– by Maret Christiansen –
One day we will no longer be called to quantify nature and put a dollar value on Ancient Trees, Mountains, and Wildlife
– from Carmanah: Artistic Visions of an Ancient Rainforest
After battling cancer for four years, Arne Boye Hansen, a former editor and contributor to Common Ground, passed away peacefully on July 28, 2019 at Vancouver General Hospital’s Palliative Care unit, surrounded by family and friends. He was born to a Danish family who emigrated to Canada in 1957. They settled in Ontario, and Arne eventually became a journalist after graduating from St. Clair Community College in Windsor in 1974.
Arne grew up in a family that loved adventure and nature, and traveling was in his blood from an early age – be it camping in the Canadian landscape, scuba diving in Central America, or exploring foreign lands through his involvement with the travel organization Servas. He was not one to shy away from trying something different or unusual. During a journalistic stint in Sri Lanka, he could be seen commuting on the elephant that belonged to his host family.
Eventually, Arne moved to British Columbia where he quickly became known as a fierce and radical environmentalist. Motivated by his love of nature in general, and of Mother Earth specifically, Arne involved himself in numerous organizations as an employee and volunteer. He was dedicated to causes that protected the environment and improved the lives of those he felt were marginalized by corporate greed and right wing capitalism. “The system is broken!” was one of his favourite lead-ins to frequent and well-meant rants to anyone who would listen.
Arne’s achievements were many, but one of his proudest came while working as an editor/coordinator with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee from 1987 to 1991. While with WCWC, he edited and published the best-selling, award-winning coffee table book on the Carmanah artist project, Carmanah, Artistic Visions of an Ancient Rainforest.
Arne leaves behind many family members in Canada and his native Denmark. He will be dearly missed, not least by his fellow radicals who were always in good supply in his company. Till the end, he simply could not stop fighting for the justice he so craved for Mother Earth and her children.
Memorial Contributions in Arne’s honour may be made to the Western Canada Wilderness Committee: WildernessCommittee.org/memoriam, by calling 1-800-661-9453, or by mail to 46 E. 6th Ave., Vancouver, B.C., V5T 1J4