Growing up in Victoria BC during the 80’s, I could hardly go a day without seeing or hearing some mention of Greenpeace- a sticker on a hippie’s VW camper, a poster on a neighbour’s wall, or someone speaking in my classroom. I liked Greenpeace too, they brought awareness of important issues to the world, and seemed to have noble intentions. But as I grew-up, and Greenpeace didn’t, I’ve slowly become disenfranchised with their organisation…
I like to joke that, besides the French Navy, I may be one of the Greenpeace canvasser’s greatest nightmares. No, I don’t treat them badly- rather, I do my best to try and help them see the light. How? Well, I share with them a little speech I’ve prepared on how why my grandmother hated Greenpeace.
You see, back in the 70s, when Greenpeace was founded, most people didn’t realize that they needed to love and save the whales. So, when Greenpeace came around and taught us that the whales were in danger, they were doing the world a great service. Their tactics were rather aggressive, but this was useful as it helped get people’s attention.
Now, in the 21st century, it seems to me that their tactics have become outdated. They’ve already convinced the majority of people that the whales/environment/etc need to be saved- but. equally, their aggressive tactics have turned-off a number of remaining people who don’t believe in the cause. This has resulted in many of the unconverted taking an opposite stance.
So, in my opinion, Greenpeace is slowly becoming more of a liability to environmentalist movements than it is a benefactor these days. If they scare away our grandmothers, they are hurting the cause…
Today I saw Greenpeace Canada’s executive director Brian Cox being interviewed on Sun News, and he left me with the feeling that it is time to nuke Greenpeace. Not only did he work way too hard to discredit the potential for eco-terrorism (a dangerous game), but took a number of shameless shots at the opposition.
First, and most disturbing, he tried to justify Greenpeace’s law breaking by bringing Rosa Parks into the debate. When asked by Sun News about about Greenpeace’s engaging in “criminal acts” Cox said
“Take a thing like Rosa Parks…she broke the law by refusing to go to the back of the bus- would you call that criminal?”
This is just shameless. There is a difference between the law broken by Rosa Parks, and laws broken by Greenpeace. Parks broke what everyone now understands to be an unjust law. Laws that prohibit people from blocking traffic, or interfering with industrial equipment are not unjust- they are there because people who chose to break them are interfering with other people’s rights. He’s comparing apples to oranges here, and disrespecting the memory of a truly great and brave woman.
Next, Cox comes out with one of the most pitiful defences ever, saying “peace is in our name”. This is meaningless claptrap Brian. One of the most violent groups of environmental activists in all of Canada, incarcerated G20 criminal Alex Hundert’s AW@L has peace in their name too- their website is www.PeaceCulture.org.
Then Cox goes all Sandy Garossino on us and attacks the RCMP for preparing a report on the risks of eco-terrorism. As I explained in my previous two articles on this issue, Canada has a growing culture of radical environmentalists, and a history of bombings and other terrorist actions taken in the name of environmental movements. This is not something that the RCMP made-up.
I will say that it is rather poor judgement (or laziness?) on the RCMP’s part to put the focus of their report onto Greenpeace- they are one of the more tame examples of environmentalists who take direct actions. Had they focussed on the real concerns- organizations like Derrick Jensen’s Deep Green Resistance and the TIDES Foundation funded Ruckus Society, they’d likely had got a lot less flack for their report.
As I said, Greenpeace is not dangerous- yet. But, there is a growing radicalization occurring within their organization. I saw this first-hand when I took a Direct Action course run by Tools For Change in Toronto. I was shocked when Jessica Bell, who works with Greenpeace, personally handed me a copy of the course materials that were created by the Ruckus Society. Even more shocking was some of the content:
In addition to promoting ‘monkey-wrenching’ (which Bell discussed during the course), the Ruckus Society promotes a socially violent tactic of Ostracism towards people who don’t agree with them. I was shocked to hear this coming through the mouth of someone who self-identified at the beginning of the course as working with Greenpeace. What’s peaceful about this sort of behaviour?
Greenpeace is quickly reaching its sell-by date. And, if they keep sticking their head in the sand and ignoring their growing problem with radicalization, they may one day prove the RCMP to be right in investigating them. Brian Cox is doing no favours to the organization by denying there is a problem. Rather, he should be working to help bring new direction to Greenpeace- taking it into the 21st century, reaffirming their mission for peaceful protest, and ensuring their name doesn’t become a misnomer.
So, should Greenpeace be nuked? Perhaps not yet- but, the time is coming soon where we will have to ask that question. Let’s hope that their leadership wakes up before it is too late…
Here’s the video of Cox’s interview on Sun News: