Protecting ancient forests? Check. Protecting our oceans? Check. Working to stop global warming? Check. One would be hard-pressed to find an organization doing more to defend our environment than Greenpeace is.
The idea for Greenpeace came about in 1971 with a vision of a promoting a green and peaceful world. A small group of activists set sail from Vancouver, Canada in an old fishing boat. They believed, even though their numbers were small, that they could truly make a difference.
At that point, their mission was to document the U.S. underground nuclear missile testing at Amchitka, an earthquake-prone region. Not only were the activists concerned about human safety, but the safety of the thousands of endangered sea otters, bald eagles, peregrine falcons and other wildlife that lived on the Alaskan island of Amchitka.
Though the U.S. detonated that bomb, the island was later declared a bird sanctuary.
Greenpeace International was formed in 1979 thanks to the efforts of many individuals, including Paul Watson–who is considered by some to be an “eco-pirate.” Bill Darnell coined the name when someone flashed him a peace sign and he said, “Let’s make that a green peace.” David McTavert organized a rag-tag assortment of smaller, similar groups to come together into one organization.
Greenpeace has grown into a global organization which addresses dozens of campaigns at a time. They are based in Amsterdam, but they have 2.8 million supporters around the world. Their national and regional offices can be found in 41 countries.
They say, “We defend the natural world and promote peace by investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse, and championing environmentally responsible solutions.”
“Investigations often start at the scene of an environmental crime – and then trace the ‘chain of destruction’ through suppliers and retailers, revealing the links between often remote environmental destruction and powerful players in consumer countries.”