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Greenpeace is a non-governmental organization for the protection and conservation of the environment. Greenpeace uses direct action, lobbying and research to achieve its goals. Greenpeace has a worldwide presence with national and regional offices in 46 countries, which are affiliated to the Amsterdam-based Greenpeace International. The global organization receives its income through the individual contributions of almost 3 million financial supporters.

Greenpeace evolved from the peace movement and anti-nuclear protests in Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker in the early 1970's. On September 15, 1971, the Don't Make a Wave Committee sent the eighty foot halibut seiner Phyllis Cormack, renamed Greenpeace for the protest, from Vancouver, to oppose United Statesmarker testing of nuclear devices in Amchitkamarker, Alaskamarker. While the boat never reached its destination and was turned back by the US military, this campaign was deemed the first using the name Greenpeace. The organisation itself dates its birth to the first protest. The focus of the organization later turned from anti-nuclear protest to other environmental issues: whaling, bottom trawling, global warming, old growth, nuclear power, and genetically modified organisms.

Campaigns of Greenpeace have raised environmental issues to public knowledge and influenced both the private and the public sector, but the organisation has also received criticism for it's methods and motives.

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

History

Origins

In the late 1960's, the U.S.marker had plans for an underground nuclear weapon test in the tectonically unstable island of Amchitkamarker at Alaskamarker. Because of the 1964 Alaska earthquake the plans raised some concerns of the test triggering earthquakes and causing a tsunami. Anti-nuclear activits protested against the test on the border of U.S. and Canada with signs reading "Don't Make A Wave. It's Your Fault If Our Fault Goes". The protests did not stop the US from detonating the bomb.

While no earthquake nor 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 during the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Irving and Dorothy Stowe, a quaker couple. As memembers of the Sierra Club they were frustrated in the lack of action by the organization. From Irving Stowe, Jim Bohlen learned of form of passive resistance, "bearing witness", where objectionable activity is protested simply by mere presence. 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. The Sierra Club did not like this connection and in 1970 Jim and Marie Bohlen, Irving and Dorothy Stowe and Paul Cote, a law student and peace activist founded The Don't Make a Wave Committee. Early meetings were held in the Shaughnessy home of Robert and Bobbi Hunter. The first office was opened in a back-room, storefront off Broadway on Cypress in Kitsilano, (Vancouver).

Don't Make a Wave Committee chartered a ship, Phyllis Cormack owned and sailed by John Cormack. The ship was renamed Greenpeace for the protest after a term coined by activist Bill Darnell. In the fall of 1971 the ship sailed towards Amchitka and faced the U.S. navy ship Confidence. Even though the crew of the Confidence supported the cause of Greenpeace the activists were forced 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 the support from the crew of the Confidence had generated widespread compassion for their protest. After this Greenpeace tried to navigate to the test site with other vessels, untill the U.S. detonated the bomb. The nuclear test gained widespread criticism and the U.S. decided not to continue with their test plans at Amchitka. In 1972 The Don't Make a Wave committee changed their official name to Greenpeace Foundation. While the organization was founded under a different name in 1970 and was officially named Greenpeace in 1972, the organization currently dates it's birth to the first protest of 1971.

First campaigns after Amchitka

After the nuclear tests at Amchitka were over, Greenpeace moved it's focus to the French atmospheric nuclear weapons testing at the Moruroa Atoll in French Polynesiamarker. 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 ketch owned by David McTaggart, was renamed Greenpeace III and sailed in an anti-nuclear protest into the exclusion zone at Mururoa to attempt to disrupt French nuclear testing. This voyage was sponsored and organized by the New Zealandmarker branch of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The French Navy tried to stop the protest in several ways, for example by assaulting David McTaggart. After the assault came in to publicity, France announced it would stop the atmospheric nuclear tests.

In the mid 1970's 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. After Irving Stowe died in 1975, Phyllis Cormack left from Vancouvermarker to face Soviet whalers in the coast of Californiamarker. Greenpeace activists disrupted the whaling by going between the harpoons and the whales and the footage of the protests spread across the world. Later in the 1970's the organization widened their focus to toxic waste and commercial seal hunting.

