Amsterdam, Netherlands — We hope you like the new look and feel for our "Mothership"
website at Greenpeace International. We call it Greenpeace Planet.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our online opinion polls and discussions about the
redesign, and who've sent suggestions for improvements. We designed the site to help us with
To communicate clearly our warnings about planetary threats. To prompt value-based debates
about how to stop environmental abuse and how to create solutions. To inspire our visitors to
join us and take action, and to provide them with the tools to rapidly affect change.
Some of the site's new features include:
• Easier navigation to your own language and country, and support for worldwide character
sets like Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, and Thai.
• Consistent, easier-to-use navigation within the site
• The ability to discuss stories via our Cybercentre and sign up as a Greenpeace
• Databased content for fast, precise information
• Click on any picture in the site for a big, glorious, but fast-loading version
• The ability to send any picture on the site as an e-card, or email or print any page
• Action links on every page: Action, not words!
• Quick loading, any-browser, no-frames content
• XML support so you can receive Greenpeace news feeds on your Palm Pilot, Cell phone,
and other gadgets.
This is only the beginning. We've developed Greenpeace Planet's backend software as an in-
house, open-source project. What you see today are the core features of a Lego-like project, and
we'll be adding new snap-on capabilities as we go.
The Story Behind Greenpeace Planet
Greenpeace, like many activist organisations, faces unique challenges in getting our message out
via the web. Perpetually understaffed and under-resourced, we needed a tool that would allow
any of our campaigners or information officers to get their research, insights and warning
messages to specific audiences, and get those audiences active in making a change.
We needed a tool to allow our web editors based around the globe to publish in any language,
any alphabet, at any time. It had to permit them to get information out under tough conditions --
from the middle of the Amazon or the middle of an ocean, or chained to a smokestack with a
laptop and a satellite phone.
The way it was designed had to be done with an eye to the purer principles of database design,
information management and worldwide engineering standards.
It had to be designed so that we could grow the whole site as the times changed and the world
accelerated. And most of all, it had to build in tools for discussion and community-building.
Why communities? Why build space for discussion? Because Greenpeace doesn't win
environmental victories. Public opinion does.
Public opinion is what stopped nuclear testing and protected Antarctica from oil and minerals
exploration and created the moratiorium on commercial whaling; not Greenpeace.
Public opinion is what keeps the worst abuses of governments, chemical giants and petroleum
conglomerates in check.
What Greenpeace provides is the lightning rod: the highly visible attractor to the power of public
opinion. Sometimes that's information -- like the warnings about Global Warming that we were
making decades ago.
Sometimes that's drama to call the public's attention to an abuse -- like our highly televised
confrontations with Russian and Japanese whaling fleets in the early 80s. Sometimes it's drama
backing quiet implementation work in the conferences halls of an international treaty -- like our
successful efforts to ban ocean dumping of radioactive materials and to stop international trade in
We exist to create fair, fully informed debates in society about our planet's future. Because when
the debate is fair and informed, we win -- and that means the planet wins. The Internet has the
potential to become the place where fully informed debates about our planet's future take place.
It has the potential to become not just the collective mind of civilisation, but the collective
conscience as well, and a core resource for global democracy.
It certainly has the potential to be more than a global shopping mall.
Today, we're witnessing the globalisation of our world's economy and information infrastructure,
the rise of peer to peer journalism and peer to peer activism. And with the rise of global
consumer markets comes the rise of global consumer campaigns. We wanted Greenpeace Planet
to provide one place where all those forces can gather.
Open Source Software
Our technical staff here at Greenpeace have links not only to the environmental movement, but
also to that hotbed of technical radicalism, the Open Source movement.
In the world of Open Source software, the workings of a software system are not jealously
guarded as a commercial secret, but shared openly among a worldwide community of
programmers who work collectively to improve the functionality, stability and the security of the
software for the benefit of all.
The best-known and most successful Open Source project is the Linux operating system.
Greenpeace's first internet server in 1994 was a Compaq 286 desktop computer running Linux,
and our intranet and Internet systems have been proud, subversive champions of the Penguin
Flag ever since we served up our first pages via Gopher, and our first website exposing the secret
route of a plutonium shipment. (If you don't know what a "286 desktop" or "Gopher" were, just
do what computer technology does: move on.)
In our view, the most important thing about Free Software is not the economics; it's the politics.
Not "free" as in "free beer," but freedom as in "free speech".
OpenSource projects can empower non-commercial activities, like online activism, in ways that
corporate and built-for-profit software projects simply cannot.
Look today at the number of e-commerce tools available. You can pick any one of hundreds of
software tools to help you sell running shoes on line, for example.
But how many tools are out there to create a global demand that those running shoes be made in
an environmentally sound and humanly compassionate way?
