Greenpeace

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This article is about the international environmental organization. For other uses, see Greenpeace (disambiguation).
Greenpeace
Greenpeace.svg
Logo of Greenpeace
Gp-esso.jpg
Greenpeace protest against Esso / ExxonMobil
Formation 1969 - 1972 (See remarks) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Type Non-governmental organization
Purpose Environmentalism, "peace"
Headquarters Amsterdam, Netherlands
Region served
Worldwide
Kumi Naidoo
Ana Toni
Main organ
Board of Directors, elected by the Annual General Meeting
Budget 236.9 million (2011)
Staff 2,400 (2008)
Volunteers 15,000[1]
Website www.greenpeace.org
Remarks See article for more details on formation.
Former name
Don't Make a Wave Committee (1969-1972)

Greenpeace is a non-governmental[2] environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.[3] Greenpeace states its goal is to "ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity"[4] and focuses its campaigning on world wide issues such as global warming, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues. It uses direct action, lobbying and research to achieve its goals. The global organization does not accept funding from governments, corporations or political parties, relying on 2.9 million individual supporters and foundation grants.[5][6] Greenpeace has a general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council[7] and is a founding member[8] of the INGO Accountability Charter; an international non-governmental organization that intends to foster accountability and transparency of non-governmental organizations.

Greenpeace is known for its direct actions[9][10] and has been described as the most visible environmental organization in the world.[11][12] Greenpeace has raised environmental issues to public knowledge,[13][14][15] and influenced both the private and the public sector.[16][17] Greenpeace has also been a source of controversy;[18] its motives and methods have received criticism[19][20] and the organization's direct actions have sparked legal actions against Greenpeace activists,[21][22] such as fines and suspended sentences for destroying a test plot of GMO wheat.[23][24][25]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

Location of Amchitka island in Alaska.

In the late 1960s, the U.S. had plans for an underground nuclear weapon test in the tectonically unstable island of Amchitka in Alaska. Because of the 1964 Alaska earthquake, the plans raised some concerns of the test triggering earthquakes and causing a tsunami. A 1969 demonstration of 7,000[26] people blocked a major U.S.-Canadian border crossing in British Columbia, carrying signs reading "Don't Make A Wave. It's Your Fault If Our Fault Goes".[27] The protests did not stop the U.S. from detonating the bomb.[27]

While no earthquake or tsunami followed the test, the opposition grew when the U.S. announced they would detonate a bomb five times more powerful than the first one. Among the opposers were Jim Bohlen, a veteran who had served the U.S. Navy, Irving Stowe and Dorothy Stowe, who had recently become Quakers. As members of the Sierra Club Canada, they were frustrated by the lack of action by the organization.[27] From Irving Stowe, Jim Bohlen learned of a form of passive resistance, "bearing witness", where objectionable activity is protested simply by mere presence.[27] Jim Bohlen's wife Marie came up with the idea to sail to Amchitka, inspired by the anti-nuclear voyages of Albert Bigelow in 1958. The idea ended up in the press and was linked to The Sierra Club.[27] The Sierra Club did not like this connection and in 1970 The Don't Make a Wave Committee was established for the protest. Early meetings were held in the Shaughnessy home of Robert Hunter and his wife Bobbi Hunter. Subsequently the Stowe home at 2775 Courtenay St. became the HQ.[28] As Rex Weyler put it in his chronology, Greenpeace, in 1969, Irving and Dorothy Stowe's "quiet home on Courtenay Street would soon become a hub of monumental, global significance". Some of the first Greenpeace meetings were held there, and it served as the first office of the Greenpeace Foundation.[citation needed] The first office was opened in a backroom, storefront on Cypress and West Broadway SE corner in Kitsilano, Vancouver.[29]

Irving Stowe arranged a benefit concert (supported by Joan Baez) that took place on October 16, 1970 at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. The concert created the financial basis for the first Greenpeace campaign.[30] Amchitka, the 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace has been published by Greenpeace in November 2009 on CD and is also available as mp3 download via the Amchitka concert website. Using the money raised with the concert, the Don't Make a Wave Committee chartered a ship, the Phyllis Cormack owned and sailed by John Cormack. The ship was renamed Greenpeace for the protest after a term coined by activist Bill Darnell.[27]

In the fall of 1971 the ship sailed towards Amchitka and faced the U.S. Coast Guard ship Confidence[27] which forced the activists to turn back. Because of this and the increasingly bad weather the crew decided to return to Canada only to find out that the news about their journey and reported support from the crew of the Confidence had generated sympathy for their protest.[27] After this Greenpeace tried to navigate to the test site with other vessels, until the U.S. detonated the bomb.[27] The nuclear test was criticized and the U.S. decided not to continue with their test plans at Amchitka.

Founders and founding time of Greenpeace[edit]

Environmental historian Frank Zelko dates the formation of the "Don't Make a Wave Committee" to 1969 and according to Jim Bohlen the group adopted the name "Don't Make a Wave Committee" on 29 November 1969.[31] According to the Greenpeace web site, The Don't Make a Wave Committee was established in 1970.[32] Certificate of incorporation of The Don't Make a Wave Committee dates the incorporation to the fifth of October, 1970.[33] Researcher Vanessa Timmer dates the official incorporation to 1971.[34] Greenpeace itself calls the protest voyage of 1971 as "the beginning".[35] According to Patrick Moore, who was an early member but has since distanced himself from Greenpeace, and Rex Weyler, the name of "The Don’t Make a Wave Committee" was officially changed to Greenpeace Foundation in 1972.[33][36] Because of the early phases spanning several years, there are differing views on who can be called the founders of Greenpeace.

