You’ve probably come here to read a blog post written by our colleague Gene, in which he addresses climate sceptics by saying: “Let's talk about what that mass civil disobedience is going to look like.
"If you're one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this:
We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many, but you be few.”
Well, we’ve taken down that post from our website. It’s very easy to misconstrue that line, take it out of context and suggest it means something wholly different from the practice of peaceful civil disobedience, which is what the post was about. Anyone who knows Gene knows he’s an entirely peaceful guy. In the interest of transparency we have moved it off site to this location, where you can read the offending quotes in context and judge for yourself:
We got this one wrong, no doubt about it. I’m holding up my hands on behalf of the organisation and saying sorry for that. Peaceful action is at the very core of what we do, so any language that even comes close to suggesting that’s not the case is something we cannot support.
Gene in his blog asks: “What do you do when patient petitioning, protest marches and court orders fail? What do you do when all the protocols and cheat codes of democracy fail? This is what you do: you reclaim the language of democracy from the twisted bunch that have hijacked, cannibalized and subverted it.”
We need to reclaim the language of democracy and tolerance. A language that is clear and precise. A language that does not confuse integrity of protest and civil disobedience with anger. One which establishes the fundamental tenets of protecting the planet for all life forms.
The climate change debate is often characterised by more heat than light, and for that reason we all need to be careful about how we express ourselves.
Of course the anti-science brigade on the web has seized on the line in Gene's post and run with it (and will run and run and run), taken it out of context and run with it some more – it’s what the climate contrarians exist to do.
We do not look over our colleagues’ shoulders when they blog. That’s not what the web is about – and that means we’ll make mistakes. No doubt this won’t be the last one, but next time we’ll deal with it a little quicker.
Thank you for coming to the Greenpeace website, and while you’re here please take the chance to have a look round at some of the work we do.
And if you have any questions about what I’ve written here, feel free to drop me a line at: ananth[at]greenpeace.org, International Programme Director, Greenpeace International