280 Greenpeace Beginnings, and Golden Rice


And medicine with an emphasis on biotechnology. Some of the good things that can do four people and the planning. My name's kevin volta. I'm a professor a podcast host and someone who worries about science communication. How kit we're connecting our innovations for the public that needs to know about them and today's episode will be awesome. Since the beginning six years ago. I wanted to talk about golden rice. And it's a topic that is so critical yet has so many important edges and i was able to few years ago See patrick more. Give a talk on golden rice. It was more than a talk on golden rice. It was a talk about his beginnings in activism and how that eventually led to a very strong advocacy for the food insecure. So that's what we'll talk about today. So i'm speaking to patrick. More he comes from british columbia A so welcome to the podcast. Patrick good to be with you kevin. Nice to nice to hear you again. Yeah that's really really great. I'm been looking forward to this for a really long time and the thing that I'll i'll tell you when i saw your talk. I always appreciated you because of your very at and maybe it's changed a little bit recently but very aggressive position on golden rice and something. I really feel strongly about too. But when i went to see your talk i thought i would hear about golden rice the hallway through but it really started with your role with greenpeace. And you showed some pictures where you had a lot more hair. And maybe i don't know maybe in your twenties but can you tell me a little bit more about that time and You know what your work was is a founding member of greenpeace and some of the issues you took on. Yes kevin will. I was really fortunate to be born on. The very northwest tip of vancouver island in a floating village was no road to it and went to school by boat every day for eight years so it was a bit of a unique situation. Kind of like on the east coast. We have the newfoundland reports which were similar villages. That had no road to themselves. Boats were the main means of transportation. I grew up in the in the rainforest of the west coast I grew up in nature playing on the tide flats and in the forest and out in my wrote and eventually got a two horse. Power johnson on a little row boat when i was twelve. So that's how i started. Life at the school only went to great there. I had to be sent when cooper to boarding school where i excelled in science. I'd i'd already been very interested in science as a as a young boy and Science became the center of everything for me I entered the university of british columbia to do an honors bachelor of science and the and some forestry to the science side of forests and entered a phd. Now this was in the late in the late. Nineteen sixties the word. Ecology had not yet been seen in the public press. No one knew of that word except for very small group of scientists and yet environment was now being discussed a lot and i decided as a phd student. I'd like to do something about the situation. Than which was the height of the cold war and the threat of all out nuclear war the height of the vietnam war and the emerging consciousness of the environment and i joined this little group in a church basement called the don't make a wave committee and we became greenpeace. I sailed on the first voyage of greenpeace from vancouver canada to alaska against the us. Hydrogen bomb testing in the aleutian islands. And we made history and that was the beginning of fifteen years full-time after i got my phd. I didn't go into a normal job. I stayed with with green tea's as it grew from a group of volunteers into a multi national organization by the time i left in nineteen eighty six. And that's a lot of stories in between and a whole nother story about why i had to leave. Yeah but one of the things that is really important. That people need to know that they don't know about you and really it. Just it just gave me mad. Respect through the roof there was a slide. You showed of you in a with some other guys in a little inflatable dinghy like got zodiac positioning yourself between aweil and japanese whalers. And you gotta. I mean for me to think about that. It gave me chills. Here's somebody who's putting themselves in this position. You know these wailers could just as easily shot that wrath and no one would've ever known and you know how how. How did you take these things on. And what was it like to be taking on something of that magnitude. Well i would've known because we actually had a few more rubber boats with movie cameras and still cameras documenting the whole thing. And that's what actually blue green tea's into an international organizations was that confrontation with the russian japanese whalers in the north pacific beginning in one thousand. Nine hundred seventy five four years. Voyages i was on into their leading two of those voyages and eventually we stopped factory whaling which was killing thirty thousand Big whales in the high seas at that time and it was as because of our campaign was basically reduced to virtually nothing.

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