Activism whale1

Published on December 18th, 2008 | by Marika Collins

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Greenpeace vs. Sea Shepherd: An Unfortunate Conflict

December 18th, 2008 by

Whale

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.

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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?

Image credit: Michael Dawes at Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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About the Author

Marika Collins is a writer, editor, and photographer who cares deeply about animal rights, social justice and the environment. She's a gadget freak and camera aficionado with a book collecting addiction and a mean sweet tooth. Has pen, will travel.



  • Seriously?!

    Whales are mammals you twat! Maybe you should do a little research before putting your worthless two cents in and throwing around words like moon bat, whacko and moron.

  • http://anyonecanchangetheworld.wordpress.com Jessy Mills

    I wish that I could be half the “eco-terrorist” that Paul Watson or any of the Sea Shepherd VOLUNTEERS are. They risk their lives for those who have no voice and barely any rights. It disgusts me, reading some of the previous comments here by fellow human beings, how uncaring, self centered and down right NASTY some of you are. Who are you to criticize others that actually get up and go do something to save the oceans when you’re doing nothing but pleasing yourselves? Think about the big picture for once. Support others who care enough to act!

    • http://zacharyshahan.com Zachary Shahan

      +

  • http://gravatar.com/frenchtweacher frenchtweacher

    Actually the Sea (the Earth) needs BOTH groups to save itself from human destructive greed. They complement each other: iron fist in a velvet gauntlet. Go, Greenpeace! Go Sea Shepherd!

    • http://zacharyshahan.com Zachary Shahan

      Agreed. :D

  • http://Web The Dave

    In response to the author’s question about GP and SS tactics, YES, there IS a huge difference. Sinking an “unmanned vessel” puts human lives at risk, because you can’t trust a bunch of saboteur goons to ascertain that the ship really is unmanned. And prop fouling a ship in the middle of the Antarctic also puts lives at risk, because you’re leaving them stranded hundreds of miles from any help, and again, you can’t trust a bunch of saboteur goons to actually make sure that the crew can be rescued.

    • gravator

      Who cares…
      before they kill a whale.

  • http://Web Aqui

    Instead of both parties throwing mud at each other, Just get along with each other. Both groups have common interests. You guys are making this more on an issue of which group is better. STOP this childish attitudes and save the whales.

  • http://Web love whales

    greenpeace and the sea shepard crew are cowardly biggots. stop harassing the whalers. your actions are hazardous to the safety of the whalers and yourself.

    minke whales are not endangered!

    save the rain forest to really help animals from extinction!

    • http://Web john

      there still killing endangered fin and humpback whales in the australian antarctic territory

      • http://Web The Dave

        Caught you lying – they don’t kill any humpbacks. Alright, so they do kill fins, but it’s only one or two per year.

        And the “Australian Antarctic Territory” claim to those waters is invalid – it violates the Antarctic Treaty System.

  • birdman

    Sea Shepherd is only doing what Green Piece used to do but no longer has the balls to do. Sea Shepherds are saving whales while Green Piece kisses up.

    • http://Web The Dave

      Greenpeace is a hundred times the conservation group that Sea Shepherd will ever be. Sea Shepherd is just grandstanding and making money.

  • DK Moerike

    Paul Watson needs his throat cut NOW. So do you…

  • billiards

    i think u all suck dick i eat whale stake everyday amd i donate to the japanease so fuck u whale hugger

  • Roger

    While the Sea Shepherd’s intentions are good. She should not be placing a greenhorn crew in harms way.

  • Roger

    While the Sea shepherd intentions are good. Paul Watson should not be placing a greenhorn crew in harms way. I believe it show lack of good judgement.

  • Roger

    While Sea Shepards intentions are good, Paul Watson is a fool. Anyone calling him self a captain and placing greenhorns in harms way,is not wrapped too tight.

  • Sea Shepherd Supporter

    The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) are heros!!! If we (humans) kill off the whales, we kill the oceans, we kill the oceans then we die…it’s a circle. We need to protect the oceans to protect our own life…

    The SSCS have never been convicted of a major crime, despite sinking 10 whaling ships…

    List of ships sunk by the SSCS:

    Sierra
    Susan
    Theresa
    Isba I
    Isba II
    Hvalur 6
    Hvalur 7
    Senet
    Nybrena
    Morild

    NOBODY WAS INJURED OR KILLED IN THESES “ATTACKS”!!!

    Sea Shepherd is not a terrorist group!!!

    Greenpeace needs to start using Sea Shepherd’s “Use of force” because they work!!! If we really want to stop whaling, then we all need to team up on Japan…

    • http://Web The Dave

      If we (humans) kill off the whales, we kill the oceans, we kill the oceans then we die…it’s a circle. We need to protect the oceans to protect our own life…”

      Wow, that’s a talking point copy&pasted straight off of Sea Shepherd’s site.

