May 2, 2005 by

Bob Hunter


Categories: Media, Writers/Editors

bhunter.jpgRobert Hunter, a founding member of Greenpeace, died on May 2 of prostate cancer. He was 64.
The Manitoba native wasn’t an apt pupil in school. Instead of doing his homework, he would draw or write novels. Hunter’s interest in more creative pursuits led him to drop out of high school and join the media. In the 1960s, he worked as a reporter for the Winnipeg Tribune, then became a popular counter-culture columnist for the Vancouver Sun.
Hunter always had an interest in environmental issues, but it wasn’t until 1971 that he switched from observer to activist mode. That year, he and a group of 11 friends sailed an 80-foot fishing boat from Vancouver to Alaska in an effort to stop the American military from conducting nuclear weapons testing on Amchitka in the Aleutian Islands. Their demonstration led to the cancellation of the testing program and the island’s transformation into a wildlife sanctuary.
In 1972, the crew joined forces again to form Greenpeace, an international environmental movement with more than 2.8 million members. As the organization’s first president, Hunter helped turn Greenpeace into the most powerful environmental lobby in the world. He dyed the white coats of baby harp seals to make them commercially worthless, stood between Russian harpoon hunters and their whale prey and coined the terms “eco-warrior” and “media mind bomb.” Time magazine even named him one of the 10 “eco-heroes” of the 20th century.
Hunter returned to journalism in the late 1980s as an ecology reporter for City TV. He hosted the popular morning show “Papercuts” in his bathrobe, and entertained audiences by reading newspaper headlines and commenting on the stories. Hunter also wrote more than a dozen books, penned scripts for the syndicated TV series “The Beachcombers,” and made several documentaries, including one about his fight with prostate cancer. For his environmental and journalistic efforts, Hunter won five Western Magazine Awards, a CanPro Award and the Canadian Environmental Award.
Listen to an Interview With the CBC

5 Responses to Bob Hunter

  1. Phyl

    I’ve lived in Toronto for the past 5 years now, and I would occasionally run into Bob Hunter on City TV in the mornings, doing his “Papercuts” show where he’d read the morning headlines and comment on them. He was always so cutting and funny, and his comments were brilliantly to the point.
    I had no idea who he was. I just enjoyed accidentally running into him sometimes, in the mornings or on a Sunday afternoon program he also hosted. In fact, I saw the tail end of one of those Sunday shows two or three weeks ago and thought, “Too bad I missed him.”
    Now suddenly he’s gone, and suddenly I’m hearing exactly *why* he was the sort of person I loved running into like that. Now, when it’s way too late, I discover why I should have paid more deliberate attention to his programs. And should have thanked him, fervently.

  2. Montreal Children's Art Dude

    Complicated feelings here, as a Newfoundlander. Where was Greenpeace when Fisheries Products International (admittedly in cahoots with my short-range-thinking brethren out there on the high seas) were dragnetting the cod to extinction? Andy Jones (Codco member and Cathy Jones’ brother) once did a parody of the double-standard of protecting furry, big-eyed, seals and not doing too much for the scaly old N. Atlantic cod that used to grow to be six foot (sixty years ago, merely), could be fished with buckets in the open sea it was so plentiful (before Empire arrived in the 1500’s), and now, like 80 percent of the ocean’s largest fish, has virtually disappeared. The film is called “Cuddles the Cod…”
    Brigitte Bardot was also a big name in the anti-sealhunt 1970s heydays. I will also have complicated feelings when she dies, though perhaps for different reasons… ; )

  3. Bior

    Hey Bob… whereever you are… I think you had a lot of guts and stood up for what you believed in. You are a hero!
    I wish there were more people like you in my corner of the world because we could use a little of your spirit.

  4. Brenda

    There was nothing like listening to Bob Hunter’s comments and feeling regarding the local news every morning on CityTV. I was deeply saddened to hear of his death. He will be deeply missed! Unfortunately, Breakfast Television will never be the same.

  5. Walter

    As a swiss kid I am very happy that I got to know Bob on our way to the Hudsons Bay in 1997. The sad news of his death reached Switzerland. Thank you Bob for the great company! Rest in peace

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