from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
legal form Foundation under Dutch law (Greenpeace International)
founding 1971, Vancouver , BC , Canada
founder Irving Stowe , Paul Côté , Jim Bohlen , Patrick Moore
Seat Amsterdam , Netherlands (Greenpeace International)
Hamburg (Greenpeace Germany)
main emphasis environmental Protection
method Nonviolence , lobbying , research , innovation
Action space Global
people David McTaggart , Kumi Naidoo
Martin Kaiser , Roland Hipp
sales 342 million euros (2016)
Employees around 2,400 employees
237 in Germany (Dec 2014)
Volunteers 47,000 (2017)
Members around 3 million (worldwide)
590,000 supporting members in Germany
Website International: (English)

Greenpeace [ ˈgriːnpiːs ] (German: "green peace") is a transnational political non-profit organization founded in 1971 by peace activists in Vancouver , Canada , which has environmental protection as its theme. She was best known for campaigns against nuclear weapons tests and actions against whaling . Later the organization also concentrated on other topics such as overfishing , global warming , the destruction of primeval forests , atomic energy and genetic engineering . Greenpeace also points out alternatives through technical innovations.

According to its own information, Greenpeace had around three million sustaining members worldwide and around 2,400 employees in 2017. Greenpeace Germany has around 590,000 supporting members. There are Greenpeace offices and 28 regional offices in over 45 countries around the world.


Greenpeace demonstration in Toulouse against the construction of an EPR (2007)

The organization emerged in Vancouver ( Canada ) in the early 1970s from the Don't Make a Wave Committee , which was founded by US and Canadian nuclear opponents and pacifists . This committee met with the intention of preventing a series of atomic bomb tests .

Benefit concert 1970

On 16 October 1970 one took benefit concert of Joni Mitchell , James Taylor and Phil Ochs in the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver instead of the proceeds (admission: 3 dollars per person) a small group of peace moving people zugutekam who had the plan, with a ship before the coast of Alaska to protest against the upcoming nuclear test on Amchitka. The name of the planned action was Greenpeace .

Irving Stowe organized the concert and was assisted by Joan Baez ; Baez was unable to attend the concert at the time, but made the connection between Stowe and Mitchell and Mitchell invited her then friend James Taylor to the concert.

The concert was recorded on tape in 1970 and the tapes were kept by the Stowe family. The Stowes never had the money, but always had the hope of being able to publish the concert one day. Thus, the family could not carry out the necessary restorations themselves and did not know how to secure the rights to the recording.

That changed in 2006 when John Timmins, brother of a cowboy junkies member, joined Greenpeace as a "Foundation Officer". When Timmins found out about the tapes, he visited Barbara Stowe, Irving's daughter, who told him the story. Timmins then managed to contact Joni Mitchell and James Taylor's agents, obtain the necessary permission to restore the tapes, and secure the rights to publish the recordings. The benefit concert was then released in November 2009 by Greenpeace as a CD and download album with the name Amchitka, the 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace and has since been distributed via its own website.

Action Greenpeace 1971

The activists of the Don't Make a Wave Committee chartered the fishing cutter "Phyllis Cormack", commanded by John Cormack , in September 1971 with the intention of disrupting the scheduled second nuclear test and preventing the detonation of the bombs. The ship was renamed Greenpeace and set sail towards the test site at Amchitka. But the US Coast Guard intercepted the Phyllis Cormack with its coast guard ship Confidence and forced her to return to port. On their return to Alaska , the team learned that protests had taken place in all of Canada's major cities and that the US had postponed the second underground test until November. The attempts to drive into the test zone with a second chartered ship failed, but no further nuclear tests were carried out at Amchitka. The organization later changed its name to "Greenpeace".

Mururoa Atoll and the ramming of the Vega 1972/73

In May 1972, the newly established Greenpeace Foundation published an appeal to understanding captains to help them protest against the French government's nuclear tests in the Pacific atoll of Mururoa . One answer came from David McTaggart , a Canadian and former entrepreneur living in New Zealand at the time.

