Greenpeace: At the Front Lines in the War Against the Environment
A brief history of Greenpeace, its goals and its activism.
Greenpeace is a non-governmental organization whose purpose is to draw the world's attention to corporate practices that are destroying the environment by engaging in actions that seek to disrupt or stop those practices. The organization has offices in over forty countries around the globe, overseen by its international coordinating body in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In the words of its charter, Greenpeace states its goal: "to ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity." Its focus is on world-wide issues such as climate change and global warming, overfishing, commercial whaling and nuclear power, to name just a few. No funding is accepted from governments and corporations; all of its funding comes from private donors (2.8 million in 2011) and foundation grants.
Origins of Greenpeace
Greenpeace traces its roots back to Vancouver, British Columbia, in the early 1970s, evolving out of the peace movements and anti-nuclear protests of those days. On September 15, 1971, the Don't Make a Wave Committee sent a chartered ship, the Phyllis Cormack, re-named Greenpeace for the protest, from Vancouver to Amchitka, Alaska to protest the United States testing of nuclear explosives there. Soon after this action the Don't Make a Wave Committee formally changed its name to Greenpeace.
In a few short years Greenpeace expanded to several countries and began campaigning on additional environmental issues such as toxic waste dumping and commercial whaling, and soon the regional operations formed Greenpeace International to oversee its efforts globally. According to wikipedia: "Greenpeace received international attention during the 1980s when the French Intelligence Agency bombed the Rainbow Warrior in Aukland, New Zealand's Waitemata Harbor, one of the most well-known vessels operated by Greenpeace, killing one individual. In the following years Greenpeace evolved into one of the largest environmental organizations in the world."
Acts of heroism
Greenpeace activists often put their lives on the line during the actions they take against corporate polluters and planet-rapists. No other organization has done more to raise public awareness and consciousness about environmental issues of the utmost importance.
On Tuesday, August 23, 2001, six Greenpeace activists, from their ship Arctic Sunrise, occupied the Russian oil drilling rig Prirazlomnaya in the Arctic Ocean to protest the country's risky plans to drill in the fragile and pristine ecosystem there. The group included Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, who tweeted from the site, "Melting Arctic Ice is a warning, not a business opportunity."
Greenpeace Campaigner Dima Litvimnov, also tweeted "This is the face of Arctic destruction. Prirazlomnaya is the first ice-capable permanent oil platform in the Arctic. It is a perfect example - a personification of the slowly creeping industrialization of this pristine area. And especially, given the information that is coming in all the time about the rapidly decreasing ice cover in the Arctic, it is an obscenity. It is an insult that the same companies that are responsible for this crisis are now seeking to profit from it."
All hail the heroes of Greenpeace.
Links: Extreme Melting in the Arctic
Greenpeace Shutters 77 Shell Gas Stations in Europe
The Rush is on to Mine Greenland's Resources
First photo from commondreams.org
All others from wikimedia commons