      The SSCS have never been convicted of a major crime, despite sinking 10 whaling ships…

      Of course not. A corporation can’t be convicted of a crime. Only people can. And SSCS officers and crews do have convictions for their actions. Watson and his girlfriend were convicted for the sinking of the Nybraena. The main reason nobody’s been convicted in the other sinkings is lack of evidence and because they ran away.

      NOBODY WAS INJURED OR KILLED IN THESES “ATTACKS”!!!

      Considering the incompetence of the crews on Whale Wars, I really can’t trust Sea Shepherd to maintain that record. I mean, even look at the number of their own crewmembers they’ve hurt.

      Sea Shepherd is not a terrorist group!!!

      Bull. They fit the definition to a T.

      Greenpeace needs to start using Sea Shepherd’s “Use of force” because they work!!!

      Somebody needs to start using their “use of force” against them and you. You guys are sick in your little heads.

  • Candice

    Nathan….are you kidding??? these people are just trying to save ALL our lives, and Im sorry but if it takes a couple hundred lives of people who obviously dont give a flying f*ck about the environment or even the future of their own families then so be it! maybe you should read up on this subject and see what will happen if we deplete the sea’s of all life….

    Candice

  • Bjorn

    I was going to volunteer for Sea Shepherd until I heard I couldn’t bring my fishing pole. What’s up with that?! They don’t eat meat aboard ship and I love sushi along with chicken, beef, etc. Paul Watson doesnt look like he’s missing any meals but his crew looks like they’re made up of militant vegan missionaries keen on converting meat eaters to salad bar aficionados. Save the whales and bring on the chickens!

  • mmmWHALE

    whale meat is absolutely delicious

  • Mike

    Hisways response was the typical of a jealous person. More personal attacts and teenager text words than anything. Long live Sea Shepherds.

  • Claudia

    I can’t believe the Sea Sheperds are being compared to terrorists. I live in a country that suffered more than 25 years of national terrorist groups attacks and, believe me, there´s no point of comparisson between what the Sea Sheperds do with what real terrorists do. However rainforest in my country is being cut down, wildlife is slowly disappearing, and I consider those responsible of that as terrorists.
    When a volunteer goes on board their asked if they would be willing to die. All volunteers share the same philosophy.
    The fact is that we are in front of a conservation group that takes action, because a lot is said but little is done. So, you think killing wildlife is correct? I consider that a terrosrist act. At this moment of our history extreme measures must be taken in order to preserve nature and life in our planet. Every living being in nature is ment to play an important role. Unfortunately the only ones who just don’t understand their role or just don’t bloody care about it are human beings. We’re just ruining our planet, and as far as I’m concerned, those who are really aware of that important role and take action should not be called terrorists.

  • Hisway

    I read with great interest all the comments here about supporting TERRORISTS…not pirates, not ECO-terrorists, not bandits, Watson, notice the INTENTIONAL non-use of the word CAPTAIN, This pompous jackass has set back the LEGAL efforts to stop whaling by DECADES, while all he does is shuttle BIMBO “stars” around whilst burning fuel oil, and composing his “poetry” which is better left unread. He has no leadership abilities, and expects his flunkies to educate and train the clowns that PAY to sail with an idiot. His flunkies are no better qualified than watson is at seamanship. His tactics are the same used by other terrorists, submit or we will damage, injure, sink you. Those of you that SUPPORT these things are maggots, the same as him. You want to be able to call your own rules, and play the way YOU want, …UNTIL the target you are going after starts playing by the very same rules you’re using. I hope to overhear one of you running your mouths about supporting watson..I will then have the right to BASH YOUR HEAD in at that moment, as I am “legally taking out a terrorist supporter” same thing DIMWIT watson is trying to say… oh, BTW watson, how come you havent returned to Norway, or Iceland ? scared ? I’ve also send a donation to the fund to purchase the Farley when it hits the auction block, it’s a tired old ship, but it’ll look great as the fleet replenishment ship for the Japanese whalers…

  • Sig

    First of all, the whaling community often has members that has flaws with the law. The whalers always has weapons in their ships. And where they hunt is practically a no man’s land (sea). They will take away anyone that got in front of them.

    With all the respect i have for Greenpeace, they has become a bunch of whining kids. They do good, but what they do is ineffective. As a matter of fact, that type of actitute is what allow people like the whalers do whatever they want.

