Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with
offices in over 40 countries and with an international coordinating
body in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Greenpeace was founded by
Irving Stowe and Dorothy Stowe, Canadian and US ex-pat environmental
activists in 1971.
Greenpeace states its goal is to "ensure the
ability of the
Earth to nurture life in all its diversity" and
focuses its campaigning on worldwide issues such as climate change,
deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering,
and anti-nuclear issues. It uses direct action, lobbying, research,
and ecotage 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
Greenpeace has a general consultative status with the
United Nations Economic and Social Council and is a founding
member of the I
NGO 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 and has been described as
the most visible environmental organization in the world.
Greenpeace has raised environmental issues to public
knowledge, and influenced both the private and the public
Greenpeace has also been a source of controversy;
its motives and methods (some of the latter being illegal) have
received criticism, including an open letter from more than
100 Nobel laureates urging
Greenpeace to end its campaign against
genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The organization's direct
actions have sparked legal actions against Greenpeace
activists, such as fines and suspended sentences for
destroying a test plot of genetically modified wheat and
damaging the Nazca Lines, a
UN World Heritage
UN World Heritage site in Peru.
1.1.1 Founders and founding time of Greenpeace
1.2 After Amchitka
1.3 Organizational development
2 Organizational structure
3 Summary of priorities and campaigns
4 Climate and energy
4.1 Kingsnorth court case
4.2 "Go Beyond Oil"
4.3 Nuclear power
4.3.2 EDF spying conviction and appeal
4.4 Cool IT Leaderboard
4.5 Ozone Layer and Greenfreeze
5 Forest campaign
5.1 Removal of an ancient tree
6 Tokyo Two
7 Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
Greenpeace on golden rice
8 Toxic waste
8.1 Guide to Greener Electronics
9 Save the Arctic
9.1 In Norway
10.1 In service
10.2 Previously in service
10.2.1 First Rainbow Warrior
10.2.2 Second Rainbow Warrior
11 Reactions and responses to
Brent Spar tanker
12.2 Pascal Husting commute
12.3 Nazca Lines
12.4 Anti-whaling campaign in
Norway in the 1990s
12.5 Open letter from Nobel laureates
13 See also
15 Further reading
16 External links
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 people blocked the
Peace Arch Border
British Columbia and Washington, carrying signs
reading "Don't Make A Wave. It's Your Fault If Our Fault Goes".
The protests did not stop the U.S. from detonating the bomb.
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 in the U.S. Navy, and
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. From Irving Stowe,
Jim Bohlen learned of a 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
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 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 Street became the headquarters. 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. The first office was opened in a backroom,
storefront on Cypress and West Broadway SE corner in Kitsilano,
Vancouver. Within half a year
Greenpeace would move in to share
the upstairs office space with The Society Promoting Environmental
Conservation at 4th and Maple in Kitsilano.
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. Amchitka, the 1970 concert that launched
Greenpeace in November 2009 on CD and is also available
as an 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
Greenpeace for the protest after a term coined by activist
In the autumn of 1971, the ship sailed towards
Amchitka and faced the
U.S. Coast Guard ship Confidence 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. After this
to navigate to the test site with other vessels, until the U.S.
detonated the bomb. 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
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 28 November
1969. According to the
Greenpeace web site, The Don't Make a Wave
Committee was established in 1970. Certificate of incorporation of
Don't Make a Wave Committee dates the incorporation to the fifth
of October, 1970. Researcher Vanessa Timmer dates the official
incorporation to 1971.
Greenpeace itself calls the protest voyage
of 1971 as "the beginning". 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
Greenpeace Foundation in 1972. 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 to the early members as "an unlikely group
of loosely organized protestors". 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". 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".
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." Early Greenpeace
Rex Weyler says on his homepage that the insiders of
Greenpeace have debated about the founders since the mid-1970s.
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. 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
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. Media sources concerning Watson
report him being one of the founders of Greenpeace, with many
articles reporting him being a founder in 1972.
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
Greenpeace has stated that Watson was an influential early
member, but not one of the founders of Greenpeace. Watson has
Greenpeace of rewriting their history.
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.
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.
After the office in the Stowe home, (and after the first concert
Greenpeace functions moved to other private homes and
held public meetings weekly on Wednesday nights at the Kitsilano
Neighborhood House before settling, in the autumn of 1974, in a small
office shared with the SPEC environmental group at 2007 West 4th at
Maple in Kitsilano. 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. 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.
