Sea ShepherdBoth Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd are readying themselves right now to head down to the sub-Antarctic oceans to stop the fleet of six Japanese whalers that plan to kill almost 1,000 whales.

Greenpeace, with superior budget and ships, plan to get themselves between the whales and the Japanese ships to stop the whaling, a tactic that in the past has proven quite unsuccessful. This is, of course, in adherence to their principles of non-violence.

Meanwhile, Sea Shepherd, whose budget is much smaller and whose ship has usually found it difficult to keep up with the Japanese ships, has fitted a steel ram to their ship to force the Japanese ships back to port to be fixed. This tactic has proven to be more successful in those instances where Sea Shepherd has been able to keep up. Of course, they have received numerous condemnations, accused of “eco-terrorism” by the Japan Whaling Association, while Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell claimed their tactics “…really puts the cause of whale conservation backwards” and that “Sea Shepherd are bringing the cause of whale conservation into disrepute.” He praised Greenpeace’s efforts.

Not to be left out of the game, our friends at Greenpeace took the opportunity to publicly disapprove of Sea Shepherd’s effective use of property destruction and implied the tactics were “violent” and not in line with Greenpeace’s principles of non-violence. In a series of letters between the two organisations, Greenpeacer Gerd Leipold clearly illustrated the difference in strategy between the non-violent direct action of Sea Shepherd and the political lobbying of Greenpeace:

We are also working at the highest political level to bring about change, we are working in Japan to shift public opinion, as well as with our millions of supporters worldwide to generate public pressure for change.

It seems their peaceful but ultimately expensive expedition to the Southern Ocean will amount to little more than bearing witness to power, and a few good photo ops.