    People its about time to realize that passive methods are obsolete in certain issues. Ask yourselves, would you let someone kill other people, you seeing the person doing it, and the police cannot do something? Well unless you’re a coward or just think in yourself only, you would do something or at least try. Similar sutuation happens with the Sea Shepard. And if Greenpeace care so much of people then they should change their organization and go and help them, turn it into a humans rights organization and let the people of Sea Shepard and alike do their work. Remember when words/communication don’t work, action is next. And the whaling, seal hunt,… passed the communication line long ago. So its time that people support the Sea Shepard and volunteer.

    The only thing i point out of the Sea shepard is the inexperience of most of the crew. They need more experienced and mature people. Let’s support them!

  • Agustin

    Creo que deberian existir mas fuerzas como SEA SHEPHRED ya que sin lugar a dudas los resultados son mas efectivos; talvez los resultados de greenpeace son mejores en cuanto a prensa que es a lo que se dedican inclusive mas que a proteger a los oceanos, la accion de SEA SHEPHERD es admirable poner en riesgo sus propias vidas para defender a nuestros oceanos realmente esto nos esta hablando de un compromiso total con lo que hacen cosa que se observa poco en greenpeace…

  • http://www.Seashepherd.org Captain Paul Watson

    Having just returned from engaging the outlaw Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary I have just now had the chance to view the various comments. All interesting points of view but all irrelevant. You see I don’t really care what people think about what we do in our efforts to defend the whales. We don’t do what we do for people. Our clients are the whales. We have cut the Japanese kill quota in half for the last three years. That is all the reward we need. And we have done so without hurting a single whaler or sustaining an injury to our own crewmembers. So all the critics can flap their jaws from sunrise to sunset, it is of no concern to us. The truth is that I kind of like all the criticism and the hate mail and threats. It tells me that I’m pissing some people off and it is those people who I view as the problem I am here to oppose. The fact that thousands of whales are swimming free that would otherwise be dead if not for our intervention is all the reward I need. As for Greenpeace. I am a co-founder of Greenpeace and I have no problem with working with them. Unfortunately the gutless and timid bureacrats that run Greenpeace these days have stonewalled us. That however is their problem not ours. Although I believe in cooperation, if they reject it, it has no affect on our activities. We will continue to do what we do best and that is to shut down illegal whaling and fishing operations. And for those who say we are inneffective all I can say is do your frigging homework or just go back to doing what you do best i.e. spouting off about things you know absolutely nothing about.

  • ekw

    The only reason that whalers run from Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd is because they know they (the whalers) can’t attack them. Both Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd (and virtually all “violent” protest groups) get away with their questionable tactics is because they can rely on the legal system to scare the whalers away. The protest group has the advantage of being protected by laws against retaliation by their victims. There is nothing innately brave or courageous about anything that the protest groups are doing, and I mean Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd. No one is a hero for standing up to someone whose hands are tied behind their backs. That is in the West and lawful Asian countries. I’d like to see the environmental groups go straight into Arab countries or into the Congo, for instance, and start protesting against the treatement of the environment there. That is something we will never see because the Arabs or Congolese would kill them in a heartbeat. Whether or not we approve of the protest groups aims, their tactics are mostly cowardly. Sorry, folks, that’s the way I see it.

  • Christopher Dixon

    No Japanese whaler is going to run from a Greenpeace ship because there will not be one around to run from. They did not go to Antarctica this year and say they have no plans to go in the future.This is despite the fact that they have campaigned vigourously and raised millions of pounds specifically for this purpose.

    On Boxing day this year the BBC News Channel broadcast a programme called “Jonah And The Whalers” in which a reporter accompanied Greenpeace to Antarctica during the 2007/2008 season to witness the Japanese whalers in action. The reporter said that Sea Shepherd arrived on the scene and threw acid at a whaling boat. He also said that Sea Shepherd were a violent organisation.

    Anyone watching this programme would naturally assume that they meant sulphuric acid or something highly corrosive and dangerous and not rotten butter!

    The fact is that Greenpeace have not only raised millions of pounds under false pretences but they are also happy to make slanderous accusations about the only people that do have the courage to stand up to the whalers. I believe that these comments were deliberately made in an attempt to starve Sea Shepherd of funds at the very time they were needed most.

    Greenpeace might as well stick a harpoon on the front of their boat and go and join the Japanese, but then again there would be less profit in it.

  • Lawrence Woznicki

    I have been following this issue for several years now and have come to the conclusion that Greenpeace has grown to such a size that it is now more of a business then it is an activist organization.

    The business Greenpeace is in is selling a myth that they actually do something about the slaughter of whales.

    The business that Sea Shepherd is in is enforcing laws that governments can’t or will not enforce themselves.

    It is becoming more apparent that Greenpeace is jealous about the publicity that sea Shepherd had been getting for the last few years.

    It must be effecting the Greenpeace “CORPORATIONS” PROFITS………..

