Greenpeace [UPSC Notes on Environment & Ecology]

Greenpeace is a network of Greenpeace organizations (National and Regional Organizations – NROs). Greenpeace International is a foundation based out of Amsterdam. It helps facilitate global campaigns and is called an environment protection organization that operates in 55 countries. It was founded in 1971. It is a well-known organization due to its visible actions world-wide.

This article will give highlights about the organizations within the context of the IAS Exam.

History of Greenpeace

The foundations of Greenpeace were laid in the 1960s with the United State’s government plan to test nuclear weapons in tectonically unstable island Amchitka, near Alaska. Despite protests from furious locals, the test went ahead as planned. Despite no geographical consequences, the US government planned on detonating a bomb 5 times more powerful than the previous one.

Realising that a more unconventional method was the need of the hour, Irving Stowe (Environmental Activist) arranged a benefit concert that took place on 16 October 1970 at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. The concert raised money for the first Greenpeace campaign, the proceeds of which were used to purchase a ship which was renamed Greenpeace for the protest after a term coined by activist Bill Darnell.

In 1971, the ship headed towards Amchitka and faced the U.S. Coast Guard ship Confidence. Although of weather and the implied threats from the coast guard ship forced the Greenpeace ship to turn back, their form fo protest had generated a huge wave of sympathy for their efforts. Following this, the activists sailed to more U.S. nuclear test sites along with allied vessels until harsh criticism had forced the government from conducting any more test. Following this Greenpeace has played a pivotal role in, among other things, the adoption of:

  • A ban on toxic waste exports to less developed countries.
  • A moratorium on commercial whaling.
  • A United Nations convention providing for better management of world fisheries.
  • A Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary;
  • A 50-year moratorium on mineral exploitation in Antarctica.
  • Bans on the dumping at sea of radioactive and industrial waste and disused oil installations.
  • An end to high-sea, large-scale driftnet fishing.

To download NCERT Notes on Environment for UPSC, visit the linked article.

Mission and Objectives of Greenpeace

Greenpeace uses non-violent and creative campaigns to highlight global environmental problems in order to find solutions for a sustainable future for the planet and the human race at large. Its ultimate aim is to ensure that the Earth is capable of sustain and nurture life not just for the present generation but for future generation as well.

It has launched the following campaign in the ensuing years of its existence:

• The protection of oceans and ancient forests.

• The phase-out of fossil fuels and the promotion of renewable energy to stop climate change.

• The elimination of toxic chemicals.

• The prevention of genetically modified organisms being released into nature.

• An end to the nuclear threat and nuclear contamination.

• Safe and sustainable trade.

Find out more about Sustainable Development Goals, by visiting the linked article

Funding of Greenpeace

Greenpeace raises most of its funding through individual donations and foundations. It vets all major donation in order to ensure that they do no come from unwanted or dangerous sources. The organizations accept no donations from governments, political parties or other international organizations in order to avoid their interference.

Even those donations that come from foundations are rejected should they make any unreasonable conditions, restrictions or constraints on the activities of Greenpeace or if these said donations in any way compromise its operational integrity. Ever since the 1990s, Greenpeace has mainly relied on face-to-face funding in order to make up for its shortfall in funding subscribing them for a monthly direct debit donation.

To know how you can prepare for Environment and Biodiversity sections of the UPSC exams, visit the linked article.

Greenpeace- Download PDF Here

FAQ about Greenpeace

Where and when was Greenpeace founded?

Greenpeace was founded in 1971 in British Columbia to oppose U.S. nuclear testing at Amchitka Island in Alaska.

What does Greenpeace India do?

The Greenpeace organisation has been campaigning on environmental issues in India for nearly two decades, and faced problems when the Indian government had its foreign funding blocked in 2015 as part of a nationwide crackdown on charities.

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