ADDED NOTE: I changed the name of this post because some chose to shift the focus of the discussion from Greenpeace's horrendous act in Peru to whether or not my reaction is appropriate, as though I had done damage to some historic site or harpooned a whale. I live in Minnesota. I am not affected by arguments that certain reactions to a crime make the crime tolerable. But I want to take the focus off me, and return it to Greenpeace. The rest of this post has also been modified to include a statement that makes very clear why what Greenpeace did was wrong, and why it is alarming and requires very a very explicit and strong response from Greenpeace.
Another excuse that has been given is that Greenpeace is big and complex and contains many parts, only one of those parts involved in the desecration of a heritage site. This is true enough, and does related to parsing what actually happened and deciding which individuals should turn themselves in to the Peruvian authority. But it is also true that Greenpeace as a brand is a powerful thing, and that brand is what is at stake here. Look at the damn picture they made. It says "Greenpeace." It does not say "Some subset of Greenpeace, not all of Greenpeace."
A man who loots a Native American site in an area he needed a permit to access may have his ability to get a permit to enter that area taken away for life. Greenpeace did something similar, but possibly much larger than what any one person in search of some pottery to sell could have done. So, what should happen to make this right? I have also been criticized (privately) for apparently indicating that I know nothing of the great things Greenpeace has done in the past, from a reading of the first paragraph of my original post (below). Sorry, but that is entirely beside the point and also inaccurate. "I'm sure Greenpeace has done a lot of great things" is a bone I'm throwing to Greenpeace for one purpose and one purpose only; I'm not too interested in entertaining right wing slams on a major environmental organization that has done a lot of good. Take it or leave it.
I'm sure Greenpeace has done a lot of great things, saved some whales, etc. etc., but the organization has recently carried out an abominable act that requires the institutional equivalent of a very very long jail term, or, what the hell, let's make it a death sentence.
Greenpeace needs to shut down as an organization. Right now. People's objection to this strong statement has taken the spotlight off of this horrendous act, so I crossed it out. I still think it, but now maybe the focus can go back on Greenpeace.
Greenpeace activists entered a restricted area in Peru, where the Nazca lines are located. They drove into the area, and walked around there, and laid out banners. The banners were then photographed from the air (from a drone, as I understand it) to produce a message supporting renewable something. I'm guessing energy. The message was not clear. Nor was the link between their big yellow banners and the sacred and ancient Nazca lines.
This is an abuse of the cultural patrimony of Peru and the native people's who have lived there.
In this fragile environment, footprints constitute irreparable damage.
One of the Nazca lines was apparently damaged directly, the area around the lines trodden.
As an advocate of renewable energy and supporter of taking action to move in that direction, and an archaeologist, I deeply resent Greenpeace using the Nazca lines as a propaganda tool, and I condemn Greenpeace for thoughtless damaging this important archaeological site.
I can see going after a whaling ship, illegally. But what exactly did the cultural and historical patrimony of Peru, what exactly did the extraordinary unique archaeological site of Nazca, ever do to a whale, or the environment, or to the environmental movement, or to Greenpeace?
All those who love and respect the past and archaeological resources, and who at the same time feel that we need to act on important issues such as climate change (and saving the whales) need to step away from Greenpeace and find a different organization or activity to support.
I call for the appropriate leadership of Greenpeace to resign, the board of directors to resign, the organization to turn all those involved (including in a supervisory capacity, and a planning capacity) over to the Peruvian authorities for prosecution,
and for the organization to abrogate itself as the only way to truly express the appropriate level of shame and remorse. Greenpeace needs to cease to exist as a show of deference to a cultural symbol that will likely outlive humanity itself. Again, modified to shift focus. Greenpeace is dead to me. But what will provide redress? At the very least, Greenpeace needs to create, publicize, and implement a policy that prohibits the use of cultural heritage as a tool in its activism.
Greenpeace has been willing in the past to break the law. That is what they are famous for, and it is probably where they have been most effective. Not only have they broken the law, but they've broken the Law of the Sea, which is one of the oldest and most traditional cultural concepts we have in the west. They have, effectively, committed piracy.
This was done for a greater good, and turns out (as I understand it) to have been pretty effective activism, partly because every act of piracy to save a whale does get a huge amount of attention (and has other whale saving effects). It helps that the bad guys are really bad, and the good guys are innocent whales. This is not just civil disobedience, which at certain times and places people grow inured to. This is spectacular, it is dangerous enough to die doing, it is not something where they book you and a thousand others and let you go later that day.
It is impossible to not respect this, but it is also necessary to recognize what it is at the core. This is an organization deciding to systematically identify and intentionally break a certain category of national (from various countries) and international (as vague as that may be) law for a greater good.
With this act in Peru, Greenpeace has made a clear statement. It is a clear statement because this was an act that required organization, funding, decision making, meetings, an OK from various levels up and down the line, etc. at least within the unit of Greenpeace involved. They've made a clear statement that Greenpeace as an organization is willing to break the law in an entirely new area. They are willing to violate laws that protect heritage sites. That is a new thing as far as I know for them (though I've heard otherwise, see links below). And it is deeply disturbing. It can't be just a few people involved in this and incidentally using the Greenpeace name.
And it isn't just breaking the law. Any operation involving Nazca would involve research and knowing something about what they are up against. You can't plan a project using Nazca and not be aware of the delicacy of the environment, of the fact that numerous people and one or more vehicles on the ground will unavoidably ruin parts of the site. Leaving a footprint at Nazca is like leaving a footprint on the moon (almost). It is nearly as permanent as the lines themselves. Everyone who knows anything about Nazca knows this. These Greenpeace activists must have known this.