Vanessa Timmer has referred the early members as "an unlikely group of loosely organized protestors".[34] Frank Zelko has commented that "unlike Friends of the Earth, for example, which sprung fully formed from the forehead of David Brower, Greenpeace developed in a more evolutionary manner. There was no single founder".[37] Greenpeace itself says on its web page that "there's a joke that in any bar in Vancouver, Canada, you can sit down next to someone who claims to have founded Greenpeace. In fact, there was no single founder: name, idea, spirit and tactics can all be said to have separate lineages".[32] Patrick Moore has said that "the truth is that Greenpeace was always a work in progress, not something definitively founded like a country or a company. Therefore there are a few shades of gray about who might lay claim to being a founder of Greenpeace."[33] Early Greenpeace director Rex Weyler says on his homepage that the insiders of Greenpeace have debated about the founders since mid-1970's.[38]

The current Greenpeace web site lists the founders of The Don't Make a Wave Committee as Dorothy and Irving Stowe, Marie and Jim Bohlen, Ben and Dorothy Metcalfe, and Robert Hunter.[32] According to both Patrick Moore and an interview with Dorothy Stowe, Dorothy Metcalfe, Jim Bohlen and Robert Hunter, the founders of The Don't Make a Wave Committee were Paul Cote, Irving and Dorothy Stowe and Jim and Marie Bohlen.[33][39]

Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society maintains that he also was one of the founders of The Don't Make a Wave Committee and Greenpeace.[40] Media sources concerning Watson report him being one of the founders of Greenpeace,[41][42] with many articles reporting him being a founder in 1972.[43][44][45][46] Patrick Moore has denied Watson being one of the founders of The Don't Make a Wave Committee, and Greenpeace in 1972. According to Moore the already campaigning organization was "simply changing the name" in 1972.[33] Greenpeace has stated that Watson was an influential early member, but not one of the founders of Greenpeace.[47] Watson has since criticized Greenpeace of rewriting their history.[40]

Because Patrick Moore was among the crew of the first protest voyage and the beginning of the journey is often referred as the birthday of Greenpeace, Moore also considers himself one of the founders.[33] Greenpeace used to list Moore among "founders and first members" of but has later stated that while Moore was a significant early member, he was not among the founders of Greenpeace in 1970.[39][48]

After Amchitka[edit]

After the office in the Stowe home, (and after the first concert fund-raiser) Greenpeace functions moved to other private homes and held public meetings weekly on Wednesday nights at the Kitsilano Neighborhood House before settling, in the fall of 1974, in a small office shared with the SPEC environmental group on West 4th at Maple.[citation needed] When the nuclear tests at Amchitka were over, Greenpeace moved its focus to the French atmospheric nuclear weapons testing at the Moruroa Atoll in French Polynesia. The young organization needed help for their protests and were contacted by David McTaggart, a former businessman living in New Zealand. In 1972 the yacht Vega, a 12.5-metre (41 ft) ketch owned by David McTaggart, was renamed Greenpeace III and sailed in an anti-nuclear protest into the exclusion zone at Moruroa to attempt to disrupt French nuclear testing. This voyage was sponsored and organized by the New Zealand branch of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.[49] The French Navy tried to stop the protest in several ways, including assaulting David McTaggart. McTaggart was supposedly beaten to the point that he lost sight in one of his eyes. However, one of McTaggart's crew members photographed the incident and went public. After the assault was publicized, France announced it would stop the atmospheric nuclear tests.[27]

In the mid-1970s some Greenpeace members started an independent campaign, Project Ahab, against commercial whaling, since Irving Stowe was against Greenpeace focusing on other issues than nuclear weapons.[citation needed] After Irving Stowe died in 1975, the Phyllis Cormack sailed from Vancouver to face Soviet whalers on the coast of California. Greenpeace activists disrupted the whaling by placing themselves between the harpoons and the whales, and footage of the protests spread across the world. Later in the 1970s, the organization widened its focus to include toxic waste and commercial seal hunting.[27]

The "Greenpeace Declaration of Interdependence" was published by Greenpeace in the Greenpeace Chronicles (Winter 1976-77). This declaration was a condensation of a number of ecological manifestos Bob Hunter had written over the years. The “Three basic Laws of Ecology,” were developed by Patrick Moore, with inspiration from the writings of Barry Commoner[50]

Organizational development[edit]

MV Esperanza, a former fire-fighter owned by the Russian Navy, was relaunched by Greenpeace in 2002

Greenpeace evolved from a group of Canadian protesters into a less conservative group of environmentalists who were more reflective of the counterculture and hippie youth movements of the 1960s and 1970s.[51] The social and cultural background from which Greenpeace emerged heralded a period of de-conditioning away from old world antecedents and sought to develop new codes of social, environmental and political behavior.[52][53]

