Greenpeace to focus on poverty

Written By: - Date published: 7:49 pm, November 17th, 2009 - 45 comments
Categories: activism, climate change - Tags:

The new head of Greenpeace, South African Kumi Naidoo, has pledged under his leadership that the organisation’s core focus will be the effect of climate change on the world’s poorest people.greenpeace-schrift

This is great news. I have always been critical of the way many (really great) environmental organisations have tried to divorce themselves from social concerns. The fact is that environmentalism and social issues are closely intertwined. The world’s poor will suffer disproportionately from climate change, unable to afford to adapt to new climatic conditions.

I’m not sure how broad Greenpeace’s focus will be. It would be brilliant to see Greenpeace do some general work on poverty alleviation, to empower the world’s poor to combat climate change. But either way, good on them.

Maybe Russel Norman could learn a thing or two?

45 comments on “Greenpeace to focus on poverty”

  1. Daveo 1

    Arguably Russel Norman hasn’t changed the Greens’ policy on social justice, he’s just taken to a very short-sighted and stupid series of attacks on Labour and attempted to give the party centrist branding, while also doing greenwash for National with the MoU.

    It’s his politics that’s the problem, not his policy. His abrasive manner can make that easy to forget.

    • Lew 1.1

      Russel Norman’s attacks on Labour are ‘short-sighted and stupid’ while Labour’s attacks on the Greens and the māori party aren’t, right?

      Mmm, I love the smell of situational ethics in the morning.

      L

      • Daveo 1.1.1

        Where’s Labour attacked the Greens lately? I’ve been unhappy with Labour’s choice of coalition partners in the past but I haven’t seen them stoop to Norman’s level of vitriol in recent times.

        As for the Maori Party, I think they throw as much if not more abuse at Labour than vice-versa. Given the MP are increasingly becoming a party of big business I don’t see why Labour should be obligated to treat them any differently than they do National or Act.

        • TF 1.1.1.1

          Vitriol lately ? examples would be good

          • Daveo 1.1.1.1.1

            Norman’s conduct during the Mt Albert by-election was the start of it, going on about Shearer being a ‘gray man’ and repeating Whaleoil and Farrar’s misrepresentations of his journal articles, calling him a right-winger etc. It was pure smear and even he admitted he went too far.

        • Lew 1.1.1.2

          Daveo, even you must be able to admit that the māori party have cause to be aggrieved at Labour. And if you don’t see a difference between them and National or Act, then you’re functioning at about the same level as those who see no distinction between Labour and National.

          As for Labour’s (and its supporters’) attacks on the Greens, they’re not recent — I’m mostly thinking of those when Russel Norman dared stand in the Mt Albert by-election, and around the time of the now-defunct Memorandum of Understanding with National. But I accept they weren’t as strong as the ‘Grey Man’ rhetoric.

          L

          • Marty G 1.1.1.2.1

            what crap lew. you’re equating a few labour supporters supposedly criticising the greens over shearers standing (and i’m wondering if you can show any examples) with a series of pretty nasty attacks from Norman

          • TF 1.1.1.2.2

            Well Ii don’t think the Greens should have stood in the MT Albert by Election at all but for probably different reasons then most,
            and yes “the Grey man” comment was a mistake but hardly enough to warrant the ongoing tirade from some of the left

    • burt 1.2

      Norman’s spineless.

      But hell – Greenpeace setting it sights on things that money can change. Refreshing dose of reality. Good move.

    • KK 1.3

      you could argue that’s the case. But who knows what their policy is these days.