So, Greenpeace has made a SECOND statement with this act. Greenpeace has clearly shown that it is willing not only to break Heritage laws in some trivial and non destructive way, but Greenpeace as an organization is willing to physically and permanently damage heritage sites. Imagine for a moment the reverse; harpooning a whale to save a pyramid.
Greenpeace has also made a THIRD statement with this act. Greenpeace has indicated that it is willing to break heritage law, AND damage a heritage site, for the purpose of making a picture. No whales were saved during the partial eternal destruction of a heritage site. No gyre of garbage was cleaned up while the regional indigenous culture was unceremoniously thrown under the bus. If there was a heritage site who's preservation was actually doing the equivalent of killing whales (there are such conflicts though mostly involving plants) this might make sense. But this was a heritage site utterly unrelated to anything in the way of conservation or environment being exploited because it is famous to make a vague and not especially effective message.
Looking at this strictly from the point of view of a Greenpeace supporter, consider the implications. Now, there is a photograph of a major, very well known (one of the most well known non-Egyptian sites) locality with a message superimposed on it that, regardless of the intention, says "Greenpeace is willing to damage a heritage site" written across it in orange.
So, the final point is this: Greenpeace is known as an organization willing to break laws, in a big way, to make a larger point. Now, Greenpeace tell us that it is willing to include Heritage laws in that activism. Apologies, consternations, statements of conciliation are not of any interest to me at this point. The individuals and communities that support indigenous rights and heritage can't afford to extend trust in this sort of situation.
There may be a point where Greenpeace's response to their own atrocity is sufficient. But I'm 99% sure Greenpeace will never be able to pull off that response.
Some related links:
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This is probably the first time I have ever agreed with you 100%. You would think that at some point someone within the organization would have said this was not a good idea.
We toletared their trespassing for years, I am sure that they thought they were immune. My beef with them started when they fanned the flames of irrationality regardig GMO's. I am with you on this.
Having had dealing with GP over the years i assert that they are just a money making scam - it's all about advertising so that execs can be on big incomes and lead exciting lives jet-setting and boating around - really BIG incomes
it's sort of $cientology for greenies
thoroughly dishonest organisation that uses the idealism of young people to fund their dishonest life style
I'm embarrassed to have been supporting them and an canceling my monthly donation
I gave up on Greenpeace a long time ago largely because of their dependence on dumb stunts like this. It's not just that the stunts are often counter-productive, like this one, but they're also incoherent. They called this a "message of hope." What is that message? Assuming they had pulled this off without harming anything, what message about the environment am I supposed to take away from seeing their logo plastered on an historical site? It reminds me of something I noticed while studying radical groups. They assume that millions of people are almost telepathically in tune with them. Timothy McVey though that millions of fed up white people would understand that his bomb was the signal for them to rise up in revolt. These Greenpeace idiots though that millions of people would get some important message from the juxtaposition their logo on this cryptic monument. I suppose I'm just repeating what you said.
They don't need to close down, they need to change their strategy.
Stunts are a lazy, egotistical way of defending the environment. And when they go wrong, they allow the haters to attack the entire environment movement.
Greenpeace need to focus on the work of educating the public and helping to build a mass movement around climate. 300,000 people peacefully marching in NYC and thousands more around the world in solidarity or the thousands who protested in Lima over the last week will have a much bigger impact than a stunt, even when it goes well, because those protesters keep spreading the message long after the march is over. They are brothers and sisters, mums and dads, friends, teachers and workmates. People patiently spreading the message about the need for action on climate without the need for 15 seconds of fame on the evening news.
Re. the Peak Oil Poet @ 3:
I have a word for that: "nonprofiteering." The self-appointed Beautiful People get to earn big, live big, look big, and sport big egos about how wonderful they are (and did I mention, earn big?).
This is a risk for all nonprofits that "go professional."
What's needed is an ethical code for nonprofits, that's clear and straightforward and easy for Joe and Jane Random to understand. It should hold nonprofit executives up to a standard that requires frugality and moderation in their compensation, "perks," travel arrangements, and so on. And it should provide clear mechanisms for accountability, such as with regard to who votes for Board members, who is on the Board, the relationship between Board and executives, real financial transparency, etc.
Re. Greenpeace specifically:
Even worse, the entire "message" thing could have been done with a public-domain aerial image of the Nazca Lines and fifteen minutes' work on a computer. Juxtaposing the Nazca Lines with an image of a coal-fired powerplant smoke stack, with the words "Which heritage?" would have been interesting.
Clearly the entire set of people from the idiots who did the deed all the way up to the top level, should be unceremoniously fired. Greenpeace should issue an apology and pay for whatever restoration work might be possible.
But also, let's not turn this into an exercise in self-flagellation that only gives our enemies an excuse for making more propaganda at our expense.
In a very real way, we have to keep our focus on the biggest desecration of our times, which is the direct impact of atmospheric carbon on the Earth's ecosystems. Otherwise, according to an increasing number of scientists, there won't be any humans around in a couple of centuries, to see the Nazca lines or anything else.
Greg, rather unexpected. But I agree with you. When I departed GP in '86 I felt our job was done. Since then it has been opportunism. They should go the way of Scientology, maybe rich but no influence on public policy. I appreciate your contribution here.
Regarding the message above from "G".
Are you suggesting that there are scientists who believe that global warming will result in the extinction of our species? Which scientists? And by what reasoning?
I only note the obvious....flying four or five characters into Peru to do this, putting up at hotels for a couple of days, with one rental jeep, and food....figure $25,000 spent on this. I could sit at my computer and do a graphics job with a decent overhead imagery shot in thirty minutes for nothing. This was a demonstration of how to waste contributions....that's all. You are correct....they've outlived their purpose in life....let them go.
