From Deptford to Antarctica: The Long Way Home

From Deptford to Antarctica: The Long Way Home

Language: English

Pages: 500


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Pete Wilkinson grew up in Deptford, south London, in the 50s. Somehow he got to grammar school and was spat out of the education system in 1962 with a few GCE 'O' levels and no idea of what to do with his life. The 60s rock 'n' roll scene, motor scooters and free love offered a mild distraction but, as a general malcontent, he drifted from job to job, uncertain of where life would take him. He was feisty, easy to provoke and had a fierce sense of what decency and justice should look like, qualities which found their natural home when he finally found - unlike U2, a band which would ultimately provide the justification for his jaundiced view of environmentalists - what he was looking for. Pete helped establish Friends of the Earth, leaving after suffering three years of the classism which prevented his natural campaigning flair to flourish, and then joined Greenpeace UK. He was a co-founding member and became a central figure in the UK's embryonic green movement. His friendship with the charismatic father of the modern Greenpeace phenomenon, the late David Fraser McTaggart, and his naturally strategic mind helped Wilkinson to the highest positions in the organisation from where he ran what one journalist called 'some of the most important and successful environmental campaigns of the 80s'. And they were campaigns that he and his colleagues won: radioactive waste dumping at sea, whaling, Canadian sealing, the Orkey seal cull, captive cetaceans, the fur industry, Sellafield: no company or industry was too big for Greenpeace to take on. Even Antarctica. After finally falling foul of the growing Greenpeace hierarchy, Wilkinson was despatched by Greenpeace to Antarctica where, over six consecutive seasons, their campaign succeeded in protecting the entire continent from exploitation for 50 years. This is Wilkinson's story told in his own gritty style and containing his unabridged Antarctic diaries which build into a fascinating insight into the Greenpeace world as it was, but as it is no more. Includes many campaign photographs.

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off a further telex asking for clarification by midday and then sit around with Dog until Henk calls from the shore telling us they’re landing equipment behind the hut from a landing craft. I call Houssein to ask what’s going on and the rest of the day degenerates into a sort of Brian Rix farce with workers on shore goading us into a reaction and Houssein and I arguing over yards of territory. At one time I even allow Houssein to move ‘only two’ boxes from the equipment they’ve offloaded and ‘no

funeral held in January, 2010, during the awful icy weather that prevailed for most of that month and into February. All his sons were at his side when he died and for that I was, and am, eternally grateful. But while they lost a much-loved dad and while Margaret lost a much-loved and loving husband, I also lost a brother. It occurred to me at the funeral that I had known Brian for the longest of all those present and yet not once was I asked to speak about my brother or his life. Margaret was

halt what the USA saw as the spread of communism. The Mi-Li massacre was the final straw, and barely-palatable pictures emerging of the unending suffering of a people who didn’t care whether their country was ruled by men from Mars, capitalists, Maoists or Trotskyists tore at everyone’s heartstrings. I began to read those books which would perhaps fan the flames of my emerging, left-leaning political opinions. I read Kafka and Orwell, Huxley and Zola. I was always outspoken, but now I had

recipients of seven consecutive ‘blanks’ on one evening, but generally, we were successful and mostly left with two women who were, it must be admitted, a little nonplussed when asked to sit in the back of Bobby’s A35 van in which we travelled. We went on holiday together to what Bobby described unflatteringly as the ‘centre of the universe for chicks’ – Torquay – and we set ourselves a target of taking different women to a particularly nice pub overlooking the bay on every night of the week. We

arrival, and the bow wave she was creating was sizeable. We careered towards the Gem, through the jets of high pressure water as Chris slammed the dinghy up against Gem’s hull, directly beneath the tipping platform. As he held her there on full throttle, our heads were at times level with the platform as the dinghy rose on the bow wave and snatched exchanges with the crew were possible. To my amazement, Chris immediately began a running verbal exchange with the seamen, telling them to respect

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