McTaggart sold his business interests and moved to the South Pacific. His actions were in response to a gas explosion that seriously injured an employee in one of his ski huts. Indignant that any government could ban him from any part of the Pacific, he made his yacht, the Vega , available and set about assembling a crew.

In 1973 McTaggart drove the Vega into the exclusion zone around Mururoa, so that his ship was rammed by the French Navy . When he repeated the protest the following year, French sailors boarded the Vega and beat him up.

The Navy later published organized photos of McTaggart having a brawl with senior naval officers, demanding more restraint from the two opposing parties. The facts of the matter appeared in a different light when photos appeared in the media showing McTaggart during the brawl, which crew member Anne-Marie Horne shot and smuggled out of the yacht.

The campaign had an impact when the French government announced an interruption of the above-ground tests, although they would henceforth be conducting them underground. In the period that followed, Greenpeace campaigned against the tests in the Pacific until the French brought their test program to an end in 1995.

Greenpeace International 1979

In 1975 there were 15-20 different groups with the name Greenpeace, only later they were combined in an organization that was founded on October 14, 1979 under the name Greenpeace International . Prominent founding members included David McTaggart , Robert Hunter and Patrick Moore .

At McTaggart's initiative, the headquarters was moved to Europe, where there were well-organized offshoots that were financially better off than the Canadian organization.

The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985

In 1985 the Rainbow Warrior was supposed to drive to Mururoa atoll in French Polynesia to protest against the French nuclear tests taking place there .

Anchored in the New Zealand port of Auckland , she was sunk on July 10, 1985 by agents of the French Foreign Intelligence Service ( DGSE ). The Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira drowned .


Greenpeace action against Esso
Action against the Waldschlösschenbrücke and the associated CO 2 emissions

Action is a central element of Greenpeace's work. Here activists go to a place that, in their opinion, is symbolic of environmental destruction and protest there mostly with banners. By means of often spectacular appearances directly on the scene, the organization tries to draw the public's attention in order to induce mostly large industrial groups or governments to give in through public pressure. This type of appearance made the organization known in the eighties.

In addition to the more conventional methods of environmental organizations such as influencing politicians and being present at international organizations, Greenpeace also pursues the explicit method of direct action without the use of force .

The method of attracting public attention was derived from the Quaker "bearing witness". According to Greenpeace, it is a matter of “bearing witness” to injustice that the organization believes is happening. For example, members position themselves publicly between the whaler's harpoon and their prey or penetrate nuclear power plants. In order to be able to scientifically substantiate their points of view or to develop new points of view, Greenpeace, like other environmental protection organizations, commissions scientists to prepare studies. Greenpeace also works in an advisory capacity in many international bodies.

Greenpeace distinguishes itself from other environmental protection organizations by restricting itself to certain, mostly globally pursued, high-profile topics such as nuclear power , global warming , biodiversity and species protection , green genetic engineering , biopatents and chemistry. The environmental protection organization has been advocating against the import of nuclear power for a long time. Another campaign by the organization is directed against H&M, for example. The fashion manufacturer uses too many chemical additives in clothing. After much back and forth, H&M leaned in and assured Greenpeace that the chemical additives would be reduced. Topics such as traffic or household waste only play a minor role in some Greenpeace country offices. Also, contrary to popular belief, Greenpeace is not an animal welfare organization .

Well-known campaigns

The transformation of Greenpeace from a loose network to a global organization is mainly based on ideas from McTaggart. He summarized his advances in a communication from 1994 as follows:

“No campaign should be started without clear goals; no campaign should be started without the possibility of success; no campaign should be started without the intention to consistently complete it. "

- David McTaggart

The Brent Spar campaign

In 1995, by occupying the floating oil tank Brent Spar, Greenpeace managed to get the operating companies Shell and Exxon to refrain from the planned sinking in the North Atlantic and instead had the plant disposed of on land. The campaign resulted in a ban on the sinking of oil platforms in the North Atlantic. In the course of the campaign, Greenpeace published grossly incorrect estimates of the amount of oil residues on the platform. The organization has apologized to Shell and the public for the wrong numbers.