In the mid-1970s some
Greenpeace members started an independent
campaign, Project Ahab, against commercial whaling, since Irving Stowe
Greenpeace focusing on other issues than nuclear
weapons. After
Irving Stowe died in 1975, the Phyllis
Cormack sailed from
Vancouver to face Soviet whalers on the coast of
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
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.
MV Esperanza, a former fire-fighter owned by the Russian Navy, was
Greenpeace in 2002
Greenpeace evolved from a group of Canadian and American protesters
into a less conservative group 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.
In the mid-1970s independent groups using the name
springing up worldwide. By 1977, there were 15 to 20
around the world. At the same time the Canadian
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.
After the incidents of
David McTaggart had moved to
France to battle in court with the French state and helped to develop
the cooperation of European
Greenpeace groups. 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. 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 (dissolved in 2001) and the US-based
(still operational) however decided to remain independent from
The governance and management structure of Greenpeace.
Greenpeace consists of
Greenpeace International (officially Stichting
Greenpeace Council) based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and 26 regional
offices operating in 55 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 directors of
Greenpeace International are Bunny McDiarmid and Jennifer Morgan and
the current Chair of the Board is Ana Toni.
Greenpeace has a
staff of 2,400 and 15,000 volunteers globally.
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
Greenpeace in collaboration with the trustees of regional
Greenpeace International board of directors.
Greenpeace receives its funding from individual supporters and
Greenpeace screens all major donations in order to
ensure it does not receive unwanted donations. The organization
does not accept money from governments, intergovernmental
organizations, political parties or corporations in order to avoid
their influence. However,
Greenpeace does receive money from
the National Postcode Lottery, the biggest government-sponsored
lottery in the Netherlands, and several for profit companies like
Ben & Jerry's partner with and indicate they donate a percentage
of sales to
Greenpeace campaigns. 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. 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. In 2008, most of the €202.5 million received
by the organization was donated by about 2.6 million regular
supporters, mainly from Europe. In 2014, the annual revenue of
Greenpeace was reported to be about €300 million (US$400 million)
although they lost about €4 million (US$5 million) in currency
speculation that year.
Greenpeace street fundraiser talking to a passer-by.
In September 2003,
Public Interest Watch (PIW) complained to the
Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service that
Greenpeace USA tax returns were
inaccurate and in violation of the law. The IRS conducted an
extensive review and concluded in December 2005 that
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". 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
Phil Radford called for a Congressional
investigation into all politically motivated audits – including
those allegedly targeting the Tea Party Movement, the NAACP, and
Summary of priorities and campaigns
On its official website,
Greenpeace defines its mission as the
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.
Climate and energy
Greenpeace Climate March 2015 Madrid
Greenpeace was one of the first parties to formulate a sustainable
development scenario for climate change mitigation, which it did in
1993. According to sociologists Marc Mormont and Christine Dasnoy,
Greenpeace played a significant role in raising public awareness of
global warming in the 1990s. 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. In the early 1990s,
Greenpeace developed a
CFC-free refrigerator technology, "Greenfreeze" for mass production
together with the refrigerator industry. United Nations
Environment Programme awarded
Greenpeace for "outstanding
contributions to the protection of the Earth's ozone layer" in
1997. In 2011 two fifths of the world's total production of
refrigerators were based on Greenfreeze technology, with over 600
million units in use.
Greenpeace considers global warming to be the greatest
environmental problem facing the Earth.
Greenpeace calls for
global greenhouse gas emissions to peak in 2015 and to decrease as
close to zero as possible by 2050. To reach these numbers, Greenpeace
has called 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. Together with EREC,
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.
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, Svalbard,
Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Greenpeace is also critical
of extracting petroleum from oil sands and has used direct action to
block operations at the
Athabasca oil sands
Athabasca oil sands in Canada.
Kingsnorth court case
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
James E. Hansen
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. Both The Daily
The Guardian described the acquittal as embarrassment to
the Brown Ministry. In December 2008
The New York Times
The New York Times listed
the acquittal in its annual list of the most influential ideas of the
"Go Beyond Oil"
As part of their stance on renewable energy commercialisation,
Greenpeace have launched the "Go Beyond Oil" campaign. 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 to scaling their oil rigs in an attempt to halt the
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."
