Victoria’s Secret, the Blue Dot and the Philippine Attorney
Interview: Tzeporah Berman
You may remember the “Victoria's Dirty Secret” campaign from 2005 – a full-page ad in the New York Times showing a beautiful model in underwear, holding a chainsaw. One version of the ad (seen here) set the model against the background of a clearcut. The message: the erotic lingerie giant was printing millions of catalogues on paper made by clear-cutting old-growth forests in BC.
The brilliant woman behind that campaign was Tzeporah Berman, who has been passionate about the planet's forests since she went to jail as part of the landmark protests at Clayoquot Sound in 1993. She later realized that climate change was a much bigger threat to the world's forests than the loggers were; as she said, protesting logging while ignoring climate change was like repainting the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. That led her to create an organization called Forest Ethics (which ran the Victoria's Secret campaign) and later took Tzeporah to Amsterdam for a couple of years as the climate organizer for Greenpeace International. She later returned to Vancouver to work again with Forest Ethics, and also with the Tar Sands Solutions Network.
Tzeporah Berman is inventive, bold, and not at all averse to controversy, even within the environmental movement, where her willingness to work with business and to use “market solutions” has not always been widely admired. To sample my stimulating conversation with her, click here.
News: The Right of Canadians to a Healthy Environment
The struggle to incorporate the human right to a healthy environment in our legal system is gathering steam. I was part of David Suzuki's Blue Dot Tour (www.bluedot.ca) on the East Coast; now it's wrapping up on the West Coast. Suzuki's objective is to persuade Canadians that they should demand the constitutional right to clean air, pure water and healthy food, and in the meantime they should pressure their municipal governments to take a stand in favour of their citizens' environmental rights. That's happening: to date, municipal councils have passed such resolutions in the Montreal borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie; The Pas, Manitoba; and Richmond and Vancouver, BC.
Equally exciting, NDP MP Linda Duncan has introduced a bill in Parliament that would create an Environmental Bill of Rights for Canada. If it passes, the federal government will have a legal obligation to provide a healthy environment for the people of Canada. You would hardly think anyone would vote in favour of foul air, toxic water and impure food, so it will be interesting to see who supports the bill, and who doesn't.
Diary: Tony Oposa, the Green Giant of the Philippines
Antonio Oposa, Jr. Is famous throughout the Philippines as “Attorney Oposa,” the lawyer who sued the government on behalf of future generations to stop logging in old growth forests, and to clean up the desperately-polluted Manila Bay – and won. He's not a big man, but he's a giant. His successes rely in part on Section 16 of the Philippine Constitution, which does give Filipinos the right to a healthy environment. We've done a full-length Green Interview with Tony, and will be posting that interview later; meanwhile, I've just written an article for the website www.constitution.ca, telling Tony's story as an example of the power of GreenRights. It's an absolutely inspiring story, demonstrating the astonishing impact that one person can have.
The Oposa article is also posted on my blog: to read it, click here.
Silver Donald Cameron