Greenpeace was founded as a non-violent, awareness raising group in the 70s in response to nuclear testing off the coast of Alaska. Thirty years later, the agency organizes action on issues like global warming, toxics, genetic engineering, and the protection of oceans, forests and wildlife. Greenpeace continues to perform a vital service in making corporations own up to their potentially harmful actions and bringing assaults on the environment to the public’s attention.
While Greenpeace has been criticized as being radical, anti-corporate, shakedown activists, it is not the original Greenpeace that is being targeted. One of the main things tarnishing the organization’s image is vigilante groups, brandishing the Greenpeace name and environmentally conscious ideals, utilizing tactics that are anything but peaceful.
On its website, Greenpeace USA stresses its dedication to nonviolence while exposing threats to the environment in a thought-provoking way. The organization prides itself on its use of non-violent direct action (NVDA) in order to shape public opinion and fan the flames of public outrage.
Greenpeace uses confrontation tactics to encourage public knowledge and debate and the people who object to these tactics are the ones who have the most to lose if Greenpeace wins. So while some people may tout Greenpeace as being too forward, I think our planet deserves no less than our most stringent efforts to protect it.
First, I should admit that as a former Greenpeacer, I’m biased. However, though Greenpeace has been accused of being heavy-handed or extremist, they do not harm people in their desire to aid animals. In fact, by blocking whaling ships, for instance, they make a point to the crews and upper management of seafood companies. Further, they gain much exposure for the environmental movement. Alas, not everyone can be absolutely satisfied with any person or group. This is true for Greenpeace who, by their actions, sometimes alienate certain people. It is lamentable, but thankfully, there are different environmental groups for different people.
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