    Greenpeace has become a joke………

  • Bob

    Sounds like eco terrorism to me. Instilling fear into the lives of the whalers. No wonder all the actual eco groups are compared to terrorists. But it’s all justified right? Americans afraid to fly, 3000+ american deaths = America pulling out of the middle east, no more blood for oil. Whalers afraid to hunt whales, Ships sunken and rammed, people on board both these ships having their lives in endangered because some eco group wants to ram the whaling ship = No more hunted whales.

    In that case, kill more americans to stop the oil greed. Destroy more whaling ships, endanger more lives onboard to end whale hunting.

  • Richard

    Animal Planets involvement is about entertainment and advertising revenue. Sea Shepherd’s involvement is about personal glory as well as whale conservation. Greenpeace is about whale conservation and struggling to remain relevant.

    I watched the “Whale War” series and what I observed didn’t really make for great television: a lot of very small incidents trumped up by the crew to be monumental earth-shaking encounters. Like the supposed shooting. Lame.

    But, the Sea Shepherd society will undoubtedly get a lot more funding and a second shot from Animal Planet. Expect a lot more daring-do next season in the attempt to make for some interesting viewing. Perhaps the Japanese should be sent a copy of the script so they can perform a few “slip and falls” from the acid hurled aboard, and also be seen holding their noses from the stink bombs. They are much too stoic for my taste at present.

    One thing I could do with a lot less of is the Sea Shepherd’s captain and crew congratulating themselves profusely for the most trivial of deeds. It’s laughable. I would also suggest they set to sea with a barber and a beautician this year, not to mention a few able-bodied sailors.

  • Jo

    Andrew on December 18th – The article states that (are you sure you read the article?)

    “Greenpeace makes reference to how in the past, Japanese whalers run from their ship at high speed when faced with a potential confrontation.”

  • Jacinda

    Jeff,

    No major change has ever been accomplished by doing nothing. It’s great that both organizations are out there doing something. If you are worried about climate change and polar bears, stop driving, and especially, stop supporting oil companies. Petroleum is in much more than just fuel tanks.

  • Christopher

    I think someone back there said that whales were fish.

    Even if they were fish, why shouldn’t we save them? Sea Shepherd is doing what no other governments want to do. That is what’s going on. If the IWC would step up and their governments followed, the Sea Shepherds would not have to disrupt the whaling fleet. They could focus on the billions of other problems we created in the oceans.

    • birdman

      Whales and all mammals including us evolved from fish. So we are all fishish.

  • Sharon

    I find Greenpeaces comments above, and there backdown in going to the southern ocean amazing. In years gone by, Greenpeace HAS been activly involved in trying to save species, using similar tactics Sea Shepherd are doing now.

    But times have changed, highly paid suits…having seen the fruits of the publics abhorence of commercial slaughter of the wildlife we all share, have taken over the purse strings of GREENPEACE, and sending a ship to the Southern Ocean to protect whales, (money specificly raised for that purpose $$ MILLIONS)has been deemed a to costly excercise.

    In the past few years, GP has ventured into the southern ocean, for no other purpose than taking photos of the whales dying, to expedite fund raising for whale protection for the comming year.

    There refusal to cooperate with sea Shepherd, and there reasons why, are nothing more than spin doctoring, as teaming up with Sea Shepherd, would incur extra costs….by having to actually DO something.

    The whales are dying….even while a 20 year long moritorium on whaling has been in place.
    Organisations, governments and the international public have debated and pleaded with whaling nations to recognise the ban….after 20 years, they are still dying.

    Sea Shepherd have proven they are the whales only chance.
    And somewhere along the way….GP has lost sight of the real issues, and the importance onced placed on the health of our planet has changed.
    Gp’s importance now lies with there bank balance, highly paid suits and free holidays.
    They have lost me forever, my moneys on the team making a difference “Sea Shepherd”.

  • http://www.rebar.com Paul Smith

    SSCS now have a show on Animal Planet. I have also read about Paul Watson’s history with Greenpeace. I think there is reason to believe that what drives Watson is personal glory. Shepherding the Sea is just a vehicle for him to attain personal glory. Oh well.

  • John Christopher

    The French sank a Greenpeace ship with explosive charges while in port years ago. The same or worse could befall the Sea Shepherd ship. I’m surprised that they have not been rammed by a Nipon whaling ship. It would be easy to do the dirty deed in darkness. The ship and crew would just be victims of the cruel cold sea.

  • heida

    ok, how about learning a little bit about boats and the ocean, before you run out there and put lives in danger?
    Seems like alot of these peopl dont knw their way around a boat.
    Whaling or not, have any of you ever heard of common sense?

