Frequently Asked Questions

Before writing to Greenpeace please check our list of frequently asked questions to see if your question is already answered.

Before writing to Greenpeace please check our list of frequently asked questions to see if your question is already answered.

Questions about the website   Questions about the environment  
  • I'm a student writing a report about an environmental problem. Can you send me information?

    We get many requests at Greenpeace for help with general school reports about pollution and other environmental issues. We wish we could help each of you individually, but we try to keep focused on the tasks that people donate to Greenpeace for: to win campaigns for the environment. Don't forget that you can search through all the information on this site.

  • There's an environmental polluter in my town: what can I do about it?

    In all but a few exceptional cases, Greenpeace works on a global scale and does not address individual pollution sites one by one. Greenpeace has limited resources and so chooses to focus on major threats to ecosystems and species -- we simply don't have the ability to address destruction at all levels. For local issues, we have to count on people like you who care and are willing to fight for what you believe. We can send you our support and best wishes, and advice on creating your own campaign.

    We can encourage you to seek help and advice from our community of cyberactivists many of whom fight local battles against polluters in communities like yours. You can also search through the Greenpeace archive for information about the particular issue you're trying to solve.

    Good luck: there's no time to waste.

  • I've just witnessed a horrible mistreatment of an animal. What can I do?

    Greenpeace doesn't address animal rights issues at a local level. We campaign for habitat protection and to stop the greatest threats to the natural world. You can contact the largest animal rights organisation in the world, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Questions about Greenpeace campaigns  
  • Why is Greenpeace opposed to genetic engineering?

    Greenpeace opposes all releases of genetically engineered organisms into the environment. Such organisms are being released without adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health.

    This genetic pollution is a major threat because genetically engineered organisms cannot be recalled once released into the environment. Governments are attempting to address this threat by international regulations such as the bio safety protocol.

    Because of commercial interests, the public is being denied the right to know about genetically engineered ingredients in the food chain, and the right to avoid them. Greenpeace advocates immediate interim measures such as labelling of genetically engineered ingredients, and the segregation of genetically engineered crops from conventional ones.

    While scientific progress on molecular biology has a great potential to increase our understanding of nature and provide new medical tools, it is no justification to turn the environment into a genetic experiment. Biological diversity must be protected and respected as the global heritage of humankind, and one of our world's fundamental keys to survival.

    Greenpeace also opposes all patents on plants, animals and humans, as well as patents on their genes. Life is not an industrial commodity. When we force lifeforms and our world's food supply to conform to human economic models rather than their natural ones, we do so at our own peril.

    You can read an introduction to the issue of genetic engineering and an explanation of some of the risks in our food and agriculture section.

  • Isn't nuclear power better than burning lots of fossil fuels? Isn't it a solution for climate change?

    Nuclear power creates poisonous waste, fuels the nuclear arms race, and threatens the health and well being of communities thousands of miles away.

    It's also not a solution to greenhouse warming. Creating nuclear fuel is a hugely energy-intensive task. When you sum up the CO2 emitted by the mining, milling, processing, and transport of nuclear fuels, there's no significant savings on carbon output. This was why the framers of the Kyoto protocol rejected efforts by the nuclear power industry to allow carbon credits for nuclear power. You'll still see this fallacy trumpeted in advertising by the nuclear industry, but you won't find a reputable climate scientist who is convinced by the ads. (British Nuclear Fuels spends more on advertising than Greenpeace's entire annual budget, by the way!)

    You can read about all the reasons Greenpeace opposes nuclear power at our nuclear campaign section or learn more about clean energy at our climate and energy section.

  • I heard that Greenpeace is a bunch of "tree huggers" and is opposed to cutting down trees everywhere. Is this true?

    Greenpeace is concerned about protecting the greatest reservoirs of terrestrial biodiversity -- the last remaining ancient forests. We don't have any opposition to responsible, sustainable forestry practices outside those areas. Read more about our policies on forest protection in our forests section.

Questions about working or volunteering for Greenpeace  
  • How can I help out on one of Greenpeace's ships?

    To apply for a position as a crew member on one of our ships, send a CV to:

    Greenpeace Marine Services
    Ottho Heldringstraat 5
    1066 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    List any marine certificates you possess, and specify as many skills as you can. Do you speak several languages? Are you a certified diver? A professional cook? A wonderful musician? A photographer, videographer, carpenter, plumber, or engineer? Is your passport current and what's your availability?

    We are always looking for motivated, skilled and experienced crew but as you can imagine we also receive many applications each day. Give us as much information as you can, and good luck!
  • How can I get a job with Greenpeace?

    Take a look at job vacancies on our jobs section as well job vacancies at Greenpeace International.

  • How can I help Greenpeace?

    There's lots of ways you can help. Please have a look at our 'get involved' section. And you can also find out about jobs within the organisation. Otherwise, please become a financial supporter if you are not already.

Questions about Greenpeace membership   Questions about Greenpeace in general  
  • What is Greenpeace's mission? When did it get started? How many supporters does Greenpeace have?

    Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace's goal is to ensure the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity.

  • How did Greenpeace get started?

    In 1971, a small team of activists set sail from Vancouver, Canada, in an old fishing boat. Their mission: to protest underground nuclear testing by the US military at Amchitka, a tiny volcanic island off western Alaska. Though they were eventually stopped, these activists went on to create an organization called Greenpeace, with the belief that individual, non-violent action can create positive change. Head here to read a more detailed account of Greenpeace's history.

  • Who founded Greenpeace?

    There's an old joke around the organisation that in any bar in Vancouver, Canada, you can find at least one person who claims to have founded Greenpeace.

