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Environmental leader attacks Greenpeace climate appointment

A prominent British Columbia environmentalist has written a letter to Greenpeace International criticizing the recent appointment of Tzeporah Berman to a position heading the organization's climate and energy campaign.

Berman's record of collaborating with corporations in B.C. has been disastrous, says the letter signed by the Valhalla Wilderness Society's Anne Sherrod. “This approach means environmental groups collaborating with some [of] our most destructive corporations and most anti-environment governments,” she wrote. “It is based on the fact that corporations are always willing to give a little to conservation in order to get a lot.”

Sherrod criticized Berman's group ForestEthics, and others, for endorsing an agreement that allows logging in two-thirds of the Great Bear Rainforest and for supporting the mountain caribou recovery plan even though it fails to appreciably reduce logging in the animal's habitat.

“Last year Bermann [sic] shocked many B.C. environmentalists by becoming the leading advocate of private power projects on B.C.'s rivers and streams at a time when most of the environmental movement and a large swathe of the general public were fighting them tooth and nail,” she wrote. “Many of these were projects with huge carbon footprints that would do devastating damage to rivers and coastal ecosystems.”

During the 2009 election Berman supported premier Gordon Campbell's “plan to privatize our rivers” while ignoring its plans to “pipe dirty tarsands oil across B.C. and load it into oil tankers in B.C.'s vital coastal waters,” Sherrod wrote.

She also criticized the “Economy wide carbon pricing” award Berman's PowerUp Canada gave Campbell in Copenhagen in December.

The threats to life on Earth require a major transformation, not the “minor concessions . . . in return for endorsements of their major destructive activities” that environmentalists get meeting with major corporations behind closed doors, she said.

She called Berman's appointment “astonishing and hugely objectionable.”

Berman was not immediately available for comment.

One blog post fretted Berman's Greenpeace appointment would “destroy the organization's reputation in such a damaging way it may never recover.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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