Protests by country
Greenpeace is opposed to nuclear power because it views it as
'dangerous, polluting, expensive and non-renewable'. The organization
highlights the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 and Fukushima
nuclear disaster of 2011 as evidence of the risk nuclear power can
pose to peoples lives, the environment and the economy. Greenpeace
views the benefits of nuclear power to be relatively minor in
comparison to its major problems and risks, such as environmental
damage and risks from uranium mining, nuclear weapons proliferation,
and unresolved questions concerning nuclear waste. 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 negate 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.
Greenpeace views the construction of
Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in
Finland as an example of the
problems on building new nuclear power.
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
as unsubstantiated, and ASA did not accept that the child's condition
was caused by radiation. This resulted in the 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
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." The UN has estimated that the nuclear
weapon tests in Kazakhstan caused about 100,000 people to suffer over
EDF spying conviction and appeal
In 2011, a French court fined
Électricité de France
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. 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. 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.
Cool IT Leaderboard
In May 2009,
Greenpeace started evaluating IT companies through Cool
IT Leaderboard. The central role these companies are playing gives the
opportunity to drive changes in the energy sector and achieve a
significant reduction in the greenhouse gases that cause the climate
The Leaderboard examines how the leading IT companies can use their
influence to drive these changes, which in the 6th edition the sector
shows slow but steady improvements in offering new solution that may
achieve important progress. There are companies willing to make major
investments to drive clean energy deployment and the number of
companies that are increasing their commitment, betting for renewable
energies, is also growing.
Big companies such as Google, Wipro, Sprint and Softbank have
prioritized changing the laws and policies that govern the energy
system and incentivise investments in advanced energy efficiency
technologies and renewable energy that will have a critical impact in
many countries to determine a meaningful break in energy policies.
In the Leaderboard we can find one main ranking with the overall
scores and another three rankings for each one of the evaluated areas
where we can find the top companies contributing in each.
Ozone Layer and Greenfreeze
The Ozone layers surrounding the
Earth absorb significant amounts of
ultraviolet radiation. A 1976 report by the US Academy of Sciences
supported the ozone "depletion hypothesis." Its suffering large
losses from chlorinated and nitrogenous compounds was reported in
1985. Earlier studies had led some countries to enact bans on
aerosol sprays, so that the Vienna Convention was signed in 1985
Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987 to go in force two years
later. The use of CFCs and HCFCs in refrigeration were and are
among the banned technologies. A German technological institute
developed an ozone-safe hydrocarbon alternative refrigerant which came
Greenpeace campaigner's attention in around 1992. The
rights to the technology were donated to Greenpeace, which maintained
it as an open source patent. With industry resistance,
able to rescue and engage a former East German manufacturer near
closure. Greenpeace's resourceful outreach and marketing resulted in
the technologies rapid widespread production in Germany, followed by
the banning of CFC technology. They then succeeded in getting
Greenfreeze used in China and elsewhere in Europe, and after some
years in Japan and South America, and finally in the US by 2012.
Greenpeace aims to protect intact primary forests from deforestation
and degradation with the target of zero deforestation by 2020.
Greenpeace has accused several corporations, such as Unilever,
Kit Kat and McDonald's of having links to the
deforestation of the tropical rainforests, resulting in policy changes
in several of the companies under criticism.
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 in July 2010. 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.
Greenpeace movement concerning the rain forests is
discouraging palm oil industries. 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), 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. An example of Greenpeace's success in the area
is a viral video protesting Nestlé's use of palm oil in
Kit Kat bars.
The video received over 1 million views, and resulted in a public
Nestlé claiming to no longer use such practices in their
Removal of an ancient tree
In June 1995,
Greenpeace took a trunk of a tree from the forests of
the proposed national park of Koitajoki in Ilomantsi,
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
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. The incident received
publicity in Finland, for example in the large newspapers Helsingin
Sanomat and Ilta-Sanomat.
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.
Greenpeace also highlighted
Metsähallitus admitted the value of the forest afterwards as
Metsähallitus currently refers to Koitajoki as a distinctive area
because of its old growth forests.
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 trespassing. 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.
They were convicted of theft and trespass in September 2010 by the
Aomori district court.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
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 practice 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." 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." Concerning the decision of Zambia,
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."
Greenpeace on golden rice
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
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. 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 and to
serve as propaganda aimed at increasing public opinion of GMO
Greenpeace had stated that the true efficiency of the golden
rice program in treating malnourished populations was its primary
concern as early as 2001, statements from March and April 2005
also continued to express concern over human health and environmental
safety. In particular,
Greenpeace has expressed concern over
the lack of safety testing being done on GMO crops such as golden rice
and of "playing with the lives of people...using Golden
promote more GMOs".
