When is it eventually enough?

It’s been more than seven weeks since the Greenpeace crew members who tried to create awareness for the destruction of our Arctic, were arrested and imprisoned under very doubtful conditions. How much longer do we accept that people protecting the environment are being discriminated while those destroying it walk away with a smile on their face and their pockets full of money?

Whereas the shocking arrest has caused quite some media alarm, it seems to be difficult for Greenpeace to keep people’s attention on what is happening with its crew members. Many keep protesting, others probably not. Some might even think “what is it my concern? They knew it was risky, as their actions many times before. However, this time they went too far and pay the bill.”

Is that true? Let’s take a step back and think what exactly Greenpeace stands for and why they took this action? Greenpeace has been around for a long time and while other well-known NGOs have put on many different hats since their establishment (some even in a very questionable manner), Greenpeace deserves more than all respect for their very targeted, focused and continuing efforts to protect those parts of the planet that most deserve it but where people’s attention has most difficulty to get to. Their actions are sometimes quite spectacular, yes, as accordant media echo has shown. However, there are various aspects to it that are very important to put in the right context. First, their actions must be so spectacular, because it is unfortunately quite often[1] the only way to gain people’s attention. Second, all the actions Greenpeace has ever undertaken, were peaceful and have never caused any harm to anyone (in contrast to the operations of people they stand up against, for whom murdering is not just words). Moreover, the actions Greenpeace are undertaking are for the benefit of all of us. They are never for pure self-interest, but always targeted at protecting our environment, our planet!

Having said that, can we then claim that some of its members deserve to be imprisoned for actions they took in our all interest? Those people are some very courageous world citizen that don’t just stand there and watch, mumbling over injustice and further degradation of the environment. If something, they deserve an award for their commitment and action!
So, why then are they still in prison?

Well, that is a trickier question. Apparently, some governments and celebrities have directed their words to the Russian government, as we read from the news. Yet, were their efforts enough? I remember several cases that some tourists got kidnapped in a “no-go area” and have been freed against a ransom due to intervention and millions of dollars of tax payer money handed out to the kidnappers by our governments. Why don’t our governments do more in the Greenpeace case?
Why didn’t they do more when the Rainbow Warrior[2] was sunk by a terrorist-act from the French secret service, the whole world knowing about it?

The answer must be very straight-forward, even if we don’t want to hear it: because all our governments are corrupt and made up of cowards. They are the ones that should be imprisoned for not taking more action against environmental criminals in the first hand. Instead they just sit there and collect “bribes” in whatever form.
And what do we citizens do? We vote for the worst there are, as just happened in Australia.

Let me get this right. Sitting there and watching has historically proven to be very wrong. WWII and the slaughtering of millions of people was not caused by one man, it was caused because the majority of people stood there watching. Hitler’s danger was by no means as obvious and visible[3] to citizens at that time as is Abbott’s to us, him officially denying climate change, turning his back on the UNFCCC and hence willingly risking the life of millions of people.
We all know that. However, it’s much easier to sit at home and watching TV in an air-coned room while sipping one beer after the other than thinking about those poor fellow-citizens who are now in a cold, small and inhumane prison cell in Murmansk not knowing what will happen to their life. Denying and looking away are the worst forms of citizenship. They are actually forms of non-citizenship.

If we believe in justice, if we think that this world and we all deserve better, then it’s time to stand up. Move your ass and tell Shell, Gazprom, your government or whomever that it’s enough! Remember, you are not alone, there are millions of others with you, and you can join them on 16 November if you feel that action in a group is more powerful than isolated one. It’s in your interest, as are the actions of Greenpeace.


[1] In the Gazprom case there have been people who talked and wrote about the issue a long time ago. How many people did listen or do anything about it?

[2] One of the former ships of the Greenpeace fleet.

[3] People didn’t have the means we do today, that allow us to constantly see and watch what is happening in the world.

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About blaubear

Born in 1973 in a small village in rural Switzerland and into a society largely dominated by cows (not only was the human population of one-hundred-and-forty outnumbered by them, but politics driven by unreasonable subsidies for diary products) I was connected with nature from early age on. Observing nature on one hand and the deficiencies of a dysfunctional Swiss agricultural policy with farmers that had lost connection to the land that provided their income on the other, I soon started to question society and the meaning of life. Suffering also under a farcical public education I developed curiosity to discover on my own. That was how I soon learned that little of what I had been taught was true. Skepticism and interaction with people from for me new cultures fostered my interest for the world and eagerness to leave a life shaped by federalistic layman-ship. At the age of twenty-three I hit the road for the first time, an event that later translated into passion. Traveling between cultures has since become part of my life. At the age of thirty-three I finally realized my dream and did a degree in Environmental Engineering from which I graduated in 2009, only to leave Switzerland once more for my "real home" Spain. Unfortunately, the stay was a short one: a couple of months later I was offered a job in Southeast Asia, where I worked and also lived (with some interruptions, e.g. I live in Melbourne since late 2012) ever since. Having worked for a Japanese company earlier in my life, I soon felt captured again by Asian culture and thinking which makes a lovely contrast to my European heritage. My journey through different countries and cultures has taught me that regardless of how different our thinking and values are, no matter what approaches we take, we all can learn from each other. And if we are open enough to see the common instead of pointing out the differences, then we have a chance to live in harmony and peace: Life is all about integration, not exclusion! It's an old wisdom that "knowledge is power", as such I never get tired of being around new people, having interesting talks, and reading lots of good books. I hope that my blog can contribute to the conversation.
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One Response to When is it eventually enough?

  1. Pingback: Year end, arbitrary limitations and the relativity of doing good. | Ideas for a greener environment, a fairer society and a future driven by sustainability

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