Organizational developement

Greenpeace evolved into a less conservative and structured collective of environmentalists who were more reflective of the counterculture and hippie youth movements of the 1960s and 1970s. 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. Historian 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."

By 1977 there were 15 to 20 Greenpeace groups around the world. After the incidents of Moruroa, David McTaggart had moved to France to battle in court with the French state and helped to develope the cooperation of European Greenpeace groups. In 1979, the original Vancouvermarker-based Greenpeace Foundation encountered financial difficulties, and the North American offices were reluctant to be under the authority of the Vancouver office and it's president Patrick Moore. Disputes between offices over fund-raising and organizational direction split the global movement.

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. On October 14, 1979, Greenpeace International came into existence. 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. Some Greenpeace groups, namely London Greenpeace and the US based Greenpeace Foundation however decided to remain independent from Greenpeace International.

Organization

Governance

Greenpeace's regional and national offices.
Greenpeace consists of Greenpeace International (offically Stichting Greenpeace Council) based in Amsterdammarker, Netherlandsmarker, and 28 regional offices operating in 41 countries. 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 held by Lalita Ramdas.

Each regional office is led by an regional executive director eleced by the regional board of directors. The regional boards also appoint a representative to The Greenpeace International Annual general meeting, where the representatives 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 representatives of regional offices and Greenpeace International board of directors.

Funding

Greenpeace receives its funding from individual supporters and trusts. The organisation does not accept money from governments or corporations in order to avoid their influence. Greenpeace was the first organization to use face-to-face fundraising in order reach new supporters since in the mid 1990's the number of older supporters started to decrease. In 2005, most of the 169,6 million € received by the organization was donated by about 2,7 million regular supporters, mainly from Europe.

Priorities and campaigns

Greenpeace runs campaigns and projects which fit into the "Issues" (as campaign areas are called within Greenpeace) categories below. Besides exposing problems such as over-fishing or threats linked to nuclear power, such as harmful radiation and proliferation, Greenpeace campaigns for alternative solutions such as marine reserves and renewable energy.

The organization currently addresses many and varied environmental issues with a primary focus on efforts to stop global warming and the preservation of the world's oceans and ancient forests. In addition to conventional environmental organization methods, such as lobbying businesses and politicians and participating in international conferences, Greenpeace uses direct action to attract attention to particular environmental problems.

For example, activists place themselves between the whaler's harpoons and their prey or invade nuclear facilities dressed as barrels of radioactive waste. Currently Greenpeace is in the midst of a campaign called Project Hot Seat, which is geared toward placing pressure on the United States Congress to stop global warming. Other initiatives include the development of a fuel-efficient car, the SmILE.

Current priorities

Below is a list of Greenpeace's current priorities:

Solar Electricity

The EPIA/Greenpeace Advanced Scenario shows that by the year 2030, Photovoltaic systems could be generating approximately 2,600 TWh of electricity around the world. This means that, assuming a serious commitment is made to energy efficiency, enough solar power would be produced globally in twenty-five years’ time to satisfy the electricity needs of almost 14% of the world’s population.

Fossil fuels phase-out

In the Greenpeace and EREC´s Energy evolution scenario, the world could eliminate fossil fuel use by 2090.

Think tanks

Think tanks, under the Greenpeace umbrella, propose blueprints for the world's transition to renewable energy. The focus is to reduce carbon emissions without compromising on economic growth. The Solar Generation project, conceived in 2000 by Greenpeace and the European Photo-voltaic Industry Association (EPIA), addresses major energy challenges facing the global society and charts out the solar energy remedies until 2050. Greenpeace think tanks also focus on individual nation's energy scenarios. For example, Greenpeace has published scenarios where renewable resources like solar can become the backbone of the economies of developing countries like India, by 2050.

Ships

Since Greenpeace was founded, seagoing ships have played a vital role in its campaigns.