In the mid-1970s independent groups using the name Greenpeace started springing up world wide. By 1977 there were 15 to 20 Greenpeace groups around the world.[54] At the same time the Canadian Greenpeace office was heavily in debt. Disputes between offices over fund-raising and organizational direction split the global movement as the North American offices were reluctant to be under the authority of the Vancouver office and its president Patrick Moore.[54]

After the incidents of Moruroa, David McTaggart had moved to France to battle in court with the French state and helped to develop the cooperation of European Greenpeace groups.[27] David McTaggart lobbied the Canadian Greenpeace Foundation to accept a new structure which would bring the scattered Greenpeace offices under the auspices of a single global organization. The European Greenpeace paid the debt of the Canadian Greenpeace office and on October 14, 1979, Greenpeace International came into existence.[54][34] Under the new structure, the local offices would contribute a percentage of their income to the international organization, which would take responsibility for setting the overall direction of the movement with each regional office having one vote.[54] Some Greenpeace groups, namely London Greenpeace (dissolved in 2001) and the US-based Greenpeace Foundation (still operational) however decided to remain independent from Greenpeace International.[55][56]

Organizational structure[edit]

Governance[edit]

The governance and management structure of Greenpeace.

Greenpeace consists of Greenpeace International (officially Stichting Greenpeace Council) based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and 28 regional offices operating in 45 countries.[57] The regional offices work largely autonomously under the supervision of Greenpeace International. The executive director of Greenpeace is elected by the board members of Greenpeace International. The current director of Greenpeace International is Kumi Naidoo and the current Chair of the Board is Brazilian Ana Toni.[58][59] Greenpeace has a staff of 2,400[60] and 15,000 volunteers globally.[1]

Each regional office is led by a regional executive director elected by the regional board of directors. The regional boards also appoint a trustee to The Greenpeace International Annual General Meeting, where the trustees elect or remove the board of directors of Greenpeace International. The role of the annual general meeting is also to discuss and decide the overall principles and strategically important issues for Greenpeace in collaboration with the trustees of regional offices and Greenpeace International board of directors.[61]

Funding[edit]

Greenpeace receives its funding from individual supporters and foundations.[4][5] Greenpeace screens all major donations in order to ensure it does not receive unwanted donations.[62] The organization does not accept money from governments, intergovernmental organizations, political parties or corporations in order to avoid their influence.[4][5][62] Donations from foundations which are funded by political parties or receive most of their funding from governments or intergovernmental organizations are rejected. Foundation donations are also rejected if the foundations attach unreasonable conditions, restrictions or constraints on Greenpeace activities or if the donation would compromise the independence and aims of Greenpeace.[62] Since in the mid-1990s the number of supporters started to decrease, Greenpeace pioneered the use of face-to-face fundraising where fundraisers actively seek new supporters at public places, subscribing them for a monthly direct debit donation.[63][64] In 2008, most of the €202.5 million received by the organization was donated by about 2.6 million regular supporters, mainly from Europe.[60]

Greenpeace street fundraiser talking to a passer-by.

In September 2003, the Public Interest Watch (PIW) complained to the Internal Revenue Service, claiming that Greenpeace USA tax returns were inaccurate and in violation of the law.[65] The IRS conducted an extensive review and concluded in December 2005 that Greenpeace USA continued to qualify for its tax-exempt status. In March 2006 The Wall Street Journal reported that PIW’s “federal tax filing, covering August 2003 to July 2004, stated that $120,000 of the $124,095 the group received in contributions during that period came from Exxon Mobil.”[66] In 2013, after the IRS performed a follow-up audit, which again was clean, and, following claims of politically motivated IRS audits of groups affiliated with the Tea Party Movement, Greenpeace U.S. Executive Director Phil Radford called for a Congressional investigation into all politically motivated audits – including those allegedly targeting the Tea Party Movement, the NAACP, and Greenpeace.[67]

Summary of priorities and campaigns[edit]

On its official website, Greenpeace defines its mission as the following:

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace by:

  • Catalysing an energy revolution to address the number one threat facing our planet: climate change.
  • Defending our oceans by challenging wasteful and destructive fishing, and creating a global network of marine reserves.
  • Protecting the world’s remaining ancient forests which are depended on by many animals, plants and people.
  • Working for disarmament and peace by reducing dependence on finite resources and calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
  • Creating a toxin free future with safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals in today's products and manufacturing.
  • Campaigning for sustainable agriculture by encouraging socially and ecologically responsible farming practices.
    —Greenpeace International[68]

Climate and energy[edit]

An inflatable snow man conveying "Stop Global Warming!" at the G8 (2007)

Greenpeace was one of the first parties to formulate a sustainable development scenario for climate change mitigation, which it did in 1993.[69] According to sociologists Marc Mormont and Christine Dasnoy, Greenpeace played a significant role in raising public awareness of global warming in the 1990s.[70] The organization has also focused on CFCs, because of both their global warming potential and their effect on the ozone layer. Greenpeace was one of the leading participants advocating early phase-out of ozone depleting substances in the Montreal Protocol.[16] In the early 1990s, Greenpeace developed a CFC-free refrigerator technology, "Greenfreeze" for mass production together with the refrigerator industry.[16] United Nations Environment Programme awarded Greenpeace for "outstanding contributions to the protection of the Earth's ozone layer" in 1997.[71] In 2007 one third of the world's total production of refrigerators were based on Greenfreeze technology, with over 200 million units in use.[16]