  • Denise

    mogul said:
    “I suspect that the Sea Shepards program “Whale Wars” is now causing the diversion of GP donations to SS and so is causing the media war between the two.”

    spot on!
    I stopped donating to GP years ago and now support SSCS and so does every friend, family member and eco-envronmentalist I know and convince them to support Watson and his crew. The Japanese don’t care about world-view, protests and politics, they’ll hunt every last whale into extinction and poor GP will have no more snuff films to post on their website.

    The fact that GP is not out there in the Antarctic, DOING SOMETHING, speaks volumnes.

    GO SEA SHEPHERD!

  • wendy

    What do you do when a bully continously bullies you and finally does the unthinkable and “beats you up”…YOU FIGHT BACK!
    These Japanese whalers have been beating up our oceans and killing our gentle giants!
    So it’s time to fight back…
    GO SEA SHEPARD!!!! Sometimes it takes a percieved violent action to deal with violent people!
    HOLDING UP SIGNS IS LUDACRIOUS!
    I’d go toe to toe with any japanese whaler and I’m a 39 year old mother of three girls who’s a paramedic.
    My job is to “help” others, which is what I’d do after I beat the hell out of em….
    God Bless You All

  • Lawrence Woznicki

    I totally support the Sea Shepard. They are heroes in my book

  • mogul

    I suspect that the Sea Shepards program “Whale Wars” is now causing the diversion of GP donations to SS and so is causing the media war between the two. I heard about SS about a year ago and was intriged by their methods. They are not pirates technically but they proudly display the pirate flag and use a black ship. They know the PR game and have generated more of it(good or bad) than GP has in ten years. My future donations are going to SS.

  • http://piedtype.wordpress.com PiedType

    I’m sitting here watching “Whale Wars” for the first time. Yes, I think whaling should be stopped, but these Sea Shepherd yahoos are going to get somebody killed. They’re nothing more than seafaring vigilantes and are giving conservationists a bad name.

  • Philip

    Brothers and sisters? What a moon bat! In America we’ve killed countless millions of baby HUMANS! By sucking them out of the womb limb by limb and do you whakos say anything about that. I think whales are awesome creatures an should never be harvested illegaly. But damn they are FISH! It would be the best television ever if the Japanese would turn and torpedo that moron captain.

    • Seriously?!

      Whales are mammals you twat! Maybe you should do a little research before putting your worthless two cents in and throwing around words like moon bat, whacko and moron.

  • http://4homemag.com denny

    greenpeace is just jealous of the press that the sea shepherds have been getting…

  • Byron Babe

    In the first place, as stated incorrectly by Marika, Greenpeace does not place its Ship between the Whaling ship and the whales, but only uses a zodiac to hold up protest signs or ride on harpooned dead whales backs for photo-opportunities. That is NOT saving whales! With all the many millions of dollars donated to GP and their Anti-whaling program over these many decades, if GP really wanted to stop whaling it would have been done a long time ago. Whaling makes millions for GP so why actually put a stop to it? Also, their “volunteers” – those people who ring and annoy you for money or hand out flyers are paid – all with YOUR donations. Greenpeace is a business. SEA SHEPHERD is run by unpaid volunteers – big difference in the two Groups. No donation money is spent on Media because SSCS does not advertise like GP does. Instead, they money goes into direct action campaigns. SSCS does more on a shoe-string budget in one year to save Marine Life than GP does in a dozen years. I had been a GP supporter since it began in the 1970’s when GP was serious about saving whales. GP no longer has my support after discovering how many millions they waste on media, paying officials, and volunteers. GO GET THEM SEA SHEPHERD! At least they actually DO they job of stopping the Whalers.

  • Elisa

    What the whalers don’t want is to be documented with eye witness accounts/video footage in the hands of people who won’t spin it their way. Whaling can continue in large part because people don’t see it happening.

    That’s a good reason to not stay around in the presence of either organization. A threat of violence isn’t required to make whalers run.

  • Kai Williams

    The main thing most people in Greenpeace care about is the money they can get from suckers… er.. donors to support their drug habits.

    I used to think differently about them until I actually WORKED for Greenpeace.

  • TheAlchemist

    Both are extremist eco-terrorism groups if you ask me. Thus, they are in the same category anyway.

