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History and Successes

Background - 14 September, 2009
"A trip for life, and for peace": that’s how Irving Stowe, one of the co-founders of Greenpeace, described the plan to sail a boat to the Arctic Ocean to stop the testing of a nuclear bomb. Irving didn’t know it then, but the Greenpeace trip would last for decades. And it would change the world.

Dave Birmingham raises Greenpeace sail on Phyllis Cormack.

The Quakers, pacifists, ecologists, journalists and hippies who started Greenpeace dreamed big, infectious dreams.

Sixteen thousand like-minded souls attended a concert to raise funds for the voyage. In a ramshackle old fishing boat, the first Greenpeace crew took off for the island of Amchitka. It was the beginning of what would become an international movement…

Then, just like now

Independence, non-violence, creative confrontation – the ethos that was framed by the co-founders of Greenpeace is still Greenpeace’s today.

And just like then, our activists are our greatest strength: ordinary people willing to do extraordinary things to protect the environment. Over the years, they have faced jail, physical threats and political persecution.

But they have always remained peaceful. They have always persevered. And they have usually prevailed.

A history of victories

As a result, companies have reconsidered, governments have moved – and the environment has benefited.

Whether it’s food companies stopping to buy forest-destroying palm oil, or the tech industry phasing out toxic chemicals. Whether it’s the ban of radioactive waste dumping at sea, or the end of commercial whaling. Whether it’s the Antarctic Treaty, or the pioneering of a greener fridge technology – Greenpeace has been a force for change.

But there’s a lot more to do. It will take the help and support of the whole world to secure a green and peaceful future for all of humanity. The trip for life and peace continues. Welcome aboard.