Campaigns against mahogany wood

In 2001, Greenpeace organized an action against US imports of Brazilian mahogany wood valued at ten million US dollars after the Brazilian government imposed a waiting period for exports of mahogany wood. On April 12, 2002, two Greenpeace representatives boarded the ship and carried the mahogany wood to hang a banner that read, "President Bush, stop illegal logging." The two agents were arrested along with four others who helped them. After pleading guilty and paying a fine, they were sentenced to a weekend in prison.

On July 18, 2003, the US Department of Justice used the incident to place the entire Greenpeace organization under the relatively unknown “Sailormongering Act” passed in 1872, which was last applied in 1890. Appeal to this law, which was designed to classify and prosecute nonviolent demonstrators, sparked protests around the world. Critics of this criminal prosecution have included Al Gore , Patrick Leahy, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People , the ACLU of Florida, and the People For the American Way . The ministry later changed this to a revised indictment in Miami federal court on November 14, 2003, by dropping the statement that Greenpeace had falsely claimed that the mahogany wood on the ship concerned was contraband.

On May 16, 2004, the responsible judge Adalberto Jordan ruled in favor of Greenpeace and came to the conclusion that "the indictment represents a rare - and probably also unprecedented - criminal prosecution of a legally legal group", whose conduct belongs to free expression.

Campaigns against IT manufacturers

In recent years, Greenpeace activists have made it their business to use campaigns to encourage manufacturers in the IT industry to act in a more environmentally conscious manner in the sense of Green IT .

For example, in 2004 Dutch Greenpeace activists blocked the Utrecht office of the Hewlett-Packard company in this context and in May 2005 a truckload of electronic waste was dropped in front of the Geneva headquarters. In December 2005, activists demonstrated again in front of the headquarters in Palo Alto , because the company, as a leading company in the industry, uses far more hazardous substances in production than its competitors.

In 2006, Greenpeace launched a hands-on campaign on the Internet to encourage Apple users to participate creatively to encourage manufacturers to use less toxic chemicals in the manufacture of their devices. Apple's limited take-back and recycling program for old devices was also criticized. For this campaign, Greenpeace was awarded a prize in the “Activism” category by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in 2007 at the 11th Webby Awards .

Campaigns against dangerous textile chemicals

In July 2011, Greenpeace started the Detox campaign , which is directed against the use of dangerous chemicals in the textile industry . Textile chemicals pollute drinking water in China and many developing countries . In many places this polluted water ends up in the drinking water of the residents of these waters. Many of the chemicals are long-lived .

Campaigns against coal policy

Most recently in autumn 2014, Greenpeace drew attention to the German government's coal policy with a paddle wheel at the SPD headquarters in Berlin, combined with the message to Federal Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel: “Coal destroys the climate!” .


At the beginning of May 2016, Greenpeace came into possession of a large number of copies of secret negotiating documents for the planned free trade agreement between the USA and the European Union . The documents were verified and published by the NDR and the Süddeutsche Zeitung . In the following days, Greenpeace set up a glass reading room in front of the Brandenburg Gate in the immediate vicinity of the Reichstag building in Berlin , in which the documents could be viewed freely. According to a representative survey of “a good thousand” citizens by ARD-Deutschlandtrend shortly after the publication, 79% of those questioned expressed doubts about maintaining consumer protection and the secrecy of the negotiations. Shortly after the publication, French President François Hollande said he would reject a free trade agreement "as it is". All 28 EU member states and the European Parliament must approve the agreement.

Previous successes

The organization's successes include the end of commercial whaling since 2002, the establishment of a protected area in Antarctica and the premature stop of many series of atomic bombs .

