Greenpeace is an international organisation dedicated to preserving endangered species of animals, preventing environmental abuses, and increasing environmental awareness.
Using non-violent creative actions, it paves the way towards a greener, more peaceful world. Despite its values, Forbes magazine has ventured to describe its systems as an impressive business model, although the organisation is currently holding a non-profit status. Does Greenpeace stand true to its values? Or is it just another business model as Forbes claims? Here are some interesting facts about Greenpeace that’ll help you unveil the truth!
Greenpeace is a non-government environmental organisation with offices in over 40 countries and an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Greenpeace was founded in 1971.
The same year a small group of activists intended to sail near the island of Amchitka, off the West Coast of Alaska, to witness the nuclear testing taking place by the United States.
While that particular mission failed, the Greenpeace founders felt their mission to Amchitka, and the attention it brought to the debate about nuclear testing, played a critical role in convincing President Nixon to cancel the remaining Hydrogen bomb tests.
Eventually, Greenpeace was successful in getting its anti-nuclear weapons message heard, loud and clear, across the globe.
Who are the exact founders of Greenpeace International? There is no recorded official founder, but the organization began with the Amchitka protest led by the small group known as Don’t Make a Wave Committee.
The activists included in the group were: Paul Cote, Jim Bohlen, Irving Stowe, Patrick Moore, and Bill Darnell.
The Amchitka mission cemented the activists’ group’s new name, Greenpeace, It is said to have been Bill Darnell who said, “Let’s make it a Green Peace.” Jim Bohlen’s son, Paul, had trouble making the words fit on a button, so he linked them together and formed the word “Greenpeace,” and it stuck.
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.
The organisation uses direct action, lobbying, research, and ecotage to achieve its goals.
Greenpeace received international attention during the 1980s when the French intelligence agency bombed the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in the Auckland Harbour, killing one individual.
Since Greenpeace was founded, seagoing ships have played a vital role in its campaigns. The group has three ocean-going ships, the Esperanza, Arctic Sunrise and Rainbow Warrior III.
In the following years, Greenpeace evolved into one of the largest environmental organizations in the world.
As a non-profit organization, its run by a board of directors, titled “The Board of Stitching Greenpeace Council.” Members are voted in by volunteers and activists.
The organization employs around 150 employees worldwide and depends on volunteers to help carry out its missions.
The global organisation does not accept funding from governments, corporations, or political parties, relying on three million individual supporters and foundation grants.
Greenpeace screens all major donations to ensure it does not receive unwanted donations.
The organisation has raised environmental issues to public knowledge and influenced both the private and the public sectors.
Greenpeace concentrates on the most vital threats worldwide to Earth’s biodiversity and environment.
Its successes are numerous and in the past year alone the organization has recorded over twelve major victories. These victories include:
the elimination of toxic chemicals from over five companies’ products
the preservation of The Great Bear Rainforest
the protection of a greater area of the Amazon
a decrease in whaling practices after months of protesting
a campaign that led Buenos Aires to implement a zero-waste policy.
Greenpeace is the largest environmental organisation in the world, with an international membership of over 3 million.
Greenpeace has also been a source of controversy.
Its motives and methods have received criticism, including an open letter from more than 100 Nobel laureates urging Greenpeace to end its campaign against genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Forbes magazine once described it as “a skilfully managed business” with full command of “the tools of direct mail and image manipulation — and tactics that would bring instant condemnation if practiced by a for-profit corporation.”
Greenpeace has escaped public censure by hiding behind the mask of its “non-profit” status and its U.S. tax exemption.
In other countries, Greenpeace has not been as lucky: Both Canada and New Zealand have revoked the organisation’s non-profit status, noting that the group’s overly politicised agenda no longer has any “public benefit.”
Its Amsterdam-based activist moguls pull the strings on what is estimated to be a $360 million global empire.
In the United States, however, Greenpeace is a relatively modest activist group, spending about $10 million per year.
Today the organisation is still sticking to their original causes such as battling whaling, logging, and nuclear weapons. However, most recently, they have been campaigning against toxic by-products of consumer electronics and GE agricultural practices.
Greenpeace has also been gaining a lot of attention for their work against the aquaculture industry. They have been largely concerned with raising awareness about depleting fish stocks, biotech fisheries, and the growing threat of sea lice.
There are lots of ways to get involved with Greenpeace. Help share their campaigns on social media, create your campaign, contact the Greenpeace office in your country to see if you can volunteer or find a job in an office, or onboard a ship.
Do you have any interesting facts about Greenpeace that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!