  • Bob Green

    I feel that Greenpeace has become more than a little “institutionalised and proper”. Now regarded as “politically correct” by many and finding it more “comfortable” to rest on a few laurels.
    My involvement in conservation over many years, a lifetime in business and direct dealings with Governments and their army of bureaucrats has taught me that, often, one has to go for the throat, grasp the nettle and not always comply with what is “right and proper”. The whole system of government and procedure is designed to stifle many of the well-intentioned. These systems are less likely to offer solace to active people even though they may be supported by an army of law-abiding citizens. As in commando-type tactics, the small size of dedicated, highly-active groups is more than compensated by their drive, commitment, determination and ability to “think outside the square”. Unlike Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace has become far too predictable – any army fighting in that vein usually fails. The small, elite corps are deployed to go for the jugular – so it is with Sea Shepherd.
    Both Sea Shepherd and Greepeace need to bury any differences and let’s “get on with the job” – the fractious in-fighting is ruining our collective chances of success.
    Sadly, I must conclude, that in this instance I believe Greenpeace is being quite foolish in its approach and I put this down to too many intellects in its midst more prone to use process rather than more direct action. Process, after all has been set up by bureaucrats, to largely entrench wayward political thinking. It is slow, lumbering, frustrating and incapable of responding quickly to the fast-deteriorating natural disasters all too evident around us. We need action not more verbal gymnastics.
    Greenpeace bury your “snobbery” and tap the enthusiasm of Sea Shepherd. The ridiculous “Mexican stand-ff” between both parties MUST end – pronto!
    Bob
    New Zealand

  • Evan Brewer

    When an organization like Greenpeace takes issue with violence of another “earth-centric” organization, you *know* something is amiss. As aggressive as Greenpeace is, their distancing themselves from the Sea Shepherd is a clear indication of being too aggressive.

  • Randy

    I don’t know about the Sea Sheppards. They ran one of their ships into a Canadian Coast Guard ship last year for the sea hunt.

    And they did. Don’t tell me they didn’t I saw the damage.

  • Michael A. Weber

    Nathan- On top of what Alex said about both organizations causing Japan to miss its quota, they also causes Japan to literally reduce its target for the first time in 20 years

    http://planetsave.com/blog/2008/11/18/greenpeace-japan-cuts-whale-hunt-quota/

  • Alex Felsinger

    Gram42,

    There are six different ships in the Japanese whaling fleet. If one is disabled, it usually is only temporary. But assuming that it is permanent damage, why couldn’t one of the other ships simply pick up the crew members? They also have small boats on the ship for emergencies they could use.

    And how exactly does it send any message other than “stop killing whales”? That’s all they’re doing in the Antarctic, they’re not also fishing.

    -Alex

  • parrotgypsy

    whatever it takes to stop whaling is fine by me. direct action brings about change. keep on keeping on defending our beautiful brothers and sisters of the sea!

  • gram42

    Disabling a ship at sea definitely poses a risk to the lives of the crew. If a ship is not under power at sea there is always a chance that it could get into a dangerous situation.

    Disabling a ship also sends a needlessly strong statement. Instead of saying “don’t kill whales or other sea mammals” they are saying “don’t go fishing. Period.”

  • randominterloper

    well screw them both, i think the whalers should have a shiny .50 cal mounted on their brow and perforate those damn hippies.

  • Alex Felsinger

    Nathan,

    Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace have both helped cause the Japanese to miss their whaling quota the last two years.

    -Alex

  • Dommo

    Look, Sea Shepard is a bunch a pirates, and they will get what’s coming to them. I by no means support whaling, but having seen what Sea Shepard is doing, they’re totally undermining their own movement.

    What’s going to happen when the Sea Shepard does sink a whaling ship causing a serious loss of life? How will that aid the cause? All its going to do, is formally move Sea Shepard into being called pirates, and give Japan the political will to use military force against greenpeace and the like.

    Back in the 80’s when the french sank the rainbow warrior, what largely gave Greenpeace support was the fact that up until then they had been non-violent. That’s why Greenpeace, however irritating they are, is still widely supported. However, as soon as violence is being used against a non-violent adversary(the Japanese haven’t exactly been seeking out Sea Shepard ships to sink them), you’re really asking for trouble.

    Honestly, I hope that Sea Shepard is interdicted by a coastguard vessel or something and put under arrest before they kill someone.

  • Nathan

    Are you kidding me? Fouling a prop at sea in the south pacific is dangerous for everyone on that ship. Throwing stuff onto the deck in the hopes of having a man slip into the water where he would be dead in minutes is violence. The Sea Shepard and it’s crew are pirates and should be tried and jailed. The forced a boarding of a third party vessel at sea and should be glad the Japanese don’t want the publicity cause if you forced a boarding of my ship I would shoot you.

    Listen whaling is bad and I hope is stops, but Greenpeace, Sea Shepard and the like have never in there history stopped them from taking their full quota of whales, all they have done is put people in danger. The only way this will ever stop is by changing the law not by attacks at sea.

  • fred

    lol @ ryan. spot on mate. Sea shepard don’t mess around, greenpeace needs to grow some balls. they can hang all the banners they want while sea shepard is in the face of these butcher whalers.

    Keep up the great work sea shepard.

