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Taking Greenpeace's message to the skies

From its humble beginnings in Vancouver, Greenpeace has grown into the world's leading environmental action watchdog. For more than 30 years Greenpeace has battled whaling, nuclear testing and sealing, all in an attempt to protect the planet. But some say their tactics, such as confronting politicians at their private residences, go too far. Are Greenpeace a bunch of misguided liberal intellectuals and publicity-prone protestors? Or are they modern-day eco-heroes?

media clip
Two Greenpeace daredevils face charges after scaling Toronto's CN Tower to protest Canada's refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Greenpeace is outraged that Canada has followed the U.S. lead, and has taken its message to the skies. Perched 346 metres above the ground, the protesters unfurl their banner that reads "Canada and Bush: Climate Killers." Meanwhile a swarm of media and other Greenpeace members watch from below. In this CBC Television clip, one Greenpeace official asks, "How high do we have to go to make our voices heard?" 
• Toronto's CN Tower is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's tallest building. It measures 553.33 metres (1,815 feet, 5 inches) tall, or the equivalent of 5 1/2 football fields stacked end-to-end.

• According to a report in the Toronto Free Press, this stunt by Greenpeace cost Toronto taxpayers approximately $63,460 for fire, police and ambulance personnel and equipment, plus $35,00 in refunds for visitors to the tower. The report goes on to state that "CN Tower administration [estimated] a further $100,000 was racked up in lost business."

• In 2002 Greenpeace members climbed on top of Alberta Premier Ralph Klein's house and set up solar panels on his roof. The stunt was meant to protest his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.
• In 1997 Greenpeace was served a taste of its own medicine when B.C. loggers prevented Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise from leaving the dock by surrounding the ship with a log boom.

• The Kyoto Protocol, signed in December 1997, is an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. The agreement calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by at least 5.2 per cent by 2012 and outlines several ways in which the agreement's signatories can reach this target. More than half of the 84 countries that signed the agreement, including Canada, have not officially ratified it. As of 2001, U.S. President George Bush said his government would not ratify the protocol, calling it economically irresponsible.
Medium: Television
Program: Canada Now
Broadcast Date: July 16, 2001
Guest(s): Grant Burningham, Jo Dufay, Steven Guilbeault
Host: John Northcott
Reporter: Mike Wise
Duration: 3:14

Last updated: February 5, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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