Canadian environmentalist socialist author Farley Mowat, RIP


This video from Canada says about itself:

Sea of Slaughter” with Farley Mowat

5 March 2011

Canada’s foremost naturalist recounts the impact of our culture on life in the Northwest Atlantic ocean, over the last 500 years, and explains what must be done now. This very important 2 part documentary was produced by CBC at the expense of Canadian taxpayers, including me. Farley Mowat’s book, Sea of Slaughter, which he considers his most important work, was the basis for this film.

Book and film are both brutally honest enough to make many people uncomfortable. Only now has science come to understand exactly how the former multitudes of large sea animals preserved their own food base, while conditioning both the marine environment and the atmosphere of the planet (via accelerated nutrient cycling/fertilization). This adds to the current urgent imperative that we face up now to the full consequences of what we have done to life in the sea. (both parts are posted here in sequence)

By John Green in Britain:

Farley Mowat: writer, socialist and environmentalist

Tuesday 20th May 2014

THE Canadian author Farley Mowat, who died on May 12, wrote with humour, keen perception and passionate social commitment, completing over 40 books and numerous articles.

He is sadly not so well known in Britain but deserves to be. His family came from Scottish immigrant stock and he retained a special fondness for Scotland.

His works were translated into 52 languages and his books sold more than 17 million copies. He achieved fame with his works on the Canadian North such as People Of The Deer (1952) and Never Cry Wolf (1963).

Mowat’s advocacy for environmental causes and his own claim to never let the facts get in the way of the truth earned him both praise and criticism, yet his influence is undeniable.

Never Cry Wolf, a fictional narrative of a man living among wolves in the sub-Arctic was made into a successful film.

It is credited with shifting the mythology and fear of wolves. After the Russian version was published, the government even banned the killing of the animal.

His stories are fast-paced, gripping, personal and conversational and descriptions of Mowat refer to his commitment to ideals, poetic descriptions and vivid images.

His first non-fiction work People Of The Deer became a classic. In it he documented the disappearing communist way of life of Canada’s native Inuit people, among whom he lived while writing the book.

He showed how a colonial arrogance and an exploitative system had driven the Inuit and their culture to the edge. …

Mowat became a lifelong advocate of indigenous people’s rights, labelling Canada’s treatment of them abominable. Never one to shy away from controversy, Mowat was outspoken about many environmental and social issues.

During the second world war, Mowat was commissioned as a second lieutenant, rising to the rank of captain. After the war he returned to Canada, desperate to escape from what had been and seemed likely to remain a world run by maniacs. He fled north to live among the Inuit people.

Many of his works such as Owls In The Family about childhood and And No Birds Sang about his experience fighting in the second world war are autobiographical,

Mowat published a denunciation of the destruction of animal life in the north Atlantic entitled Sea of Slaughter in 1984. In 1985, as a part of the promotional tour for the book, Mowat was invited to speak at the university in Chico, California, but US officials denied him entry.

His security file indicated he should be denied entry for violating any one of 33 statutes. Reportedly, these statutes included being a member of a group considered radical by the US government.

The result was a media circus, which brought worldwide attention to Mowat. The negative publicity eventually forced the Reagan administration to allow Mowat to enter the US but he declined because to accept would be undignified as the permission was valid for only one visit [of] his book tour.

Mowat documented the reasons why he was refused entry to the United States in his 1985 book, My Discovery of America.

He won a number of prestigious awards for his books and environmental work and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship RV Farley Mowat was named in honour of him.

Mowat, a strong supporter of the Green Party of Canada, died less than a week before his 93rd birthday.

Farley Mowat, May 12 1921–May 6 2014.

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