New poll show that Icelanders believe the environment needs Greenpeace.

Press release - December 4, 2003
The people of Iceland are on the threshold of choosing a new environmental path for the future and adopting a new view of the whales in its surrounding oceans. A new finding by Gallup, the opinion research firm, has revealed that 48% of the Icelandic public thinks the existence of groups like Greenpeace is " rather important or very important." (1).

"This result is very encouraging.  Half the population is open to Greenpeace and our work. On an event in Reykjavik January 13th 2004 we will launch our plans for further work in Iceland for spring and summer," said Greenpeace spokesperson Frode Pleym."

Supported by the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace embarked on a public tour in Iceland in September 2003 in order to discuss the Icelandic whaling issue and other environmental issues with the Icelandic people. The purpose of the tour was to present an offer to the Icelandic Government that shows the clear economic and environmental gain in choosing tourism over whaling. (www.greenpeace.org/iceland) (2)

"This strongly suggests that Icelanders do appreciate Greenpeace work on protecting the environment and it will probably elevate the debate on environmental issues in Iceland. Addressing climate change and marine pollution are areas of mutual concern for Greenpeace and Iceland," said Arni Finnsson, Chairman of Iceland Nature Conservation Association."

It is estimated that about a dozen whale watching companies have been started in Iceland in the last ten years, generating US$8.5 million in 2001. Commercial whaling generated US$ 3-4 million between 1986 and 1989, when commercial hunts were stopped.

36 Minke whales were caught this autumn in the so-called scientific whaling programme. The government plan to expand the hunt to include sei- and fin whales, will possibly take place already in 2004.

Notes: 1 Gallup asked 800 Icelanders age 16-75 the question " The importance of the existence of an international environmental organisation like Greenpeace" 2 Through the Greenpeace website and other communications to our supporters, we will ask people around the world to participate in protecting vulnerable areas and species through appropriate opportunities, including visiting Iceland. As of today the pledge to the Icelandic Government numbered 13,000. Read the Gallup report and the full offer on www.greenpeace.org/iceland

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