Currently Greenpeace considers global warming to be the greatest environmental problem facing the Earth.[68] Greenpeace calls for global greenhouse gas emissions to peak in 2015 and to decrease as close to zero as possible by 2050. For this Greenpeace calls for the industrialized countries to cut their emissions at least 40% by 2020 (from 1990 levels) and to give substantial funding for developing countries to build a sustainable energy capacity, to adapt to the inevitable consequences of global warming, and to stop deforestation by 2020.[72] Together with EREC, Greenpeace has formulated a global energy scenario, "Energy [R]evolution", where 80% of the world's total energy is produced with renewables, and the emissions of the energy sector are decreased by over 80% of the 1990 levels by 2050.[73]

Using direct action, Greenpeace has protested several times against coal by occupying coal power plants and blocking coal shipments and mining operations, in places such as New Zealand,[74] Svalbard,[75] Australia,[76] and the United Kingdom.[77] Greenpeace is also critical of extracting petroleum from oil sands and has used direct action to block the oil sand operations at Athabasca, Canada.[78][79]

Kingsnorth court case[edit]

In October 2007, six Greenpeace protesters were arrested for breaking into the Kingsnorth power station, climbing the 200 metre smokestack, painting the name Gordon on the chimney, and causing an estimated £30,000 damage. At their subsequent trial they admitted trying to shut the station down, but argued that they were legally justified because they were trying to prevent climate change from causing greater damage to property elsewhere around the world. Evidence was heard from David Cameron's environment adviser Zac Goldsmith, climate scientist James E. Hansen and an Inuit leader from Greenland, all saying that climate change was already seriously affecting life around the world. The six activists were acquitted. It was the first case where preventing property damage caused by climate change has been used as part of a "lawful excuse" defense in court.[80] Both The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian described the acquittal as embarrassment to the Brown Ministry.[81][82] In December 2008 The New York Times listed the acquittal in its annual list of the most influential ideas of the year.[83]

"Go Beyond Oil"[edit]

As part of their stance on renewable energy commercialisation, Greenpeace have launched the "Go Beyond Oil" campaign.[84] The campaign is focused on slowing, and eventually ending, the world's consumption of oil; with activist activities taking place against companies that pursue oil drilling as a venture. Much of the activities of the "Go Beyond Oil" campaign have been focused on drilling for oil in the Arctic and areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The activities of Greenpeace in the arctic have mainly involved the Edinburgh-based oil and gas exploration company, Cairn Energy; and range from protests at the Cairn Energy's headquarters[85] to scaling their oil rigs in an attempt to halt the drilling process.[86]

The "Go Beyond Oil" campaign also involves applying political pressure on the governments who allow oil exploration in their territories; with the group stating that one of the key aims of the "Go Beyond Oil" campaign is to "work to expose the lengths the oil industry is willing to go to squeeze the last barrels out of the ground and put pressure on industry and governments to move beyond oil."[84]

Nuclear power[edit]

Greenpeace views nuclear power as a relatively minor industry with major problems, such as environmental damage and risks from uranium mining, nuclear weapons proliferation, and unresolved questions concerning nuclear waste.[87] The organization argues that the potential of nuclear power to mitigate global warming is marginal, referring to the IEA energy scenario where an increase in world's nuclear capacity from 2608 TWh in 2007 to 9857 TWh by 2050 would cut global greenhouse gas emissions less than 5% and require 32 nuclear reactor units of 1000MW capacity built per year until 2050. According to Greenpeace the slow construction times, construction delays, and hidden costs, all limit the mitigation potential of nuclear power. This makes the IEA scenario technically and financially unrealistic. They also argue that binding massive amounts of investments on nuclear energy would take funding away from more effective solutions.[73] Greenpeace views the construction of Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Finland as an example of the problems on building new nuclear power.[88]

Anti-nuclear advertisement[edit]

In 1994, Greenpeace published an anti-nuclear newspaper advert which included a claim that nuclear facilities Sellafield would kill 2,000 people in the next 10 years, and an image of a hydrocephalus-affected child said to be a victim of nuclear weapons testing in Kazakhstan. Advertising Standards Authority viewed the claim concerning Sellafield unsubstantiated, and ASA did not accept that the child's condition was caused by radiation. This resulted in banning of the advert. Greenpeace did not admit fault, stating that a Kazakhstan doctor had said that the child's condition was due to nuclear testing. Adam Woolf from Greenpeace also stated that, "fifty years ago there were many experts who would be lined up and swear there was no link between smoking and bad health."[89] The UN has estimated that the nuclear weapon tests in Kazakhstan caused about 100,000 people to suffer over three generations.[90]

EDF spying conviction and appeal[edit]

In 2011, a French court fined Électricité de France (EDF) €1.5m and jailed two senior employees for spying on Greenpeace, including hacking into Greenpeace's computer systems. Greenpeace was awarded €500,000 in damages.[91] Although EDF claimed that a security firm had only been employed to monitor Greenpeace, the court disagreed, jailing the head and deputy head of EDF's nuclear security operation for three years each. EDF appealed the conviction, the company was cleared of conspiracy to spy on Greenpeace and the fine was cancelled.[92] Two employees of the security firm, Kargus, run by a former member of France's secret services, received sentences of three and two years respectively.[93]