  • fred

    sea sheppard is doing a great job, these whalers deserve no mercy.

  • http://www.hayibo.com Ryan

    Greenpeace: ‘Harpoon that whale and we’re gonna, uh. . . write you a letter and watch you from our boat while giving you a menacing glare!’
    Sea Shephard: ‘ We’ll stuff up your prop and shove that harpoon up your butt!’
    Which tactic works better?

  • Sean

    Nice short article that is to the point. I did not even know about the Sea Shepherd until ‘Whale Wars’ docudrama started. Before that I had a deep loathing for Green Peace and there skewed perception of the world. Pretty easy to develop that perspective when they are media queens. In the end do they help though? Yes. They do expose the wrong and do help bring change. Do they also take credit from the actions of others? Heck ya.

    In the end, however, actions speak louder than words. Sea Shepherd seems to have a passion for one thing, saving whales, and with this goal and focus they bring direction to change one thing to help make the whole better. Green Peace seems to also have a singular passion, themselves. They focus on saving the “world” which spreads them thin and exposes the lack focus. They are like fashion, always changing and laughing at the past interests as boring and so “yesterday” while always grabbing media attention and stealing credit for creating the original trends when others did.

    Of course media attention is great/needed to expose something. But do you do something to get media attention or do you see it as icing on the cake? We know the Sea Shepherd has done things to gain media attention, but not every act tries to grab media attention. It more like a “lets do this to get the attention and let people know what we are doing.” versus “hey check out out HUGE “GREEN PEACE” banner we poorly made and can be see by even the lowest camera zoom level.”.

    In the end I think Green Peace is becoming yesterday’s fashion and they are in fact a little jealous of the media attention the Sea Shepherd has recently gained.

  • Joe

    I for one think whale meat is delicious

  • Eric

    The Sea Shepherd practices piracy plain and simple. Just the act of trying to foul a propeller to disable a ship in the Antartic should be grounds for the whalers to use violence in return. A Greenpeace person on the show itself said it best “…have set back diplomatic relations…”. It is only a matter of time before one of the propeller lines works or they hit some worker in the face with their acid bombs.

    I would also like to note how much of a coward the captain and the first mate are. They constantly play on the volunteers emotions. Manipulating them into taking all the chances and all the dangers. It is criminal that two fat old men with an agenda are risking the lives of kids in a useless attempt to stop something that has been happening for hundreds of years.

    Not to mention that driving all over down there in a big boat near the whales helps the whales lose their fear of humans. And makes it so they won’t run from the whaling vessles.

    The Sea Shepherd people are criminals that should be treated as such.

  • Michael A. Weber

    Bean- As opposed to your one liner contribution to this discussion, which you filled with facts, thoughtful counterpoints, and sources?

    Meta4- To purport that it is unacceptable to even bring ethics discussions into direct action is pretty absurd. I am not condemning the Sea Shepards by any means (in fact, I’d say i pretty whole-heartedly support them), but the whole point of protests is to get those in power to act more ethically.

    Therefore, it is imperative that we constantly call into question our own ethics in regards to our actions. Becoming our enemy is the scariest thing that could happen. While we can’t be free of all unethical actions, and sometimes we have to be content committing small acts that counter our ethics for the sake of the greater good, we must also not carry a blind “ends justify the means” attitude.

  • nathan

    This is the most ridiculous conflict ever. For one, each organization has fervently dedicated their resources to the charitable act of species defense, where each person involved is sacrificing their time in energy in accomplishing this.

    Another thing is that whatever bickering and naysaying happens, those resources and energy are now directed inward.

    Be it that the Japanese perception is that the two organizations are in collaboration, or that the rest of the world’s is, both are trying to nonviolently end whaling.

    BUT

    If Greenpeace is saying that it’s violent for Sea Shepherd to confront the Japanese whaling vessels because it endangers THE SEA SHEPHERD’S crew, then that’s like calling them Kamikazes.

    What a weird twist on an otherwise gripping, and profound drama.

  • bean

    what a worthless article, barely any content or information

  • Jim

    While I agree that whaling is a horrible concept, I have to say that after watching the Whale Wars show on Discovery channel, the Sea Shepherd’s are basically pirates. While I admire some of them for their resolve, I find some of their actions completely stupid and bordering on a death wish. It is only a matter of time before a confrontation is going to happen with the outcome being death for a number of people. Their actions have made me consider them as a group I would not want to be associated with and will not support.

    – Jim

  • Greg

    Gabe has it right, Jeff has no idea obviously.

  • Greg

    It’s not the fear of violence that makes whalers run from Greenpeace, it’s the monitoring of their actions. Greenpeace continually films and publishes what goes on during the hunt, so the whalers do everything they can to reduce this including putting up their own banners on the decks of their ships and like you mentioned, running. Greenpeace has a very well known, 30-year history of non-violence, so I don’t see how the whalers running automatically implies “fear of violence”.

