Greenpeace is an international, multi-million dollar environmental activist group. According to their website, they “exists because this fragile earth deserves a voice,” and campaign “to protect and conserve the environment.” Rival activist group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, however, calls Greenpeace a fraud, “the world’s largest multinational “feel-good” corporation.”
Greenpeace: Insincere and Inconsistent on Key Scientific Issues
Whatever other activist groups say about Greenpeace, the global non-profit is no fraud when it comes to their virulent anti-science positions. They complain that “[a] greedy elite are industrialising, commodifying and controlling every aspect of our food system — from genome to grocery store.” Predictably, Greenpeace opposes the use of biotechnology, pesticides and chemical fertilizers in the production of food, innovations that experts say are helping us safely feed the world’s growing population while reducing our environmental impact.
Food isn’t the only topic on which Greenpeace is at odds with science. The group has opposed the use of nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels since its founding. Expanding the use of nuclear power, they claim, “would cost trillions of dollars … and result in a Chernobyl-scale accident once every decade.” Greenpeace leaves out two important facts: the cost of nuclear power has been driven up by burdensome regulations (endorsed by Greenpeace), and the technology to build and maintain safe power plants has already been deployed around the world.
Greenpeace only bothers with expert consensus on one issue: global warming. “Climate change is here now and human activity, scientists agree, is the cause,” their website states. For effect, they add that global warming threatens our stable atmosphere, the “vital foundation of all life.”
But the group’s ardent opposition to technological innovation undermines their supposedly sincere desire to address climate change. Because warmer global temperatures may encourage pest breeding and drought, scientists believe plant biotechnology has a key role to play in helping us adapt to climate change. Moreover, nuclear energy produces no carbon dioxide emissions and could likewise help us mitigate the effects of climate change. Most importantly, nuclear power could provide energy to impoverished people who desperately need it, according to NASA.
The Wrong Kind of Green: Greenpeace’s Corporate Donors
Greenpeace likes to advertise that they don’t accept corporate donations or government grants. Their advocacy work, they say, is strictly funded by charitable foundations and individual supporters. What they should say, however, is that don’t take money directly from corporations.
Greenpeace has received financial support from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an environmentalist group that does take money directly from corporations–like Coca Cola and Shell Oil. Greenpeace doesn’t specify how much “support” they received from the WWF, but it was enough to buy a ship they use to harass whalers.
The hypocritical non-profit also pimps out their environmentalist credibility to corporate ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s, who sees the relationship as a way to make customers out of environmentally-conscious consumers.
When the Netherlands-based firm Unilever purchased Ben & Jerry’s, the company agreed to finance a non-profit group that would “support grassroots activism and community organizing for social and environmental justice…” This non-profit is the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. Coincidentally no doubt, environmental activist and Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard sits on the board of directors of the Ben & Jerry’s foundation.
This years-long partnership may explain why Greenpeace and Ben & Jerry’s teamed up to oppose oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It could also explain why the dessert manufacturer licensed technology from Greenpeace in 2008 to make their refrigerators more “climate friendly.”
Criticism from Other Activist Groups
More radical environmental activists are absolutely livid about Greenpeace’s cozy relationship with corporations like Unilever, dubbing Greenpeace “The wrong kind of green.” And these activists may have a point. It turns out that Greenpeace has concealed financial ties to all sorts of wealthy corporate donors. Still other activists have accused Greenpeace of using their pet causes to raise millions of dollars, while actually doing nothing to protect the environment.