This rousing history of the ideals and origins of Greenpeace makes lavish use of video archives of early action – and examines the far-reaching conflicts that arose as the founders clashed about tactics and priorities.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
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How to Change the World charts the earliest days of Greenpeace as a group of Vancouver-based ‘eco-freaks’ and peaceniks improvised their way into starting a global movement, filming the revolution as they went. Drawing on Greenpeace’s own vast archives of action footage, Deep Water director Jerry Rothwell’s documentary spans the period from the first expedition to enter the Amchitka nuclear test zone in 1971, through the first whale and fur seal campaigns, to 1979, when, overwhelmed by their own success, the founders gave away their central role to make way for Greenpeace International. Drawing its themes from founder leader Bob Hunter’s memoir, the film engages closely with the personal dynamics of the founding group and the strategic rifts that eventually divided them.
“Still adversarial today among many reminiscing original participants are Hunter’s unofficial dueling second-in-commands, Paul Watson (who would split to found the still-whaler-bedeviling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society) and Patrick Moore (whose environmental corporate consulting firm is considered a betrayal of his Greenpeace past by many).” — Dennis Harvey, Variety