I just finished lunch. Everyone is in good spirits here despite the ongoing police presence – two OPP boats, a Coast Guard ship and the occasional helicopter.
I had conversation with the ship’s captain, Peter Bouquet. Interesting guy. He’s been working on Greenpeace ships since 1978. He said in all his years with Greenpeace he’s never seen such an overblown police reaction. Typically in Europe a police force may send out one boat to monitor a Greenpeace ship. Ontario seems much more threatened by Greenpeace’s mandate of protecting the environment and promoting peace.
The police do look foolish. I received a call on my cell from a woman who saw the Hamilton news last night. The story, she said, focused on the fear OPG has stirred up among locals in the counties of Haldimand and Norfolk. OPG, it seems, has sent a letter to locals warning them of Greenpeace’s visit to the area. One must wonder what they’re being warning about.
Greenpeace believes that violence is morally wrong and accomplishes nothing. We do use non-violent direct action – referred to as NVDA by Greenpeacers – to expose environmental problems and force green solutions. NVDA is an option when traditional lobbying and negotiations fail. And Greenpeace didn’t invent NVDA – the sit-ins of the US civil rights movement and the civil disobedience lead by Gandhi are examples of non-violent action.
OPG, of course, isn’t warnings locals of something they really should be concerned about – climate change. OPG’s coal plants are Ontario’s single largest contributor to climate change. The massive Nanticoke coal station on Lake Erie is the worst of them all.
To stop dangerous climate change, we must lower greenhouse gas emissions within the next 10 to 15 years, which means Ontario needs to shut down its coal station sooner rather than later. Ontario isn’t doing that, though.
Indeed, from the deck of the Arctic Sunrise it seems the government is doing everything it can to protect Ontario’s worst polluter.