They set out at sea with the ambitious idea to stop US nuclear testing in Alaska, on a renamed old fishing boat. green area By the way, September 15, 1971.
Fifty years later, this small group of 12 activists in British Columbia has grown into one of the world’s most famous environmental organizations, with offices in more than 50 countries.
The modus operandi has not changed: to expose environmental problems to the general public that they would not otherwise be able to see, and are unknown problems.
explained in an interview with Journalism Quebecer Frédéric Bleau, now Director of Operations at Greenpeace France, having worked in various offices of the organization around the world for the past 20 years.
It is the same reasoning that prompted Greenpeace to take action on oil sands production sites in Alberta and in the Canadian Parliament in 2009.
“At the time, it wasn’t known yet, and nobody talked about it as a big problem,” recalls Frederic Bleu, who was part of the group of activists who blocked a site for Shell’s oil company.
“The main goal was to get the pictures out and we succeeded,” he says, believing that thanks in large part to Greenpeace, the environmental issues associated with the tar sands have become topical.
This is Greenpeace’s role: to see what the problems are, where they are, and to look for visuals.
Frederic Bleu, Greenpeace
When the problem doesn’t manifest itself, stunning work highlights it, such as the rise of the CN Tower in Toronto in 2001 by Stephen Gilbolt, the now outgoing federal government minister, to draw attention to a topic that is now inescapable, but was still a bit in the headlines. Major at the time: climate change.
In its half century of existence, Greenpeace’s mission has evolved beyond protests and civil disobedience.
There was a time when we were criticized for saying that we didn’t provide solutions, but for several years, we were really oriented towards solutions.
Frederic Bleu, Greenpeace
But actions on the ground remain Greenpeace’s trademark, and to their advantage, the person whose job is thought precisely to plan for the organization’s “nonviolent direct actions”, but also simple demonstrations and mobilization.
“It makes way for other organizations, which do a different job,” he says.
While things are generally going well, the tragic famous episode of rainbow warrior It is mentioned that sometimes it can turn out very badly.
In July 1985, this Greenpeace ship was sabotaged by French intelligence in the port of Auckland, New Zealand, killing a photographer on board.
This case led to the resignation of the Director General of the Directorate General of External Security (DGSE) and the French Minister of Defense.
Five “victories” announced by Greenpeace
1972: US nuclear tests on Amchitka Island, Alaska were abandoned after the first action by Greenpeace the previous year.
1982: Commercial whaling halted after actions at sea against industrial whalers
1991: Banning all mining in Antarctica for 50 years, after pressure from various environmental groups
2011: Major clothing brands have pledged to end the release of dangerous chemicals, after the release of a Greenpeace report titled dirty laundry (dirty laundry)
2017: TransCanada Energy East pipeline project abandoned, after more than five years of campaigning by various environmental groups and citizen mobilization
“Extreme twitteraholic. Passionate travel nerd. Hardcore zombie trailblazer. Web fanatic. Evil bacon geek.”