      • TF 1.3.1

        The Greens policies are here http://www.greens.org.nz/policy/full
        there are summaries and full policies available
        Accident Compensation Policy – Equity and Social Justice
        Agriculture and Rural Affairs Policy Towards Sustainability
        Animal Welfare Policy
        Arts, Culture and Heritage
        Broadcasting Policy
        Children’s Policy – Every Child Matters
        Climate Change Policy – Kicking the Carbon Habit
        Community & Voluntary Sector Policy
        Conservation Policy
        Defence and Peacekeeping: Armed Services Policy
        Disability Policy – Removing the Barriers
        Drug Law Reform Policy – Towards a Harm Reduction Model
        Economics Policy – Thinking Beyond Tomorrow
        Education: Children & Young People
        Energy Policy
        Environment Policy
        Food Policy: Greening the Food Basket
        Foreign Affairs Policy
        Forestry Policy – Supporting Sustainable Forests
        Gambling Policy
        Green Taxation and Monetary Policy
        Health Policy
        Housing Policy – Living Well
        Human Rights – For a Tolerant Diverse Society
        Immigration Policy
        Income Support Policy
        Industrial Relations Policy: A sustainable working life
        Information Technology
        Justice Policy – Making Good
        Māori Issues Policy
        Open Government Policy
        Population Policy
        Research, Science and Technology Policy
        Sea and Ocean Policy
        Security Services Policy
        Sexual Orientation Policy – Celebrating a Rainbow Nation
        Student Support Policy – Increasing Wisdom, Decreasing Debt
        Sustainable Business Policy
        Tertiary Education Policy – Building Wisdom Not Debt
        Tiriti o (Treaty of) Waitangi Policy
        Tourism Policy
        Toxics Policy
        Trade and Foreign Investment Policy
        Transport Policy – Smart Moves
        Urban Policy – Living Cities
        Waste Free New Zealand Policy
        Water Policy
        Women’s Policy – Valuing Women
        Work and Employment Policy
        Youth Affairs Policy

        • Daveo 1.3.1.1

          Again. I think it shows the folly of Norman’s politics that even supporters don’t know where your party stands anymore. His job as leader is to communicate those policies to the public. When even your supporters are confused by his posturing there’s something seriously wrong.

          • TF 1.3.1.1.1

            Well actually Daveo Under normal conditions the Greens have a really hard job of getting media attention unless they fuck up as in the recent housing allowance mistake
            In the present climate with wonder Goldenboy Key wall to wall its almost impossible, using those msm channels
            The communication of the Green Kaupapa is something that the party is continually working on though I don’t think its worse under Met and Russel though

      • There isn’t any excuse for not knowing Green Party policy other than you haven’t looked. It’s been on the Greens web site 24/7 for literally years.

        The media don’t do policy in detail for any party, so you really do have to find out for yourself.

        • Daveo 1.3.2.1

          But people don’t, do they Steve? That’s why it’s important your leader doesn’t ruin the brand by playing stupid cynical games and trying to position as centrist.

    • TF 1.4

      Here we go again
      Russel has not changed the Greens policy on Social Justice
      It is impossible for him to do so as all policy comes from the membership up
      and not leadership down
      And so turning to “centrist branding” and the “Greenwash”
      Yet again the MOU is just a continuum of the policy to work on issues with any parties where the GP have some commonality It is and WAS fully supported by all members of the GP Caucus and signaled b4 the last Election
      The Green party was and still is the National Party’s strongest critic take a look at this and the last terms voting record.
      The Greens as the third biggest Party can attack who the hell they want and if that includes a centrist Labour party some of who’s policies are centre right (eg monetary,crime), Then I guess they have the right too

      And may I with respect remind you that the GP INCREASED its vote at the last Election

      • burt 1.4.1

        TF

        If they did more standing on their own instead of being a bitch to Labour then I might even vote for them.

        • Daveo 1.4.1.1

          No you wouldn’t, burt. Don’t lie. They’re less “Labour’s bitch” than they’ve ever been and you still don’t want to vote for them because you’re a right-wing tory.

          I think Norman’s problem is listening to too many people like you.

      • Daveo 1.4.2

        I’m not going to argue with you about the MOU, it’s the Green Party’s choice whether they use their supporters’ votes to run PR for a right-wing government.

        Norman just strikes me as someone who has chronically bad political judgement. He’s seriously alienated a good number of sympathetic left-liberals with his behaviour and he’s done a great job muddying the Greens’ brand to the point that even previous allies are now confused about what they stand for.