In 1978, Greenpeace launched the original Rainbow Warriormarker, a , 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 Icelandicmarker whaling fleet, the Rainbow Warrior would quickly become a mainstay of Greenpeace campaigns. Between 1978 and 1985, crew members also engaged in non-violent direct action against the ocean-dumping of toxic and radioactive waste, the Grey Seal hunt in Orkneymarker and nuclear testing in the Pacific. Japan's Fisheries Agency has labeled Greenpeace ships as "anti-whaling vessels" and "environmental terrorists".

In May 1985, the vessel was instrumental for 'Operation Exodus', the evacuation of about 300 Rongelap Atollmarker 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.

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 Warriormarker occurred when the French government secretly bombed the ship in Aucklandmarker 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. 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.

In 1989 Greenpeace commissioned a replacement vessel, also named the Rainbow Warrior, which remains in service today as the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet.

In 1996 the Greenpeace vessel MV Sirius was detained by Dutch police while protesting the import of genetically modified soybeans due to the violation of a temporary sailing prohibition, which was implemented because the Sirius prevented their unloading. The ship, but not the captain, was released half an hour later.

In 2005 the Rainbow Warrior II ran aground on and damaged the Tubbataha Reefmarker in the Philippines while she was, ironically, on a mission to protect the very same reef. Greenpeace was fined $7,000 USD for damaging the reef and agreed to pay the fine, although it said that the Philippines government had given it outdated charts.

Along with the Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace organisation has two other ships:

Criticism

Greenpeace has been variously criticized for being too radical, too alarmist, or too mainstream, for using methods bordering on eco-terrorism, for having itself caused environmental damage in its activities, for taking positions which are not environmentally or economically sound, and for valuing non-human causes over human causes.

Early Greenpeace member Canadian Ecologist Patrick Moore left the organization in 1986 when it decided to support a universal ban on chlorine in drinking water, chlorine which Moore has called "the biggest advance in the history of public health" and "essential for our health." 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".

A French journalist under the pen name Olivier Vermont wrote in his book La Face cachée de Greenpeace that he had joined Greenpeace France and had worked there as a secretary. According to Vermont he found misconducts and continued to Amsterdam to the international office. Vermont said he found classified documents according to which half of the organisations 180 millon € revenue was used for the organisations salaries and structure, while the organisation some time set unnofficial agreements with polluting companies to get donation in exchange of not attacking the company's image. 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”.

Greenpeace Works

In March, 2007 a division dedicated to working more closely with the entertainment community, founded by Mark Warford and former Eurythmic Dave Stewart was established in Hollywood. Inaugural projects included the music release of 'Go Green', a celebrity-laden pop song that included Dave Stewart, Annie Lennox, Sarah McLachlan and newcomer Nadirah X and a cultural exchange with Greenpeace China and the Hollywoodmarker community. The affiliation with Greenpeace was closed in October, 2007 due to gross misalignment. Founders Mark Warford and Dave Stewart continue under the banner of Weapons of Mass Entertainment.

See also



References

Further reading

  • David McTaggart with Robert Hunter, Greenpeace III: Journey into the Bomb (London: William Collins Sons & Co., 1978). ISBN 0 211885 8
  • Robert Hunter, Warriors of the Rainbow: A Chronicle of the Greenpeace Movement (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979). ISBN 0-03-043736-9
  • Michael King, Death of the Rainbow Warrior (Penguin Books, 1986). ISBN 0-14-009738-4
  • John McCormick, The Global Environmental Movement (John Wiley, 1995)
  • David Robie, Eyes of Fire: The Last Voyage of the Rainbow Warrior (Philadelphia: New Society Press, 1987). ISBN 0-86571-114-3
  • Michael Brown and John May, The Greenpeace Story (1989; London and New York: Dorling Kindersley, Inc., 1991). ISBN 1-879431-02-5
  • Rex Weyler (2004), Greenpeace: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists and Visionaries Changed the World, Rodale
  • Kieran Mulvaney and Mark Warford (1996): Witness: Twenty-Five Years on the Environmental Front Line, Andre Deutsch.


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