Charlie Eagles: Everyday Crusader [2/2]

Why Greenpeace?

‘You can’t have the world without people, and you can’t have people without the world. Greenpeace are big enough to make changes. I’ve been involved with the Wilderness Society as well, but that’s much more of a local or even a national thing. Greenpeace is big enough to make waves.

I’m very much into human rights, civil rights, helping people be better because there’s nothing you can do in this world without people. You cannot climb Mount Everest without other people. You cannot explore Antarctica, you cannot go into outer space without other people. You cannot mow your lawn without affecting, if not involving other people, somewhere along the line.

“…there’s nothing you can do in this world without people. If you get the people right, theoretically the rest of your problems will become a lot easier.”

Unfortunately, we don’t get the people right. Humanity still suffers from slavery, for god’s sake, or racism, and sexism, and all that rubbish which just makes our jobs harder. It makes all of our lives harder. All because we perceive some group of people, in fear, of being something that they’re not and so we create division where there really doesn’t need to be.

But people are just one half of the equation, the other half is minding our environment. it’s all part of the same thing, all a matter of responsibility. If we have more of a teamwork-focused and responsible approach to how we do things, we’ll have a greater positive impact on others, and our environment.

There’s no disunity here, it comes down to: how we engage in our world. We’ve had the industrial age, the computer age, I’d love to see an age of responsibility: where we [each] engage in our greater world, with each other, and bring forth a new way, a socio-political revolution if you like, a change of perspective and attitude.

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“I invest time with Amnesty to help people, I give money to Greenpeace to help the world.”

I remember reading in the past that Greenpeace had been labelled an international terrorist group. With that kind of drive at their core, can you, as with any group driven by an intense ideology, can you trust their information?

‘Greenpeace are on a list as a terrorist group?’

Apparently. They venture into international waters and attack say whaling ships sometimes. Maybe that’s an interference with business, but..

‘More to the point, they used to, they don’t anymore. They actually stopped doing that because that gave them [too much] negativity. There are groups such as…’

PETA?

‘Sea Shepherd. Which do those physical actions now, storming whaling ships and things like that. Also, any group that’s going to call another a terrorist, as we’ve seen in history, as with Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia, [the ruling party says] “this group has different ideas to me, they [need to be wiped out.]”

The outliers are tarred.

‘Exactly. They’re doing different to what I want, so they’re out. In some cases, even in Australia, Amnesty has been called a terrorist group. Australia says: We want to put people in [detention centres in] Nauru. Amnesty says: You can’t do that. So Amnesty’s a terrorist organisation, surprise, surprise…

That literally happened in Australia. Amnesty were basically pushing the U.N. message, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as a non-profit organisation.

I can’t see how Amnesty or Greenpeace are terrorist organisations, they just ask questions: “Is this right?”

I’ve noticed with a lot of groups, they’ll take an extreme example to influence the audience.

‘Yeah, emotionally manipulating the audience. Pretty much every group including corporations do that.’

But because they’d use that tactic, like any other, to elicit a response and to get people involved, can you necessarily trust all of their surface information? Or do you look into their campaigns for yourself and go: Well yeah, in this case that’s exactly what’s happening.

‘Well as with any idea, you should research it, it goes without saying, because there’s a lot of misinformation and propaganda all over the place from every organization, [as well as from] social movements, Facebook, politicians, corporations… if you have the time and the interest, and the motivation. As for emotional manipulation, it’s very difficult to motivate the public on the facts, whether you’re selling a product or getting signatures.

Does that make them untrustworthy? Well that comes to what they’re doing it for, and how it’s presented. If a company [says]: this frog is endangered, therefore you must support our company which is Shell Petroleum, well that’s false advertising, one doesn’t work with the other. If Greenpeace says: this frog is in danger from the petrol companies, we want to be able to protect them. Is that lying? Well, no, because that is actually the case. It’s not about the method, but [their purpose], always look for the pattern.

With Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society, have there been subjects you’ve disagreed with them on or campaigns you haven’t wanted to be party to?

‘With Amnesty, most of our disagreements stemmed from the ideas I developed as a teenager, but where our ideas were in conflict, I later decided that I was wrong. There was one situation where I disagreed with them and they changed.

Long ago, the Amnesty groups from various countries couldn’t protest about issues from their own country. I also saw that governments weren’t always a problem, more often than not, corporations are the source of an issue.

Since then, Amnesty has changed to allow say Amnesty Australia to cover issues of Australian origin, for example Nauru, but they’ve also shifted focus from making sure governments are doing the right thing, to making sure governments and corporations are doing the right thing, which is a huge change for Amnesty. Corporations have grown to shape what governments do, instead of the other way around, and fundamentally they make the decisions after you cut through all the crap.

As for the Wilderness Society and Greenpeace.. in the 80s and 90s Greenpeace were often promoting “save the cute and fluffies” and didn’t have a lot of idea on how [to practically achieve their goals.] There didn’t seem to be a plan, it was just “Oh my god, this thing is cute!”

Greenpeace has changed it’s position and has tried to protect the environment, looking out for it’s long-term potential while allowing humans [to live.] Their ideas have changed to where it’s a good idea to support them as opposed to them being just a bunch of tree-hugging hippies.

Something like the Wilderness Society is where I’ve had the biggest amount of conflict. They still have a fighting in the trenches, survivalist mindset, that they’re being assaulted. They started by fighting governments, and [had some large victories], but they still don’t have much of an idea on how to [effect long-term positive change.]

Yes the environment is important, but I would, for example, rather see a change to the way our cities work so that they are more self-sustaining. So that we don’t need dams, or power plants, or to cut down rainforests to survive. If we can reduce our footprint on the environment, we’ll save it. That was the source of my clash with the Wilderness Society.’

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