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by Mandy P
The World Summit on Sustainable Development
source: iNetNews

Johannesburg, South Africa •• Aug. 28, 2002 •• SolarQuest® iNet News Service •• Greenpeace is the organisation which above all others has symbolised preservation of our planet. It is known for drastic action and using shock value to grab the attention of the public across the world. As can be expected Greenpeace has a large presence at the Summit and is causing much press and has become a popular topic of conversation.

Greenpeace focuses on compelling people to action and its activities are designed to reflect this. From scaling walls at Koeburg in order to protest nuclear power use, to the highly emotive photo display up in Sandton City, Greenpeace is hoping to inspire direction in all the people that it reaches.

The question that needs to be asked however, is do these activities have the effect that is intended? Is the result of the physical protests benefiting those who are fighting for the environment or does the radical approach lose the support of those who are conservative and feel secure within boundaries and supporting rules?

We know that Greenpeace activities, like the attempts to stop whaling, do raise environmental awareness. People are forced to confront situations that they might otherwise be complacent about. Gross environmental injustices are also unearthed and exposed and those responsible are made to feel obliged to try and rectify the alleged wrongs committed.

We also know that some of the more news-making methods that Greenpeace uses, alienates the organisation from the more conservative environmental supporters. And so it seems that the very aspect of Greenpeace which allows it to fill an otherwise unattended international niche, is the attribute that loses it a portion of its support.

With all this is mind perhaps it is important to realise that there are many organisations across the globe that deal with environmental issues but very few that force people to sit up and take notice of these same issues. Greenpeace is the exception to this rule.

After witnessing their commitment to sustainable development at the summit through their presentations and exhibitions organised and being able to see first hand the professionalism with which they handle their presentations, I am of the personal opinion that they are working towards goals that are necessary and do so without the need for any recognition. Their efforts are impressive and I can only hope that they meet their objectives as it would be to the betterment of us all.

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