Ian Cohen is a former Greens NSW MP, serving in the NSW Legislative Council from 1995 to 2011. He is a pioneering community-based environmental and social justice activist since 1980, working at local, state and national levels. He is a specialist exponent of non-violent direct actions and community organisation for social change. Ian has fostered a specific interest in the concept of theatre of the environment as an educational and community empowerment technique.
Ian has organised and participated in most major environmental campaigns in Eastern Australia during the 1980s: Nightcap rainforests in Northern NSW, Franklin River, Daintree, South East forests NSW, North Washpool and Chaelundi. Anti-nuclear campaigns include Honeymoon and Roxby Downs uranium mines and the Canberra international AIDEX arms bazaar actions.
Ian has been an anti-tobacco activist through the organisation BUGA UP and has undertaken a successful legal challenge against Rothmans.
Ian was a founder of the Sydney Peace Squadron and the Brisbane Peace and Environment fleet and came to international attention in 1986, when photographed hanging onto the bow of a nuclear armed US warship in Sydney Harbour on a surfboard. As a keen surfer Ian was a founding member of Stop the Ocean Pollution and Clean Seas Coalition.
In March 1995, Ian was elected to the NSW Legislative Council as its first Green member. In September 1995 Ian was involved in organising a parliamentary delegation to protest against French nuclear testing in the Pacific and sailed into the test zone on a Greenpeace expedition.
In March 2003, Ian was re-elected to the NSW Legislative Council for a second 8 year term. Ian has maintained his activist roots as seen by his support and attendance at S11 and M1 actions. Ian also has an ongoing interest in forest issues throughout New South Wales.
Ian was involved, as a Member of the State Development Committee in Parliament, in enquiries into the Viability of Rural Towns, Sustainable Agriculture, and Fisheries, as well as looking into issues such as salinity. Ian also established the Genetic Engineering Committee to investigate Genetic Engineering in Agriculture. He has worked on a number of Joint Select Committees, undertaking a pioneering investigation into Medically Supervised Injecting Rooms, and investigating the Northside Sewerage Tunnel.
Ian is the author of the book Green Fire, an account of the Australian environmental movement, a movement that has transformed Australian politics.
Visit Ian's website