Ross Hume Hall : Environmentalist of the Year – 1986

It is the spirit that gives vitality and radiance to life. So it is with Ross Hume Hall. The generosity of his spirit, his love of life and his expressed concern for the environment that sustains life creates a charisma that makes Ross Hume Hall unique.

Ross was born in Winnipeg on Sherburn St. near the river. A neighbourhood that he shared with his cousin Marshall McLuhan. Ross moved with his parents to Vancouver when he was three years of age where he resided until he graduated from the University of British Columbia with his B.Sc. He continued his studies in biochemistry at the University of Toronto where he graduated with a Masters Degree and a scholarship to Cambridge University in England. He graduated from Cambridge with his doctorate in biochemistry and then returned for one year to the University of British Columbia. Ross accepted a research position with the Lederle Drug Corp. at Pearl River, New York where he worked for the next four years. He then accepted a research position with the Cancer Research Institute in Buffalo, New York. He remained in that position for the following nine years. The work of the Cancer Research Institute had a profound influence upon his thinking and his subsequent involvement in the Environmental Movement.

In 1967 Ross Hume Hall accepted an invitation to head up the Department of Biochemistry at McMaster University. He has remained on the faculty since that time [as of 1987]. His ability for pattern thinking and his capability to integrate knowledge of other disciplines soon led him to the realization that a poor and deteriorating environment is the major cause of cancer. A condition that is preventable and reversible. This knowledge led Ross Hall to take up the cause of the Environmental Movement.

In 1968 Ross joined the board of Pollution Probe of Toronto, and in 1987 was its chairman. His indisputable credentials were of great assistance to Probe in its many battles for a cleaner environment. The fight to clean up the toxic chemicals flowing into the Niagara River was an example of such activity. It was also an example of work that had profound consequences for the Hamilton and Burlington area, since it affected the source of our drinking water. In 1978 Ross accepted an invitation to join the advisory council to the federal Minister of the Environment. He carried on his work with the council until 1982.

In his professional work Ross had published close to 200 articles and papers. He had also authored two books. His book, ‘Food for Naught’, written for the lay person had sold over 12,000 copies.

There are many ways that Ross Hall has quietly assisted this community. He has given numerous talks to groups. He has assisted local groups as a consultant on environmental matters as well as critiquing articles by volunteers, and members of the news media who needed the wisdom of an informed person.

There are many of us in this community and throughout Canada that appreciate and respect Ross Hume Hall. We treasure the person who has shared so generously with us and we feel affection for him. It is with pleasure that we honour him and say, “Thank you Ross Hume Hall”.