Learn about Greenpeace

Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over 40 countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Greenpeace is known for its direct actions and has been described as the most visible environmental organization in the world. Greenpeace has raised environmental issues to public knowledge, and influenced both the private and the public sector.

Greenpeace states its goal is to “ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity and focuses its campaigning on worldwide issues such as climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering and anti-nuclear issues.

Greenpeace is one of the most active international environmental organizations, with groups in over forty different countries. It was founded in Canada in 1970 under a different name – the Don`t Make a Wave Committee.

In 1972, the Committee renamed itself as Greenpeace. Its founders were first concerned about the US testing nuclear bombs underground in Alaska.

Many peoples thought the tests might cause earthquakes and tsunamis (the reasons for the original name), so the Committee decided  to protest. Rather than just going on march, the Committee decided to object to the tests by doing something more explicit.

So, they sailed to the test site in Alaska. Although they didn`t stop the tests immediately, their actions made people notice what was happening.

The public supported the Committee and the US government dropped its plans for more testing. Today Greenpeace continues to use direct action to draw attention to environmental concerns.

Many people, particularly governments, don`t approve of the methods Greenpeace uses because they consider them dangerous and aggressive. However, Greenpeace is able to publicise issues and bring them to the attention of ordinary people.

In 2010, for example, Greenpeace ran a campaign to prevent packaging companies from using wood grown in ancient forest.

Greenpeace has also protected sea creatures by persuading producers of canned fish products to change their fishing methods.