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I Volunteered With Greenpeace For Over 5 Years And This Is My Response To The IB Report

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By Ali Abbas:

India is experiencing a new wind of change. Development seems to be the word of the moment. Many people are in the illusion that PM Modi will wave his magic wand and in the next few years we will be transformed as a nation at par with USA and the European countries. In such an atmosphere, if any leaked IB report points out on certain NGOs and activists who are receiving foreign funds as a threat to nation’s economic security, certain sections of the society are bound to react angrily.

Greenpeace

Ever since the new government was formed, development has become synonymous to nationalism and whosoever questions the real cost and beneficiaries of development is being viewed as less national. In some cases even anti-national and a threat to the economic security of the country. One such organization which is highlighted profoundly in the report for the loss of GDP is Greenpeace India. Having volunteered and worked as a fund raiser for Greenpeace for more than 5 years now, this is what I believe, Greenpeace is to me:

More than an organization, Greenpeace is a movement, which believes in people before profit. It promotes the idea of sustainable development with equal concerns for nature, wildlife and people. Its work is backed by concrete scientific research and promotes meaningful alternative solutions.

Ever since Greenpeace India started campaigning in 2001, it registered its first major victory in 2004 when Supreme Court’s monitoring committee on hazardous waste fined Hindustan Liver Limited (HLL) with 50 crore for damages caused to environment by its mercury thermometer factory plant in Kodaikanal. HLL was also asked to set up health clinics for people to recover from the effects of mercury poisoning.

Campaigning on the issue of ship breaking industry, in the year 2006, after the pressure from Greenpeace and its supporters, French President Chirac recalled asbestos-laden warship Clemenceau, back to France from India. The 27,000 ton of warship was full of asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyl, lead, mercury and other toxic chemicals which was supposed to be dismantled in Alang ship-breaking Industry in Gujarat. The underlining message was that India is not the dumping ground for rich countries.

To promote energy efficiency in the country, Greenpeace ran a campaign called “Ban the Bulb” in 2006. Massive awareness efforts were made to let people know about energy efficiency and to replace incandescent bulb with CFLs to reduce energy consumption. After three years of campaigning, the government launched “Bachat Lamp Yojana” by subsidising CFLs for the general public hence saving energy.

Standing alongside farmers and their rights, Greenpeace has been campaigning against the controversial and MNC controlled Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Greenpeace India brought the debate into public sphere by highlighting scientific evidences and examples from other countries. In the year 2010 after several rounds of public consultations, the then Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh put the commercialisation of BT Brinjal on an indefinite moratorium.

Reminding the legislators about the Bhopal Gas tragedy, worst ever industrial disaster in India that claimed more than 15,000 lives, Greenpeace India lobbied for stringent nuclear liability laws by demanding for ‘polluters pay policy’ with unlimited liability for unlimited duration of time. However, what was passed in the parliament after all that drama was complete supplier liability and instead of unlimited liability, quick compensation was raised from Rs 500 crores to 1500 crores with a clause which allows government to increase compensation judging from the scale of the accident.

Apart from these, regular efforts were made to expose environmental crimes in the country and Greenpeace lobbied for rules that favour protection and preservation of environment by demanding polluters pay policy.

Time and again, Greenpeace India has kept publishing reports and research to raise the issue of environment in the public. All these reports in public domain are meant to be challenged, debated and its key recommendations to be implemented.

What makes Greenpeace’s voice stronger in India or elsewhere is its financial independence. Greenpeace never accepts funding from governments, political parties or corporates. All its donations are carefully scrutinized and its balance sheet is uploaded on the website every year. Its funding sources are public. All its funds are received via bank transactions hence making it transparent, unlike political parties whose funding sources are not known.

The organization works on global issues of utmost importance like climate change and global warming, chemical free agriculture, saving our last remaining forests, defending ocean and stopping yet another nuclear disaster. It promotes renewable energy and community driven solutions. This means if Greenpeace opposes coal in India, it does the same in Australia or America or wherever it campaigns in the world.

The only people to be threatened by Greenpeace campaigning are the greedy corporates, for whom maximization of profit means everything and care for the environment means nothing. For those intelligent people, a proverb says, when the last tree is cut, when the last river is poisoned, when the last fish is dead, we will realize that we can’t eat money.

About the author: Ali Abbas is an environment activist in India.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ashly

    how true is the final saying in this article, “….we will realize that we can’t eat money”. It is very disturbing that for those in power, do not truly understand the effects of climate change and all that is happening today. What are we leaving for our generations, a struggle… it will be a survival of the fittest or even worst.
    It is said that when you are right and are moving forward, there would be many to pin you down…the efforts taken by Greenpeace for years and years can never be calculated,..for the love and protection of our environment.
    ***Love our Nature, when will we all truly stand up and care for her?

  2. Gaurav

    Another dialogue that happened between Ramesh and Suresh after reading the above article::

    Ramesh::: why is greenpeace upset
    Suresh :::: because some guy leaked a report
    Ramesh::: which report are you talking about
    Suresh :::: the report that IB submitted to government of india
    Ramesh::: really, does IB submit reports to the government
    Suresh :::: yes, of course that is one of their roles and responsibilities. they always submit many reports on regular basis to the indian government
    Ramesh::: so why was the report leaked
    Suresh :::: to put pressure on the modi government
    Ramesh::: what do you mean
    Suresh :::: well the government would never leak the report
    Ramesh::: ok so who did it and why
    Suresh :::: a critic of modi did it , so as to put pressure on modi and his govt.
    Ramesh::: ah I see, but it does not look like the pressure tactic is working
    Suresh ::: that is because modi knows his job and he does not come under pressure, that is why we have chosen him, so these tactics will not work.
    Ramesh :: so why are the critics repeating the same lies
    Suresh ::: well because maybe, just maybe , some of them are doing something wrong.

    1. muft

      & that’s why children, why you must never eat 5star. Because may be NOT all of you want to end being a blind folded, insensitive, Hindu communalist, like this ‘Modi’-ist brother who commented above me.

    2. Gaurav

      learn to control your anger and learn to debate in a rational manner. abusing someone and labelling them communal is not going to prove anything.

  3. Gaurav

    my comment about the imaginary magic wand that people keep talking about has been deleted by youthkiawaaz for no reason. if you do not like being criticised then that’s your problem, anyway let me make the point clear.. I am a modi supporter and no we modi supporters never said that he will wave a magic wand, all we said is that he will make things better and that will not happen in a day but will take time. the idea of modi having a magic wand is the figment of imagination of modi’s critics. if you thing you can suppress us you are mistaken.

    1. fermi

      Most of article posted at YKA are idiotic written by pseudo intellectuals. They just want attention, and you are giving them.

  4. Suganya

    We cannot and will not deny the fact that NGOs play a major role in getting people their basic rights, through peaceful protests. Greenpeace India has the responsibility to make clear that the IB allegations are false. The Government, be it a Modi or a Non-Modi sarkar, has the sole right to make sure that its citizens do not channelize their resources in a path, that will cause hindrance to the overall development of the nation. The concerned NGOs can take this issue to a competent authority and prove the accusations are pointless. We do not accuse an NGO for its motives of protecting the people. If NGOs take money from foreign sources and use it to propel anti-national activities, they should be both punished and reprimanded. Till truth wills out, patience is a virtue.

  5. sudhir verma

    i like the way greenpeace goes. love to contribute for the cause of environment, biodiversity and human kind

  6. Chavan Bhasker

    No doubt…..appreciable stepping by @Greenpeace India

    the big thing ….this is not get funds by political organisation…………n maintains the balance sheet every year

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