Totally agree, a complete sham of an organisation. Did the protesters get there by bike or windmill? Did they sail there and walk? Er... no, they used planes, one of the most destructive climate tools per head of population. As for the deaths from lack of a simple GMO, golden rice, dont get me started!
What a tantrum, Greg!
Consider a death sentence recommended against you based on the judgment of someone that you may (or may not) have committed a crime. Your accuser freely admits they don't understand your motive, justification, or any verifiable harm you may or may not have inflicted - but they vehemently assert their own personal outrage as justification.
Generally, when we are willing to have any standard applied to ourselves we insist be applied to others, we are entitled to participate in adult discussions. Otherwise, we excuse ourselves by demonstrating we are unethical - and unable to discuss normative issues rationally.
There's far better evidence that corporate-capitalist GMO technology poses much greater risk of massive harm to real people, (as opposed to some dust being disturbed) and still, it would be unreasonable to recommend killing the GMO research program.
If more scientists learned philosophy of science, (focused on relevant standards), or simply would take such SMEs' advice, we'll have a lot better, more productive science.
MikeH (6) I basically agree with you except for one thing. As an archaeologist, I have to insist that they not only never do something like this again, but that they be punished for doing so. For an organization, the punishment for risking permanent damage (and apparently producing some to an archaeological resource like this needs to be sever enough that such actions are never, ever, taken into account as part of a formula. It has to be the last act.
Patrick Moore: You are still not a founder of Greenpeace, and their work was not don in 1986. http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2014/06/27/who-founded-greenpeace-not…
Sean (9): I did not make that suggestion, no.
Roy, not only that, but that is what it LOOKS like they did. Photoshop would have worked better.
KenW Sorry, I don't buy the tu quoque argument. This is not about that.
Buck, I am an archaeologist. That was not a "tantrum." I am simply meeting my responsibilities. Nor have I freely admitted that there is anything here I don't understand. You are not making any sense.
I agree with others that Greenpeace has played fast and loose with the science. I've criticized them but I still appreciate their willingness to throw themselves between a harpoon and a whale.
I'm not going be too mad at Greenpeace over GMO's because I have not met very many people who are smart on GMO's. But yes, MIke.
I reject the tu quoque arguments, and arguments lie Moore's (that nuclear power is great, so greenpeace is wrong).
But this is not about any of this. This is about Greenpeace throwing an ancient archaeological site, metaphorically, between the metaphorical harpoon and the metaphorical whale.
This is roughly equivalent to the politician hoplding up the baby he was kissing a shield when a rope line event turns into an assassination attempt.
Greenpeace threw our cultural heritage under the bus to make a nice post card.
The whales still need saving, It just has to be somebody else from now on.
It is true your admission of ignorance was my inference of the claim: "I’m sure Greenpeace has done a lot of great things, saved some whales, etc. etc." This first suggested some vagueness.
However, when followed by interpretations of "renewable something" that you admit are "guessing" and you state that to you, their "message was not clear", it seems fair to infer you're publicly admitting pretty big gaps.
If we are willing to have someone recommend death with such caveats while simultaneously denying there is anything they don't understand, we're far more generous than most; Certainly more than I would normally be. :)
Well no, not at all - but thanks for fanning the flames of irrational hyperbole.
Excluding the argument from ignorance of course, if you have a cornflake of support that no such evidence exists, please share.
If the vandalism had served some noble purpose, perhaps it could be justified: vandalizing the petroleum industry's drilling in an ecologically sensitive or culturally sensitive area. This vandalism, attributed to Greenpeace, was and is an abomination--- it was done for no legitimate reason at all. It was the wrong target at the wrong time, accomplishing noting positive, causing great damage to their own allies.
What the bloody hell could the perpetrators have been thinking, if it really was Greenpeace?
Greenpeace is always been a terroristic group and not a green association.
I have always respected and will continue to respect Greenpeace's defense of cetaceans, who count as people in my book. But it would seem that Greenpeace doesn't have similar respect for the rights and interests of human people from non-Western cultures. This was an act of gross cultural imperialism. For shame.
"I can see going after a whaling ship, illegally"
And I can see breaking into your house, beating you, tying you up and stealing your stuff. For a good cause.
MarkB, what cause would that be? Greenpeace's efforts to save the whales is a clear and well defined cause. Your (silly) threat to beat me up and take my stuff remains undefined. But maybe your cause is good enough! What is it?
Good query, Desertphile. It sickens me to see CO2 so maligned (a healthy biome goes with a healthy overturning of CO2) while giving a pass on GMO and all that entails -- The 'authorities' looking the other way so "farmers" can backhoe up every tree lining a stream so they can spray their poision right up into it in the fight against amaranth, for one thing.
It *looks* like a Monsanto false-flag, to me. Monsanto's buisness model has always been We contaminate it; We own it.
Pretty clear that this activity was a major mistake. I'm saying that as someone who works for Greenpeace International. My boss (Kumi) has also said it, and means it.
I was not personally involved, but am sure that if anyone involved thought there would be damage, they would not have participated.
There was a valid goal, bringing attention to the climate summit in Lima - drawing a connection with history and the fragility of civilizations. Obviously, entering a fragile archeological site was a bad way to achieve that goal.
There are some mistakes you can't fix. I'm glad to see an official investigation, and Greenpeace is ready to be accountable to the results of that.
all the members of Greenpeace that were at Nazca should go to jail an Greenpeace should be expelled from peru. these people are the worst
This act pales into insignificance next to Greenpeace's genocide through spreading fear of the life-saving Golden Rice.
David, I'm certainly not going to support, or even discuss, Greenpeace's position on GMOs, but that is not even close to the topic at hand.
