QUICK REFERENCE ENTRY:

The creation of the world's leading organization for environmental activism is probably the greatest achievement of British Columbia as a distinct society, so if the Encyclopedia of B.C. ranks as the most important volume ever published in B.C., it's easy to argue that Rex Weyler's Greenpeace: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists and Visionaries Changed the World (2004) must be considered as a close second.

Weyler's summary of Greenpeace Foundation activities between 1970 and 1979 was endorsed by Greenpeace pioneer Robert Hunter as "a masterpiece."; It does a better job than Hunter's own personalized account to set the record straight, without undue boosterism, and clearly recalls how a Quaker lawyer named Irving Stowe and a bunch of so-called hippies rented the converted Phyllis Cormack to sail north on a Quixotic and dangerous mission to stop nuclear testing, greatly boosted by the public relations savvy of on-board journalist Ben Metcalfe, thereby igniting an explosion of ecological awareness around the world.

Yale-educated Stowe suffered from seasickness, so he stayed on shore to coordinate political pressure, but it was his Don't Make A Wave Committee, the forerunner of Greenpeace, that organized the 1971 fundraising concert with Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Phil Ochs, and chartered the boat to "bear witness"; (a Quaker tradition of silent protest) after Committee member Marie Bohlen had suggested sending a vessel northward to serve as a floating picket line.

Rex Weyler was an apprentice engineer for Lockheed Aerospace, south of San Francisco, when he stumbled upon the Summer of Love in 1967. He marched with students of the Sorbonne during the Paris riots of 1968 and witnessed the demise of the Love Generation at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont, California, in 1969. In 1972, he crossed the 49th parallel as one of the last of some 150,000 draft evaders to enter Canada, the largest single political exodus in U.S. history. In Vancouver he met Phyllis Cormack veterans Bob Keziere (photographer) and Bob Cummings (Georgia Straight correspondent) and learned about the Greenpeace initiative to halt French nuclear tests in the South Pacific at Moruroa. He became a director of the Greenpeace Foundation and its campaign photographer from 1974 to 1979, an editor and publisher of Greenpeace Chronicles magazine from 1975 to 1979, a co-founder of Greenpeace International, and a director of Greenpeace Canada until 1982.

In the 1990s, Rex Weyler helped draft legislation for B.C.'s new pulp mill effluent regulations, limiting dioxin releases into the Georgia Strait. A co-founder of the Hollyhock Educational Institute, he has contributed to publications that include the New York Times, Smithsonian, Rolling Stone and National Geographic. Weyler has also been publisher and editor of Shared Vision magazine. More recently he wrote The Jesus Sayings: The Quest for His Authentic Message (2008).


FULL ENTRY:

American-born Greenpeace activist Rex Weyler grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Denver, Colorado and Midland, Texas. He studied mathematics and physics at Occidental College in Los Angeles and returned to California to work as an apprentice engineer for Lockheed Aerospace south of San Francisco. "During a weekend in the city I stumbled upon the Summer of Love." Impressed by the music of Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Miles Davis and the Doors, he later marched with students of the Sorbonne during the Paris riots of 1968. "Seeing images of burnt children and body bags in Vietnam, I ripped up my draft card and sprinkled it through an Austrian forest." After he was suspended from his college for joining in a blockade of military recruiters, he witnessed 'the demise of the Love Generation' at the violent Rolling Stones concert at Altamont, California in December of 1969. He travelled in Europe and India, met and married a Dutch woman in Holland, and returned to Palo Alto, California in 1972. Pursued by the FBI for draft evasion, he came to Vancouver with the help of a disarmament group in Seattle. "I crossed the border among the last of some 150,000 [draft evaders] in Canada, the largest single political exodus in U.S. history."

The first Greenpeace member he met was photographer Bob Keziere who lived only a block away from him in Kitsilano. Ron Precious took him to the Cecil Hotel beer parlour where he met Georgia Straight publisher Dan McLeod, writer Bob Cummings and he began to learn more about the Greenpeace organization and its new ititiative to halt French nuclear tests in the South Pacific at Moruroa. He was a director of the Greenpeace Foundation and its campaign photographer from 1974-1979. He was an editor and publisher of Greenpeace Chronicles magazine from 1975 to 1979, a co-founder of Greenpeace International, and a director of Greenpeace Canada until 1982. In the 1990s he helped draft legislation for BC's new pulp mill effluent regulations, limiting dioxin releases into the Georgia Strait. A co-founder of Hollyhock Educational Institute, he has contributed as a freelancer to publications that include the New York Times, The Smithsonian, Rolling Stone and National Geographic. He became publisher and editor of Shared Vision magazine in Vancouver where he lives with his wife Lisa Gibbons, and has three sons.

Rex Weyler's summary of Greenpeace Foundation activities between 1970 and 1979, Greenpeace, was endorsed by Greenpeace pioneer Robert Hunter as "a masterpiece";. His other books are a Native American history, Blood of the Land, for which he received a Pulitzer Prize nomination, and a sprituality manual Chop Wood, Carry Water.

The Jesus Sayings by intellectual pilgrim Rex Weyler surveys more than 200 ancient documents in his search for the authentic voice of Jesus. Along the way Weyler discounts many contemporary beliefs, making clear that Jesus never claimed to be the son of God. While referencing the investigative Biblical scholarship Margaret Starbird, Nicholas Wright, Robert W. Funk and others, Weyler attempts to the answer down-to-earth questions raised by the German linguist Hermann Reimarus in 1760: What events reported in the Gospels actually happened? And, what ideas and teachings from the surviving record can be traced to the historical Jesus? In other words, Weyler asks, "What can we reasonably say about the historical Jesus, and what did this person teach?" Weyler's intentions are not to debunk Christianity so much as to refocus on the essence of Jesus's radical message: serve God by serving others. In doing so, Weyler is willing to acknowledge the validity of "secular and agnostic reactions to violence among fundamentalist Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus." He sees books such as The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens and The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong as healthy rather than destructive. "A vast and glorious landscape exists between the extremes of religious fundamentalism and absolute rationalism," he writes.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Greenpeace

BOOKS:

Chop Wood Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1984). Co-editors Rick Fields, Peggy Taylor, Rex Weyler, Rick Ingrasci

Blood of the Land: Government and Corporate War Against Indigenous America (New York: Vintage Books, 1984; Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 1992)

Greenpeace: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists and Visionaries Changed the World (Raincoast, 2004)

The Jesus Sayings: The Quest for the Authentic Teachings of Jesus (Anansi, 2008) 978-0-88784-212-2

[BCBW 2010] "Greenpeace"