This coming fall, Rocky Mountain College will host author Ben Stewart for a keynote address as part of the 2017 Common Read program.
According to information found on the RMC website, “The Common Read is based principally on a shared reading experience. Through this shared reading and associated events, we seek to develop community, encourage intellectual engagement, and promote connections among disciplines.”
Stewart’s nonfiction book, “Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg: The Extraordinary Story of the Arctic 30,” was picked by the First-Year Experience and the Common Read Selection committees for this year’s program. The story is a detailed account of what transpired in 2013 when Greenpeace activists who protested oil drilling in the Arctic were captured and incarcerated by Russian officials. The 30 activists arrested were initially charged with piracy by the Russian government and later with hooliganism, which is comparable to being charged with disorderly conduct.
What immediately followed was an international campaign to free them and dismiss the charges. People around the world came together to protest the imprisonments after it came to light that Russia had violated international law when apprehending the Greenpeace protesters and their ship, the Arctic Sunrise.
Greenpeace is an environmental organization founded in 1971 and today has offices in over 50 countries. As reported by Greenpeace.org, activists formed the organization to utilize “protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.”
Since its inception, Greenpeace has had its share of controversy for how it has raised awareness of environmental issues to the public and upset the status quo. The Greenpeace website also states, “Greenpeace challenges the systems of power and privilege that destroy the environment and place disproportionate burdens on vulnerable communities. As Greenpeace, we know from nature that diversity is essential to life on the planet and success in our organization.”
Ben Stewart is the current head of media for Greenpeace. His book was published two years after the detainment of the activists and the story still has relevance today.
Dr. Steve Germic remarked on the committee’s selection for the program, “Ben Stewart’s book is particularly relevant to multiple disciplines and a host of contemporary issues that have to do with social justice, environmental justice, and larger geopolitical concerns including the role of Russia in the global community.”
On October 2nd, the Common Read film focusing on the Greenpeace incident will be shown in the Losekamp Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The following month, Ben Stewart will provide his keynote address on November 6th at the First Presbyterian Church. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Steve Germic at firstname.lastname@example.org.