The most significant successes that the organization attributes to its influence include the discontinuation of nuclear tests on Amchitka in Alaska (1972) and the extension of the Antarctic Treaty (1991), which forbids the occupation of the Antarctic by other countries or for commercial interests. To secure the latter, the World Park Base was built in Antarctica , which was in operation from 1987 to 1991. An Antarctic World Park was called for as early as 1983 . After 6 years of negotiations, Japan was the last of 26 signatory states to sign the Protocol to the Environmental Protection Agreement, which came into force on January 14, 1998.

In a patent dispute with the neurobiologist Oliver Brüstle , Greenpeace obtained a judgment from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg in 2011 that forbids the patenting of human embryonic stem cells . In 1997, the Bonn researcher applied for a patent for nerve precursor cells which he produced from human embryonic stem cells. Greenpeace raised ethical concerns about the scientist's patents. The Federal Patent Office then declared the patent null and void and referred to the protection of human dignity and human life. The Federal Court of Justice was the next instance to deal with the matter. This referred the question to the ECJ.

Greenpeace in Germany

Greenpeace country office Germany, Elbtorquartier Hamburg, with Darrieus rotors (2014)
Greenpeace boat on the Süderelbe near the country office Germany in Hamburg

The ability of the organization to act is essentially based on the around 590,000 supporting members (as of 2017) who make Greenpeace one of the largest German environmental protection organizations. As the financially strongest country office, Greenpeace Germany has shouldered the majority of the expenses for international Greenpeace campaigns for years. At the end of October 2013, the Germany office moved into its new headquarters in Hamburg's HafenCity .


Greenpeace Germany is a registered association recognized as non-profit. According to the statutes, the general assembly, the highest decision-making body, consists of 40 voting members - composed of 10 employees from Greenpeace Germany, 10 employees from Greenpeace offices abroad, 10 people from public life and 10 honorary members. These 40 members are not elected by the sponsoring members, which Greenpeace has already accused of having an undemocratic organizational structure. The organization, on the other hand, points to the higher efficiency, speed and independence of this form of organization. At grassroots democratic general meetings, only a fraction of the eligible voters are usually present, which would make it easy for splinter groups or industry lobbyists to abuse their voting power.

The managing directors of Greenpeace Germany included Thilo Bode (1989 to 1995), Birgit Radow (1995 to 1998), Brigitte Behrens (1999 to 2016), Sweelin Heuss (2016 to 2019), Martin Kaiser (since 2016) and Roland Hipp (since 2016).


In 2016, Greenpeace Germany received donations of around EUR 58.5 million. In comparison, EUR 47.7 million were received in 2010 and EUR 53.5 million in 2012.

Only 65% ​​of the budget was spent on campaigns, at EUR 37.9 million. The remainder was invested in direct and indirect fundraising and administration, with direct fundraising alone (advertising costs, support for sponsors) costing around 15% of the income.

The German communications director of the environmental protection organization Michael Pauli confirmed that the organization was spending a total of around 90 million euros on fundraising - “in order to receive 300 million euros in revenue worldwide. We see that positively. "


In November 1980 in Bielefeld by William Parkinson, Gerhard Dunkel, Dirk Rehrmann a. a. founded, the organization, which is now based in Hamburg, became well-known in Germany with its protests against the dilute acid dump in the North Sea and against air pollution with dioxins by the chemical company Boehringer . Greenpeace achieved that Boehringer had to close its Hamburg plant in 1984. The manufacturers of titanium dioxide also gave their consent to end the dilute acid dump. In 1995 Greenpeace was able to persuade the Shell Group to refrain from sinking the floating oil tank Brent Spar in the Atlantic, and the following year an international ban on sinking oil platforms in the North Atlantic was established. In the course of this campaign, Greenpeace made a greatly exaggerated statement about the amount of oil on board the tank and later attributed this to the public as a result of a measurement error.

Greenpeace youth

Greenpeace youth logo

Since 1997 there have been youth action groups (JAG) of the Greenpeace youth (ages 14 to 19). In around 40 cities, over 700 young people are active in this way and their actions are also aimed at the public and politics. The main topics are the same as those of the Greenpeace parent organization. For children between 10 and 14 years of age, Greenpeace has the opportunity to set up so-called green teams. Here the children - with a little help from adults - can get involved in environmental protection and organize their own activities.

