It’s been a blast. It’s going to be much more.
It’s been a blast, this project. Just a huge amount of fun.
It started two years ago, in 2008, when I found myself wishing that I could hear the great figures of the environmental movement discussing and explaining their concerns in conversation. Yes, I could read their books and articles — and I had. But in a good interview, a person’s message is enlivened with passion, humour, smiles, gestures. You feel their concerns. Abstractions come alive.
Well, now. If I’d like that, others would too. So why not create a web site? Maybe a phone-out site, audio only, with the interviews disseminated as a podcast?
I went to see my friend Chris Beckett, the co-ordinator of instructional TV at Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I live. Did Mount St. Vincent — known to its friends as “the Mount” — have a really good sound booth that I could rent for phone interviews?
Chris was horrified. Look, he said, you’re going to be recording some of the most important people in the world. Over time, you’ll build up an incredible archive. You must do it in video.
Video is more difficult and more expensive — but Chris was right. And so we started. When important environmentalists came to Halifax, we interviewed them in the Mount’s studio. I bought a video camera, and when I travelled on other business, I shot interviews in British Columbia, Washington, Missouri, England and as far away as Bhutan. Chris edited and polished them, and our colleagues Robert Samson and Neil Kenny — aided by a young graphic designer named Hannah Brown — created the web site to showcase them.
Over the following 18 months, we collected an amazing array of interviews, and here they are. We start by presenting a towering scientist, a world-renowned eco-feminist philosopher and a fearless, famous defender of wildlife. Twelve more interviews are in production, and we’ll be posting them at the rate of one or two per month.
The Green Interview is a subscription site because we want to be supported by our members, the people we’re here to serve, and not by corporate or institutional sponsors. But we want to make the material available to a wider public as well. So we encourage you to ask your favourite library to subscribe. In addition, we’re posting snippets from the interviews on YouTube, and making half-hour versions available on Mount St. Vincent’s free educational television service, which exchanges programming with other universities across Canada.
But members are the heart of this venture. The privileges of membership include full access to the site any time, with the right to view the full-length interviews, to download any of the interviews as MP3 audio files to be played back on your own equipment at your own convenience, and to participate in what we hope will be vigorous forum debates about the contents of the interviews. We hope you’ll want to join us.
Meanwhile we’re hard at work on plans for additional interviews. We want the world’s brightest and boldest, eager to share their wisdom and enthusiasm — both the already-celebrated, and also the new young warriors who represent our best hopes for the future.
And who are those people, in your opinion? Who would you like to see interviewed? Write us and tell us about the people you admire, the ones you want to emulate, the ones you’d like to meet on The Green Interview.
As I said, putting this site together has been a blast. Enhancing it, enlarging it, and building its contents in partnership with our members, however, is going to be even more than a blast. We used to say that something delightful was “a slice.” I keep thinking that this isn’t just a slice. This is a whole damn pie.