Canada

Greenpeace co-founder Bob Hunter dies

Broadcaster, authour and journalist Bob Hunter, who co-founded the environmental action group Greenpeace, has died. He was 63.

Broadcaster, author and journalist Bob Hunter, who co-founded the environmental action group Greenpeace, has died. He was 63.

Hunter, who spearheaded campaigns against whaling and seal hunting as well as nuclear testing and the dumping of toxic waste into the oceans, had been battling prostate cancer.

In 1971, Hunter and a group of other environmentalists sailed a rusty old 80-foot fishboat, the Phyllis Cormack, from Vancouver to Alaska in a campaign to stop a nuclear weapons testing on Amchitka in the Aleutian Islands.

The group became Greenpeace, and by 1973 Hunter became its first president, helping turn it into the biggest environmental organization in the world.

Rex Weyler, a long-time friend and member of Greenpeace, said Hunter was a born leader.

"He was a natural leader because people would get caught up in his enthusiasm, not just for the cause for peace or for ecology, but the enthusiasm just for the magic of life and the wonder of life and vision of what we could do."

In the late 1980s, Hunter left Greenpeace and returned to his journalistic roots, writing books, working as a TV reporter in Toronto, and making documentaries –including a film on the prostate cancer he had been diagnosed with.

He became the ecology news specialist for CHUM's Citytv and was also known in Toronto for his early morning Paper Cuts – a segment on the network where he would appear in his bathrobe and comment on the stories of the day in the newspapers.

"This was a man with a great loving heart, a brilliant mind and a massive spirit," said Stephen Hurlbut, vice-president of news programming for Citytv.

Hunter was honoured as one of Time magazine's Eco Heroes of the 20th Century. He won a number of awards for his writings, including a Governor General's Award in 1991 for his work Occupied Canada: A Young White Man Discovers His Unsuspected Past.

In 2001, he ran unsuccessfully for the Liberals in a provincial byelection.