Ozeaneum Stralsund

Greenpeace works with the Stralsund German Maritime Museum Foundation . The organization is helping to organize an exhibition in the Ozeaneum in Stralsund , in which, under the title 1: 1 Giants of the Seas, life-size models of various species of whales are presented in an 18 meter high hall .

Other Projects

Greenpeace Energy logo

Another important mainstay are the more than 100 local groups with over 4,900 volunteer employees. Over 4,000 activities were supported in 2014 with the help of volunteers in Germany.

In addition to the association, there are other organizations with the name Greenpeace in Germany: The Greenpeace Foundation is connected to the mountain forest project , which was founded in 1987 by Greenpeace Switzerland, and looks after the Arche Warder zoo .

There is also the Greenpeace magazine , which is published by Greenpeace Media GmbH and, in addition to environmental protection, also deals with social and economic issues. The editorial team is independent of the Greenpeace association.

Over the years, the organization tried harder to identify alternatives and provide answers to environmental questions:

  • Against all the concerns of paper manufacturers and magazine publishers, Greenpeace succeeded in promoting the development of chlorine-free bleached paper. On March 1, 1991, activists in front of the Spiegel publishing house showed by means of a reprint christened “The Plagiarism” that it is very possible to produce chlorine-free bleached paper that is high-quality enough to be printed using the gravure printing process.
  • In 1993, Greenpeace, in cooperation with the manufacturer Foron and the Dortmund Hygiene Institute headed by Harry Rosin , launched the Greenfreeze, the world's first refrigerator that did not use chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) or fluorocarbons (PFC) as coolants. It had previously been claimed that these substances could not be replaced at low prices.
  • In 1996 Greenpeace presented a car, the Twingo Smile , which consumes less than three liters of petrol per 100 kilometers at 90 km / h. With a loan from Greenpeace, the Swiss company Wenko converted a standard Renault Twingo with a gasoline engine so that fuel consumption was halved. However, the concept study met with little interest from vehicle manufacturers and consumers.
  • On the initiative of Greenpeace e. V. founded the Greenpeace Energy cooperative in 1999 as financially and organisationally from Greenpeace e. V. founded an independent energy supply company. Greenpeace Energy has around 22,000 members and sells electricity from renewable sources to around 110,000 customers.

Greenpeace worldwide

International branches of Greenpeace

Greenpeace works with 27 national and 15 regional offices. The work of the individual Greenpeace sections is coordinated with each other, the international campaigns and areas of work are developed under the leadership of Greenpeace International and proposed for all country offices. Since April 1, 2016, Jennifer Morgan and Bunny McDiarmid are the new managing directors of Greenpeace International.

The international Greenpeace organization is the Greenpeace Council Foundation , a foundation under Dutch law based in Amsterdam. It is registered with the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce under number 41200415. The Greenpeace organizations are organized in different legal forms in the various countries: in Germany as a registered association, in Switzerland as a foundation. The Swiss branch of Greenpeace was founded in November 1984 in Zurich. In Austria, environmentalists founded the “Friends of Greenpeace” association two years earlier.

Greenpeace ships

Ever since Greenpeace was founded, ocean-going vessels have played a very important role in the respective campaigns.

Sirius in the port of Amsterdam
Ice-class ship Gondwana, 1990 in the Panama Canal

In 1978 Greenpeace commissioned the Rainbow Warrior , a 40-meter-long former fish trawler . One of the Rainbow Warriors' early missions was against Icelandic whaling. Between 1978 and 1985 members of the team were directly involved in peaceful actions against the dumping of toxic and radioactive waste in the oceans, against the hunt for the gray seal in the Orkney Islands and against nuclear tests in the Pacific .

In 1985 Rainbow Warrior was supposed to demonstrate in the waters around the Mururoa Atoll, where France was conducting nuclear tests. When the ship was sunk (see sinking of the Rainbow Warrior ) with two bombs by the French secret service , the photographer Fernando Pereira was also killed.