        But like I said, your choice to have him as leader. Just don’t come crying to me when the Greens fail to reach 5% because Norman thought he was cleverer than he actually is and you let him ruin your brand and alienate your allies.

        • TF 1.4.2.1

          The Green party was and still is the National Party’s strongest critic take a look at this and the last terms voting record.
          But that obviously counts for nothing
          They can be an independent party as long as they don’t criticise Labour ?
          Labour whose left wing credentials were really on display when they preferred NZF as a coalition partner then the Greens?

          • Daveo 1.4.2.1.1

            I’m not arguing against you there. I’m saying Norman’s ruined your party’s brand with his cynical politics and his attempt to reposition the Greens as a more centrist party (quite aside from what the policy actually says). His office’s calculated smear against Sue Bradford in the Sunday Star-Times didn’t help things either.

            The MOU stuff, well he’s just been played for a sucker on that one.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the Greens’ policies. It’s their politics under Norman that I can’t stand.

            • TF 1.4.2.1.1.1

              His office’s calculated smear against Sue Bradford in the Sunday Star-Times didn’t help things either

              Thats a bold statement and one that is factually wrong as was the
              actual SST piece if I remember

            • Hemebond 1.4.2.1.1.2

              Could you provide a link to information on this smear campaign? I’ve never heard of it. Thanks.

            • Daveo 1.4.2.1.1.3

              I’m reliably informed that was the case. I asked around a few contacts after reading Irish’s piece and they confirmed that this information was given to the paper by Norman’s office.

              It gives me no pleasure to tell you this but things aren’t rosy mate. Talk to a few people.

            • TF 1.4.2.1.1.4

              Well funnily enough I have a few contacts myself and thats not the info I have
              I do know for certain that the SST times article was factually incorrect

            • Marty G 1.4.2.1.1.5

              the smear on bradford came from the same place as the polling smear on labour recently – russel norman’s office.

              he has turned me off the greens. I support their poltiics, but I won’t vote for norman, so it’s labour for me,

            • TF 1.4.2.1.1.6

              Well Marty I obviously disagree with your source of info
              best to leave it there then I spose

              It is a shame though that leaders have so much influence on the way people vote
              You agrees with policies but dislike the leader so you change your voting intentions
              It seems most people love Key, without him the Nats would be toast
              I could never vote Labour as long as Goff is leader.
              Its all a bit odd 😉

        • Galeandra 1.4.2.2

          As an indolent punter who hates tracking through yards of ‘policy’ wish lists usually divorced from coherent ways& means, which I have done (thanks anyway, TF), I have to say I incline to agree with Daveo.
          I’m underwhelmed by the current efforts of the Parliamentary group as I am by the blandness of many of their blog site postings. Maybe it reflects the new leadership who just seem bland and obtuse. I thought Jeanette gave Brownlee a going over but that seemed to die on Pundit ( I may have missed something parhaps?). Whatever, I see Nact in policy-and-executive disarray faced by a vacuum of leadership from the opposition benches. The old Greens would have been a shoo in for gummint by now!!

          • Galeandra 1.4.2.2.1

            Moderation for what? Has someone in the sanctum gone a little power crazy? Generally I’ll make a few points, but I don’t feel like waiting around for someone else to ride shotgun over me. I don’t swear, and I generally don’t call people fascists even when they behave like Stalinist mail room clerks. I did pay my respects to Sargeson, is that it? For Dog’s sake, ease up you lonely Sunday school teachers.
            In fact, moderate all you want, I think I’ve got the general style around here sorted. Caio.

            [just relax. words like Stalin are automatically moderated because they tend to be used in flamewars “you’re stalin” “well, you’re hitler” etc etc etc]

            [lprent: I got tired of manually moderating some of the drivel last year. So I dumped a whole pile of words into the auto-moderation that were being used for shock effect rather than discussion. The comments get released next time one of us pops in in and releases them. It is a minor constraint on the comments, but saves us a heap of work. It also tends to improve the tone of the discussion 😈
            You will get used to them after a time. ]

  2. Jenny 2

    I remember posting a comment on The Standard, on the occasion of Sue Bradford’s public divorce with the Greens, that it had amazed me, that Greenpeace was often to the left of the New Zealand Green Party.

