Perhaps the most notable obstacle that Greenpeace International faced during the course of its existence as an environmental activist organization is the time when the Rainbow Warrior was struck down by two underwater mines. The incident led to the discovery of the involvement of the French Government through its network of spies overseas. Eventually, the ordeal became a high-profile case that involved international bodies which also took its toll on Greenpeace International.
Not only did the organization had to face the need to finance a replacement for Rainbow Warrior, they also had to take more caution in ensuring the safety of their personnel despite intimidations and threats to life and property (20th Anniversary of the Bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, 2005). The bombing of Rainbow Warrior became a precedent for Greenpeace International to further strive to achieve its goals of promoting the welfare of the environment for the benefit of humanity.
The organization is currently facing the challenge of proving the innocence of Greenpeace Japan Campaigns Director Junichi Sato together with Toru Suzuki before the theft charges filed against them. If proven guilty, both accused members of the organization may face jail time for a maximum of ten years. In the long run, the possibility of having a decision unfavorable to the interests of the organization may eventually adversely affect the safety of the whales situated in the marine waters of Japan.
On the other hand, the case, if the accused individuals are proven innocent beyond reasonable doubt, can serve as a future deterrent to whaling expeditions in Japan guised under the rug of scientific research. Embezzlement of whale meat may no soon become a footnote to written history as far as the environmental concerns in Japan go (Justice for the Tokyo Two – Justice for Whales, Coming Our Way? 2009). There are a few more obstacles that the organization is currently facing and has dealt with in the past. For the most part, none of these obstacles have struck down the efforts of the group.
Despite the growing number of people hurling both legal and extra-legal impediments to the activities of Greenpeace International, it remains fervent in its aim to protect the natural environment. (2) Social justice is a very broad concept and, therefore, it should encompass all possible aspects of the society. Part of its concerns should be the protection of the natural environment. Environmental protectionism ought to be a major concern especially today since the erosion of the natural environment across continents has direly affected the lives of countless people.
With a huge number of the global population dependent on the resources taken from the environment, it is easy to understand why the imperative to protect it is urgent and called for. A society existing under the helm of justice is secure insofar as its continued survival is concerned. Depriving the environment of the rightful protection it deserves diminishes the available source of natural wealth for the people. In the end, the lack of concrete protective measures for the environment can lead to the collapse not only of the environment but also of the entire human civilization (Kuzmiak, 1991).
The premise is simple: we cannot live without the ample resources provided by nature. To neglect the need to protect the environment is to neglect the welfare of our generation and the generations that will soon follow. Similarly, to destroy it is to destroy our own lives and our hopes for a world devoid of the hazards of the hustle and bustle in the ever expanding concrete jungles of cities. (3) Environmental protectionism is necessary in achieving social justice because the environment is the foundation of everything else that we know of in this planet.
The absence of such protective measures, no matter how radical they may stand in contrast to the status quo, will certainly reduce our chances of surviving as a race. The social perception of Greenpeace International is the idea that there is an urgent need to actively promote and protect the environment amidst the different social forces that seek to use environmental resources to great lengths without even giving sufficient room for environmental concerns. People should actively engage themselves in efforts to curb the disintegration of the natural environment as a direct result of human factors.
Human beings alone have the power to effect change in their natural surroundings especially when taken in the context of the use and abuse of the environment by several public and private entities. Protecting the environment can go to great lengths especially in the form of directly meddling with the private activities of private groups, to the point of causing harm, financial or physical, to those who are at the wrong side of the fence. The political perception of the organization is the idea that governments should prioritize environmental concerns.
For instance, the organization has recently called upon United States President Barack Obama to reassess the so-called bogus climate bill released in Congress (Democrats Pass Bogus Climate Bill, 2009). It serves as a concrete example of the political pressure being exerted by the organization on the upper branches of the government. With that in mind, it is easy to understand that the organization very well considers political avenues in meeting their goals to protect the environment.
With the growing environmental concerns throughout the years of the organization’s existence, it is apparent that the organization itself has dramatically changed through time. For the most part, the organization has grown more active than what it used to be in the later parts of the twentieth century. Moreover, the organization has become more actively involved in directly meddling with the activities of individuals and groups which they see as threats to the environment. (4) There are several previous actions of Greenpeace International which have been politically adapted.
For example, the supporters of the organization heeded the call to write to their Representatives in Congress and inform them of the people’s clamor for safer toys for children up to 12 years of age. Eventually, the US Congress passed a law that will ban children’s products that contain the toxic chemical “phthalates” (US Congress Announces Ban on Toxic Chemicals, 2008). Another example is the organization’s victory during the early parts of the 1970s, especially the cases of protesting US nuclear testing at Amchitka Island in Alaska and France’s efforts to do atmospheric tests of their weapons somewhere in the regions of the South Pacific.
In December 2007, the Irish government listened to the call of the organization to end the use of incandescent light bulbs and acted accordingly; the government announced its move to ban the use and production of incandescent light bulbs in Ireland which became the first country to do so among the European Union members (Greenpeace Victories, 2008). The latter example is a turning-point in history precisely because it marks the initial departure from the long-standing practice of using light bulbs on a massive scale that are not friendly to the environment.
These examples, among others, present the idea that Greenpeace International has been successful in some of its efforts to protect the environment. Several laws were passed in favor of the environmental concerns of the organization. Also, several protests resulted to drastic changes in the activities of sovereign governments. References 20th Anniversary of the Bombing of the Rainbow Warrior. (2005). Retrieved May 25, 2009, from http://www. greenpeace. org/international/press/releases/20th-anniversary-of-the-bombin Democrats Pass Bogus Climate Bill. (2009). Retrieved May 24, 2009, from http://www.
greenpeace. org/international/news/waxmanbill-180509 Greenpeace Victories. (2008). Retrieved May 25, 2009, from http://www. greenpeace. org/international/about/victories Justice for the Tokyo Two – Justice for Whales, Coming Our Way? (2009). Retrieved May 25, 2009, from http://www. greenpeace. org/international/news/justice-for-the-tokyo-two-ju Kuzmiak, D. T. (1991). The American Environmental Movement. The Geographical Journal, 157(3), 265-278. US Congress Announces Ban on Toxic Chemicals. (2008). Retrieved May 25, 2009, from http://www. greenpeace. org/international/news/congress-announces-ban-on-toxi
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