Obituary Fran Macy | Зеленый мир
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Obituary Fran Macy

David Lowry
The Guardian, Wednesday 20 May 2009
Fran Macy was an American environmental educator who devoted his life to
the struggle for nuclear disarmament, sustainable energy development and
the advancement of deep ecology - the understanding that humans are simply
one part of our living planet. Macy, who has died aged 81, believed we must
take care of the planet's health as we would our own, and combine the
efforts of social movements across the globe, especially in Russia and the
He was a cross-cultural organiser and facilitator, leading workshops in
Europe, Asia and north America and in many of the former Soviet republics.
A specialist in Russian culture and history, he worked closely with
environmental and anti-nuclear activists in the former Soviet Union. Macy
took the lead in the late 1980s in educating American environmentalists
about the serious problems in the Soviet Union, taking leaders such as
David Brower (founder of Friends of the Earth) on a ground-breaking trip to
Lake Baikal in southern Siberia.
During the next 20 years, he helped launch several projects under the
umbrella of the Earth Island Institute (founded by Brower in 1982),
including the Center for Safe Energy (CSE) - set up in 1989 to train and
support activists in the former Soviet Union in addressing the
environmental legacy of the Chernobyl disaster and the nuclear arms race -
and the Siberian preservation initiatives Baikal Watch and Altai Project. I
first met him when we shared bunks in a workers' summer camp dormitory in
the forest outside Ekaterinburg in June 2000. He was heading a US
delegation to Russia at conferences on the nuclear hazards of mixed oxide
plutonium fuels.
As director of CSE, based in Berkeley, California, Macy headed a unique
partnership programme. His life was one of positive partnerships, not least
with his wife Joanna, whom he married in 1953. She worked briefly for the
CIA and then developed a career as an eco-philosopher and workshop
facilitator, interweaving Buddhism, systems theory and deep ecology.
Macy was born in Evanston, Illinois, and studied at Wesleyan University,
Connecticut, before taking the Slavic studies graduate course at Harvard
University, where he also received a master's in psychology. He was
employed by the New York office of a Russian-language radio station
directed at the Soviet Union, and later joined the US Information Service,
working with Radio Liberty in Munich and then Voice of America. But he was
not uncritical of his homeland and marched against the Vietnam war and
against construction and testing of nuclear weapons in the 1960s.
From 1964 to 1972 he directed Peace Corps programmes in India, Tunisia and
Nigeria, followed by a decade developing American adult education
programmes and services. In 1983 he became director of the Association for
Humanistic Psychology, returning to his first love, the Russian people,
when he initiated information and exchange programmes between American and
Soviet psychologists.
He developed relationships with new grassroots organisations on the cutting
edge of environmental change. Again in 1989, he was co-founder, with
Joanna, of the Nuclear Guardianship project in the US, aimed at ensuring
that the radioactive waste burden would be passed on responsibly to future
generations. The project emphasised responsible care of radioactive
materials rather than deep geological burial.
More widely, he promoted the re-examination of values underlying the
ecological crisis through his deep ecology work, both in the former Soviet
Union and in the US. He served on the board of the Institute for Deep
Ecology and of several other organisations, including the Sacred Earth
Network, based in Nichewaug, Massachusetts, which is dedicated to
protecting indigenous land and culture.
I last met Macy last November in Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad, as he rushed back
from a nuclear issues conference to vote for Barack Obama. He lived just
long enough to witness Obama's inauguration. He is survived by Joanna, his
sons Christopher and Jack, daughter Peggy and three grandchildren.
• Fran (Francis) Macy, teacher, writer and ecological thinker, born 19
February 1927; died 20 January 2009