Forest campaign[edit]

Greenpeace aims at protecting intact primary forests from deforestation and degradation with the target of zero deforestation by 2020. Greenpeace has accused several corporations, such as Unilever,[94] Nike,[95] KFC, KitKat and McDonald's[96] of having links to the deforestation of the tropical rainforests, resulting in policy changes in several of the companies under criticism.[97][98][99] Greenpeace, together with other environmental NGOs, also campaigned for ten years for the EU to ban import of illegal timber. The EU decided to ban illegal timber on July 2010.[100] As deforestation contributes to global warming, Greenpeace has demanded that REDD (Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) should be included in the climate treaty following the Kyoto treaty.[101]

Another Greenpeace movement concerning the rain forests is discouraging palm oil industries.[102] The movement has been the most active in Indonesia where already 6 million hectares are used for palm oil plantation and has plans for another 4 million hectares by 2015. Acknowledging that mass production of palm oil may be disastrous on biodiversity of forests, Greenpeace is actively campaigning against the production, urging the industries and the government to turn to other forms of energy resources. One of the positive results of the campaign was GAR(Golden Agri-Resources),[103] the world's second largest palm oil production company, deciding to commit itself to forest conservation. The company signed an agreement which prevents them from developing plantations in areas where large amounts of carbon are locked up.

Removal of an ancient tree[edit]

In June 1995, Greenpeace took a trunk of a tree from the forests of the proposed national park of Koitajoki[104] in Ilomantsi, Finland and put it on display at exhibitions held in Austria and Germany. Greenpeace said in a press conference that the tree was originally from a logged area in the ancient forest which was supposed to be protected. Metsähallitus accused Greenpeace of theft and said that the tree was from a normal forest and had been left standing because of its old age. Metsähallitus also said that the tree had actually crashed over a road during a storm.[105] The incident received publicity in Finland, for example in the large newspapers Helsingin Sanomat and Ilta-Sanomat.[106] Greenpeace replied that the tree had fallen down because the protective forest around it had been clearcut, and that they wanted to highlight the fate of old forests in general, not the fate of one particular tree.[107] Greenpeace also highlighted that Metsähallitus admitted the value of the forest afterwards as Metsähallitus currently refers to Koitajoki as a distinctive area because of its old growth forests.[108][109]

'Tokyo Two'[edit]

Main article: Tokyo Two

In 2008, two Greenpeace anti-whaling activists, Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, stole a case of whale meat from a delivery depot in Aomori prefecture, Japan. Their intention was to expose what they considered embezzlement of the meat collected during whale hunts. After a brief investigation of their allegations was ended, Sato and Suzuki were arrested and charged with theft and trespass.[110] Amnesty International said that the arrests and following raids on Greenpeace Japan office and homes of five of Greenpeace staff members were aimed at intimidating activists and non-governmental organizations.[111] They were convicted of theft and trespass in September 2010 by the Aomori district court.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)[edit]

Greenpeace has also supported the rejection of GM food from the US in famine-stricken Zambia as long as supplies of non-genetically engineered grain exist, stating that the US "should follow in the European Union's footsteps and allow aid recipients to choose their food aid, buying it locally if they wish. This practise can stimulate developing economies and creates more robust food security", adding that, "if Africans truly have no other alternative, the controversial GE maize should be milled so it can't be planted. It was this condition that allowed Zambia's neighbours Zimbabwe and Malawi to accept it."[112] After Zambia banned all GM food aid, the former agricultural minister of Zambia criticized, "how the various international NGOs that have spoken approvingly of the government's action will square the body count with their various consciences."[113] Concerning the decision of Zambia, Greenpeace has stated that, "it was obvious to us that if no non-GM aid was being offered then they should absolutely accept GM food aid. But the Zambian government decided to refuse the GM food. We offered our opinion to the Zambian government and, as many governments do, they disregarded our advice."[114]

Greenpeace on golden rice[edit]

Greenpeace opposes the planned use of golden rice, a variety of Oryza sativa rice produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesize beta-carotene, a precursor of pro-vitamin A in the edible parts of rice. The addition of beta-carotene to the rice is seen as preventative to loss of sight in poverty stricken countries where golden rice is intended for distribution. According to Greenpeace, golden rice has not managed to do anything about malnutrition for 10 years during which alternative methods are already tackling malnutrition. The alternative proposed by Greenpeace is to discourage mono-cropping and to increase production of crops which are naturally nutrient-rich (containing other nutrients not found in golden rice in addition to beta-carotene). Greenpeace argues that resources should be spent on programs that are already working and helping to relieve malnutrition.[115] The Golden Rice Project acknowledges that, "While the most desirable option is a varied and sufficient diet, this goal is not always achievable, at least not in the short term."[116]