    In truth, many talented folks contributed to the creation of Greenpeace. Bill Darnell coined the name when someone flashed him a peace sign and he said "let's make that a green peace!" Bob Hunter created the concept of the "Media Mind Bomb" - reaching the public consciousness through dramatic, camera-ready opposition to environmental crimes. Jim Bohlen, Paul Cote, and Irving Stowe were the founders of the "Don't Make a Wave Committee," which organised the first Greenpeace action: a voyage to Amchitka Island in the Aleutians to try to stop a nuclear weapons test. David Mc. Taggart convinced a half dozen loosely connected early groups to put aside their differences and join in a single worldwide organisation, creating Greenpeace International in 1979. Our main website contains lots more information about the founders of Greenpeace and our history and global victories. For information about our work in East Asia, please visit our East Asia history and achievements sections.

  • Where does the name Rainbow Warrior come from?

    Bob Hunter, one of the founders of Greenpeace, tells a story in his book, 'Warriors of the Rainbow', about how this legend crossed his path.

    On the first voyage of a Greenpeace ship, the Phyllis Cormack, Bob had taken on board a small book of Indian myths and legends that contained some striking prophesies. The book itself had been given himby an old wandering native American who had told him the book would "change his life" -- something which prompted a bit of cynicism in the Canadian journalist, who tossed the book into a box and forgot about it. But he stocked the Phyllis Cormack with reading material for the voyage, and one stormy evening he said the book literally jumped off the shelf into his hands, and he read it.

    A chapter that particularly inspired Hunter related a story an old Cree Indian woman, 'Eyes of Fire' told to her great grandson. Just as they were being overthrown, The Cree Indian people foresaw a time when the white man's materialistic ways would strip the earth of its resources, but just before it was too late the Great Spirit of the Indians would return to resurrect the braves and teach the white man reverence for the earth. They would become known as the Warriors of the Rainbow.

    The story circulated in Greenpeace for many years, and in 1978 our first ship, a rusting North Sea Trawler named the "Sir William Hardy" was rechristened "Rainbow Warrior."

  • Where does Greenpeace get its funding from?

    To maintain absolute independence Greenpeace does not accept money from companies, governments or political parties. We're serious about that, and we screen for and actually send checks back when they're drawn on a corporate account. We depend on the donations of our supporters to carry on our non-violent campaigns to protect the environment.

    Our books are audited every year, in every office around the world, and we publish our Annual Report on the web every year so you can see exactly how much money we're given and how it gets spent.

  • Where can I find the address of the Greenpeace office in my country?

    There's a full list of countries where we have offices at our Worldwide Offices page. If there's no office in your country, you can write to .

  • Why is there no Greenpeace office in my country?

    It is just not possible for Greenpeace to have an office everywhere. We receive many requests every day to open offices all over the world. Like any other organisation Greenpeace has to work within a budget and we have to make choices about what we do. Our campaign work is targeted against the greatest threats to the global environment.

    You can help us in many ways even if there's no office in your country. Visit our 'get involved' page to learn more about what you can do every day to help Greenpeace win campaigns for the environment.

  • I want to open a Greenpeace office. I want to represent Greenpeace in my country. What do I do?

    Opening a new office, or appointing a representative in a country in which we do not have an office, is an organisation-wide decision which has to be agreed upon by our International Board and approved by our international Annual General Meeting. Greenpeace does not adopt, incorporate or otherwise subsume existing organisations into its structure. Like every organisation, we have to work within our budget, and due to limited financial and human resources, we have to be selective in our decisions as to where to open new offices. Development or expansion is also subject to certain essential campaign criteria. We will only open a new office if this is in line with the strategic priorities of the organisation.

    The name "Greenpeace" is an internationally registered trademark belonging to Stichting Greenpeace Council in the Netherlands, and therefore use of the name requires permission. Once a decision has been taken to open a new office, Greenpeace International enters into a licensing agreement with the new office, allowing that office to use the name Greenpeace. Use of this name is conditional upon fulfilling a whole range of obligations towards the international organisation.

    We hope that you will not find this discouraging, and that you and/or your organisation will continue in its aims to explore environmental issues further. You can help Greenpeace in many ways - by volunteering your time or services to an existing Greenpeace office, or by getting involved as an online activist. You'd be surprised how much help we can use, even when an office isn't nearby.

  • How is Greenpeace organised? Who runs Greenpeace?

    The Greenpeace organisation consists of Greenpeace International (Stichting Greenpeace Council) in Amsterdam and Greenpeace offices around the world. Greenpeace currently has a presence in 41 countries. Greenpeace national or regional offices are licensed to use the name Greenpeace. Each office is governed by a board which appoints a representative (called a trustee).

    Trustees meet once a year to agree on the long-term strategy of the organisation, to make necessary changes to governance structure, to set a ceiling on spending for Greenpeace International's budget and to elect the International Board of four members and a chairperson.

    Greenpeace International monitors the organisational development of Greenpeace offices, oversees the development and maintenance of our fleet of ships, coordinates planning and implementation of our global campaigns, and monitors compliance with core policies.

    The International Board approves the annual budget of Greenpeace International and its audited accounts. It also appoints and supervises the International Executive Director who, together with senior managers, and consulting widely with national office staff, leads the organisation.

    Greenpeace does not solicit or accept funding from governments,corporations or political parties. Greenpeace neither seeks nor accepts donations which could compromise its independence, aims, objectives or integrity. Greenpeace relies on the voluntary donations of individual supporters, and on grant support from foundations.

    Greenpeace is committed to the principles of non-violence, political independence and internationalism. In exposing threats to the environment and in working to find solutions, Greenpeace has no permanent allies or enemies.