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The Greenpeace to Amchitka - An Environmental Odyssey

The Greenpeace to Amchitka

An Environmental Odyssey

By Robert Hunter
Photographs by Robert Keziere
Categories: Cultural Studies, History, Politics, British Columbia, Canada
Paperback : 9781551521787, 240 pages, 2004


Greenpeace is known around the world for its activism and education surrounding environmental and biodiversity issues. With a presence in more than forty countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific, Greenpeace is undoubtedly a dominant force in the realm of environmental activism. This is the story of how Greenpeace came to be.

In September 1971, a small group of activists boarded a small fishing boat in Vancouver, Canada, and headed north towards a tiny island, Amchitka, west of Alaska in the Aleutian Islands, where the U. S. government was conducting underground nuclear tests. Among the people sardined in the fishing boat were Robert Hunter and Robert Keziere.

At that time, protesting against nuclear testing was not common, yet the US tests raised genuine concerns: Amchitka is not only the last refuge for a number of endangered wildlife, but is located in a geologically unstable region, one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the world. The threat of a nuclear-triggered earthquake or tsunami was real.

The boat, named the Greenpeace by the small group of men aboard, raced against time as it crashed through the Gulf of Alaska, braving the oncoming winter storms. Three weeks was all they had to reach Amchitka in an attempt to halt the nuclear test. Ultimately, the voyage--beset by bad weather, interpersonal tensions, and conflicts with US officials--was doomed. And yet the legacy of that journey lives on.

In this visceral memoir, based on a manuscript originally written over thirty years ago, Robert Hunter vividly depicts the peculiar odyssey that led to the formation of the most powerful environmental organization in the world.

Features forty b&w photographs, taken during the voyage by Robert Keziere.

Winner of the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness

Author and Greenpeace cofounder Robert Hunter, 63,  passed away in Toronto on May 2, 2005.


  • Winner, George Ryga Award 2005
  • Short-listed, Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize 2005


The Greenpeace to Amchitkabrings alive the (mis)adventures and turmoil of an eccentric crew trying to make a difference.
-David Suzuki Foundation

- David Suzuki Fnd.

Hunter's Homeric ode to confused and argumentative hippies on the high seas makes fresh and crazy reading. His style is positively feverish.
-The Globe & Mail

- The Globe & Mail

The reader quickly develops a huge respect for the quality of Hunter's reportage, and for the raw guts of the folks who first set Greenpeace afloat. ..
-Vancouver Sun

- Vancouver Sun

...Robert Hunter's The Greenpeace to Amchitka offers the gonzo goods. The story is essentially a Kerouac and Kesey-inspired riff on a '60's road trip, as interested in the antics of the Merry Pranksterish protagonists themselves as in the larger issues at hand. . ..the innocent bravery that it depicts is still inspiring.
-Quill & Quire

- Quill & Quire