The renewal of these concerns coincided with the publication of a paper in the journal Nature about a version of golden rice with much higher levels of beta carotene.[117] This "golden rice 2" was developed and patented by Syngenta, which provoked Greenpeace to renew its allegation that the project is driven by profit motives.[118] Dr. C.S. Prakash, who is the director of the Center for Plant Biotechnology Research at Tuskegee University and is president of the AgBioWorld Foundation expressed the opinion that, "[c]ritics condemned biotechnology as something that is purely for profit, that is being pursued only in the West, and with no benefits to the consumer. Golden Rice proves them wrong, so they need to discredit it any way they can."[119]

Although Greenpeace had stated that efficiency was its primary concern, as early as 2001,[120] statements from March and April 2005 also continued to express concern over human health and environmental safety.[121][122] Greenpeace has opposed releasing golden rice to fields as opposed to farming in greenhouses, which according to golden rice developer Ingo Potrykus, limits the amount of material needed for human safety testing.[123]

Doctor Patrick Moore says that the very reason for malnutrition is that the families cannot afford much else than rice.[124] According to doctor Adrian Dubock, golden rice would not cost more than ordinary rice and now vitamin A deficiency is the main reason for blindness and responsible for 28% of child mortality.[125] Now vitamin A deficiency blinds and kills at least hundreds of thousands of children every year.[126]

On July 14, 2011, Greenpeace paid the reparations when its members broke into the premises of an Australian scientific research organization CSIRO and destroyed a genetically modified wheat plot that would have a lower glycemic index and hence benefit people who are diabetic. The sentencing judge, Justice Hilary Penfold, accused Greenpeace of cynically using junior members to avoid custodial sentences, while the offenders were given 9 month suspended sentences.[23][24][25]

On August 8, 2013, an experimental plot of golden rice by International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines was uprooted.[127][128] Mark Lynas, former anti-GMO activist, reported that the action was in reality carried out by a group of 50 anti-GMO activists.[129] Greenpeace representatives defended the vandals.[126]

Dr. Jim Peacock (former chief scientist of Australia and president of the Australian Academy of Science) accused Greenpeace of being anti-science and spreading misinformation immorally.[130]

Toxic waste[edit]

In July 2011, Greenpeace released its Dirty Laundry report accusing some of the world's top fashion and sportswear brands of releasing toxic waste into China's rivers.[131] The report profiles the problem of water pollution resulting from the release of toxic chemicals associated with the country's textile industry. Investigations focused on wastewater discharges from two facilities in China; one belonging to the Youngor Group located on the Yangtze River Delta and the other to Well Dyeing Factory Ltd. located on a tributary of the Pearl River Delta. Scientific analysis of samples from both facilities revealed the presence of hazardous and persistent hormone disruptor chemicals, including alkylphenols, perfluorinated compounds and perfluorooctane sulfonate.

The report goes on to assert that the Youngor Group and Well Dyeing Factory Ltd. - the two companies behind the facilities - have commercial relationships with a range of major clothing brands, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Bauer Hockey, Calvin Klein, Converse, Cortefiel, H&M, Lacoste, Li Nang, Metersbonwe Group, Nike, Phillips-Van Heusen and Puma AG.

In 2013 Greenpeace launched the "Detox Fashion" campaign, which signed up some fashion brands to stop the discharge of toxic chemicals into rivers as a result of the production of their clothes.[132]

Save the Arctic[edit]

Main article: Save the Arctic

In continuity of the successful campaign to reach the Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, in 2012 and 2013 protests with "Save the Arctic" banners were started. To stop oil- and gas-drilling, industrial fishing and military operations in the Arctic region completely, a "global sanctuary in the high arctic" was demanded from the World leaders at the UN General Assembly: "We want them to pass a UN resolution expressing international concern for the Arctic." A resolution to protect the very vulnerable wildlife and ecosystem.[133] 30 Arctic Sunrise activists were arrested in the Pechora Sea, 19 September 2013, witnessing oil-drilling and protesting at the Gazprom platform Prirazlomnaya by the Russian Coast Guard.[134] Greenpeace members were originally charged with Piracy, then later downgraded to hooliganism, before being dropped altogether following the passage of an amnesty law by the Russian government.[135]

In July 2014, Greenpeace launched a global boycott campaign to persuade Lego to cease producing toys carrying the oil company Shell’s logo in response to Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. [136] Lego’s partnership with Shell dates back to the 1960s, although the LEGO company created a fictional oil company called Octan. Octan has appeared in countless sets, computer and console games, can be seen at Legoland parks, and is featured as the corporation headed by the villain President Business in The Lego Movie.[137]

On July 9, 2014, Greenpeace Co-Founder Dr Patrick Moore stated, "I fear a global cooling, Let’s hope for a little warming as opposed to a little cooling. I would rather it got a little warmer." [138]

Ships[edit]

Since Greenpeace was founded, seagoing ships have played a vital role in its campaigns. Now that the Rainbow Warrior III has been completed, the group has three ocean-going ships, the Esperanza, Arctic Sunrise and Rainbow Warrior III.[139]

First Rainbow Warrior[edit]

