Vancouver prides itself on being a green city, and the west coast is known for its active environmental protest culture. But the roots of this mentality reach far beyond the founding of organizations such as Greenpeace. Small campaigns led by local community groups from the 1960s onward left a lasting impact on the region. At the Wilderness Edge examines five antidevelopment campaigns in and around Vancouver that reflected a dramatic decline in public support for large-scale commercial and industrial projects. J.I. Little describes the highly effective protests that were instrumental in preserving threatened green spaces on Coal Harbour, Hollyburn Ridge, Bowen Island, Gambier Island, and the Squamish estuary, keeping these important British Columbia landmarks from becoming a high-rise development project, a downhill ski resort, a suburban housing tract, an open-pit copper mine, and a major coal port, respectively. Through detailed analysis of development proposals and protests, government studies, and community responses, Little argues that it was not the usual suspects ? 1960s radicalism and anti-establishment youth culture ? that initiated and carried out these protests, but rather middle-aged, middle-class, politically engaged citizens, many of whom were women. An engaging study of grassroots politics in action, At the Wilderness Edge sheds new light on the rise of environmental consciousness, a pivotal era in the history of British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada.
J.I. Little is professor emeritus in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University.
"Some cultural historians treat resistance as a terminus to analysis, rather than a spur to new questions. Little is no such historian. He charts the why, how, and who of these movements [revealing} a deep seated civic will that the city comes out on top." Literary Review of Canada
"At the Wilderness Edge breaks new ground by exploring a series of complex local antidevelopment campaigns that helped to open up and support new aspects of progressive political culture in British Columbia." Michael Dawson, St Thomas University
"This lively and extensively researched history of popular challenges to development projects in and around Vancouver in the 1960s and '70s makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the emerging environmentalist movement in this period, and the motivations and social positions of its constituents." Jennifer Bonnell, York University