The Course of Reason

Greenpeace Destroys Research, Loses My Support

July 20, 2011

I used to give money to Greenpeace. It started with those people with vests and binders who target pedestrians for donations. One man, with dreadlocks and awesome facial piercings, informed me that a $12/month donation would get me a free t-shirt. I agreed. I like the environment and I like tshirts.

That was about 2 years ago. I’ve given off-and-on since then, depending on my employment level.

Last week, I called them up again and cancelled my donation entirely.

What’s good about Greenpeace?

I started giving because I do care about the planet, and Greenpeace does good work, on some issues. We all know they care about whales.

I like whales - Free Willy was my favourite movie!

I also like forests, and I’m not a fan of tar sands. Greenpeace has similar views on these issues.

Why did I stop giving anyway?

There are two issues, which are dear to my heart, that Greenpeace is mistaken on - nuclear power and genetically modified foods. Greenpeace is opposed to both, full stop.

The blog Class M explains why this is problematic in detail, but I want to highlight one part. Greenpeace’s website says,

GM has never been proven safe to eat and once released in open experiments, it will contaminate. This is about the protection of our health, the protection of our environment and the protection of our daily bread.

Perhaps. What are they doing to help us understand them better?

Greenpeace ... has even gone to so far as to destroy research that might help get us closer to genuinely useful, as opposed to merely profitable, GM varieties of wheat.

Here’s the logic: we don’t know enought about GMOs, which might be dangerous, so let’s destroy research that helps us learn about GMOs.

Most of the worry about GMOs is based on a misunderstanding of genetics and economics anyway (you can read about it here and here) but I think more research in the area will help us make better decisions.

Apparently, Greenpeace doesn’t even want the research.

Can I do something else for the planet?

Yes! Greenpeace isn’t the only group out there doing good things for our planet. Go research other environmental groups. There’s a list here of Canadian organizations.

You can also write letters to your favourite political party about environmental issues and even change your own habits.

This post originally appeared on Casting Off, the personal blog of Stephanie Van Dyk.



About the Author: Stephanie Van Dyk

Stephanie Van Dyk's photo
Stephanie Van Dyk is an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia, studying math and computer science. She worries about the state of science, feminism, the environment and knitting in our society. Stephanie writes Casting Off and is the current VP Communications of UBC Freethinkers.


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