That's the gap we believe needs to be addressed. And that's why we're building Greenpeace
Planet as an Open Source project, with the aim to share the software with other environmental
and human rights groups.
When it came to choosing the software we would build this in, the choice was (eventually!)
obvious: the Open Source version of ArsDigita Community Systems
(OpenACS). ACS was the software that built Scorecard, the gold standard for environmental
information and community building software.
Scorecard was created by the American environmental group, Environmental Defense.
Scorecard serves up vastly detailed information about toxic pollution at a national, state, and
local level for the entire US. It provides links to government officials, to activist groups working
on particular problems, to discussion threads and online petitions and to legislative routes for
demanding information and promoting action. It bridges the gap between serving up passive
information and creating a collaborative environment for action. (You can read the
Scorecard story here.)
At the same time that we began discussing the concept of Greenpeace Planet, Greenpeace was in
the midst of discussions about the nature of our campaigns and the concept of "Public
We saw some interesting trends. Back in the 70s, Greenpeace's messages were catalytic warnings
about environmental threats that needed attention. Nuclear bombs were still going off in the
atmosphere and spreading "perfectly safe" radioactive fallout around the world. The great whales
were being hunted to near extinction. Toxic chemicals filled the air and water.
To get our message out about these threats, Greenpeace created what Robert Hunter, a
Greenpeace founder, called "Media Mind Bombs" -- visually compelling dramatisations of
David-like opposition to these Goliath-like forces.
We spoke to the public via the only means we had to reach a mass audience: television,
newspaper, and magazine stories. With the rise of the Internet, we suddenly had the capability to
speak in an unmediated voice, to open a two-way communication channel between our
supporters and our opponents, and to open the organisation to the creativity and energy of direct
In the late 90s, we created our first web-based community of supporters on the Internet: the
independent, virtual nation-state called "Waveland."
Waveland brought together people from all over the world bonded by a roughly common set of
values to chat with one another, bounce ideas around, swap pointers to environmental actions
and solutions, moan about politics or just yack.
Many people became regular and popular commentators. Some folks spent hours on the site
every day. It was a self-policing, self-promoting, and self contained little world, to the point that
the community actually continued to grow and extend well beyond the end of the campaign it
was built for -- and so past the point that Greenpeace was officially paying attention.
Then the Internet service provider that hosted Waveland for us went bankrupt.
The server where Waveland citizens had been living in daily contact with one another was
seized. Entire personalities, relationships, and discussion threads that had made up thousands of
people's Internet homestead were gone in an instant.
The organisation that hadn't been paying attention was suddenly inundated with messages of
One Waveland citizen who wrote said she'd met her husband on a Waveland discussion board.
Another said he felt like he'd lost his home and all his best friends.
Meanwhile, back in Australia, a converging trend was happening. Greenpeace and Adbusters had
launched a campaign to demand Coca-Cola live up to the promise of a "Green Olympics" in
Coke still used climate-killing chemicals in their refrigerators, despite the ready availability of
alternatives. An Internet campaign was launched to pressure the CEO of Coke to convert to
We planned for a long drawn out conflict. Instead, the attack on Coke's brand quickly became
widespread. The company went into a panic about its global image.
Within months, Coke capitulated.
One of the reasons the effort had succeeded was the swift peer-to-peer promotion of the
campaign's website via aligned communities on the Internet.
It was out of these lessons that the Greenpeace Cyberactivist Community was born. We recreated
the threaded discussion features of Waveland, added the ability to have your own home page, to
sign up for a regular campaign alert newsletter, and made the site our primary organisational
discussion board and the centre of our online activism campaigns.
In its first year, the Cyberactivist Centre attracted over 65,000 registered users and hundreds of
thousands of visitors who joined us in dozens of effective online actions.
Community members also named a Greenpeace ship (the "Esperanza"), helped design their own
site, gave advice and feedback to a new Executive Director in an
house" discussion, sent a volunteer to the Amazon, and helped translate articles into hundreds of
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Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation which uses nonviolent, creative confrontation
to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and
peaceful future. Greenpeace's goal is to ensure the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity.
Q3 Vancouver, Canada — Greenpeace is celebrating an enormous success—the protection of the
Great Bear Rainforest.
The government of British Columbia has announced the implementation of the most
comprehensive rainforest conservation plan in North American history for the Great Bear
This celebration is a direct result of a decade-long campaign — one of the longest in Greenpeace
history. The conservation plan protects the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest on the
planet. Around the world, it is being hailed as a model for conservation; a “greenprint” for other
nations to learn from.
A rainforest protected
In 2006, British Columbia’s Premier Gordon Campbell promised the world he would protect the
Great Bear Rainforest for future generations and to improve the well-being of local communities
living in the rainforest.
