February 3, 2012
Click the audio player to hear my full interview with Tzeporah Berman, co-director of the Greenpeace International Climate and Energy program. A skillfully edited version of this interview was broadcast on Feb 3, 2012 by my good friend Tamara Kramer on her CKUT show on Jewish arts and culture, Shtetl on the Shortwave.
For almost twenty years, Tzeporah Berman has been an influential environmental activist and leader. In the early nineties she helped organize the protests to save the endangered rainforests of Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island. For her role she faced nearly one thousand criminal charges and up to six years in prison. She later co-founded ForestEthics and took on the lingerie company Victoria Secret to pressure them to stop using paper made from old-growth forests. She was named one of the 50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World by the Utne Reader, and she’s currently the co-director of the Global Climate and Energy Program with Greenpeace International in Amsterdam. Tzeporah Berman is also the author of a recent memoir called This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge.
Tzeporah has been called everything from an eco-terrorist to an ‘enemy of the state’ by some in industry and government, while others in the environmental community have criticized her heavily for her role in negotiating conservation agreements with industry. In other words, she’s been attacked from all sides and, in our interview, she makes no apologies for her strategy over the years, saying some conservation agreements (e.g. Great Bear Rainforest) would not have been possible without negotiation and engagement. It is not enough for the environmental movement simply to oppose, she says, we also need to propose solutions when protests and activism have captured the attention of media and government leaders. She also discusses some of the campaigns she’s been involved with (including one at her synagogue when she was a child) and how her Jewish heritage has influenced her activism.
Right click here to download the interview.