In June 2016, a conglomeration of 107 Nobel Laureates signed an open
Greenpeace to end its campaign against genetically
modified crops and Golden
Rice in particular. In the letter,
they also called upon governments of the world to "do everything in
their power to oppose Greenpeace's actions and accelerate the access
of farmers to all the tools of modern biology, especially seeds
improved through biotechnology." The letter states that "Opposition
based on emotion and dogma contradicted by data must be stopped."
Greenpeace responded stating that "Accusations that anyone is blocking
genetically engineered 'Golden' rice are false" and that they support
"...investing in climate-resilient ecological agriculture and
empowering farmers to access a balanced and nutritious diet, rather
than pouring money down the drain for GE 'Golden' rice."
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. 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
Youngor Group located on the
Yangtze River Delta
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
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 Ning, Metersbonwe Group,
Phillips-Van Heusen and Puma AG.
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.
Guide to Greener Electronics
In August 2006,
Greenpeace released the first edition of Guide to
Greener Electronics, a magazine where mobile and PC manufacturers were
ranked for their green performance, mainly based in the use of toxic
materials in their products and e-waste. In November 2011, the
criteria were updated, as the industry had progressed since 2006, with
the objective to get companies to set goals for greenhouse gas
reduction, the use of renewable power up to 100 percent, producing
long lasting products free of hazardous substances and increasing
sustainable practices. To ensure the transparency of the ranking the
companies are assessed based only on their public information. For
proving companies' policies and practices,
Greenpeace uses chemical
testing of products, reports from industry observers, media reports
and testing of consumer programs to check if they match with their
actions. Since the Guide was released in 2006, along with other
similar campaigns has driven numerous improvements, when companies
ranked eliminate toxic chemicals from their products and improve their
recycling schemes. The last published edition of Guide to Greener
Electronics was in 2017. The 2017 version included 17 major IT
companies and ranked them on three criteria: energy use, resource
consumption and chemical elimination.
Save the Arctic
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
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.
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. 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.
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.
Lego's partnership with Shell dates back to the 1960s, although the
LEGO company created a fictional oil company called Octan.
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.
There is a conflict over oil rigs in the
Arctic Ocean between the
Norwegian Government and Greenpeace. In 2013, three activists of
Greenpeace got on a Statoil's oil rig, wearing bear suits. According
to a spokesman from
Greenpeace Russia, they stayed on the rig for
about three hours. The activists in bear suits "were escorted" to the
Statoil reportedly did not intend to file a suit against
Greenpeace had argued that Statoil's drilling plans posed a threat to
Bear Island, an uninhabited wildlife sanctuary that is home to rare
species including polar bears, because an oil spill would be nearly
impossible to clean up in the
Arctic because of the harsh
Greenpeace regards the petroleum activities of
Statoil as "illegal".
Statoil denies the
According to The Maritime Executive (2014),
Statoil says "Statoil
respects people's right to make a legal protest, and we feel it is
important to have a democratic debate around the oil industry. We have
established robust plans for the operation, and feel confident they
can be carried out safely and without accidents."
On May 27, 2014, Greenpeace's ship, MV Esperanza, took over Transocean
Spitsbergen, oil rig of Statoil in the Barents Sea such that it
became incapable of operating. After that, the manager of Greenpeace
Norway Truls Gulowsen answered a phone interview, stating that
"Five protesters left the rig by helicopter last night and three
returned to a nearby
Greenpeace ship." There were seven more
protesters on the rig at the time, but the Norwegian police could not
remove them immediately because the rig was a flag of convenience ship
registered in the Marshall Islands and thus regarded as a ship in the
open sea, as long as it did not begin drilling. On May 29, however,
the seven activists from
Greenpeace were peacefully captured by
Norwegian police on the rig. Soon after, according to Reuters, all the
activists were set free without any fine. On May 30, the Norwegian
Coast Guard finally towed away Esperanza, though in the morning
Greenpeace submitted a plea on which more than 80,000 signatures to
the Norwegian Environment Minister
Tine Sundtoft in Oslo were written.
