Greenpeace by Wayler

Rex Weyler. Greenpeace: The Inside Story: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists and Visionaries Changed the World. Vancouver, British Columbia: Raincoast Books, 2004. Paperback, 623 pp.

Weyler, who left Lockheed in 1967 to pursue a career in journalism, sailed on the first Greenpeace whale campaign in 1975, was editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles,and a cofounder of Greenpeace International in 1979. He was thus superbly qualified for the task of writing this inside story of the largest and most successful Green organization in the world. Today, Greenpeace International has branches in 40 countries, over 2 million paying members, and an annual income from grants and donations of c. $160 million.

It is hard to imagine that this worldwide organization started with just a handful of social malcontents, pacifists, and visionaries—notably Irving and Dorothy Stowe (cofounders of Don’t Make a Wave Committee), Ben and Dorothy Metcalfe, Bob Hunter (president of the Greenpeace Foundation in 1973), Jim and Marie Bohlen (cofounders of Don’t Make a Wave Committee), and Patrick Moore (who left Greenpeace in 1985 over policy issues and is now head of Greenspirit). Obviously the time was ripe for such a movement, which over the years has had a slue of minor and major victories and is still going strong.

This is a remarkable account of Greenpeace’s work—its strategies and tactics, triumphs and failures—and also its main personalities with their personal inclinations, hopes, and dreams and the interactions between them. Confronting governments and offensive corporations in many critical operations, it is not surprising that the Greenpeace leadership should have had to fight its own internal battles, and this book “tells all,” giving the reader a gripping insight into what it means to constantly fight at the front where personal sacrifices are demanded and emotions get stirred up.

It is instructive and encouraging to see that an incisive international organization can be formed out of motley group of gutsy activists who display enormous diversity of sometimes conflicting character and opinion but who share a deep common concern for the welfare of our home planet.

Weyler has done a superb job of portraying the organization and its people, and he has spared no detail to make his story vivid and memorable.

Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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