Greenpeace conversation yields little progress

05/08/2002 12:00:00 AM
Todd Foltz

(May 8) The voice on the other end of the line was not who I was expecting.

I was hoping it was Sara, my ex-girlfriend, begging me to take her back.

But nope. It turned out to be Craig Culp, one of Greenpeace’s chief spokesmen in the campaign against genetically modified organisms. A nice guy, too, but decidedly not Sara. So why would Greenpeace be calling me?

Uh-oh. I had just written a column making fun of Greenpeace’s opposition to GMOs.

“Are you calling about that resume I sent in to Greenpeace my senior year in college?” I asked.

Nope, no, he wasn’t, but he promised to get right on that. Sigh. So it was just what I was afraid of. I had gone and made Greenpeace mad. Why’d I have to do that? I could just see the sit-ins and protests on my front lawn. Women were going to burn their bras in front of my house. Hmmm. Note to self: Have the camera ready.

Culp had gotten a copy of my recent column suggesting that Greenpeace was not a good ally for the organics industry if the industry wanted to increase its market share. Greenpeace promotes organic consumption for several reasons, including as an assurance that food is GMO-free.

The crux of my argument in the column was that the organics industry would have more luck reaching everyday Americans if it got around the stereotype of organics being a political choice rather than one based on health or preference.

Needless to say, as a major opponent of GMOs and a rather staunch supporter of Greenpeace, Culp agreed with my observations with all the fervor of a Frenchman embracing the concept of soap. Which is to say, not at all.

In poking a bit of fun at Greenpeace, I argued that anyone who had been vanquished by the French — they sank the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior as its crew tried to hinder nuclear testing — wasn’t very strong anyway.

Culp pointed out early in our conversation that Greenpeace eventually came out on top in its altercation with France. It won a lawsuit and consequently got enough money to buy a new ship with which to annoy national entities.

That settled, Culp explained why it is Greenpeace’s position that organic and GMO crops cannot coexist. He also asked me to speak to Jeanne Merrill, a Greenpeace campaigner who is an expert in the fight against genetic engineering and GMOs.

Greenpeace’s campaign, by the way, involves annoying people to no end. On April 23, for example, some Greenpeaceniks interrupted a speech by Safeway’s chief executive officer at a Los Angeles business conference to present him with the “No. 1 Secret Food Polluter” award.


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