2011 was the year the bottom shook the top, the year the ballerina danced on the bull, and “The Protestor” was named Time Magazine person of the year. The faces in our Year in Pictures pay testament and tribute to our contribution and to the benefit of standing up and taking action.
2011 was a year of incredible turmoil and of enormous triumph, demonstrating what is possible when people stand up for what they believe in.
In 2003, in the run up to the war in Iraq, Time argued: “There are two forces in the world today – US military power, and world public opinion”. For nearly a decade the second super power, global public opinion, has been dormant, but it's now woken and Time asks ‘Is there a global tipping point for frustration?’
The answer is yes! And that tipping point has arrived. We are witnessing a convergence of crises. A convergence of economic, democratic and ecological deficits that are fueling frustration worldwide. From Tahrir Square to Occupy Wall Street, from Moscow to Durban, people are taking a stand and taking action.
In 2011, Greenpeace was in action across the planet -- looking through the images from our 2011 campaigns we can see the face of protest, and we can draw some inspiration.
In the wake of the earthquake, the tsunami and ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, we see the look of devastation in peoples faces, but we also see resolve, we see determination and demand. Those who lost so much deserved better from their government in dealing with the nuclear crises and radioactive fallout, they deserved the truth, and honest, immediate information so they could protect themselves. Greenpeace radiation and health experts helped provide independent information and thus compelled government and corporate actors to provide better protection to the public.
We worked across the globe to make sure the dangers of nuclear power were understood. We worked to highlight the choices to be made between dirty and clean energy. We promoted the benefits of safe energy but also warned of the consequences of making the wrong choice.
In Indonesia, our activists donned tiger print ‘leathers’ to defend the rainforest and the home of Sumatran tigers. Traveling on motor bikes they were able to gain access to remote areas of forest, but they also made public appearances to inspire, as you can see from the joyous looks of the children whose classes they visited.
Around the world our activists donned light blue leotards and shocking pink tights, to highlight the connection between Indonesian rainforest destruction and paper and packaging for one of the world most popular toys, Barbie. We even managed to have disappointment displayed in the painted plastic face of Barbie's beau, Ken.
Climbing an oil rig in the arctic clearly requires resolution, as can be seen in the faces of the over 30 activists who acted to say No to deep water drilling in the pristine arctic waters. Nowhere is this clearer perhaps than on the face of Kumi, our international executive director, as he held a banner demanding “Stop Arctic Destruction” before he too climbed the rig, and was subsequently jailed for his action.
‘Listen to the people, not the polluters’ became the drumbeat of protest at the failed COP17 UN Climate Conference as the year drew to a close. While the outcome did not match our need for urgent action, the carbon corporations who are working to ensure business as usual by lobbying against global action on climate change were ‘outed’ in Durban. We gave face to the ‘dirty dozen’ polluting groups blocking climate protection.
Throughout our Year in Pictures, you will see faces of people from all over the world. Etched in those faces you can witness their hopes and dreams. But, they are more than just protestors, they are visionaries, they are taking a stand for something, not just protesting against injustice or inequity, they are not only pointing out the folly of environmental destruction, they are pointing to a better way. They are taking a stand for a green and peaceful future.