Greenpeace founder Dorothy Stowe is dead

Last Updated 24 July 2010, 03:48 IST

She and her husband founded the environmental movement here in 1971 along  with Jim Bohlen who also died just three weeks ago.Stowe was suffering from kidney disease, leukemia and diabetes and died at the University of British Columbia hospital here.

A Rhode Island native, Dorothy and her husband Irving Stowe - who died of cancer in 1974 - moved to Vancouver in 1966 to escape "atomic fallout from nuclear tests in Polynesia and avoid contributing to nuclear proliferation by paying taxes".

The Stowe couple met Jim Bohlen and his wife Marie Bohlen here and joined hands with them to plot protests against the  American decision to test nuclear bombs on Amchitka Island, off the coast of Alaska in 1970.

Their protest group named 'Don't Make a Wave Committee' was soon to become the worldwide Greenpeace movement.

"Who knew that four people at a kitchen table could give rise to a movement that has offices in 40 countries? You couldn't possibly have predicted it," Dorothy Stowe said after the death of her co-founder Jim Bohlen three weeks ago.

To make their maiden "peacenik" message loud and clear, they decided to sent a protest ship to the test zone in 1971.

The two "peacenik" couples and their friends raised money through a benefit concert to charter the ship called the Phyllis Cormack from Vancouver to the nuclear test site in Alaska.

Though the protest ship was stopped by the US Coast Guard from reaching the test site, the US government was forced to halt further nuclear experiments after only three tests.
She and her husband took their surname Stowe from American abolitionist author Harriet Beecher Stowe who penned the 19th century's best selling anti-slavery novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.'

The "peacenik" couple had said that they moved to Vancouver from Providence, Rhode Island, for fear of radiation fall-out from nuclear tests in Polynesia and Stowe was suffering from kidney disease, leukemia and diabetes and died at the University of British Columbia hospital here. Her husband Irving had died of cancer in 1974.

The Greenpeace movement is now led by Indian-origin South African Kumi Naidoo who is the movement's international executive director.

Apart from the Greenpeace movement, Vancouver is also the birthplace of the global marijuana movement.

(Published 24 July 2010, 03:48 IST)

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