In 1989, Greenpeace commissioned a replacement ship called the Rainbow Warrior . It was the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet until it was handed over to the NGO Friendship in Singapore on August 16, 2011 .

On July 4, 2011, the name tradition continued with the launch of the Rainbow Warrior . The new ship has space for 32 crew members and a helipad . Primarily designed as a sailor, it still has an efficient diesel engine with a catalytic converter, which is unusual for ship engines. The price for the new shipyard was 23 million euros.

Other ships owned by Greenpeace are the Sirius (since 1981), the Arctic Sunrise (since 1996), the Esperanza (since 2002) and the Beluga II (since 2004).

In 1995, the chartered Greenpeace ship Altair attracted considerable media attention, only when it occupied the tank and loading platform Brent Spar in the North Sea on April 30 to prevent it from sinking into the Atlantic, and then a second time when it was boarded and damaged on October 25 in Brindisi, Italy, by the crew of a French frigate .

On September 19, 2013, the Arctic Sunrise was stormed by officers from the Russian border guards. The day before, Greenpeace activists tried to occupy the Priraslomnaja oil platform of the Russian state company Gazprom in the Pechora Sea.



At the Save The World Awards 2009 , which were presented in Zwentendorf / Lower Austria, Greenpeace was awarded a prize for its worldwide commitment to protecting the global climate.

Against the background of an economic system based on self-interest, Frank Zelko sees the global citizenship policy of Greenpeace, that is, the generation of ecological sensitivity through non-violent direct action, as the most important legacy of the organization.

Whatever inadequacy Greenpeace may show, this association has created a new and powerful method of standing in the way of powerful institutions that want to harm the environment. "

- Frank Zelko on Greenpeace

Harald Lesch sees the work of Greenpeace, especially with regard to the consequences of global warming, as an important corrective to the attitude of politics and industry, which is often characterized by blockades and profit interests. The actions of Greenpeace can encourage people to stand up for environmental and climate issues on a political level. According to Lesch, the spectacular actions with which environmental crimes are made accessible to the general public have led to national and international environmental protection regulations. As an example, he cites the ban on sinking oil platforms in the north-east Atlantic in 1998 or the ban on TBT painting of ships in 2001. He emphasizes the solution-oriented approach of the organization by referring to the Plan energy concept developed by Greenpeace or the climate-friendly Greenfreeze refrigerator.



Some critics question their tax privileges, in the USA for example the Public Interest Watch (PIW), which is financed by ExxonMobil and founded exclusively for observation by Greenpeace . In March 2006, the IRS confirmed that Greenpeace USA rightly has the tax advantages of a non-profit organization .

In Germany there have been several attempts to revoke the charitable status, but so far have not been successful. In December 2004 the Hamburg tax office investigated whether Greenpeace had violated the law and whether the non-profit status of the association should be revoked for 2003 because the organization had not distanced itself from certain illegal actions on its website.

In 1989 Canada changed tax laws for charitable organizations. Greenpeace and other organizations thereby lost their non-profit status.

On May 6, 2011, the appeal was rejected by the High Court of New Zealand in the course of a rejected application by Greenpeace of New Zealand Inc. for non-profit status, as the organization was too politically oriented through its lobbying. In this context, potentially illegal activities by Greenpeace were also given as a reason.

Undemocratic structures

The organization is repeatedly accused of undemocratic structures. In contrast to most of the other large environmental organizations, the grassroots activists and supporters at Greenpeace have few or no rights of co-determination. Der Spiegel speaks of a “not exactly democratic association”. As early as the 1980s, the Robin Wood organization split off “among other things in protest against the 'eco-multi' Greenpeace, which was perceived as undemocratic”. Greenpeace argues that an organization capable of acting internationally cannot make every single decision on a grassroots basis, and points to the greater efficiency, speed and independence of its organizational form.