In 1978, Greenpeace launched the original Rainbow Warrior, a 40-metre (130 ft), former fishing trawler named for the Cree legend that inspired early activist Robert Hunter on the first voyage to Amchitka. Greenpeace purchased the Rainbow Warrior (originally launched as the Sir William Hardy in 1955) at a cost of £40,000. Volunteers restored and refitted it over a period of four months. First deployed to disrupt the hunt of the Icelandic whaling fleet, the Rainbow Warrior would quickly become a mainstay of Greenpeace campaigns. Between 1978 and 1985, crew members also engaged in direct action against the ocean-dumping of toxic and radioactive waste, the Grey Seal hunt in Orkney and nuclear testing in the Pacific. In May 1985, the vessel was instrumental for 'Operation Exodus', the evacuation of about 300 Rongelap Atoll islanders whose home had been contaminated with nuclear fallout from a US nuclear test two decades ago which had never been cleaned up and was still having severe health effects on the locals.[140]

Later in 1985 the Rainbow Warrior was to lead a flotilla of protest vessels into the waters surrounding Moruroa atoll, site of French nuclear testing. The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior occurred when the French government secretly bombed the ship in Auckland harbour on orders from François Mitterrand himself. This killed Dutch freelance photographer Fernando Pereira, who thought it was safe to enter the boat to get his photographic material after a first small explosion, but drowned as a result of a second, larger explosion.[141] The attack was a public relations disaster for France after it was quickly exposed by the New Zealand police. The French Government in 1987 agreed to pay New Zealand compensation of NZ$13 million and formally apologised for the bombing. The French Government also paid 2.3 million compensation to the family of the photographer. Later, in 2001, when the Institute of Cetacean Research of Japan called Greenpeace "eco-terrorists", Gert Leipold, then Executive Director of Greenpeace, detested the claim, saying "calling non violent protest terrorism insults those who were injured or killed in the attacks of real terrorists, including Fernando Pereira, killed by State terrorism in the 1985 attack on the Rainbow Warrior".[142]

Second Rainbow Warrior[edit]

Greenpeace's second Rainbow Warrior ship arrives in Bali for the 2007 UN climate conference.

In 1989 Greenpeace commissioned a replacement vessel, also named the Rainbow Warrior (also referred as Rainbow Warrior II), which was retired from service on the 16th of August 2011 to be replaced by the third Rainbow Warrior. In 2005 the Rainbow Warrior II ran aground on and damaged the Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines while inspecting the reef for coral bleaching. Greenpeace was fined US$7,000 for damaging the reef and agreed to pay the fine saying they felt responsible for the damage, although Greenpeace stated that the Philippines government had given it outdated charts. The park manager of Tubbataha appreciated the quick action Greenpeace took to assess the damage to the reef.[143]

Other vessels[edit]

Greenpeace's ship MV Arctic Sunrise in the harbour of Helsinki.

Along with the Rainbow Warriors, Greenpeace has had several other ships in its service: MV Sirius, MV Solo, MV Greenpeace, MV Arctic Sunrise and MV Esperanza, the last two being in service today.

Reactions and responses to Greenpeace activities[edit]

Lawsuits have been filed against Greenpeace for lost profits,[144] reputation damage[145] and "sailormongering".[146] In 2004 it was revealed that the Australian government was willing to offer a subsidy to Southern Pacific Petroleum on the condition that the oil company would take legal action against Greenpeace, which had campaigned against the Stuart Oil Shale Project.[147]

Some corporations, such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Électricité de France have reacted to Greenpeace campaigns by spying on Greenpeace activities and infiltrating Greenpeace offices.[148][149] Greenpeace activists have also been targets of phone tapping, death threats, violence[34] and even state terrorism in the case of the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior.[150][151]

Criticism[edit]

Canadian ecologist Patrick Moore, an early Greenpeace member, left the organization in 1986 when it, according to Moore, decided to support a universal ban on chlorine[152] in drinking water.[19] Moore has argued that Greenpeace today is motivated by politics rather than science and that none of his "fellow directors had any formal science education".[19] Bruce Cox, Director of Greenpeace Canada, responded that Greenpeace has never demanded a universal chlorine ban and that Greenpeace does not oppose use of chlorine in drinking water or in pharmaceutical uses, adding that "Mr. Moore is alone in his recollection of a fight over chlorine and/or use of science as his reason for leaving Greenpeace."[153] Paul Watson, an early member of Greenpeace has said that Moore "uses his status as a so-called co-founder of Greenpeace to give credibility to his accusations. I am also a co-founder of Greenpeace and I have known Patrick Moore for 35 years.[...] Moore makes accusations that have no basis in fact".[154] More recently Moore as been particularly critical of Greenpeace's stance on golden rice, an issue where Moore has been joined by other environmentalists such as Mark Lynas,[155] claiming that Greenpeace has "waged a campaign of misinformation, trashed the scientists who are working to bring Golden Rice to the people who need it, and supported the violent destruction of Golden Rice field trials."[156]

Patrick Moore also reversed his position on nuclear power in 1976,[157] first opposing it and now supporting it.[158][159][160] In Australian newspaper The Age, he writes "Greenpeace is wrong — we must consider nuclear power".[161] He argues that any realistic plan to reduce reliance on fossil fuels or greenhouse gas emissions need increased use of nuclear energy.[158] Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace US responded that nuclear energy is too risky, takes too long to build to address climate change, and claims that most countries, including the U.S., could shift to nearly 100% renewable energy while phasing out nuclear power by 2050.[162][163]

