(Re-posted from Huffington Post)
I became an environmental activist in the early 1970s just as I was completing my doctorate in ecology at the University of British Columbia. It was the height of the Cold War and the height of the Viet Nam War and we were compelled to take a very public stand against activities we thought to be catastrophic both for people and for the planet.
I joined a small committee that was meeting in the basement of the Unitarian Church. We organized a protest voyage against U.S. hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska and had tens of thousands marching in the streets. When that H-bomb was set off at Amchitka Island in November 1971, it was the last hydrogen bomb the U.S. ever detonated.
It was the birth of Greenpeace, the organization I co-founded, spending 15 years in its top committee, helping to lead environmental campaigns around the world.
But it’s ironic in the extreme that, as we mark the 100th anniversary of drinking water chlorination, my old organization and other activist groups aligned with it continue to oppose this most important public health achievement.