Patrick Moore not the co-founder of Greenpeace


THE man who claims to be one of the “cofounders” of Greenpeace is at the centre of a storm surrounding allegations that he falsified his membership and was merely an early member of the organisation.

Although the Greenpeace International web site used to include Moore in their list of founders, the organisation has distanced itself from Moore and his promotion of nuclear power, logging and the use of fur, all positions which have lead members to question his credentials. “There is some controversy over whether Moore was a co-founder, or merely an early member, of Greenpeace,” said Maya Aberman of Earthlife Africa.

Moores claim has been disputed by other founders including Bob Hunter (deceased), Dorothy Stowe, Dorothy Metcalf, and Jim and Marie Bolen, and is at odds with his original Greenpeace membership application. If anyone deserves credit, it was Bob Hunter, who is generally accorded the status of being “founder” but such one-upmanship was not his style.

According to an article on Greenpeace International: “There’s an old joke that in any bar in Vancouver Canada you can sit down next to someone who founded Greenpeace. In fact, there was no single founder, and the name, idea, spirit, tactics, and internationalism of the organisation all can be said to have separate lineages.” It would appear that although Moore was on the original Greenpeace boat, a crew-man, he was far from being on the founding committee, the facts speak for themselves.

In 1970, the Don’t Make A Wave Committee was established; its sole objective was “to stop a second nuclear weapons test at Amchitka Island in the Aleutians.”

The committee’s founders were Dorothy and Irving Stowe, Marie and Jim Bohlen, Ben and Dorothy Metcalfe, and Bob Hunter.

“Canadian ecologist Bill Darnell came up with the dynamic combination of words to bind together the group’s concern for the planet and opposition to nuclear arms. In the words of Bob Hunter, “Somebody flashed two fingers as we were leaving the church basement and said “Peace!” Bill said “Let’s make it a Green Peace. And we all went Ommmmmmmm.”

Jim Bohlen’s son Paul, having trouble making the two words fit on a button, linked them together into the committee’s new name: Greenpeace.
Marie Bohlen was the first to suggest taking a ship up to Amchtka to oppose the US plans. The group organised a boat, the Phyllis Cormack, and set sail to Amchitka to “bear witness” (a Quaker tradition of silent protest) to the nuclear test.

On board were:

Captain John Cormack, the boat’s owner
Jim Bohlen, Greenpeace
Bill Darnell, Greenpeace
Patrick Moore, Greenpeace
Dr Lyle Thurston, medical practitioner
Dave Birmingham, engineer
Terry Simmons, cultural geographer
Richard Fineberg, political science teacher
Robert Hunter, journalist
Ben Metcalfe, journalist
Bob Cummings, journalist
Bob Keziere, photographer

Stowe, who suffered from sea-sickness, stayed on shore to coordinate political pressure. Cote stayed behind too, because he was about to represent Canada in an Olympic sailing race.

“Bob Hunter would take the lessons of that first voyage forward and improvise upon them to the point that he, more than anyone else, invented Greenpeace’s brand of individual activism.”
The Amchitka voyage established the group’s name in Canada. Greenpeace’s next journey spread their reputation across the world. In 1972, David McTaggart answered an ad placed in a New Zealand newspaper by Ben Metcalfe, calling for a ship to go to Morouroa Atoll to protest nuclear weapons testing there. McTaggart chose the following crew:

Nigel Ingram, ex-Royal Navy
Roger Haddleton, ex-Royal Navy
Grant Davidson, a good cook

Their ship was rammed, and on his return the next year McTaggart was beaten by French commandos to the point where he lost vision in one eye. An epic battle played out in media around the world as a tiny ship challenged one of the greatest military forces on Earth.
For the next two decades, McTaggart would vie with the French government over nuclear weapons testing at sea and in the courts, and rise to the leadership of Greenpeace worldwide.

South Africa’s Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) has brought out Moore to expound on the joys of Nuclear Energy. He has worked as a consultant for the nuclear industry for more years than he has worked for Greenpeace noted the Center for Media and Democracy’s Diane Farsetta In her piece “Moore Spin: Or, How Reporters Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Nuclear Front Groups,” Farsetta also reported:
A Nexis news database search on March 1, 2007 identified 302 news items about nuclear power that cite Moore since April 2006. Only 37 of those pieces—12 percent of the total—mention his financial relationship with the nuclear industry.

Patrick Moore on Nuclear Power

Appearances in South Africa

Money Is the Real Green Power: The hoax of eco-friendly nuclear energy by Karl Grossman

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11 comments

  1. James

    It would be interesting to know (a) why he was ever listed on the GP website as a co-founder if he wasn’t, and (b) at what point they removed his name. You have to admit that it does sound like spite on GP’s part.

    • davidrobertlewis

      It’s more than just an issue of semantics or spite because of the misuse of a word – along with the egalitarian principles that formed the organisation which, like so many early green groups, was initially against hierarchies, was the notion that we are all co-creators — as such anybody who happened to be on the scene at the time, could be termed a “co-founder”, but empirically speaking, Patrick Moore was no more a founder of anything than any of the crew who happened to help the core group along. That he turned his back on environmentalism to the degree he now supports logging and nuclear power is just an example of how minor Moore’s role in Greenpeace’s formation was. I occupy a similar position, I guess, having been at the founding conference of South Africa’s version of Greenpeace – Earthlife Africa, and not playing a leadership role in the way Chris Albertyn, Peter Lukey, or Mike Kantey did. My interests have also extended beyond the environment and green issues but I would never turn my back on the struggle against nuclear power.

    • HiBrowTV

      The fellow, Sam, who called GP ‘a bunch of cooks’ clearly is a fast food eater. SOMEONE has to do the ‘cooking’ – whether it is in a kitchen or, sigh, stopping whaling ships, etc. Frankly, would rather do the latter and be called a ‘cook’ and a ‘kook’.

  2. Paul Black

    It no longer suits Greenpeace to admit Mr. Moore’s involvement, so they simply decided to rewrite history as in 1984!

  3. Samual

    Howdy! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a
    captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

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