Tim: Seriously, man. Jeesh.
Andrew, thanks for your thoughts!
Greg: Simply put, heads gotta roll. Specifically the top tier of the Greenpeace administration must resign or be ousted.
However, that's not enough. The new administration must have the equivalent of a Constitutional Convention. They must disavow themselves of the pseudoscience that Greenpeace has embraced (anti-GMO, anti-chlorine, etc.).
This is an organization that has lost its moral compass and is in desperate need of a soul-searching. Greenpeace should develop a completely new strategy on how they will achieve their goals in the 21st century.
Greenpeace is to the environment and businesses what ISIS is to Muslims and everyone else. They are obnoxious, trespassers, a cancer on the planet and in the latter case murderers who chop people's heads off.
Seriously, Greg. I don't know anything about Greenpeace that I'd not picked up in the last couple hours. But I do know that someone advocating against chlorination while ignoring fluoridation is more than just a little bit confused out the gate; Or just infiltrated.
Who authorized such an action?? It seems anybody could say 'we did it' -- Heck, even alCIAduhh says 'we did it' when they clearly did no such thing in many instances.
What I do know is that Peru has banned their GMO and Monsanto litigation is like this:
Someone comes into your house, craps on your kauphy table and you call the cops -- The cops then arrest you because that is obviously their crap on your kauphy table.
I'd not put it past Monsanto to plow the Nazca lines three feet below the bedrock and rinse the tillings away with F*ckUp™ just to spite them.
Anyways, bringing attention to a global governence policy gathering would garner more attention if it defiled this one:
To be honest, I've had a fairly dim view of Greenpeace for a while; they have noble goals, but apart from a few specifics, I don't think they've been very effective. This stunt, however, moves them in my mind to PETA territory -- stunts with a nebulous message (yeah, you can deduce what they probably mean by this if you're familiar with them, but you'd think that for this much effort they'd want it the message to be able to stand on its own) which do considerably more harm than good. And it plays into a narrative of environmentalists caring more about animals than people, since they damaged an immensely famous human artifact in order to make a statement about the environment. That's a huge mistake -- never make it about man versus the environment, because at least 90% of people will happily then side against the environment. Make it about us seeking a better future together. *sigh*
Greenpeace needs to swiftly expunge those responsible for this stunt or they will have lost all of their remaining credibility. You don't widdle all over indigenous peoples to make a lofty statement about renewable energy. Especially since the most charitable interpretation I can come up with is that they decided to pick the Nazca Lines due to the theory that their makers died out due to climate change. That's like building your podium on someone's gravestone.
Nice update - still ignorant and biased.
No evidence has been presented here to support the accusations of damage - and certainly nothing of any significance relative to the actions of la Empresa de Agregados Calcáreos Gálvez.
This mining company didn't didn't walk person-sized weight on rubber-soled running shoes, they drove heavy in heavy mining machinery and stripped away hundreds or thousands of square meters prospecting.
The outrage expressed here so far over GreenPeace seems to have far more to do with the critic's biases than any claimed objectivity, appeals to justice, or protecting an archeological treasure.
As always: evidence supporting this interpretation is mistaken is welcome.
It's not the first time this area has been damaged:
A group of ancient lines in the archaeological zone of Buenos Aires, in Nazca, have been destroyed by heavy machinery, El Comercio reported.
According to the daily, the machinery belongs to a firm that is removing limestone from the area.
“The limestone firm responsible has not been sanctioned or supervised by the authorities of the Regional Directorate of Culture of Ica, despite being in this great archaeological reserve.”
@Andrew Davies #24
Wait, you have a boss?? So there is a chain of command? I'd guess, such an organization, out of necessity, needs to remain 'compartmentalized' -- That sounds like some other questionable organizations around here as I'm quite convinced both Obama and Bush could say "derrr??" with a clear, polygraph-passing conscience when it hits the fan.
Of 'golden rice' vs pigweed --
Hindi name/ Content (microgram/100g):
(Amaranth leaves) Chauli saag=266-1,166 -
Golden rice -- 33.
Eating all that rice with the phytic acid load will stop zinc uptake so the kiddies still go blind.
> I take your comment about the danger of GM food as indicative of your lack of understanding of statistics.
You may take it as such, but even if I were dead, buried, and completely unable to process any input, it would have no bearing on your assertion that no evidence exists. Existence of objective evidence in favor of any assertion (including yours) does not depend on me, you, or anyone. That's pretty close to hinting at what objective means.
>The only difference between the GM food you mention and the food we’ve been altering for decades is the method, not the result
Before dealing with whether I understand your claim to mean: there is no qualitative difference in results of traditional versus modern DNA alteration, perhaps we should stick to the epistemological issue above, first.
Do we agree that the existence of evidence does not depend on any particular person's existence, much less awareness?
Buck, I assure you, all the ignorance is yours.
Entering the site was a vilation of law. That should not have happened. How many times do I have to say the level of damage is simply not the point? Damage is important, potential damage is important, but simply entering the restricted area was illegal and served no purpose. It was not civil disobedience. It was foreigners showing up and using the local cultural site, form which they were restricted, illegally.
This has nothing to do with any mining companies. Also, there are many lines, many areas, where these lines exist and some are protected differently than others.
And, yes, there was damage. The New York Times reported it. The Peruvian Government claims it. Greenpeace acknowledges it. The only people who think there was no damage are you and some other guy over on facebook who will also never be satisfied.
This is also not about GM foods, by the way.
And Patrick Moore was not a founder of Greenpeace!
>Entering the site was a vilation of law.
What law would that be, exactly? AFAICT, the law is uncertain, but the mining operation def seems destructive.
