THE RELUCTANT RADICAL is a feature length documentary film about climate activist Ken Ward. Ken breaks the law as a last resort, putting himself in the direct path of the fossil fuel industry to fulfill what he sees as his personal obligation to future generations. Ken had a well established career working as a professional environmental organizer. He was Executive Director of New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG) for thirteen years, he also served as Deputy Director of Greenpeace USA, President of the National Environmental Law Center, and co-founder of Green Corps. After twenty years leading environmental organizations, Ken came to the conclusion that the standard tools of political lobbying and consumer education are inadequate to address the challenges of climate change. Beginning in 2000, Ken began to read all the available scientific literature about climate change. His research led him to become increasingly alarmed by both the scientific evidence and the repercussions for civilization as we know it. Ken’s efforts to push for a crisis level response from environmental organizations have been unsuccessful and he now embraces direct action civil disobedience as the most effective political tool to deal with catastrophic circumstances.
THE RELUCTANT RADICAL follows Ken for a year and a half through a series of direct actions, culminating with his participation in the coordinated #ShutItDown action. On October 11, 2016, Ken and four other climate activists manually turned off all the pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands oil into the U.S., stopping the flow of oil equivalent to 15% of daily U.S. oil consumption. Director Lindsey Grayzel and Co-Producer Deia Schlosberg were two of four independent filmmakers to be arrest and charged with crimes for filming the activist on October 11. Their charges have now been dropped/ suspended, and they have joined forces to finish telling Ken’s story through this film.
In 2015, Ken Ward co-founded the Climate Disobedience Center, a non-profit dedicated to supporting climate activists pursuing direct action.
In 2013, Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara blockaded a 40,000 ton coal shipment destined for the Brayton Point Power Plant.
In 2007 Ken Ward wrote a series of papers calling for a tougher climate strategy by US environmental organizations.
Goodwin Grayzel Productions
2927 NE Davis St.
Portland, OR 97232