On September 15, 1971, pacifists and opponents of nuclear power joined forces to prevent an Alaska nuclear test involving a converted fishing trawler. Over the past few decades, this action has spawned one of the world’s largest environmental organizations – Greenpeace. On Monday it celebrated its 50th anniversary in the Ozeaneum of the German Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund (Vorpommern-Rügen district). Greenpeace has had a decisive influence on global environmental protection for the past 50 years, said Martin Kaiser, Executive Director of Greenpeace Germany. “But after half a century, with thousands of missions around the world, our mission to preserve the foundations of life on Earth is not yet accomplished.” On the contrary, the climate crisis and species extinction are “so alarming that Greenpeace is needed more than ever”.
Merkel and Schwesig in Stralsund
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) also came to Rostock for the anniversary celebration. “Persistent and argumentative, convinced and convincing,” the organization has pointed to the fragility of ecosystems since its inception, Merkel praised. Among other things, she recalled Greenpeace’s “clever protests” against the sinking of the “Brent Spar” oil platform in 1995, during her time as federal environment minister. Greenpeace not only occupied the platform spectacularly, but also called for a boycott of Shell filling stations. In this way, any citizen could participate without accepting excessive restrictions themselves, Merkel said. The Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Manuela Schwesig (SPD) and the new Scientific Director of the Ozeaneum, Prof. Burkard Baschek, also took part in the celebration. Schwesig also praised the environmental organization’s work: “Greenpeace has made a significant contribution to raising awareness of the need to protect our livelihoods.”
“Hope in action” as the motto of the ceremony
“It is a great honor for us that the Chancellor of Germany is giving the keynote address here today,” the Greenpeace Germany boss said on NDR MV Live Monday afternoon. Kaiser sees Greenpeace in times of global warming and climate change as part of a major movement that needs to get even bigger. Kaiser is not afraid that movements like Fridays for future will catch up with Greenpeace: “20 years ago, when we sat together, we always dreamed of saying that we need a great social movement that would bring about change in society. We were all the more pleased that the Fridays-for-future movement, the young generation, said that what is happening today will whitewash our freedom in the future.” The climate and species crisis is a challenge for everyone, he sees Greenpeace as part of a large movement.
Years of cooperation
The Deutsches Maritime Museum Foundation and the environmental organization have been working together for years. Together with the Ozeaneum, they brought the exhibition “1:1 Giants of the Seas” to life. The life-size whales, squid and rays, illuminated with soft, blue light, are the crowd pullers at the Ozeaneum. The exhibition in the 20 meter high hall extends over four floors. However, due to the event, it will be closed for a day.
Greenpeace is also often criticized
Greenpeace has been committed to environmental, nature and climate protection for decades with spectacular campaigns. The latest landing with a motorized paraglider at the European Football Championship in the Allianz Arena in Munich caused a lot of commotion. But also photos of activists in rubber boats between whales and whalers with their harpoons went around the world. Due to such drastic actions, some of which are illegal, the association has already been stripped of its non-profit status in some countries.