Norwegian government and police reportedly allowed the coast guard to
The Norwegian police stated that
Greenpeace to stop
preventing its activities, but
Greenpeace ignored the warning. The
police have stated that Greenpeace's interference with the petroleum
Statoil was the contrary to Norwegian law and ordered
Greenpeace to leave the Barents Sea site.
Statoil said delays to
the start of drilling cost the company about $1.26 million per
According to Reuters,
Statoil was slated to begin drilling "three oil
wells in the Apollo, Atlantis and Mercury prospects in the Hoop area,
[which is] some 300 km away from the mainland [of Norway]" in the
summer of 2014.
Greenpeace has continued to criticize the big oil
company for their "green wash," arguing that
Statoil hid the truth
that it is doing the risky oil drilling by holding "Lego League" with
Lego and distracting people's attention to the company's project, and
it also argues that
Statoil has to alter its attitude toward
environments (Norway's News in English 2014).
Greenpeace was founded, seagoing ships have played a vital role
in its campaigns.
Greenpeace's ship MV
Arctic Sunrise in the harbour of Helsinki.
Rainbow Warrior is the third vessel to bear the name. Launched in
2011, it is sometimes referred to as Rainbow Warrior III.
Previously in service
First Rainbow Warrior
Main article: Rainbow Warrior (1955)
See also: Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior
Greenpeace launched the original Rainbow Warrior, a 40-metre
(130 ft), former fishing trawler named for the book Warriors of
the Rainbow, which 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 earlier 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 Warrior occurred when the
French government secretly bombed the ship in
Auckland harbour on
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. 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".
Second Rainbow Warrior
Main article: Rainbow Warrior (1957)
Greenpeace's second Rainbow Warrior ship arrives in
Bali for the 2007
UN climate conference.
Greenpeace commissioned a replacement Rainbow Warrior vessel,
sometimes referred to as Rainbow Warrior II. It retired from service
on 16 August 2011, to be replaced by the third generation vessel. 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
Greenpeace took to assess the damage to the reef.
MV Beluga (in German)
Reactions and responses to
Lawsuits have been filed against
Greenpeace for lost profits,
reputation damage and "sailormongering". In 2004 it was
revealed that the Australian government was willing to offer a subsidy
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.
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. Greenpeace
activists have also been targets of phone tapping, death threats,
violence and even state terrorism in the case of the bombing of
the Rainbow Warrior.
Main article: Criticism of Greenpeace
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 in drinking water. Moore has argued
Greenpeace today is motivated by politics rather than science and
that none of his "fellow directors had any formal science
education". Bruce Cox, Director of
Greenpeace Canada, responded
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." Paul Watson, an early member of
Greenpeace has said that Moore "uses his status as a so-called
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".
More recently Moore has been particularly critical of Greenpeace's
stance on golden rice, an issue where Moore has been joined by other
environmentalists such as Mark Lynas, 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."
Patrick Moore also reversed his position on nuclear power in
1976, first opposing it and now supporting it. In
Australian newspaper The Age, he writes "
Greenpeace is wrong—we must
consider nuclear power". He argues that any realistic plan to
reduce reliance on fossil fuels or greenhouse gas emissions need
increased use of nuclear energy. Phil Radford, Executive Director
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.
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 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
Greenpeace to keep them from 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
Writing in Cosmos, journalist
Wilson da Silva reacted to Greenpeace's
destruction of a genetically modified wheat crop in
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".
Brent Spar tanker
Research published in natural science journal Nature accused
Greenpeace of not caring for facts, when it criticized the dumping of
Brent Spar tanker, and accused the group of exaggerating the
volume of oil that was stored in the tanker.
claimed that the tanker contained 5,500 tonnes of crude oil, while
Shell estimated it only contained 50 tonnes. However, the
measurements had been made under duress during a protest occupation of
the platform, since Shell had refused permission, and Greenpeace
activists had been under attack by water cannons and the
like. The BBC issued an apology to
Greenpeace for having
reported that the
Shell UK took three years to evaluate the disposal options, concluding
that the disposal of the tanker in the deep ocean was the "Best
Practicable Environmental Option" (BPEO), an option which gained some
support within some portion of the scientific community, as it was
found by some to be of "negligible" environmental impact. British
government and Oslo and Paris Commissions (OSPAR) accepted the
NGO campaign against Shell's proposals included letters,
boycotts which even escalated to vandalism in Germany, and lobbying at
intergovernmental conferences. Binding moratoriums supporting
Greenpeace's, ecosystem protection, and the precautionary principle
position were issued in more than one intergovernmental meeting, and
at the 1998 OSPAR Convention, WWF presented a study of toxic effects
on deep sea ecosystems. The meeting confirmed a general prohibition on
ocean dumping. Shell had transported the rig to the dumping site,
but in the last hours canceled the operation and announced that it had
failed in communicating its plans sufficiently to the public,
admitting they had underestimated the strength of public opinion.