Patrick Moore , former President of Greenpeace International, has since turned away from the organization. He accuses the organization of ideological blindness, which culminated in a rigorous protest stance and in which the organization refused to create consensus on ecology. The Moore, who works for forestry today, said in an interview:

Greenpeace has said goodbye to logic and science. The campaign professionals work with emotional images. For many people, a tulip field looks a lot better than a freshly clear cut where only ugly tree stumps can be seen. Unfortunately, many do not think so far that the forest will grow back and that the forest industry also has a strong economic interest in seeing it grow back. However, the biological diversity of a tulip field tends towards zero. "

- Patrick Moore on Greenpeace

Zelko comes to the conclusion that Greenpeace can at best be accused of referring to scientific studies that best serve its own interests. However, this also applies to the critic Patrick Moore.

A concrete example of the accusation of unscientificness is the rejection of the golden rice . Moore accused the organization of complicity in the death of children in developing countries and crimes against humanity in connection with its lobbying activities against the approval of golden rice . According to Ingo Potrykus , co-founder of the Golden Rice project , Greenpeace would have problems if people realized that the fear of genetically modified rice was unfounded and that the technology could be used to save lives.

Review by Paul Watson

Paul Watson was one of the first members of Greenpeace in 1972 and had supported the organization even before it was officially founded. In 1977 Watson left Greenpeace in dispute and founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society . For him the organization Greenpeace was too passive and inefficient.

In his words, Greenpeace has developed into the largest "wellness organization" in the world. He says people join Greenpeace to feel good about themselves. You want to feel part of the solution, not part of the problem. According to Paul Watson, Greenpeace is a business. This business gives people a clear conscience.

In January 2016, Watson criticized the Arctic expert Jon Burgwald and called for his resignation after he described the indigenous seal hunt as "ethical" and "sustainable" in an interview .

Foreign exchange losses 2013

In June 2014 it was announced that through currency forwards created an employee of Greenpeace headquarters in Amsterdam to hedge against currency fluctuations losses totaling 3.8 million euros. The money was originally intended for the establishment of new country organizations, the loss was, according to a Greenpeace spokesman, "serious but not threatening the very existence", and current campaigns are not at risk. According to its own statements, Greenpeace International raised around 270 million euros in 2012 alone, and as here, too, most of the money came from donations. According to Greenpeace, intent and personal motives could be ruled out. The now dismissed financial employee for the international area had apparently entrusted a company with investing organizational funds. The fact that brokers “gamble” on the financial speculation market with ongoing global damage with Greenpeace money is criticized and instead more money is being invested in ecological companies. After the loss of millions became known, Greenpeace lost around 200 sponsors in Austria and around 700 in Germany. A spokesman for Greenpeace Austria said, especially in this difficult situation, many additional donations were made - out of solidarity.

Air travel

Shortly after the foreign exchange losses, it became known that Pascal Husting had flown from Luxembourg to Amsterdam every week from 2011 until the scandal became known. Greenpeace International has apologized and Pascal Husting has been commuting by train since then.

Nazca Lines

In December 2014, during the World Climate Conference in Lima , Greenpeace activists placed cloths in the immediate vicinity of the hummingbird figure of the Nazca lines , which had the words “Time for change! The future is renewable! ”And the Greenpeace logo. The Peruvian government condemned the action at the sensitive archaeological site and requested the arrest of the 20 people involved, but this was rejected by a local court. According to Ana María Cogorno, the chairman of the Nazi line protection organization Asociación María Reiche , the damage caused by Greenpeace to the UNESCO World Heritage Site is irreparable.

British General Election 2015

In April 2017, Greenpeace was fined £ 30,000 (approx. 36,000 ) in Great Britain for deliberately not registering as a “third party campaign organization” prior to the 2015 general election. This makes Greenpeace the first organization to be sanctioned under the British Lobbying Act ( Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act ) that came into force in 2014 , which aims to limit the influence of third parties on the outcome of the election.

Declaration of the Nobel Prize Winners 2016

At the end of June 2016, more than a third of the Nobel Prize winners living around the world signed the Mainau Declaration , in which Greenpeace is urged in sharp words to reconsider the rejection of green genetic engineering.