    • TF 2.1

      Jenny
      And I remember thinking it was rubbish then and my opinion hasn’t changed
      Perhaps you can give an example?

      • Jenny 2.1.1

        Just off the top of my head; Here’s one.

        Remember Greenpeace’s taking the lead against the export of coal for power generation in other countries.

        And how about another, the milling of crown land forests to be replaced with dairying. Also strongly opposed by Greenpeace with hardly a murmur from the Greens.

        I am sure we could go on.

        But probably the crowning piece of evidence, is the Greens uncritical support given to the carbon trading market. A neo-liberal solution to global warming that is increasingly being seen as rort, and a rip off, that does virtually nothing to restrict carbon pollution.

        Greenpeace though not completely convinced of the of the arguments against the wisdom, or not, of creating a pollution trading market, in contrast to the Greens have generally taken a more critical view.

  3. Ari 3

    What’s your specific beef with Norman here? Anyway, I agree with Greenpeace- wherever we can we need to address structural inequalities at the same time, not in isolation. That includes environmental damage, poverty, and discrimination. The environment is a social justice issue, and social justice can’t be divorced from environmentalism.

  4. Bill 4

    So now Greenpeace have taken it upon their Dr Dolittle selves to speak for the poor as well as the animals? And we should expect a devastating critique of capitalism to emanate from Greenpeace HQ some day soon?
    No.
    Of course not.
    Just variations on the ” I say! This isn’t quite cricket chaps and we do so wish you wouldn’t be so horrid!” line.

    Greenpeace are extraordinarily well funded dead ducks. An insipid conservative shadow of their original incarnation.

  5. vto 5

    whoah..

    some stress in the green tent. just don’t go pulling out the pegs in spite eh.

  6. TF 6

    No Stress in the Green tent VTO No Stress
    Just tired of reading the same old bollox

  7. Greenpeace have avoided “social issues” because they inevitably become tarred with the brush of ideology from one quarter or another.

    “The water is dirty” isn’t an ideological issue. It’s am empirically, objectively verifiable problem that stands apart from ideology. How you make the water clean again is open for debate……but just do it is the answer.

    In adding the social dimension to the environmental problems we are already having trouble getting the deaf to hear and the blind to see, we may just be giving the deaf/blind folk another excuse to ignore “socialists” / “communists” / “leftists” / “radicals” or whatever other label they choose to paste over the top so they can feel good ignoring the real message.

    Of course they already use these terms when confronted with dirty water they would prefer to ignore….so maybe it won’t make any difference in the end. Maybe.

    • SHG 7.1

      Allow me to summarise the article in one sentence: the new head of Greenpeace has announced that people are more important than the environment.

  8. SteveB 8

    Go for it Russell Norman.
    Labours track record on environmental perfmorance is shocking – 9 years of lots of rhetoric and word – and 22% increase in Co2 emissions. the sooner they get exposed as being a total fraud the better – too many environmentalists have been hoodwinked.

    The difference between national and Labour is that at least the nat’s are “out” and honest about what they think. In actual fact we seen Nick Smith “front up” to farmers on climate change in what that labour was not prepared to – maybe we will even see a reduction in the rise of CO2 emissions – they certainly couldn’t do worse than 9 years of labour (although they are trying fairly hard at the moment!!).

    Yours in frustration

    Steve B

  9. HandleTheJandal 9

    Had a girl from Greenpeace soliciting at my door the other day. Talk about a religious cult, the Jehovah Witnesses have got nothing on the self righteousness and delusional thinking of Greenpeace.

    • felix 9.1

      Yeah, delusional is right. Time has proved them wrong on every issue they’ve ever taken a stand on.

      Oh Greenpeace? Sorry, I thought you were talking about slow-witted ignorant conservative fuckwits.

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