A French journalist under the pen name Olivier Vermont wrote in his book La Face cachée de Greenpeace ("The Hidden Face of Greenpeace") that he had joined Greenpeace France and had worked there as a secretary. According to Vermont he found misconduct, and continued to find it, from Amsterdam to the International office. Vermont said he found classified documents[164] according to which half of the organization's € 180 million revenue was used for the organization's salaries and structure. He also accused Greenpeace of having unofficial agreements with polluting companies where the companies paid Greenpeace to keep them from attacking the company's image.[165] Animal protection magazine Animal People reported in March 1997 that Greenpeace France and Greenpeace International had sued Olivier Vermont and his publisher Albin Michel for issuing "defamatory statements, untruths, distortions of the facts and absurd allegations".[166]

Writing in Cosmos, journalist Wilson da Silva reacted to Greenpeace's destruction of a genetically modified wheat crop in Ginninderra as another sign that the organization has "lost its way" and had degenerated into a "sad, dogmatic, reactionary phalanx of anti-science zealots who care not for evidence, but for publicity".[167]

Press release blunder[edit]

In Philadelphia, in 2006, Greenpeace issued a press release that said "In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world's worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE]". The final report warned of plane crashes and reactor meltdowns.[168] According to a Greenpeace spokesman, the memo was a joke that was accidentally released.[168]

Brent Spar Tanker[edit]

Research published in Natural Science journal Nature accused Greenpeace of not caring for facts, when it criticized the dumping of the Brent Spar tanker, and accused the group of exaggerating the volume of oil that was stored in the tanker.[169] Greenpeace had claimed that the tanker contained 5,500 tonnes of crude oil, when in fact it contained much less.[170]

Shell UK took three years to evaluate disposal option and concluded that the disposal of the tanker in the deep ocean was the "Best Practicable Environmental Option" (BPEO), an option which gained some support within the scientific community, as it was found by some to be of "negligible" environmental impact.[170] British government and Oslo and Paris Commissions (OSPAR) accepted the solution.[170]

The resulting campaign against Shell's proposals (including violence and boycotts in Germany) caused the company to cancel the operation and announce that it had failed in communicating its plans sufficiently to the public, admitting they had underestimated the strength of public opinion.[170]

In 1999 the Brent Spar container was decommissioned and the legs of the structure were found to contain cold-water coral species (Lophelia pertusa). As a result, proposals were made to keep the legs of such platforms on the sea bed in future, to serve as habitat.[170][171][172] Greenpeace opposed the proposals, citing the fact that the reefs formed by the coral are at risk, not the coral itself, and that such a move would not promote development of such reefs, and expose coral species to toxic substances found in oil.[173]

Pascal Husting commute[edit]

In 2013 reports noted that Pascal Husting, the director of Greenpeace International's "international programme" was commuting 250 miles via plane, despite Greenpeace's activism to reduce air travel due to carbon footprint.[174][175][176]Greenpeace has said "the growth in aviation is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate change".[177] After a "public uproar" Greenpeace announced that Husting would commute via train in the future.[178][179]

Regional offices[edit]

Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand[edit]

Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand was founded in 1974, two years after the original Greenpeace, and is one of New Zealand's largest environmental organizations.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific[edit]

Greenpeace Australia commenced operation in the 1970s. In early 1998 Greenpeace Australia and Greenpeace Pacific teamed up to become Greenpeace Australia Pacific (GPAP), one of the region's largest environmental organisations.[180]

Greenpeace Chile[edit]

In Chile, the organization is affiliated as "Greenpeace Chile" was founded in 1981 and is a government recognized NGO there.[181]

Greenpeace East Asia[edit]

Main article: Greenpeace East Asia

Greenpeace East Asia's first office was opened in Hong Kong in 1997. Greenpeace East Asia now campaigns in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea.[182]

This branch also occasionally works with local education institutions, including Geography Society of PLK Vicwood KT Chong Sixth Form College between 2008 and 2009.

Greenpeace India[edit]

Greenpeace India has been working on various issues related to the environment since 2001. Their work in India is focused on four broad campaigns; Stop Climate Change, Sustainable Agriculture, Defending Our Oceans, and Nuclear. Over the years Greenpeace India has built a strong base of supporters spread across the country.

In June-2014, Indian Intelligence Bureau in an internal report to Prime Minister's Office accused Greenpeace and other lobby groups of hurting economic progress by campaigning against power projects, mining and genetically modified food[183]

Greenpeace Nordic[edit]

Main article: Greenpeace Nordic

Greenpeace Nordic is registered in Stockholm with offices also in Helsinki, Copenhagen and Oslo.

Greenpeace USA[edit]

Main article: Greenpeace USA

Greenpeace USA was founded in 1974, three years after the original Greenpeace, and is one of the United States largest environmental organisations. Executive Directors of Greenpeace USA have included Richard Grossman, Barbara Dudley, Steve Sawyer, John Passacantando, and Phil Radford.

Greenteams and Greenwire[edit]

Greenpeace supports small local groups of youths and children who want to join or found a "Greenteam", by providing them with free info materials and mentoring.[184][185][186]

An online platform for community organizing, Greenwire, has been launched globally and for a number of countries: Belgium, France, India, Netherlands, Russia, Thailand and the USA. [187]

See also[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]