Colin Hines - Sad death of a Green pioneer

27 August 2009

Economist Colin Hines of the Green New Deal Group pays tribute to the late Teddy Goldsmith:

"It's very hard to believe he has gone. 'Loss' is a word that is lightly bandied about at these times, but for me and his family and friends it has a real depth and poignancy. Teddy was quite literally irreplaceable. From his grandee role as one of the founding fathers of the environment movement via that great wakeup call for so many people - The Blueprint for Survival - to his founding the world's first environmental party in 1973 - the People's Party, now known as the Green Party."

"I first met Teddy in 1971 as he was putting the finishing touches to the Blueprint edition of the Ecologist. Through the decades we would run into each other at various meetings or demos. But I saw him most frequently over the last twenty years through the IFG [International Forum on Globalisation] events and when he was a generous 'funding the unfundable' supporter of my protectionist heresy, but most wonderfully as a witty raconteur round various lunch and dinner tables (thanks so much to his wife Kathy for much of that)."

"Latterly as his health deteriorated, and as I was lucky enough to live close by, I was able to see him a couple of times a month and we would walk round Richmond Park having wonderfully scattergun conversations. These would range from his vitriolic loathing of the latest New Labour eco outrage, to gambling days in Oxford with his brother Jimmy, to hilarious tales of his role in exposing World Bank disasters - all in the space of fifteen minutes. As the walks got shorter, and his memory poorer, he didn't want to discuss the present, he found it too depressing, both personally and planet wise, and so we would concentrate on anecdotes of the scrapes, the personalities and the heroic failures and occasional successes over the last 40 years of the movement that he had played such a big part in forming."

"My abiding memory of Teddy was of his good nature (most of the time!), his wonderful storytelling and the fact that he was innately a 'gentleman' in all the best senses of that word - a word of another era - as in a way was he. It's hard to believe I won't be able to pop round and see him again, or hear his jaunty 'see you soon old boy' sign off on the phone."


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