You are a zealot Greg, and you will drop this thread as you have before regarding why best practices and evidence of risk from xgen GMO's are rational to ignore.
In this case, I ask for a clear description of the alleged crime, and evidence it was committed. My admittedly limited research suggests that SME's on Nazca warn against hard boots that can crack the natural varnish formed over many centuries on the rocks, while the GP photos show running shoes of people not on the lines. Who says something is irrelevant, unless they have some bona fides re such laws or forensics in this situation.
Your evidence is "people say".
AFAICT (after having searched - not before), I don't see that going to UNESCO/WHS's is inherently criminal, at all. There's a road built for this purpose, and GP appears to have used it.
Regrettably I have a conf call...wish it were a Skype with you...
Greg and I have butted heads in the past on other stuff--but on this I completely agree. And I appreciated that the climate scientists stood with the plant scientists on Greenpeace's other misbehaviors. It's time for all of us to stand with archaeologists now.
And I know you aren't focusing on the other issues. But Greenpeace also recently helped get the EU science advisor canned. They definitely think they are the law and the final word on their issues; I don't think you can isolate this one event. It's a pattern of arrogance and entitlement. And scientists have to stand together against their destruction of research work and research sites.
Greg Laden have you seen this item about this yet? :
The best footage I've seen of the damage so far was this PBS Newshour coverage this evening: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/activist-stunt-disturbs-perus-treasured-…
And it's not just the lines that are considered the "site". The negative space is important as well. The people who are doing contortions to pretend this isn't damage are just astonishing.
But the most hilarious thing I've seen is the foil-wad theory of a Monsanto false-flag. That's truly the dumbest thing I've heard as an explanation. Maybe the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
You present the first plausible evidence, and I'm happy to endorse it as prima facie, real evidence of damage to this site.
Tim, please, no references to crackpot Vandana Shiva!
She is the one who spread the hoax of Indian farmers committing suicide due to GMOs. Facts of the matter are that since the introduction of GMOs in India the suicide rate has gone done. Note, whether there is any causal correlation between the two is completely unknown.
Shiva also has suggested autism is caused by GMOs and glyphosate. Of course, not only autism, but also kdiney failure and diabetes and Alzheimer's. It's complete and utter nonsense, an outright lie even, but she doesn't care.
Good for them, Mary M. Those government 'science advisor' positions sometimes *seem* tainted; Sometimes, governments get leaned on so, perhaps, the 'advisor' gets advised on which side of an issue to advocate. Sometimes it seems they're really just another hollow mouthpiece like a US 'drug czar'--
As an on-topic aside, I remember seeing the Nazca lines on television as a youngster; It was the first time I perked up at something on television and thought "There really are grand mysteries out there that won't turn out to be a weather ballon." It is the first time I waited and scanned for a rerun; I'm pretty sure it was Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World. It is a shame to think of them getting messed up; I remember thinking even then "I hope that plane doesn't crash or try to land on them".
Greenpeace has lost credibility with me. That they
carelessly damaged an important archeological site
in Peru has turned the tide. They are a bunch of
I don't like the use of the term terrorism in this context at all.
They're not terrorists. They're just souls whose "intentions are good" as the song goes - and we all know there's that whole road paved with those, and where it leads....
Not "terror", but "pathos".
What's a handy word for "a group that inspires pathos in others"?
...except that, "Hey, let's desecrate a cultural/archaeological site in a childish attempt to draw attention to our agenda" is NOT an "intention that's good". It's an intention that's BAD. (Not 'bad as in evil', but 'bad as in harmful'. But still, bad.)
Intentions are not goals are not actions. About all one could say with this mess they've created is that at least their goals have some merit... And like the saying implies, "one out of three IS bad".
An initial intuition, Marco #46, might be considerably less cotton farmers??
They're toast. Assuming they weren't (as some above suggest) that they weren't totally moldy already. The only question is how long it takes for the decomposition.
In that direction, I would suggest that we adopt a new verb: "to greenpeace." Meaning, approximately, to commit senseless vandalism for some narcissistic pretext supposedly supporting a worthwhile cause.
Abominable... atrocity... why not terrorism? Anyway, you haven't left yourself much rhetorical running room here, Greg. And right after saying GP is dead to you, you respond to a staffer? You're being a little incoherent.
Yes, Greenpeace went way out of line here, but you way over-reacted. The US government has done far worse, including very recently, but have you called for its immediate dismantling?
Anyway, generally I respect your views, Greg, but this leaves me just shaking my head.
Re the evidence in the PBS piece, I'm not quite convinced. We need to see actual evidence. Note e.g. that the claimed "C" impression relates to the same letter shown being laid down in the early part of the piece. I don't see it happening there, but in any case why would it only happen there and make such a distinct impression, including under (not just around) the fabric? Those horizontal lines don't quite make sense either. So let's see some verifiable before-and-after photos for starters.
Steve, the "but they did it too, and worse!" argument is a really bad excuse.
Your last paragraph is even worse. Regardless of how bad the damage is, the mere action itself, desecrating this region and thereby risking damage, is stupid. Why can't you just admit that?
Marco, you're correct but missing the point of Steve's objection.
Criticism of minor infractions of others while being silent on much greater infractions on one's own side does not excuse the minor infraction, it indicts the criticism as biased.
Greenpeace staff member here. Absolutely agree that two wrongs don't make a right, and that it is fair my organization is being held accountable for our mistake.
I do also appreciate Greg changing the blog title. I think it is the right question, "Ok, Greenepace screwed up - what should they do now?"
Of course we have apologized...
And there will be an internal review, which I'm sure will have consequences. I'm confident we'll learn from this and avoid doing any similar stupid thing in the future.
