Way back in October and November of 1971, two young men set sail with other intrepid shipmates to challenge the most powerful nation in the world. It was a campaign to protest the underground nuclear tests at Amchitka Island in the Aleutians organized by the newly formed Don't Make a Wave Committee.
Patrick Moore left first on the 85-foot halibut seiner Phyllis Cormack along with twelve others. The fishing boat carried a second name - The Greenpeace.
After a month on the rolling seas, the first Greenpeace boat returned when the United States delayed the test.
A second vessel was made ready and headed north to relieve the Greenpeace. It was the Greenpeace Too and on board was a twenty-year old volunteer named Paul Watson.
The Greenpeace Too was the converted ex-Canadian minesweeper Edgewater Fortune.
The Greenpeace Too passed the Greenpeace One near Campbell River. Watson on the Greenpeace Too headed to Alaska, as Moore returned to Vancouver.
The nuclear test at Amchitka was pushed ahead and the detonation happened as the Greenpeace Too was still a few hundred miles away.
Neither ship made it to the test site, but the publicity generated from the voyage of the two ships resulted in the cancellation of all future atomic tests.
More importantly, the voyages became the genesis of a new organization. The Don't Make a Wave Committee became the Greenpeace Foundation in 1972.
Paul Watson took the Greenpeace lifetime member number of 007.
Both Paul Watson and Patrick Moore were founding directors along with Robert and Roberta Hunter, Rod Marining, Hamish Bruce, and others.
Paul Watson and Patrick Moore had a stormy relationship during their time together on the Greenpeace board. Watson never trusted Moore, the son of a wealthy logging camp owner on Vancouver Island, and Moore never forgave Watson for being given the position of first officer under Captain John Cormack on the voyages of the Greenpeace V and Greenpeace VII to protect the whales in 1975 and 1976.
In June of 1977, Patrick Moore became the president of the Greenpeace Foundation and called a board meeting to expel Paul Watson from the board.
Watson decided to quit as an activist volunteer for Greenpeace, and in 1977 founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which he continues to head twenty-eight years later.
In 1979, Moore and Watson met together again with Robert Hunter, David Garrick, Rod Marining, David McTaggart, and others to lay the foundation for Greenpeace International. Both Moore and Watson were founders of Greenpeace International.
But Moore refused to work with Watson, and Moore was, in turn, pushed out of the organization by David McTaggart.
Whereas Watson set up another non-profit conservation society, Moore decided to go into business and opened a fish farm. He became the president of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association. But he was not a good businessman and his salmon farm suffered a major die-off of fish from disease and he was forced to collect the insurance and move on.
Having been a good spokesperson for the salmon farming industry, Moore decided to speak out and lobby on behalf of other industries like forestry, plastics, and biogenetic engineering. He found that public relations was his thing and he was able to use his credentials as an ecologist and his former position as president of Greenpeace Canada to give credibility to his increasingly strident condemnation of the environmental movement.
Moore set up a non-profit called Green Spirit to speak for his corporate clients.
Robert Hunter bestowed the title of "Eco-Judas" on him. He has become known as the Benedict Arnold of the Green Movement and the corporate green whore. His credibility has sunk so low that the Forest Action Network set up a website dedicated just to Patrick Moore called Patrick Moore is a Big Fat Liar.
Moore insists that he is a scientist first and foremost, and that his positions are influenced only by science.
But this "scientist" who does not have a single peer-reviewed publication to his credit has challenged the credibility of real scientists like Dr. David Suzuki and Dr. E.O. Wilson.
He makes outlandish statements like, "There is more bio-diversity in a clear cut than in a parking lot in Vancouver but I don't see anyone protesting against parking lots."
Over the years, Captain Paul Watson has challenged Dr. Patrick Moore to a public debate on numerous occasions. Pat has always refused.
Despite this, Moore has engaged in an on-going debate with Watson for years on the Internet or indirectly in the media
This week there was another strange chapter in the ongoing conflict between Moore and Watson. Apparently, Patrick Moore was scheduled to be a faculty speaker onboard the Holland American cruise ship Oosterdam on the voyage from Seattle departing July 30th to Alaska and returning on August 6th. As it happens Captain Watson was also recruited as a speaker on the same ship and the same voyage. But Patrick Moore was not onboard when the ship left Seattle. Apparently, he cancelled when he found out that Captain Watson was a fellow faculty member. The cruise organizer said he was hoping to arrange a debate between the two but once again Patrick Moore has avoided Watson's challenge.
On July 20th, Patrick Moore fired a shot at the environmental movement in the Op-Ed pages of the San Francisco Examiner and the Denver Post.
Captain Paul Watson retaliated with rebuttal Op-Ed articles. The San Francisco Examiner published Watson's article on July 31st.
The Op-Ed by Captain Watson is re-printed below with the original Pat Moore Op-Ed from July 20th by Moore following. The same Op-Ed was published in the Denver Post on July 31st, 2005.
On July 21, Patrick Moore wrote a guest opinion piece accusing the environmental movement of being, in his words, sick and sensationalist.
He insinuated that environmentalists are opposed to progress, that we would deny vitamin A to children, and that it is our policies that are contributing to world hunger and energy shortages, and preventing people from living better chemically.
