Published on December 18th, 2008 | by Marika Collins
Greenpeace vs. Sea Shepherd: An Unfortunate Conflict
Greenpeace issued a lengthy statement on their website in an attempt to further distance themselves from Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd yesterday. With an aim at setting the record straight, Greenpeace made the statement out of frustration with what it claims are lies and falsehoods propagated by Watson, compounded by a general public misconception that Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd are associated with one another.
Greenpeace takes issue with what they describe as a fundamental difference in the anti-whaling tactics practiced by each organization. It is interesting to note how Greenpeace characterizes and differentiates their tactics versus that of Sea Shepherd, particularly their characterization of what constitutes violence.
For Greenpeace, violence constitutes doing something that might put a human being in jeopardy, something they say Sea Shepherd and Watson are guilty of.
However, in their attempt to illustrate how proactive they are in the fight to save whales, Greenpeace makes reference to how in the past, Japanese whalers run from their ship at high speed when faced with a potential confrontation.
Regardless of Greenpeace’s non-violent policies, would the Japanese ship run from them, or resort to bringing the coast guard, if there wasn’t a perceived threat of violence? The success of Greenpeace’s anti-whaling efforts is clearly connected to the willingness of Sea Shepherd to take tough action and thereby instilling fear of the protesters in the whalers’ minds.
And anyway, is there a huge difference between sabotaging a propeller or sinking an unmanned whaling vessel (Sea Shepherd tactics) and blocking a harpoon vessel from shooting a whale with your ship (a Greenpeace tactic)? All these tactics are designed to achieve the same result, namely to prevent or reduce the killing of whales, and none particularly put lives at risk. Can’t we all just get along?