Silver Donald Cameron

Welcome to Silver Donald Cameron’s blog! Dr Cameron is the author of 19 books and of many plays, films, magazine articles, radio and TV scripts. He is currently the host and executive producer of and of its feature documentary, Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World. In 2019, he was appointed the first Farley Mowat Chair in Environment at Cape Breton University, where he earlier served as professor, dean and writer-in-residence. He currently teaches an on-campus/online course called Green Rights.



We’ve just done a new logo and tag-line for our GreenRights film project – and here it is. I wanted to match it up with a phrase that would draw in our human audience but also place human well-being in the context of ensuring that Mother Nature herself is maintained in good health. In other words, I wanted a phrase that would tie together the idea that humans have a right to a healthy environment — but also that Mother Nature must be respected and protected. The phrase we came up was “Your Right to a Healthy World.”

I’ve also been noodling around with another really vital idea, namely that for humans to think they don’t rely on nature, that they can disregard the natural world, is like a bird thinking that the air doesn’t really matter. Or maybe a fish being indifferent to the quality of the water, or a finger thinking it can get along fine without the hand. There’s an image somewhere here that I’d really like to capture in a single pungent phrase. I haven’t got it yet, but I’ll keep trying.

This is vitally important to me because, by the same token, the economics of fishing begins with the existence of fish. Because Canadians didn’t grasp that, the cod fishery collapsed — and now entire communities along the east coast are collapsing too, which breaks my heart. But why are we surprised? The collapse of the prey always leads to the collapse of the predator.

This is one of the greatest ecological disasters – the greatest social disasters – of all time. There should have been a Royal Commission into the causes and the impacts. Heads at Fisheries and Oceans Canada should have rolled. Yet even now we don’t seem to connect those dots. Oh, well, we don’t fish any more. Let me see, what’s next?

Ultimately, the GreenRights project is intended to get people to feel viscerally, in their hearts and their bones, the intimate, indissoluble relationship between life forms and the habitat that sustains them – including us. But for most people it’s an abstract notion. Our task — and yes, we choose to accept it — is to make that relationship vivid and immediate, part of the fabric of the way we understand the world. Everything is connected: the fish and the fisherman, the bird and the thermal current, the wave and the trough. And the whole thing is sacred.