In 1969 demonstrators protested US nuclear missile testing on the US-British Columbia Border, and in 1971 a boat of volunteers and journalists sailed from Vancouver to Amchitka, Alaska to conduct a non-violent protest of underground nuclear tests, challenging the governmental failure of safeguarding the environment. Born to these seemingly humble beginnings in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood, Greenpeace is now the most recognizable environmental organizations in the world with over 3 million international members and 60,000 supporters in Canada.
Opening in July 2018, the Vancouver Maritime Museum's exhibit entitled "Making Waves: The Story and Legacy of Greenpeace" will tackle everything from Greenpeace's historic preliminary voyage to Amchitka (featuring photographs, stories, and personal artifacts from the founders); the expansion of the organization's fleet and growing support of local and international environmental issues, such as ending commercial whaling to promoting socially responsible farming; the criticism and controversy around the organization's aggressive tactics; to how cities, government, and industry are dealing with climate change today in the wake of Greenpeace's fifty year contribution to our collective environmental consciousness. The exhibit will run for approximately six months, with more details forthcoming.
GREENPEACE VANCOUVER FACTS:
- The Bimini Public House, located on West Fourth Avenue in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood, was just across the street from Greenpeace's HQ in the early 1970s and activists would hold some of their meetings at this historic pub. To this day Greenpeace activist photos can still be found on the walls at The Bimini.
- In 1970 Greenpeace hosted a rock concert at East Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum to raise awareness (and the money to buy a boat!) about Greenpeace's upcoming voyage to Amchitka. According to original Greenpeace member Rex Weyler sixteen thousand people were entranced by performances from Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, and James Taylor and by October of that year they'd raised over $23,000.
- Originally named Green Peace, the organization quickly merged the words when the name didn't fit onto the buttons made for their first fundraiser—and Greenpeace was born.