Authors, journalists, poets and playwrights know that every time the right words are put to paper, or typed to a screen, our planet gets a little better. Because, without the right to express ourselves freely, we cannot make that positive change.
More than 100 authors have pledged to defend free speech and those who peacefully protect the world’s forests. This pledge follows two multimillion dollar lawsuits filed by Resolute Forest Products, a Canadian company, to silence Greenpeace and Stand.earth’s exposure of its controversial logging in the boreal forest.
Here’s what some of the authors have to say:
Canadian author of The Handmaid’s Tale, recently dramatised in the must-watch television show of the year. In the story, all but the most powerful women are forbidden to write and are denied access to books.
“The endings of The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984 and Brave New World are written. Ours is not. This is a chance to stand up for freedom f speech, the freedom to advocate for change, and the freedom to question authority, and to strengthen their protection under law. As a society, we need a positive outcome to this story.”
British actor, comedian, author of the memoir More Fool Me, and all-round lover of words, has made a career of speaking up.
“Speaking as a serial blasphemer, I take freedom of speech very seriously. It`s not just about the satisfaction you get from speaking your mind, it`s also about telling uncomfortable truths that need to be heard, and Greenpeace has been incredibly successful at exposing what the powers that be want to keep secret. But this case goes beyond Greenpeace to threaten very whistle-blower and watchdog with information that the rich and powerful want suppressed. I`m worried, and you should be too.`
Author of Life of Pi which was adapted into an Oscar winning film. His work is praised for its imagination and originality, and captured hearts and minds everywhere with its magical-realism and deftly drawn characters.
“Ultimately we all benefit from free speech. If Resolute Forest Products manages to shut Greenpeace up with its heavy-handed legal tactics, we ALL lose. This is not just a question of preserving our environment but our civil society.”
Book critic and fantasy writer of The Magicians trilogy. He values words for their magic and power beyond all measure.
“I support Greenpeace in their urgent, important work defending the environment, and I support the right of everyone, everywhere to speak out in protest without fear of being bullied and silenced.”
Author of the New York Times bestseller, The New Jim Crow, which has shaped the conversation on how our prison system contributes to systemic racism and legalized discrimination.
“The right to speak truth to power is the foundation of democracy and must be vigilantly protected and defended. Now more than ever.”
Her novel, Fates and Furies was Barack Obama’s favourite book of 2016.
“Greenpeace works hard to maintain a healthy balance in our planet’s ecosystems, from seas to mountain tops, for the benefit of future generations.”
Author of All The Light We Cannot See, which won the Pulitzer prize. His writing wins praise from both readers and critics for its perfectly crafted language and page-turning plot.
“We must never silence the voices who speak to protect our children’s future. The more we can remember how interconnected we all are—the more we can train ourselves to empathise with the kids in our neighbourhoods, beyond our borders, and in our futures—the better off we’ll be.”
Following her book, Men Explain Things to Me, ‘mansplaining’ became a cultural concept. While she didn’t invent the word, she gives a voice to women everywhere with her sharp essays and culturally relevant writing.
“There is no free society without free speech. When we say that, we mean free as in freedom, as in liberty. But lawsuits that make speaking up unaffordably expensive are one way to quash that liberty arising from the free exchange of words, ideas, beliefs, truths. I’m proud to stand with Annie Leonard and Greenpeace for the liberty of speaking up for the climate, the natural world, and all of us who depend on it.”
Author of The Shock Doctrine and No Logo who sheds light on the problems with capitalism and the importance of protecting our planet. Her new book No Is Not Enough is out on June 13.
“We already have trade deals that allow corporations to sue governments when they deny pipelines, and a US president who has filled his cabinet with extremists who are hostile to the very idea that governments should protect people and the planet. We simply cannot afford a legal precedent where the most courageous NGOs are treated like organised crime. This upside down world must be put right. Resolute’s SLAPP suit against Greenpeace must be defeated.”
Learn more about all the authors who have have signed the pledge.
Thank you for joining us in celebrating the right to freedom of expression and advocacy.