Those promises have now been realized.
Since 2006, Greenpeace and its partners Sierra Club BC and ForestEthics have been working
with logging companies, the B.C. government and First Nations to make the agreement a reality
by March 31, 2009, a deadline set by Premier Campbell to make good on his 2006 promise.
Now that the promise is a reality:
* 2.1 million hectares is now legally protected from logging;
* New ‘lighter touch’ logging regulations, based on Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM), is
now a legal requirement. This system maintains 50 per cent of the natural level of old growth
forest of the region or an additional 700,000 hectares of forest set aside from logging.
What this all means is that an area of the forest almost the size of Belgium is now completely off
limits to logging. A huge victory by any measure!
Thanks to Greenpeace supporters
Greenpeace supporters from across Canada and around the world have been instrumental in this
Thousands of letters were sent to the Premier of British Columbia over the past four months and
over 4,000 people are members of the Great Bear Rainforest Facebook page.
Greenpeace published full-page ads encouraging B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell to keep his
promise in several newspapers including the Vancouver Sun. Letters and phone calls from major
purchasers of pulp, paper and lumber also poured in to ensure logging companies and the B.C.
government kept the promise.
Support for First Nations
First Nation communities now have $120 million CDN available to them to help kick start a new
conservation economy as an alternative to logging. The Great Bear Rainforest is the traditional
territory of 25 First Nations that have lived in the region for millennia. This announcement will
support the creation of new sustainable economic opportunities for First Nations.
The long journey
The historic announcement is built on a decade-long struggle to secure the future of Canada’s
Great Bear Rainforest.
British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest has been a site of global controversy, environmental
protest and widespread international media interest since 1995.
Greenpeace and its partners demanded an end to destructive logging in the Great Bear
Rainforest. Our efforts culminated in critical pressure on forest product customers. Over 80
companies, including Ikea, Home Depot, Staples and IBM, committed to stop selling wood and
paper products made from ancient forests. This marketplace pressure drove logging companies to
sit down and negotiate with environmentalists. Meanwhile, key valleys in the rainforest were
protected from logging while discussions took place.
The main goals of our campaign were to protect the most important areas of the Great Bear
Rainforest, change logging practices and support a sustainable future for local communities.
To make these goals a reality, Greenpeace, along with ForestEthics and Sierra Club BC,
employed a sophisticated campaign that involved protests, market engagement, government
lobbying and civic action, participation in government-sponsored land-use forums, and
negotiations with the coastal logging industry.
More to do
Everyone involved in achieving this major milestone agrees that there is more work to do before
achieving the overall goals of ecosystem integrity and human well-being.
Greenpeace, other environmental groups, the B.C. government, forest industry and First Nations
have endorsed a five-year plan that will achieve the long-term goals of low ecological risk and
high quality of life in communities by 2014.
This is arguably one of the most comprehensive and complex land management regimes ever
worked on and as such, there has been no existing road map to follow. But through the many
twists and turns this process has taken we can now see a destination — one where the Great Bear
Rainforest will continue to provide a home and sustenance to all manner of life.
The Great Bear Rainforest agreements are truly unique: they work to ensure the ongoing health
of not just the forest, but also the climate and the economy. Now more than ever, a global model
such as this one provides a beacon of hope that meaningful collaboration and resolution can be
found through conflict.
For more on the Great Bear Rainforest victory, read personal accounts by Scott Paul, forest
campaign director at Greenpeace USA and by Tamara Stark, communication director at
Greenpeace UK and former forest campaigner in Canada.
The Great Bear Rainforest protection agreement comes into force in Canada, capping one of
Greenpeace's longest running campaigns by protecting an area half the size of Switzerland from logging.
The campaign was won with direct non-violent action on the ground, consumer pressure, stockholder
actions, and thousands of online activists worldwide.
Following a six-month long Quit Coal campaign by Greenpeace, the Greek Minister of Development
states that the government is not considering coal or nuclear power as part of Greece's energy future.
Instead the Greek government will be rewriting its Long-Term Energy Plan to exclude coal and
promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Electronics giant Philips bows to pressure from Greenpeace and consumers and becomes a leader in
environmentally friendly take-back policies for electronic waste. An amibitous policy of global take-back
exceeds legal requirements in many countries
Greenpeace lit up central Prague for the past two evenings with giant projected slogans reminding the
public, media and energy decision makers about the risks of nuclear power versus the benefits of clean
energy. Prague Castle formed the first backdrop for “Nuclear underlines climate protection” and “Energy
Revolution NOW!”, shone from an industrial-size beamer. The images featured a shattered radiation
motif symbolising the chronic flaws in nuclear technology.