GREENPEACE began with a small group of individuals who decided to get together to protest against nuclear testing at Amchitka, off the west coast of Alaska. They went on to form GREENPEACE and later initiated campaigns on major environmental issues. One of the founding principles of GREENPEACE is to "bear witness" - that is to watch and record environmental destruction. This principle of direct action together with peaceful confrontation, has been the cornerstone of GREENPEACE's campaigns.Southeast Asia is of enormous significance to the future of the planet earth. The rich natural heritage of the region is worth protecting in its own right. However, the staggeringly rapid industrialization and economic growth of the past 30 years has come at a huge environmental cost. The environmental impacts of the region also stretch beyond their own national boundaries. Severe environmental degradation already exists across Southeast Asia. Apart from the recent Asian financial crisis, pollution and resources destruction are further intensifying as multinational companies and industrialized nations target the region for the expansion of their environmentally destructive operations and technologies. Reinforcing these problems is the lack of awareness among the Asian public about environmental destruction and weak democratic mechanisms to empower communities to influence decisions. Recognizing the importance of the developmental potential and threats in these areas, and in order to consolidate and expand its campaign work in Southeast Asia, Greenpeace is increasing its activities in the region.
Greenpeace is already active in many part of Asia. Our work in the region has included stopping hazardous waste imports, opposing radioactive shipments, campaigning against forest destruction, lobbying governments on sustainable energy issues and drawing attention to the dangers of waste incinerations. Often working with other local groups, Greenpeace has run successful campaigns in the Philippines, Taiwan, India, and Indonesia. We made a commitment to develop a presence in Asia in late 80s and early 90s, and first established an office in Japan (1989) and then China (1997). Initial investigations were also initiated in SEA, focusing primarily on Indonesia and Philippines.
Southeast Asia is in a key position to determine global environmental security. Over the past 30 years, Greenpeace has successfully campaigned in industrialized countries to reduce and eliminate environmental pollution and degradation. However, these efforts and many achievements can easily be reversed as these same multinational companies export dirty technologies resulting in environmental degradation in the region. Hence, after many years of investigations and establishing campaign presence in key countries, Greenpeace finally succeeded in opening an office in the region. Greenpeace Southeast Asia was formally established on March 1, 2000.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia's Mission Statement
" Safeguard environmental rights,
Expose and stop environmental crimes,
Advance clean development. "
2008 Greenpeace Southeast Asia Annual Report
(click to see .pdf)