Tzeporah Berman

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Tzeporah Berman
Tzeporah med res.jpeg
Tzeporah Berman, 2006
Born (1969-02-05) 5 February 1969 (age 50)
EducationRyerson University,
University of Toronto
OccupationEnvironmental activist, campaigner, writer, Adjuct Professor
Known forCo-Founder and Deputy Director,; Clayoquot Sound logging protests; co-director of Greenpeace International's Global Climate and Energy Program, Co-founder PowerUp Canada.
Spouse(s)Chris Hatch

Tzeporah Berman (born February 5, 1969) is a Canadian environmental activist, campaigner and writer. She is known for her role as one of the organizers of the logging blockades in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia in 1992–93. The protest against the logging of the temperate rainforest was, at the time, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history.[1] Working with Greenpeace, Berman has helped bring the clearcut logging of Canada's rainforest to international prominence. She has worked on the Great Bear Rainforest campaign, and the Boreal campaign. She is a strategic advisor on clean energy, oilsands and pipelines for many environmental, First Nations and philanthropic organizations. She has been co-director of Greenpeace International's Global Climate and Energy Program, Executive Director and Co-founder of PowerUp Canada and Co-founder and Campaign Director of ForestEthics.

In 2009, Berman served on British Columbia’s Green Energy Task Force. The task force, appointed by Premier Gordon Campbell, was charged with making recommendations on the development of renewable energy for the province. Berman was one of the experts in the environmental documentary The 11th Hour, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. She was named as one of six Canadian nominees for the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship social entrepreneur of the year award, one of "50 Visionaries Changing the World" in Utne Reader and as "Canada's Queen of Green" in a cover story by Readers Digest. She was included in the Royal British Columbia Museum permanent exhibit of “150 people who have changed the face of British Columbia.” In 2015 Berman served on the British Columbia Governments Climate Leadership Team and was appointed in 2016 to serve on the Alberta Governments Oil Sands Advisory Group as Co-Chair. Berman was listed of one of the 35 Most Influential Women in British Columbia by BC Business Magazine and awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law from University of British Columbia.

Early life[edit]

Born Susanne Faye Tzeporah Berman, she grew up in London, Ontario, the third of four siblings in a middle-class Jewish family. Her father owned a small advertising company and her mother had a business that made promotional flags and pennants.[2] The family spent summers at her mother’s family's cottage in Lake of the Woods. Her father died when Berman was in her early teens and her mother died two years later. Her older sister, Corrine, who was then twenty, persuaded the authorities to allow the four children—including her other sister Wendy and younger brother Steven—to remain together until Corrine turned twenty-one and could assume legal custody.[3]

After high school, Berman moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson University's fashion arts design program. While she was successful in design—Harry Rosen, who judged the school's final show called her a “bright light on Canada’s fashion scene”—she found a new calling and switched to environmental studies at York University.

Berman is a Professor at York University and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of British Columbia.[4]


In 1992, Berman travelled to the Carmanah Valley on Vancouver Island to do fieldwork on threatened seabirds. The following year when she returned to continue her survey, she found that a logging crew had clear-cut the hillside. In 1993, the Clayoquot Sound Land Use Decision had granted pulp-and-paper giant MacMillan Bloedel rights to clear cut two thirds of a 650,000 acre lowland coastal temperate rainforest—the largest of its kind in the world. Berman joined with Valerie Langer and members of Friends of Clayoquot Sound in the growing Clayoquot protests. That summer, Friends of Clayoquot Sound and Greenpeace launched blockades against the logging. Berman came to national and international attention as one of the spokespersons for the protests, which employed nonviolent civil disobedience tactics taught in a series of peace camps in Tofino and in high-profile locations such as Stanley Park in Vancouver.[5][6] The blockades lasted for five months and became the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history; over 850 people were arrested.[1]


