How many members does Greenpeace have?

Greenpeace information sheet

History, campaigns and structure of the organization

When you think of Greenpeace, bearded fur seals come to mind, who travel in a rubber dinghy between whales and whalers, attach oversized banners to chimneys or clog drain pipes. But today Greenpeace is much more than just a group of environmental activists. Greenpeace enjoys the status of an institution in matters of environmental protection. A serious NGO (non-governmental organization) has developed from a handful of anti-nuclear activists. Numerous significant successes in nature and environmental protection can be assigned to the organization.

History of Greenpeace

The Greenpeace story begins on September 15, 1971 in Vancouver, Canada. A dozen peace activists are driving the fishing cutter "Phyllis Cormack" to the Alëuten island of Amchitka, where the US government wants to carry out a nuclear weapon test. The activists intend to enter the restricted area to prevent the test. They found a name for this campaign that expresses their concern about the destructive effects of nuclear weapons on humans and the environment: Green + Peace = Greenpeace. Systematic public relations work is carried out right from the start. This is what sets Greenpeace apart from the numerous other environmental and grassroots movements of the 1970s. The basic idea is to make the whole world witness. The means of the Amchitka trip will remain at the heart of the Greenpeace strategy in the future: direct nonviolent action and media work.
The actions of the following years are still under the impression and the main concern of the Amchitka trip. In particular, the French nuclear tests on the Mururoa Atoll will be a major target. The dispute with the French government reached a sad climax on July 10, 1985. After the successful evacuation of the atomically contaminated Rongelap Atoll, the "Rainbow Warrior" was lying in the port of Auckland, New Zealand, when two bombs exploded on board shortly before midnight. The crew can barely save themselves - with the exception of the photographer Fernando Pereira. He's drowning in his cabin. The bomb attack was carried out by the French secret service, the French defense minister and the head of the secret service are forced to resign, and two secret service employees are each sentenced to ten years in prison for manslaughter.
After nuclear tests around the world came to an end, the organization turned to other goals in the late 1980s. Greenpeace reached a milestone in the protection of the seas with the occupation of the Shell oil platform "Brent Spar" in 1995. A sinking of the disused platform and the subsequent contamination of the North Sea by the oil and chemicals it contained were successfully prevented. Above all, the consumer boycott of Shell petrol stations in Germany is ultimately forcing the group to give in. In the same year, a general ban on sinking oil platforms in the North Sea and the north-east Atlantic was decided.
At the end of the 1990s, the new tasks were genetic engineering in food, patenting living beings and renewable energies. On most issues, Greenpeace now knows the majority of citizens behind them and has achieved important successes in consumer protection. The involvement of the population in Greenpeace campaigns through public relations work, information networks and the Internet is being intensified.


The scientific foundation of all subject areas is a priority at Greenpeace. That is why the organization maintains specialist groups for all relevant issues and, based on its own research, develops information material and specialist articles on environmental issues. The current campaign areas at Greenpeace are divided among others. as follows:

  • Nuclear power: Abolition of all nuclear weapons, shutdown of all nuclear power plants, safe storage of nuclear waste
  • Energy: Increase in energy efficiency, increased promotion of renewable energies
  • Oil: information on the environmental pollution of oil drilling projects, v. a. in particularly sensitive areas such as the seas, Alaska or Siberia.
  • Climate: Abolition or containment of climate-damaging gases, protection of the "green lungs" of the earth
  • Seas: Protection against overfishing and pollution, commitment to sustainable fishing and safe shipping. Protection of whales, establishment of a world park for whales in the Antarctic.
  • Forests: Protection of the last primeval forests on earth, commitment to sustainable forestry worldwide
  • Biodiversity: Action against a reduction in the number of species in food through genetic engineering or the displacement of ancestral species
  • Genetic engineering: prevention of genetic engineering in food and patenting of living beings.
  • Chemistry: Protection against contamination by unsafe production methods, educational work about new poisons such as B. Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

Structure of Greenpeace

Greenpeace is organized centrally and operates worldwide. Greenpeace International has been based in Amsterdam since 1989. From there, international campaigns are coordinated and coordinated with the 28 country offices. However, they carry out their actions and campaigns independently. The highest decision-making body is the Stichting Greenpeace Council, which is made up of representatives from the country offices. It coordinates the international campaigns, public relations and the ship fleet and monitors the activities of the national offices. It also elects the board of directors of Greenpeace International (a total of 7 people). This appoints the international managing director. The German office is based in Hamburg. The highest decision-making body is the general assembly, which consists of 40 voting members and elects the supervisory board. The six honorary members of the Supervisory Board appoint the management. This leads the association and is responsible for around 200 permanent employees of Greenpeace e. V. responsible. More than 562,000 sponsoring members finance Greenpeace Germany with their contributions. A German specialty are the over 80 Greenpeace groups. Around 3,800 voluntary members are organized in these. They do educational work on site and support the campaigns at the local level.
Greenpeace is financed exclusively through donations, inheritances and merchandising. In 2008, the entire organization had around 197 million euros. Greenpeace is represented in many important bodies, such as the UN (observer status) and the International Whaling Commission, or advises on environmental issues, such as the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Source: Geography Information Center
Author: Lars Pennig
Publisher: Klett
Location: Leipzig
Source date: 2003
Processing date: May 27, 2012

Environment, nature, nature conservation, environmental protection, organization

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