Charles Clover: “environmentalists are very boring”

How 2009 became the year of the campaign movie from RSA Arts & Ecology on Vimeo.

Charles Clover energised the campaign to alert the world to approaching fish stock collapse earlier this year with the film The End of the Line. It was a great example of how a single coordinated attack using the right media can produce a quantum leap in awareness. I spoke to him and  the Guardian’s Environment Editor John Vidal about how an imaginative, passionate and above all clever approach can galvanise action and force suppliers and politicians to rethink their strategy.

But he’s scathing about how the broader environment movement has failed to grip the public imagination. Responding to a recent IPPR survey that said the public were “bored” with climate change:

It’s because environmentalists are very boring, he says. They used not to have jobs when I got into this business. They had something very burning and interesting to say which quite a lot of people wanted them not to say, and people tried to shut them up. They were very exciting people to know, and they didn’t have a pension fund. Now they have pension funds and sit around in offices and try and think of something interesting to say, and not a lot of them achieve it.

Has the professionalisation of the climate movement creating a beast that feeds itself? Is that part of the reason the public finds climate activists, in the words of the report “smug”?

Charles Clover and John Vidal were in the house to discuss The End of  the Line at a screening organised by RSA Events who run the best public lectures series you’ll find in London – and you don’t have to work here to think that. Follow them on

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology