The First Voyage Of Greenpeace

For some, Greenpeace is a controversial and intrusive group of environmental enthusiasts, but for others, the organization seeks to raise awareness of issues such as overfishing and commercial whaling, nuclear testing, deforestation and climate change. performs important functions. But Greenpeace started with one purpose: to stop the underground nuclear weapons test that may have destroyed the island of Alaska.

Amchitka Island

In 1971, the US Atomic Energy Commission planned to test the W71 warhead, which was to be fitted to the LIM-49 Spartan anti-ballistic missile, in what would have been the largest underground test explosion in history at the time, on a remote Alaska island. Amchitka. Its isolation made it an ideal location for weapons testing, but as a volcanic island that is tectonically unstable, environmental activists worried that the tests could trigger earthquakes and tsunamis.

Humble Beginnings

In opposition to the commission's plans, members of the Sierra Club banded together to block border crossing signs between Washington and British Columbia that read "It's Your Fault If Our Fault Goes" and "Don't Make Waves". Huh. Among the 7,000 protesters were a married couple, Irving and Dorothy Stowe, as well as Navy veteran Jim Bohlen, who felt the demonstration was largely ineffective. They discussed a type of protest known as "impact witness", in which protesters express their views only after seeing an unwanted activity, and Bohlen's wife suggested that they get a boat and sail to Amchitka. .

Setting Sail

With the money raised at a concert featuring Joan Baez among other publishers, Bohlen and Stowe (who would also be a legendary band) set off on a boat with a small crew, which they named Greenpeace. In his first attempt, he The Coast Guard stopped and reluctantly returned, but news of their visit affected newspapers, which attributed the protest to a furious Sierra Club. Stowe soon began planning a second visit, which he made clear was the job of Greenpeace, making it to Amchitka just in time to witness the first explosion. Thankfully, the test didn't trigger a tsunami or an earthquake, but the Atomic Energy Commission canceled the remaining tests at Amchitka anyway. In later years, the activities of this ragtag gang snowballed as more members joined Greenpeace and more chapters were established. Greenpeace now has a presence in over 55 countries.

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