Since there seem to be people knowledgeable in archeology in this discussion, I would personally welcome any thoughts/ideas about how to make amends. Is restoration possible? (I have not heard any good news on that front.) Other things Greenpeace can do?
too bad, now "the people" controlling what a writer thinks to write and the question: Does democracy only belong to The People's objection and the uneffective creature called Greenpeace?
Marco, we are all humans, and humans makes mistakes. We may hold organizations like Greenpeace to a somewhat higher ethical standard, but can we really expect them to be totally free from the idiocy that can be found everywhere? Should we judge them to an entirely different standard than anyone else, or is it relevant to compare?
Calling for disbanding tobacco companies aft all the millions of people dead from their perversion of science would make sense, as does disbanding the American banks that through criminal activity crashed the American and to a lesser degree the world economy. Or, as Steve brought up, the US government for torture, wars of aggressions, indiscriminate assassination programs. We have oil disasters polluting large areas, through corruption or negligence. And that's intentional malice, mistakes by well meaning organizations are also common, like WHO relief work spreading Cholera into Haiti. The list could go on forever with organizations that do far, far worse than Greenpeace, so why a call to disband it? It seems somewhat out of proportion.
Thomas and Buck,
First, in my view this is not the first time Greenpeace has stepped over the line (for exampl, its GMO vandalism is exactly that: vandalism).
Second, if you want to be on the side of moral righteousness, you should have no problem whatsoever harshly criticizing those organizations that claim to be on your side of the argument. In this case Greenpeace. Steve Bloom tried a different approach, minimizing the incident and even trying to cast doubt on whether it was even true.
While disbanding Greenpeace may be an overreaction, this is not a minor mistake and as I said, not the first time Greenpeace did something this stupid (the GMO vandalism is worse, in my opinion, but I can understand why an archeologist would likely react stronger to this case).
A small nitpick about your list of examples: the WHO relief work did not spread cholera into Haiti, Nepalese peacekeepers may have been the source.
Being on "the side of moral righteousness" indicates a perspective I don't share and fight against holding as much as possible.
A sense of righteousness gives some the sense that an immediate death sentence is appropriate in light of the mere accusation of vandalism. Why?
If one believes one's cause is in service of a sacred good, almost any material harm can be justified. The sense of righteousness gives one a sense of entitlement they would not otherwise possess to do wrong.
A wise person realizes the world is complicated, and if the poor choice of footwear by GP results in future protection of an archeological treasure, I'm willing to take it as a wash.
Marco, note "Greenpeace went way out of line here" from me. That is in no way excusing them. Questioning the consistency of Greg's call for dismantling them is also not excusing them. Pointing to the evidence provided so far as being insufficient for a conviction of actual damage is similarly not excusing them. Even a refusal to engage in or condone an disproportionate frenzy of hippie-punching in response to what they did is not excusing them. To underline my point, although I think it was quite clear in my initial comment, what they did would still be a problem even if the damage is shown to have been nil. Please work on your reading comprehension.
Hippy punching is a problem here. I'm trying to keep the conversation about this one event.
The other problems people have raised about Greenpeace straying from the good science are not necessarily hippie punching, but often, valid critique. However, it is worth nothing that internally Greenpeace has responded to those critiques in the past by improving their attention to the science.
Alzheimer's is probably more attributed to ubiquitous, synthetic folic acid -- They were introduced together such that some signals may be occulted, some declines hidden.
Steve, yes, you said Greenpeace went way over the line...and then you attempted a squirrel hunt by trying to shift the focus onto others AND by casting doubt that anything bad actually happened.
Tim, references please about the folic acid.
One additional question: How should I understand your use of the word "synthetic"? Did you use it because you think 'synthetic' folic acid is different from 'natural' folic acid, or did you mean something else?
Marco, the subject has become very conflated and confusing indeed. One may read that 'folic acid' is given in great quantities for depression/anxiety and then go out and purchase inexpensive, high RDI folic acid -- This may be quite harmful:
In this case, at least, it would *appear* that the RDI on the box is a value not to be exceeded -- like too much sodium.
Like a Kurt Vonnegut Harrison Bergeron 'Handicapper General' is synthetic folic acid (not known to the human body until 1943) perhaps the life expectancy and quality equalizer. That is to say, that people with poor nutrition will no doubt have benifits (except for the 10% of the population that can't process it correctly and the elderly), those with better diets will be detrimented/decremented.
Please take special note that folic/folate is very conflated on wikipedia as well as just about everywhere else -- One must therefore know to enter the query as 'levomefolic acid'.
There is this though:
On Vegemite and US confiscation thereof --
^^ Somewhat misleading as there is no reason to 'fortify' Vegemite as it is already the highest in natural folate.
(the quotes are from wikipedia folate/folic acid)
Tim, your answer should have been a lot shorter. Simply saying "no, I do not have any references to support my claim folic acid may be responsible for Alzheimer's" would have sufficed.
(and (low salt) Vegemite *is* fortified...with Vitamins B6 and 12).
Let's be clear what you did here, Marco, which is race to a conviction for damage based on evidence that is clearly insufficient (so far). Try to distract by calling a squirrel hunt all you like, but why should I respect any of your views when you do something like that? Notice your failure to engage with the specific points I raised about the evidence. Yes, at this point they're just questions, but that's rather the point, isn't it? Be serious.
Fortunately Greg has moved on from this post, IMO a good call on his part and AFAICT with a little something learned along the way, so now I'm happy to do the same.
Steve, they went *onto the actual archeological site*!
The video Greenpeace made itself showed they made no effort to prevent any damage - those who are allowed on the site have special footwear to distribute their weight over a much larger surface area. The Greenpeace activists didn't.