    I wouldn’t call Sea Shepher violent by any means, but it certainly crosses a line Greenpeace does not wish to.

  • Alex Felsinger

    HBX,

    From Greenpeace:

    “We differ with Paul Watson on what constitutes violence. He states that nobody has ever been harmed by a Sea Shepherd action. But the test of non-violence is the nature of your action, not whether harm results or not. There are many acts of violence — for example, holding a gun to someone’s head — which result in no harm. That doesn’t change their nature. We believe that throwing butryic acid at the whalers, dropping cables to foul their props, and threatening to ram them in the freezing waters of the Antarctic constitutes violence because of the potential consequences. The fact that the consequences have not been realized is irrelevant.”

    The question is whether Greenpeace’s tactics (which include chasing the ships) would be effective if Sea Shepherd were not there “holding the gun” to the whalers’ heads. In other words, does Greenpeace exploit Sea Shepherd’s “violence” for the success of their campaign?

    -Alex

  • Jeff

    Shame on everyone involved, you are only seeking to garner attention for yourselves and make money off the plight of the whales. Every season the whalers leave port you follow in your hydrocarbon spewing death machines, doubling the rate of global climate change and hastening the inevitable extinction of the polar bear. If you truly cared you’d stay on land and not put to sea, one of the most fragile ecosystems we have on earth.

  • HBX

    Alex,

    There is a difference between me telling you I’ll beat you up if you don’t stop acting stupid (threat) and beating you up for acting stupid (action).

    See? They are not equally bad, and the “fears” are invented anyway since Greenpeace does not use violence.

  • mark

    greenpeace is just jealous of the press that the sea shepherds have been getting.

  • Alex Felsinger

    Gabe,

    Do you think they really mind video footage of their whaling being taken? There’s already plenty of that available, I don’t see why they’d be so afraid of there being more.

    -Alex

  • Gabe

    So, I think there’s good info here, but one key assumption here isn’t accurate – the whaling boats do NOT run due to the perceived threat of violence, but rather to avoid the exposure of their whaling practices via video, press releases, etc., by either Greenpeace or Sea Shepherd. The need, or perceived threat of violence, is not the underlying motivation here, and in that, both violent and nonviolent actions are equally effective. The rub though, is that by engaging in violent direct action, the Sea Shepherd has effectively cut themselves out of the political arena. Although their tactics are quite effective on the ground, when they can find the whaling fleet, their overall strategy dooms them to returning each and every year to the southern ocean, with little chance of long term success. This annual game of hide and seek will do little to protect the whales in the long term.

  • meta4

    Greenpeace as a history of stomping on more radical forms of direct action, including earth first, not to mention ELF… And any conversation about morality, or being “bad” should be left for ethics class… where one is quickly robbed of the security of assuming moral absolutes. This is not about holding the moral highground but saving whales… And green peace deserves to loose respect in environmental communities due to thier lack of solidarity.

    Also, Everyone should read “How Non-violence Protects the State” or Derek Jensen’s “Endgame.”

  • Alex Felsinger

    Andrew,

    I think the point is that yes, the whalers run from both of them, but isn’t the fact that they run from Greenpeace evidence that the whalers fear what the activists could do? And isn’t that how Greenpeace defined violence in their press release — using the threat or the fear of violence is just as bad?

    -Alex

  • http://www.kindleist.com Alice

    There need to be more Sea Shepard’s!

  • http://adavies.org Andrew

    Actually, the whalers usually also run from Greenpeace. Here’s a blog from the last whaling season about it.

    Totally agree with you that we need to keep the focus on the issue.

    • Patrick

      Yeah…An article about Japanese whalers running on the GREENPEACE WEBSITE. There's a real reliable source…
      Let's get one thing straight, that the article fails to mention. Greenpeace is all for the diplomatic approach to almost every single topic or conflict they come across. They are willing to jump through legal hoola hoops, picket and prance about with their 'non violent' tactics.This is why they are called 'protesters'. If you've ever noticed, the Japanese do NOT fear Greenpeace. Look at the fact that Greenpeace has a rather large base of operations IN Japan. Why? Because the Japanese prefer to have the Greenpeace party around; wasting time with politics and keeping the spotlight off their actual operations.
      Sea Shepherd, on the other hand, and with great controversy, pushes mitslef into the faces of the whaling operations; refusing to stand by while whales are killed. These volunteers are ready to put themselves in harms way to defend the whales with their very lives if neccesary. Ever notice how Sea Shepherd volunteers are referred to as 'activists' as opposed to 'protesters'?

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