Herald columnist Paul Little has done some good stuff in the past, but today’s effort on Greenpeace is a disgrace. Nothing but ill-informed prejudice on parade:
It’s stunt season for show ponies
Friends don’t let friends work for Greenpeace. When one of my friends told me he was thinking of getting a job with them, I suggested he apply to a different circus.
He’s a smart and tough guy, hard-headed and practical but with a crusading streak that probably clouded his judgment in this instance. Because if you want to make the world a better place, isn’t Greenpeace the last outfit you’d hook up with?
The fiasco that saw a clutch of its members climb on top of Parliament and wave some signs around for a few hours recently can best be seen as the beginning of 2015’s stunt season.
Look forward to the next few weeks seeing publicity whores and show ponies saddle up to do the sort of good works that will get the maximum number of people looking at them and have minimal effect.
This is, of course, Greenpeace’s specialty. The organisation’s modus operandi has always been to gain vast amounts of attention by arranging and performing elaborate and eye-catching feats which have zero effect. ….
And so on.
I don’t know what Little’s problem with Greenpeace is, but he should grow up and get over it. Greenpeace does more good for the world every year than The Herald (which exists to sell advertising and make a profit) has or will manage in its lifetime.
For some reading on Greenpeace’s “zero effect” start with this list of Greenpeace victories. There are well over 100 entries stretching back to the 1970’s, and containing a few classics:
July 2010: New Zealand’s government announced a complete u-turn on plans to mine New Zealand’s best conservation land. There will be no mining in Schedule 4 land or any of New Zealand’s national parks now or in the future.
May 2010: Nestlé agrees to stop purchasing palm-oil from sources which destroy Indonesian rainforests. The decision caps eight weeks of massive pressure from consumers via social media and non-violent direct action by Greenpeace activists as the company concedes to the demands of a global campaign against its Kit Kat brand.
March 7, 2007: The New Zealand government announces cancellation of proposed coal-burning power plant Marsden B. Greenpeace and local activists had mounted a four-year struggle which involved a nine-day occupation, highcourt challenges, protest marches, a record numbers of public submissions, Surfers Against Sulphur, public meetings, and a pirate radio station.
2002: The European Union, followed by Japan, ratifies the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Intensive Greenpeace lobbying must continue because, for the protocol to enter into force, 55 parties to the convention must ratify it.
1992: France cancels this year’s nuclear tests at Moruroa Atoll, following the Rainbow Warrior visit to the test zone, and vows to halt altogether if other nuclear nations follow suit.
1982: After at sea actions against whalers, a whaling moratorium is adopted by the International Whaling Commission.
1975: France ends atmospheric tests in the South Pacific after Greenpeace protests at the test site.
Or try this much shorter piece:
Greenpeace’s Biggest Victories Against Corporations and Politicians
Greenpeace has secured one of the most high-profile victories in its history, after pressuring Lego to drop its contract with Shell. It’s the latest in a long line of victories Greenpeace campaigners have claimed, often using guerrilla tactics in order to do so. …
Kingsnorth Power Station
Police surround protesters during a sitdown protest at the gates of Kingsnorth Power Station near Rochester in Kent, southeast England August 9, 2008. Climate protesters breached security to enter the site of the coal-fired power station in southeast England on Saturday but German firm E.ON, which runs the plant, said output had not been disrupted.Reuters
Greenpeace activists ran a long and high-profile campaign to close down the Kingsnorth coal and oil-fired power station in Medway, Kent and have claimed they were instrumental in the plants’ decommissioning in 2012.
Specifically, the station closed as a result of the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive, but Greenpeace has claimed success in the government’s decision to shelve plans for a new coal-fired plant on the same site, calling it “the British climate movement’s biggest victory”.
Over a period of three years, a series of Greenpeace activists occupied the power station, occupying their chimneys, causing tens of thousands of pounds in damage and stopping boats from delivering shipments of coal to the station’s terminal.
Greenpeace Campaigner and one of the so-called Kingsnorth Six Ben Stewart said: “Little did we know, as we dragged ourselves up 1053 rungs of a ladder, that a year later we’d be acquitted by a jury which believed the plant posed more of a threat than we did, and that, a year after that, E.ON would kick plans for its new power station into the long grass.”
And so on.
Thank you Greenpeace. Thank you Greenpeace activists for your bravery and for the work that you do. You make the world a better place.