Happy Birthday, Greenpeace!

by Sebastian Stelios

September 15, 2009

It was on this day, in 1971, that the first Greenpeace crew unfurled their triangular green sail, emblazoned with the peace and ecology symbols, and set out from Vancouver to change the world.

Their mission was to sail into the heart of a U.S. nuclear test zone and peacefully prevent the destruction of Amchitka, a pristine island ecosystem off the coast of Alaska. In their rusty little fishing boat, the 12 activists stood up to the greatest military force on the planet…

The Phylis Cormack, aka the original Greenpeace ship, sets sail for Amchitka.

…What followed was a wave of public support that ultimately shut down the U.S. nuclear testing program, won Amchitka designation as a wildlife sanctuary, and gave birth to the Greenpeace movement.

From our humble beginnings nearly 40 years ago, Greenpeace has grown into one of the largest and most respected environmental organizations in the world. Today, Greenpeace operates in over 45 countries and commands a fleet of research and activist ships, which have sailed against environmental destruction on all of the seven seas. We employ world-renowned scientists, policy experts, and grassroots strategists to lead our campaigns. Greenpeace even has official standing at the United Nations.

But unlike other non-profit organizations, Greenpeace remains an independent citizens’ movement at its core. We accept no money from governments or corporations. That’s why we’ve been so successful in bringing about real change for the planet. That’s also why your support is so critical.

PLEASE CLICK HERE to rush a special birthday donation to Greenpeace, as we gear up for a major campaign against the greatest environmental threat of our generation: global warming.

The crew of the Phyllis Cormack, aka the original Greenpeace ship.

From all of us here at the Greenpeace Headquarters, thank you for your continued support. These past few decades would not have been possible without you.

I leave you with a transcript of Ben Metcalfe’s transmission from the ship, which was broadcast on the CBC radio the night of Greenpeace’s maiden voyage…

We call our ship the Greenpeace because that’s the best name we can think of to join the two great issues of our times: the survival of our environment and the peace of the world

We do not consider ourselves to be radicals. We are conservatives, who insist upon conserving the environment for our children and future generations If there are radicals in this story, they are the fanatical technocrats who believe they have the power to play with this world like an infinitely fascinating toy of their own. We do not believe they will be content until they have smashed it like a toy.

The message of the Greenpeace is simply this: The world is our place and we insist on our basic human right to occupy it without danger from any power group. This is not a rhetorical presumption on our part. It is a sense and idea that we share with every ordinary citizen of the world

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Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.