He uses his status as co-founder of Greenpeace to give credibility to his accusations.
I am also a co-founder of Greenpeace and I have known Patrick Moore for 35 years. Today, I am a national director of the Sierra Club and the president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Moore makes accusations that have no basis in fact.
The environmental movement is a diverse and complex international movement and blanket generalizations are simplistic - and sensationalist.
Environmentalists do not have a zero-tolerance policy against genetic manipulation. It is a practice as old as agriculture. What we do have a problem with is irresponsible gene splicing that could lead to the development of dangerous species of bacteria or viruses. We have a concern about splicing animal genes with plant genes and we do not believe that the problem of overpopulation will solved by simply engineering more food.
Moore suggested that farm-raised salmon are the solution to diminished wild species but he neglected to mention that farm-raised salmon consume fish that are caught from the sea, and it takes about 50 times the weight in wild fish to raise one farmed salmon. He also neglected to mention the chemicals, steroids, growth hormones and artificial coloring that are utilized by the aquaculture industry.
Environmentalists are opposed to dams because dams prevent the flow of nutrients to the land and wetlands below the dam, and accumulate salt and toxins behind the dam. Cutting off the flow of water in a river is akin to tying off a blood vessel in your arm. The river and the blood vessel perform essentially the same function.
Moore argues that environmentalists oppose wind power. This is an amazing spin. The environmental movement has been promoting wind and solar power for decades.
Moore is right when he says that the environmental movement opposes nuclear power. He asked if we preferred coal-powered generators. No, we don't prefer coal; we are just concerned about a little thing called radioactive waste and the fact that nuclear power stations have limited lifespans, after which they cannot be deconstructed but will need to be isolated for thousands of years.
When Moore says there are more trees in North America than there was a hundred years ago, I am curious as to what evidence he has to support this theory. Much of the area where trees existed a hundred years ago is now covered in asphalt, housing developments and cities. The ancient forests are almost all gone. I don't believe that such an unsubstantiated and sensationalist statement has much credibility.
The problem is that environmentalists are accused of being sensationalist, yet those who criticize the environmental movement themselves employ sensational accusations that demonize us as being anti-children, anti-people and anti-progress.
The environmental movement is one of the fastest growing social movements in the world today and the reason for this is that people are seeing the problems and seeking solutions.
I prefer to be a part of a movement for solutions than to be a part of the movement of denial.
Paul Watson is a national director of the Sierra Club and president of the
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Since the late 1980s, the environmental movement has lost its way, abandoning science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism. I left Greenpeace after 15 years as a founding member. Today, we're faced with environmental policies that ignore science and result in increased risk to human health and ecology. To borrow from the vernacular, how sick is that?
Genetic enhancement: Activists persist in their zero-tolerance campaign against genetically enhanced food, yet there is no evidence of harm to human health or the environment. Genetically enhanced crops reduce chemical pesticides, boost yield and reduce soil erosion. Enriched with Vitamin A, golden rice could prevent blindness in 500,000 children every year in Asia and Africa if activists would stop blocking its production.
Salmon farming: The campaign against salmon farming, based on erroneous claims of environmental damage, scares us into avoiding one of the most nutritious, heart-friendly foods available. Salmon farming takes pressure off wild stocks, yet activists tell us to eat only wild fish. Is this how we save them, by eating more?
Vinyl: Greenpeace wants to ban the use of chlorine in all industrial processes. The addition of chlorine to drinking water has been the greatest public health advance in history, and 75 percent of our medicines are based on chlorine chemistry. Greenpeace calls for a ban on polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl), claiming it is the "poison plastic." There is not a shred of evidence that vinyl damages human health or the environment. Apart from lowering construction costs and delivering safe drinking water, vinyl's ease of maintenance and its ability to incorporate anti-microbial properties is critical to fighting germs in hospitals.
Hydroelectricity: Hydroelectricity is the largest source of renewable electricity, yet activists boast they have blocked more than 200 hydroelectric dams in the developing world. Do activists prefer coal plants? Would they rather ignore the needs of billions of people?
Wind power: Activists argue wind turbines kill birds and ruin landscapes. A million times more birds are killed by cats, windows and cars than by all the windmills in the world. Wind turbines are works of art compared to some of our urban environments.
Nuclear power: Activists continue to lobby against nuclear energy, the only power source that does not emit greenhouse gases and can replace fossil fuels and satisfy global demand. Renewable energies such as wind, geothermal and hydroelectric are only part of the solution.
Forestry: Trees are the most abundant, renewable and biodegradable resource in the world, yet activists tell us to reduce our use of wood. Forests are stable and growing where we use the most wood, and diminishing where we use less. Using wood sends a signal to the marketplace to plant more trees and produce more wood. There is about the same forest area in North America as there was 100 years ago.
The prognosis: Activists' zero-tolerance, fear-mongering campaigns could ultimately prevent a cure for Vitamin A deficiency blindness, deplete wild salmon stocks, decrease the safety of health care, deprive developing nations of clean electricity, stop renewable wind energy, block a solution to global warming and contribute to deforestation. How sick is that?
Co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, Ph.D is chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. in Vancouver, Canada.