Magazine article New Internationalist

Pint-Size Visionary: A Farewell to Activist and NI Contributor Tooker Gomberg

Magazine article New Internationalist

Pint-Size Visionary: A Farewell to Activist and NI Contributor Tooker Gomberg

Article excerpt

[Graph Not Transcribed]

ONE of Canada's leading environmental activists is dead at the age of 48. Tooker Gomberg was a vibrant, pint-size visionary who believed passionately in social justice and environmental sanity. In the midst of his relentless activism Tooker had battled the dark demon of depression for years. In a note he left for his partner, Angela Bischoff, he wrote simply that he had lost his chutzpah.

Gomberg had a brilliant sense of political theatre and was famous for his ability to bring environmental concerns to the attention of the public and the media. He put his convictions on the line time and time again. For Tooker, facing arrest was simply the price you paid for declaring your convictions publicly.

Once in Montreal, on a sunny spring day, he camped out on an abandoned couch at the side of a busy downtown street to make the point that streets belong to the people, not to cars. He was a passionate cycling advocate, a regular fixture at Critical Mass rides on his bike festooned with procycling banners.

As a city councillor in Edmonton in 1994 Tooker suggested the city flood the streets so people could skate to work instead of driving. Later in 2000 he ran an extraordinary, issues-focused campaign for Mayor of Toronto where he challenged the listless incumbent to debate him by throwing an old ice-hockey glove in front of the Mayor. 'I'm just throwing down the gauntlet,' he quipped. At the UN Climate Change Conference in the Netherlands he burned his passport to protest Canada's 'shameful' failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. …

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