Unlikely Radicals the Story of the Adams Mine Dump War

By Broad, Gayle | Canadian Review of Social Policy, January 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Unlikely Radicals the Story of the Adams Mine Dump War


Broad, Gayle, Canadian Review of Social Policy


Unlikely Radicals The Story of the Adams Mine Dump War Charlie Angus Toronto, ON: Between the Lines, 2013.

Book Review by Gayle Broad

Northern and rural communities face many obstacles in organizing to challenge mega-projects - they do not have access to the traditional media; they are located far from the centres of power, where the decision-making takes place; their meagre resources cannot easily compete with those promoting mulit-million (or even multi-billion) dollar development; and, despite their local socio-ecological knowledge, their ability to mobilize a credible campaign is often hampered by a lack of connection and access to the 'experts' . Further, the geography and diverse cultural backgrounds of those living in such communities frequently cause further barriers to developing a united front, especially over the long term.

This book outlines the success of a group of 'unlikely radicals' who found common cause in fighting against a unique mega-project: the dumping of Toronto's garbage into the former site of the Adams mine in Temiskaming. The book can serve as a case study for other communities engaged in similar battles to place environmental protection ahead of promises of jobs and economic development; in highly readable journalistic style, Angus provides community organizers, environmentalists and change-makers with some key insights into the world of backroom deals and political manoeuvrings.

The book is a story of relationship building on the part of the 'unlikely radicals' - a collection of environmentalists, farmers, retired mineworkers and First Nation activists - folks who often have trouble talking to each other, let alone building a movement together. Yet they were united, in this instance, by the endangerment of a watershed that served them all, and they found that each could bring different and important strengths to the table. …

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