Berman played a key role in the negotiations between MacMillan Bloedel (now owned by Weyerhaeuser), the activists and the First Nations. MacBlo agreed to hand over its logging rights in Clayoquot Sound to native-controlled companies who would keep the old-growth forests intact. However, the deal did nothing to end the polarization between the logging industry and the activists; clearcut logging of old growth forests in Canada continued. A poll by Greenpeace found that only 14% of Canadians supported the MacBlo deal.[6]

By the late 1990s, Greenpeace had been successful in Europe using ad campaigns against companies engaging in practices considered damaging to the environment. In 2000, Berman co-founded ForestEthics, a group devoted to using tactics that would convince companies to change their ways or risk loss of sales. One of Berman's first successful actions was the Victoria’s Secret campaign. The company had been printing a million copies per day of its glossy catalogues using paper from old-growth timber. The ForestEthics campaign initiated street-theatre demonstrations and fake fashion ads to force the undergarment manufacturer to consider changing its practices. After a few weeks, Berman was able to negotiate different wood-pulp sources with company management. Similar campaigns targeting Staples and Office Depot led them to reconsider using old-growth timber. The strategy was not just to tell companies what they should stop doing, but rather "what they should continue doing and start doing in order to stay in business but avoid protests."[6] Berman went on to be one of the lead negotiators in the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement that protected millions of hectares of boreal forest.[citation needed]

In 2004 Berman switched her focus to climate change and founded a nonprofit environmental organization called PowerUp Canada that worked successfully to create greater support in Canada for carbon pricing and defended the BC carbon tax from critics threatening to "axe the tax." In 2010 Berman was hired to Co-direct Greenpeace International's climate and energy program in 40 countries. In that capacity she was the team leader for the creation of the Arctic campaign, contributed to the campaign to get Volkswagen to support vehicle efficiency regulations in the EU and ran a successful campaign against Facebook, on Facebook to encourage the company to demand renewable energy in its procurement for data centers. Before leaving Greenpeace she helped to design and coordinate the "Clean Our Cloud" campaign that encouraged the largest IT companies in the world such as Apple and Google to demand and invest in renewable energy.[citation needed]

In 2012 Berman moved back to Canada and began consulting with philanthropic foundations, environmental organizations and First Nations on climate and energy policy and to design campaigns on oil sands and pipelines. In 2015 Berman was appointed by the British Columbia Government to the Climate Leadership Team to make recommendations on climate policy in British Columbia. In 2016 she was appointed to be Co-Chair of the Oil Sands Advisory Group by the Alberta Government to make recommendations on implementing the new Climate Leadership Plan, reviewing cumulative impacts of oil sands operations and design climate recommendations for the pathway to 2050.[citation needed]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b The Canadian Encyclopedia. Clayoquot Sound. Historica Dominion. Retrieved on: 2012-11-08.
  2. ^ Glave, James (November 1, 2009). "Tzeporah Berman's Green Idea." Vancouver Magazine. Retrieved: 2013-08-06.
  3. ^ Langlois, Christine (November, 2009). “The Queen of Green.” Readers Digest. Retrieved: 2013-07-22.
  4. ^ "Biography".
  5. ^ Berman, Tzeporah, with Mark Leiren-Young. (2011). This Crazy Time: Living our environmental challenge. Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada. ISBN 9780307399786
  6. ^ a b c Saunders, Doug (May 24, 2011). "Greenpeace: tactics not so clear cut anymore." The Globe and Mail. Retrieved: 2013-08-06.


Books by Berman[edit]

  • Berman, Tzeporah, with Mark Leiren-Young. (2011). This Crazy Time: Living our environmental challenge. Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada. ISBN 9780307399786
  • Berman Tzeporah, Christopher Hatch; Maurice Gibbons; Ronald B. Hatch; Gordon Brent Ingram; Loys Maingon (1994). Clayoquot & Dissent. Ronsdale Press. ISBN 9780921870296

Articles by Berman[edit]

Articles about Berman[edit]



External links[edit]