Greenpeace birthday: 50 years of activism

    16 Sep 2021

    Nature conservation in the world as a large-scale movement was launched after the first Earth Day, in April 1970. For the first time in history, people took to the streets to protect the environment in many US cities. In total, about 20 million people gathered. Almost all environmental NGOs in the world were founded after this day.

    The most famous of them was destined to become the Greenpeace NGO, the name of which is now associated around the world with the environmental movement. Today, Greenpeace has 3 million members worldwide.

    And today, this organization turns 50 years old. The founders of the organization were interested in protecting national parks and fighting against US military operations in Vietnam. Because of this, they had to leave their home country and move to Vancouver. And here, the US military machine did not give them peace because off the coast of Canada, the United States began nuclear tests on the island of Amchitka (Aleutian archipelago).

    The members of the protest group called themselves the Don’t Make a Wave Committee. In addition to the threat of radioactive contamination, they feared that a nuclear explosion 250 times more powerful than the one that leveled Hiroshima would cause earthquakes and tsunamis along the Pacific coast. So the story of the name of the organization started at that time. According to the members of the Committee, they were to go on a chartered ship to Amchitka during the tests and prevent an explosion so that the military would not blow up the vessel with famous cultural and sports figures. Before its first voyage, the Committee renamed the ship Greenpeace (a combination of the words “green” and “peace”).

    The United States did not dare to conduct tests while sailing; the activists returned home, but the military resumed preparations for nuclear exercises. The newly formed Greenpeace re-entered the open ocean. The activists were brave people, not sailors. When they set sail, they lost their way and got lost in the ocean, and when the activists were 1,000 nautical miles from the island, the explosion did occur.

    However, the activists’ attempt caused a sensation in the media. While the search for Greenpeace continued, the United States announced that it was leaving Amchitka alone and creating a national park. The committee won despite the failure. When the lost ship was found, the activists thought they had lost the battle for the islands and had already abandoned the old name “Don’t Raise the Wave”: they decided to be called “Greenpeace.”

    Within a year, activists went on a voyage against the French nuclear tests on Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific. One of the French navy ships rammed the ship Greenpeace, its owner – Canadian badminton champion David McTaggart – was brutally beaten. But soon, the French stopped conducting nuclear tests.

    In the following years, Greenpeace managed to limit whaling. For many decades, the image of this unique organization was the rubber boats “Zodiac,” maneuvering between whalers, shielding whales from deadly harpoons. In 1982, Greenpeace secured a moratorium on commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission, which came into force in 1986. For eight years, the Antarctic Sea area has been declared a protected area for whales.

    Today, Greenpeace is the world’s best-known environmental organization. We are especially pleased to congratulate our colleagues on the anniversary because Greenpeace is engaged in wildlife conservation.

    Since nature protection is always protection either from business projects or from state plans, such work is possible only with the support of ordinary people. Today, 15 million people support the organization with charitable contributions because of what Greenpeace does, every inhabitant of the Earth needs.

    Thank you, colleagues, for the inspiration! Objectively: our site was also created because then, back in 1970, in Vancouver, a previously unknown ship went north to meet the deadly threat.

    You may read about Robert Hunter, Greenpeace co-founder, environmentalist, and “media bomb” lover, here.

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