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Make It a Green Peace! : The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism

ISBN: 9780199947089 | 0199947082
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pub. Date: 5/3/2013

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Make it a Greek Peace!explores the complex intellectual and cultural roots of Greenpeace, tracing the development of the organization from its emergence amidst the various protest movements of the 1950s and 1960s to the end of its volative, dramatic, and at times quirky first decade in 1980. After that time, Zelko argues, Greenpace changed little from its original template. By then it had grown into an international environmental powerhouse centered in Europe, with a complex hierarchical structure and branch offices in numerous countries. Today it is the world's most recognized environmental groups and its logo is almost as familiar as Coca Cola's or McDonald's in western countries. Still largely associated with direct action, Greenpeace continues to hold onto its radical and hip image, even though it has become part of the environmental establishment. Its present-day activities range from lobbying governments and inter-governmental agencies, such as the International Whaling Commission, to sponsoring the production of new technologies, like environmentally friendly refrigerators and automobiles. Despite its prominence and influence, the institutional that Greenpeace has become is not necessarily what its founders had in mind. Throughout its early history there were moments when it might have ended or it might have become more of a grassroots social movement; instead, from internecine struggles, it has retained its direct action style and adamant holism that first set it apart in the 1970s and imbued its participants with unique elan. Zelko sets Greenpeace within the broader context of its emergence, from founders influence by occult sciences, Theosopy, biospheric holism, Asian religious and spiritual traditions, and mind-expanding drugs, especially LSD. These phenomena created a group with a deep disenchantment with modernity's destructive trappings. As a social movement, founders were particularly influenced by Gandhi-inspired peace and anti-nuclear protests. Narrating the key campaigns and arguments among the group's early members, Zelko shows how Greenpace developed into a tightly controlled international NGO, rather than a loose-knit social movement such as Occupy Wall Street. Drawing upon meeting minutes, internal correspondence, and numerous interviews with former Greenpeacers, as well as philosophical writings, manifestos, and personal accounts by thinkers within the group, Zelko has written the much-anticipated definitive history of the origins of Greenpeace.


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