BY KATERINA TILIAKOU
Ed Fuller, an activist for the environment and international development department gave a lecture on 8th October at Brunel University about the progress of Greenpeace through the years. In his lecture, he focused on the fights by Greenpeace for a cleaner natural environment for the next generation, through organized action and protest against the companies who try to harm the environment.
Stop the catastrophe
Fuller mentioned, regarding clothes and shoes, that a large number of consumers do not know what they are buying. People are naive because they ignore important facts, such as the fact that climate change is responsible for 300 deaths annually.
In 1971, a small team of activists set sail from Vancouver, Canada, in an old fishing boat. Their mission was to “bear witness” to US nuclear testing at Amchitka, a tiny island off the West Coast of Alaska. After three months of protesting, they made the US program leave Canada (greenpeace.org.uk). These activists founded Greenpeace, and they believed that a few individuals could make a difference.
What Greenpeace does
This non-governmental organisation defends the natural world. The aim is to promote peace by investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse. Greenpeace also supports environmentally responsible solutions.
More specifically, Greenpeace are taking action to:
- Stop climate change. Climate change isn't inevitable. People are working to reduce the use of fossil fuels, stop rainforest destruction and get power from clean energy.
- Defend oceans. Oceans are the home of 80% of life on earth. Species are under the threat of extinction because of overfishing and habitat destruction. Greenpeace fights for marine reserves, and against unsustainable fishing.
- Protect forests. Greenpeace is working to stop illegal deforestation of the world's ancient forests and to protect the rights of the indigenous peoples and species that depend on them.
- Work for peace and disarmament. Greenpeace believes that it is time for the nine nuclear countries - including Britain - to decline and eventually phase out their nuclear arsenals, and focus on making a safer and greener environment.
- Eliminating toxic chemicals. Toxic chemicals put human health at risk. So, Greenpeace is taking action with protesting against companies who neglect the environment.
- Save the Arctic. Damning reports were released in 2010 and 2012. For example, one report showed that an oil spill in Africa was approved by the government. Greenpeace is working to STOP climate change and this new oil rush.
Greenpeace has 43 countries as members. Greenpeace’s volunteers are very reactive. Its employees are very dedicated as they work tirelessly, long hours. Some of them are getting paid and they are well trained. It receives funds from local groups and uses famous figures in order to make people more aware about its work.
Famous successful Campaigns
- McDonalds (Stop Genetic Modification): The famous food chain was accused of using soya from deforested areas of the Amazon after two years of investigation. Finally, as of 2006, McDonalds and Greenpeace are working together now (greenpeace.org.uk).
- Volkswagen (Dark Side): VW was using increased CO2 fuel in its cars. After nearly two years of campaigning by more than 526,000 people across the planet, VW has moved away from the Dark Side and made a deal to make cleaner and more efficient cars in 2013 (greenpeace.org.uk).
- Nestle: The leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company addressed problems with the palm oil and paper products it buys. Greenpeace made Nestle drop dodgy palm oil. The non-governmental organizations campaign to protect the rainforests of Indonesia continues as it fights all aspects of the palm oil and paper industries in 2012 (greenpeace.org.uk).
- Shell: The oil company, after three years of Greenpeace campaigning against Arctic drilling, is leaving the Alaskan Arctic in 2015 (greenpeace.org.uk).
- Lego (Everything is not awesome): The famous toy company did not renew its marketing contract with Shell in 2014 after coming under sustained pressure from Greenpeace to end a partnership that dates to the 1960s (theguradian.com).
Greenpeace and YouTube
Firstly, Greenpeace was allowed to show its videos only online on its website. Fuller declared that this is illustrated by the fact that YouTube refused to show Greenpeace’s videos because of Shell, as the oil company blackmailed YouTube to send it to court.
A few words about Ed
He got involved with Greenpeace at the age of 19. Ed also works for other charities, such as WWF, Amazon International and Cancer Research UK. He thinks that people are responsible for the planet, so they need to take action in order to protect it.
It is all in our hands!
Contact details: Twitter: @edmundfuller
‘Inspiring Action!' A video made by Greenpeace: https://youtu.be/zVu9eawb1QY