Dangerous interference with road traffic

In June 2018, Greenpeace activists distributed 3,500 liters of yellow paint in the roundabout around the Victory Column in Berlin in order to create a sun as a "shining symbol for the energy transition" when viewed from above. The action resulted in the fall of a motorcyclist and a cyclist, and there were also rear-end collisions with property damage. Searches of the headquarters, a warehouse in Berlin, the Greenpeace Media GmbH in Hamburg and the apartments of several activists such as in Halle and Bamberg are said to have followed. A five-digit bill from the Berlin city cleaning service was raised. 135,000 liters of water were used to clean the roadway, which then had to be disposed of by a specialist company. Greenpeace spokesman Martin Bussau described the allegations as "almost absurd" and suggested that attempts were being made to intimidate the organization.

Scrapping the Rainbow Warrior II

After remaining as a supply ship, the Rainbow Warrior II was broken up in Bangladesh, despite the right of veto, which Greenpeace did not want to make use of, under conditions that were detrimental to both the employees and the environment.

Newsletter and magazine

The association sends out newsletters on current campaigns and campaigns and four times a year the magazine Greenpeace Nachrichten ( ISSN  1437-0743 ) free of charge to its sponsors.


  • Ivar A. Aune, Nikolaus Graf Praschma: Greenpeace: Environmental protection without guarantee (Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen 1996), ISBN 3-7888-0696-6 .
  • Michael Brown, John May: The Greenpeace Story (1989; London and New York: Dorling Kindersley, Inc., 1991), ISBN 1-879431-02-5 .
  • Robert Hunter , Rex Weyler: The journeys of Greenpeace (Lampertheim: Kübler Verlag , 1978), ISBN 3-921265-20-7 .
  • Robert Hunter: Warriors of the Rainbow: A Chronicle of the Greenpeace Movement (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979), ISBN 0-03-043736-9 .
  • Michael King: Death of the Rainbow Warrior (Penguin Books, 1986), ISBN 0-14-009738-4 .
  • David McTaggart, Robert Hunter: Greenpeace III: Journey into the Bomb (London: William Collins Sons & Co., 1978), ISBN 0-688-03385-7 .
  • David Robie: Eyes of Fire: The Last Voyage of the Rainbow Warrior (Philadelphia: New Society Press, 1987), ISBN 0-86571-114-3 .
  • Frank Zelko: Greenpeace. From the hippie movement to the eco-company . Translated from the English by Birgit Brandau, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2014, 358 pages, ISBN 978-3-525-31712-9 .
  • Frank Zelko: Scaling Greenpeace: From Local Activism to Global Governance, in: Historical Social Research 42 (2017) 2: 318–342. DOI 10.12759 / hsr.42.2017.2.318-342 .


Web links

"Last Exit" campaign with melting ice blocks at the Brandenburg Gate (Berlin) during the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in May 2019
Commons : Greenpeace  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Greenpeace  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Annual Report 2016 , page 26. Retrieved on May 23, 2018
  2. a b c Annual Report 2014. (PDF; 1.41 MB) Greenpeace e. V., September 2, 2015, accessed March 9, 2016 .
  3. a b c Greenpeace introduces itself., 2017, accessed on August 12, 2019 .
  4. Amchitka: the founding voyage., accessed March 9, 2016 .
  5. Lost 1970 Amchitka Concert Featuring Joni Mitchell and James Taylor Surfaces , The Wall Street Journal, November 22, 2009
  6. Siegrid Totz: Amchitka - the concert that helped Greenpeace into life., November 18, 2009, accessed on March 9, 2016 .
  7. Greenpeace News, Issue 2 (May – August) 2010; Amchitka Concert website
  8. Greenpeace - About Us: Phyllis Cormack ( Memento of July 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on August 8, 2010
  9. Greenpeace Archive: 25 Years of Environmental Activism ( Memento of July 16, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on August 8, 2010
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