In January, 1998, Shell issued a new BPEO indicating recycling the rig
as a quay in Norway.
In 1999, the
Brent Spar container was decommissioned and one side
issue that emerged was that the legs of the structure were found to
contain cold-water coral species (Lophelia pertusa). As a result, the
possibility was suggested of keeping the legs of such platforms on the
sea bed in future, to serve as habitat. A Greenpeace
representative opposed the suggestion, 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.
Pascal Husting commute
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
Greenpeace has said "the growth in
aviation is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate
change". After a "public uproar"
Greenpeace announced that
Husting would commute via train in the future.
In December 2014,
Greenpeace activists damaged rock related to the
Nazca Lines in Peru while setting up a banner within the lines of one
of the famed geoglyphs, and there were concerns that the harm might be
irreparable. The activists damaged an area around the hummingbird by
walking near the glyph without regulation footwear. Access to the area
around the lines is strictly prohibited and special shoes
must be worn to avoid damaging the
UN World Heritage
UN World Heritage site. Greenpeace
claimed the activists were "absolutely careful to protect the Nazca
lines," but this is contradicted by video and photographs showing
the activists wearing conventional shoes (not special protective
shoes) while walking on the site.
Greenpeace has apologized
to the Peruvian people, but Loise Jamie Castillo, Peru's Vice
Minister of Cultural Heritage called the apology "a joke", because
Greenpeace refused to identify the vandals or accept
responsibility. Culture Minister Diana Álvarez-Calderón said
that evidence gathered during an investigation by the government will
be used as part of a legal suit against Greenpeace. "The damage done
is irreparable and the apologies offered by the environmental group
aren't enough," she said at a news conference. By January, 2015,
Greenpeace had presented statements of the four members of the NGO
involved in the action.
Anti-whaling campaign in
Norway in the 1990s
During the 1990s
Greenpeace conducted many anti-whaling expeditions in
Norway. The criticism was that
Greenpeace only campaigned against
whales to gain economic donations from the US economy, and it had
little to do with saving the environment. For example, shark hunting
is a much bigger problem for the environment, but since sharks are
hated they're not a big money maker in the US.
Greenpeace has always
rejected this claim. However, in Norwegian Newspaper Dagbladet on 11
Kumi Naidoo admitted that the anti-whale campaign was a
Greenpeace holds that whaling was only resumed
Norway after the IWC ban because of political election motives, and
faces many explicit hurdles, including decreased demand in Japan and
toxic chemical contamination.
Open letter from Nobel laureates
In June 2016, 107 Nobel laureates signed an open letter urging
Greenpeace to end its opposition to genetically modified organisms
(GMOs). The letter stated: "We urge
Greenpeace and its supporters
to re-examine the experience of farmers and consumers worldwide with
crops and foods improved through biotechnology, recognize the findings
of authoritative scientific bodies and regulatory agencies, and
abandon their campaign against "GMOs" in general and Golden
particular. Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have
repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through
biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from
any other method of production. There has never been a single
confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from
their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown
repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to
global biodiversity." The Nobel laureates also called upon governments
of the world to "do everything in their power to oppose Greenpeace's
actions and accelerate the access of farmers to all the tools of
modern biology, especially seeds improved through biotechnology." The
letter goes on to say that "Opposition based on emotion and dogma
contradicted by data must be stopped."
stating that "Accusations that anyone is blocking genetically
engineered 'Golden' rice are false" and that they support
"...investing in climate-resilient ecological agriculture and
empowering farmers to access a balanced and nutritious diet, rather
than pouring money down the drain for GE 'Golden' rice."
The Nobel laureate letter was criticised by Silvia Ribeiro of the ETC
Group, calling it more of "a propaganda tirade from transgenic
companies than scientists presenting a position," and arguing against
its claimed benefits.
Climate Reality Project
European Renewable Energy Council
Friends of Nature
Fund for Wild Nature
How to Change the World (2015 documentary film about Greenpeace)
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
World Wide Fund for Nature
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Environmentalism come from
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