co-authored the first NASA global temperature analysis in 1981. Hansen proposed that to remain below the 2°C target, we w... Read more >

  • Wisdom & Foolishness

    Blogpost by Rex Weyler - January 9, 2017 at 10:30

    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 12:58

    “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 16:28

    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 >

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