Greenpeace is an organization formed in 1971 initially to protest United States nuclear testing in Alaska for fear that it would cause an earthquake or a tsunami on the tectonically unstable Island of Amchitka. (Hunter, 2005: 35) On this original voyage, the intended goal of stopping the bomb from being detonated did not succeed, but within five months further testing was cancelled. The intended goal was not achieved, however the group did succeed in getting the attention of the media and so educating the public worldwide about the large potential threat that nuclear testing imposed.
Greenpeace was originally based in Vancouver, BC, Canada and was the outgrowth of a number of small Vancouver activist groups originally interested in opposing the development of nuclear bombs and eventually expanding into initiatives that supported preservation of the environment, such as protesting whaling activities off of British Columbia. During this same time period a number of organizations in major cities with parallel philosophies regarding the environment adopted the name of Greenpeace, (Montgumery 2015).
Over the ensuing decades Greenpeace has evolved and taken on numerous projects including protesting the Canadian seal cull, unloading of Arctic oil by Russian tankers, and opposing whaling as mentioned above. (Hannaford 2015) The philosophy of Greenpeace was and is based on principles of non-violence that were embraced in the early days when the membership consisted of a small group meeting in the kitchen of a couple who were both founding members and had an understanding of Quake philosophy.
“The Stowes brought ideas to the table that would become an essential part of the Greenpeace founding ethos. “Bearing witness”, they explained to the group, was a sort of passive resistance: You go to the scene of an objectionable activity to register your opposition by your presence.“ They also endorsed Ghandi's teachings regarding nonviolent protest. (Greenpeace 2005) Greenpeace has prioritized the preservation of the planet's resources and opposed the financial and political entities that promote resource utilization over the preservation of the health of planet Earth and it's inhabitants. Today, Greenpeace continues without government funding and depends entirely on donations from members. They continue to hold peaceful protests across the world in attempts to save the arctic, protect forests, protecting the oceans, living toxin free, promoting sustainable agriculture and defending democracy as stated by Greenpeace.org.
Greenpeace's peaceful protests, blockades and occupy movements have had recent successes including pressuring Nestle to stop using products that have come from rainforest destruction, Nestle has since vowed to only produce products with no deforestation footprint. In 2012 they also pressured South Korea into abandoning plans to start whaling mink whales in the name of scientific research. In 2014 Greenpeace successfully pressured Lego into agreeing to drop its partnership with Shell in response to Shell's arctic drilling as soon as their current contact runs out. Breaking up the partnership between these major corporations will surely decrease funding for the Arctic drilling project. Greenpeace supported Non-government organizations have been able to turn their work from the work of Greenpeace to eventual political action which resulted in positive political change in an oppressed country, i.e. Hungary. (Bond 2001). While there is no definitive conclusion for Greenpeace they have made great strides in achieving their goal of protecting the environment.