by Bill Richardson
September 15, 2010
Today is Greenpeace’s 39th anniversary.
It was at 4:00 p.m. on September 15th, 1971 when the original Greenpeace crew of 12 hoisted a green triangular sail with the peace and ecology symbols on their boat the Phyllis Cormack, and set out from Vancouver.
Their destination was the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska, where the U.S. government was scheduling a nuclear test blast on the tiny island of Amchitka. Read more about the founding voyage and the founding benefit concert featuring Joni Mitchell and James Taylor.
Although the test went off before our ship could make it to the island, the action taken by that first Greenpeace crew set off a wave of international protests that ultimately made it impossible for the United States to continue testing in the Aleutians. After four months of silence, the Atomic Energy Commission announced an end to the tests for “political and other reasons.”
The tiny island of Amchitka was designated a wildlife sanctuary, and Greenpeace was born.