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Greenpeace Protects the Environment

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Have you ever heard of an organization called Greenpeace? Do you know what they do?

Greenpeace is an international organization that protects the environment. In past years, they have worked to end whale hunting and nuclear testing. More recently, they have added other environmental issues to their crusade, such as global warming, nuclear power, and genetic engineering.

Greenpeace has offices in over forty countries, and has about 2.8 million supporters worldwide. The organization receives money from private donations only, never from governments or corporations. Any government or corporate money is returned. Charitable foundations may also donate money.

The organization began in the early 1970s when it wanted to stop an underground nuclear test in Alaska. The United States had planned to detonate a nuclear bomb in a wildlife refuge for sea otters, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and other wildlife. Greenpeace sailed a boat into the testing area. Although the US removed the activists and carried out the test, a national outcry prevented additional tests. The area was later turned into a wildlife sanctuary. Similar protests were made against the French, who tested nuclear devices in the Pacific Ocean.

Greenpeace is well known for its protests around the world. Of course they also attend international conferences, meet with politicians, advertise, and educate the public, just to name a few of the ways they fight for the environment. But they are most famous for the protests which involve "direct action." Volunteers sabotage or vandalize facilities, as well as arrange demonstrations and sit-ins. These are only some examples of direct action. A less hands-on approach, such as donating money, is indirect action. With direct action, Greenpeace hopes to bring the media's attention to a problem, who will then report it to the general public. As such, Greenpeace looks for creative ways to get on the news. One common method has been for volunteers to place their boat in front of a harpoon or whaling ship to save the whales. This creates a powerful image for TV news and newspapers. The organization refrains from any violent protests, though. Their official mission statement is:

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

Many of Greenpeace's activities are considered illegal, either because they involve trespassing onto private property or they are acts of civil disobedience. For all the good they may have done to help save the Earth, some opponents have called the organization "environmental terrorists."

What do you think about Greenpeace?


Step 1: You will listen to an article about Greenpeace, an organization that protects the environment. The article is almost five minutes long. Listen only, and don't worry about understanding everything.
Step 2: Read and understand the questions, then listen again. As you are listening, try to answer the questions in your head. Don't write the answers yet. Next, listen again and write the answers this time. Check your answers with a partner.
Step 3: Read the article. Check in your dictionary any unknown words. Now listen again. Can you understand more?
Step 4: Listen! Listen! Listen! Listen to the article on the train or in your free time. Each time you listen, you will slowly improve!

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