The specific points you raised about the evidence are not specific points, but just expressions of your doubt. My take on the shown evidence is different, so that brings us to an impasse: you don't see it, I do.
Marco: please explain what part of the video "showed they made no effort to prevent any damage", at any time in their preparation, planning, or conduct. Please give a time when this appears in the video.
Is the ability of people who are upset and suing were able to produce footpads compelling evidence of a crime in your view?
If the most damning footage they got was a shoe tread imprint in sand, does that matter in your view?
Buck, they are wearing regular footwear. They are numerous. Normally one would minimize the number of people that go on the site. The covered and dragged large pieces of cloth across the surface, holding them down with some kind of weight. You would never do that on this site without a purpose related to the site. Etc. Yes, a foo imprint (in this case, thousands of foot imprints) on the surface is damage to the site.
The problem here is that you are not considering the conservation plan for this site and similar sites. You have an incorrect view of what is suppose to happen and not happen here. You are simply and clearly wrong about that. Your post hoc analysis of what should have and should not have happened is simply incorrect, and apparently, your opinion about what did happen is some sort of wishful thinking.
I doubt you've ever, in you entire life, objected to anyone covering rocks. Don't you think that mentioning it now indicates there's any possibility of bias? If it were me, I'd consider such a thing.
Plus you accuse me of "not considering the conservation plan for this site". On what basis, telepathy?
Referring to "the conservation plan" you indicate a fundamentalist view of a single bottom line unwilling to consider that reality may be more complex than a black and white, good vs. evil. Surely you know this to be a bad practice.
Can you honestly not see how far beyond good scientific skepticism your passion are pushing you? I know you are aware this sort of emotional bias leads others astray.
You actually resort to name calling an opinion you don't understand as "post hoc", "simply incorrect", "wishful thinking" while providing evidence not only that you don't understand it, but that you have no interest in understanding.
I'm sympathetic to both sides, but loyal to clear reasoning overall as my first duty.
Our difference is that I'm happy to have you, or a GP supporter change my opinion in any direction, WITH GOOD EVIDENCE. That's key to the advantage of science, and why we give it the status we do.
I concur with your opinion. This is a serious incident that points to poor leadership and there should be real consequences.
I sailed on Greenpeace boat for a campaign during the late 80's. We, the crew, did not have a deep understanding of the issues. Our focus was almost entirely on logistics- how to sneak into restricted waters, where to hang banners, etc. It was fun, but shallow.
The main reason that I did not stay with the organization was its insulated, fault-finding attitude. There was very little effort to put forward real, positive proposals, very little interest in working with communities to effect change.
There is a place for a group that shines a light on the bad things that are done when people aren't looking, and the high seas campaigns are the best example of this. But the constant negativity is a hard way to live.
Buck, no, you are entirely wrong. I've been involved at various levels, from working on sites, to writing proposals to work in areas, to evaluating work and proposals for conservation and preservation, for delicate arid-land sites. More broadly I've probably written over 500 National Register nominations for historic or cultural sites.
I'm suggesting that you are not clued into the conservation plan because you have demonstrated that you are not clued into the basics for conservation and preservation for this sort of arid land site.
You are not engaged in scientific skepticism. You are making statements that are baseless and demonstrating a lack of knowledge about the topic at hand.
I'm glad your first duty is clear reasoning. But you need to know that clear reasoning has to be done on the basis of facts, standard methods and approaches, etc. This is a real live professional and academic field (conservation and preservation of archaeological sites) and you are doing all of your "clear reasoning" pretty much in absence of any knowledge of any of that.
Science. You keep using that word. I don' t think it means what you think it means.
Buck, Greg has already provided you with an answer of essentially all the instances where the activists clearly did not attempt to prevent damage to the site. This will not have been out of malice, but it doesn't change they damaged the site. To *you* it may be no or minor damage, but not to the experts (see Greg's response).
Marco, I read through the citations that Tim provided. He either does not know how to interpret scholarly writing or is being deliberately disingenuous, i.e. a liar. I suspect the later; of the three citations provided, one details a court case involving improper labeling of a pharmaceutical and the other two document the extensive health benefits of folate supplements.
Greg, you are asserting that I'm "entirely wrong", and in support, discuss positions on which I either don't and never held a position, or on which I agree. This suggests to me emotions are involved. What's the evidence?
I've never claimed (or thought) anything like you haven't "been involved" in archeology or "written about sites", etc., but your wording (the plan) suggests one single plan for the site (archeological preservation) and ignores others like mineral extraction, homesteading, business development.
You seem to equate some imagined opinions regarding your experience my actual belief that your criticisms in this forum reflect thinking more driven by negative emotions than is normally considered helpful. Citing imaginary positions of opponents is what ID'ers do, not us.
> Name calling?
Yes...by which I mean labeling a position “post hoc”, “simply incorrect”, “wishful thinking” without providing evidence. Unfortunately, without even understanding "the" opinion of a critic, we cannot provide evidence, and are falling pretty far below the bar of what can be considered good scientific thinking.
There are large error bars in what I know about the site and GP, and on some things I'm guessing. I'm happy to admit them, change any of them based on evidence, and “post hoc”, “simply incorrect”, “wishful thinking” don't give me the slightest clue as to specifically where we disagree.
Do all the times that Allen did not kill Bob provide evidence Allen never killed Bob?
Do all the times GP did not try to prevent damage provide evidence they never tried to prevent damage?
Please consider these questions while reading about the Raven Paradox: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raven_paradox
It was requested of me to distinguish between 'natural' folate and synthetic 'folic acid' (which I honestly believe is a cumulative poison for many), Raucous Indignation. I did so by defering to a working definition from a washed-up, backwater bunch of pharma-shills -- my bad.
