Last week U.N. officials and world leaders convened in Peru to agree to do something about greenhouse gas emissions—namely, to get countries to commit to emissions caps. But what really made the international headlines was a stunt by Greenpeace that defaced a World Heritage site. Greenpeace activists trampled onto the ancient Nazca Lines to put up a banner pushing for renewable energy.
Peru plans to sue Greenpeace and file charges of “attacking archaeological monuments,” punishable by up to six years in jail, though a court ruling allowed at least some of the Greenpeace activists to flee the country (presumably by carbon-emitting planes). Greenpeace has issued an apology, but is that really enough? No. The organization should have known better in the first place, but what it really cares about (more than a world heritage site) is getting media attention—Greenpeace is essentially the PETA of the environmental movement. But news emerged yesterday that Greenpeace is also refusing to name the activists who defaced the site, making the organization’s leadership at the very least complicit in covering up the tracks of the activists. Apparently these activists want to knowingly and publicly break laws, but then run and hide when confronted with the consequences of their actions. Amazingly hypocritical when you consider how often their stunts involve trying to get corporations to take responsibility for their actions.
Separately, news emerged recently that several Greenpeace activists would plead guilty for trespassing at a Proctor & Gamble building in Cincinnati for a stunt last spring. The activists had been charged with felonies but will likely just receive community service.
We could go on—Greenpeace arrests number in the dozens, if not the hundreds, while a federal judge noted, “Greenpeace USA also uses so-called ‘direct actions’ to achieve its goals, and its general counsel has conceded that direct action can include illegal activity”—but it’s clear that Greenpeace has little to contribute to society. It’s no surprise that Greenpeace lost its charity status in Canada in 1989, and it was also denied recognition as a charity in New Zealand. Perhaps the only wonder is why Greenpeace still has it in the U.S.