I'd never ever deny that *the science is in* as 'no studies to show' is such a large part of that base of knowledge, these days... I'm glad there is 'no studies to show' that cannabis works because then it would be called 'medicine' by the approved scientist and locked away behind a prescription wall.
I didn't mean to imply that there is a deep-running global conspiracy to confuse/conflate a nutritional supplement to keep The People sickly and stupid, or anything.
Buck, I'm not reading your comments on this any more. Just wanted you to know that.
In addition to the other areas Greg maintains that you are unfamiliar with let me add one more. If you think "post hoc" and "wishful thinking" are name calling, you don't know name calling. Let me give you an example, "Buck, you're a dick."
Buck, special footware is *standard* at those Nazca sites. The fact that the GP activists did not have that footware shows they did not prepare properly. Call it willful ignorance.
Marco: Overlooking the absence of evidence for such a "standard" being generally accepted, I'll agree "They did not prepare properly." based on the need for special footware.
It is only "willful" ignorance however, if they were informed.
For example, Greg was informed that he had invented positions for me which I did not hold, and that this indicated emotional bias. When asked to accept this, he chose to stop reading my posts. That's willful ignorance.
If / when GP does something like that, I'll consider Greg's criticisms of similar credibility relative to theirs, and feel entitled to judge their decision as "willful ignorance" based on that evidence.
I don't like it when I'm wrong, Greg or GP or Mal demonstrate poor thinking skills, but it is evidence, which I believe is our duty whether we like the particular fact or hate it.
I am sure Greenpeace cleaned up the site after they left? say what? They didn't?
Clearly a major blunder but if it calls for closing GP down, death, etc., what penalties would you propose for the next major oil spill, sponsoring climate change denial, etc.? Death for the management team and exile from the planet?
Philip: It certainly would cause a prompt swing from self-serving & destructive behavior to responsible & sustainable behavior! Good luck with that...
Phillip, no one has called for death. But I have to ask if your question is serious (and if you actually read through the post). Because your comment indicates not.
At the least, Peru should ban Greenpeace from the country, and encourage other countries to follow suit. Let them go around on the Rainbow Warrior.
"It is only “willful” ignorance however, if they were informed."
No. Not informing yourself is wilful ignorance, too. Especially when only a little bit of thinking is required to realize you might need to educate yourself. They went to an archeological site on the UNESCO world heritage list!
It's like going to the UK, cause a crash on a roundabout, and then say "oh, but no one told me I should go around the left!".
I not only was aware UK traffic was left-drive, but like many had heard of the dangers. Nevertheless, had it not been for a very strong, quick man in a crowd grabbing me from behind, I surely would have killed myself in London by looking the wrong way.
Did I willfully fail to protect my life?
Buck, if you can't see the difference in your own behavior (you were *aware* and then made a mistake, thus you were not ignorant) and that of the Greenpeace activists (who were *not* aware), I can't help you.
Marco, in a way, that difference is part of my point.
Putting oneself and others in danger when one can reasonably said they should be conscious of a real danger (my situation) seems much more worthy of condemnation, especially since I was not engaged in what I considered socially important. This would take LESS thought than that used to condemn GP.
When someone is protesting for attention to climate change and apparently has not put anyone in danger, and apparently did avoid disturbing the Nazca lines themselves, it seems reasonable to ask what standard, when evenly applied, would excuse me but convict GP of *not* making a mistake.
Buck, as I said, if you can't see the difference (and you clearly can't), I cannot help you.
I see many differences, but I will grant that you cannot help.
Hi all. First post. Interesting discussion.
Buck, you made a mistake in London but it was done without any intention of breaking the law.
The GP action almost from the beginning was intended to break the law. The debacle would have started with "Let's put a sign on Nazca" and there is nothing wrong with that.
As soon as research began however basic questions like "How do we get there?" would have provided the answer "You don't. It's a Heritage site and entry is forbidden and illegal." It was at that point the action became willfully criminal. Further basic research would have shown how the lines are formed, by removing the dark surface layer to expose the white sand beneath and it would follow from that that any disturbance to the dark surface rocks would permanently damage the site. They simply didn't care.
I see that the enormity of what they've done hasn't sunk in to some people, including some from GP. Understand this. There are no apologies that will make it right and no remedial action that can be taken. 10,000 years from now as people fly above the Nazca lines they will be seeing the results of your work. What on Earth makes you think that "I'm sorry. I was a bit silly and promise not to do it again." will cut it?
People also need to consider that when you back an organisation willing to break laws, then don't be surprised if they break more than just the laws you don't care about.. What laws can be broken to "Save the Planet"? Think about it. ;)
This makes my blood boil. The activities of Greenpeace in Peru remind me of the muslim brotherhood in Egypt. The brotherhood want to destroy the pyramids, the sphinx, and all other artifacts of ancient Egypt. Those are national treasures of the people of Egypt.
Likewise, the Nazca lines are national treasures of the Peruvian people. That the terrorists of Greenpeace are willing to destroy the lines shows they are determined to promote the global warming mythology, no matter what the consequences.
The Greenpeace team entered a restricted site without permission and without the required preparation (footwear). I don't know whether they disturbed any of the Nazca lines, but I do know they went in at night. If they intended to avoid stepping on the lines, that is the time when such damage would be hardest to avoid.
It was a poorly conceived plan from the git-go. If they were able to project a message onto Huayna Picchu, they could have done the same at the Plain of Nazca — without any possibility of damage (barring accident.) For that matter, they might have stopped after the Huayna Picchu message, which got a lot of local coverage.
One report (Spanish) with photos