ENVIRONMENT - Environmental Impact Statement,Greenpeace


Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), formal process used to predict how a development project or proposed legislation will affect such natural resources as water, air, land, and wildlife. The environmental impact statement was first introduced in 1969 in the United States as a requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. Since then, an increasing number of countries have adopted the process, introducing legislation and establishing agencies with responsibility for its implementation.

Environmental impact statements have mostly been applied to individual projects and have led to various offshoot techniques, such as health impact assessments, social impact assessments, cumulative effects assessments, and strategic environmental assessments (environmental assessments of proposed policies, programs, and plans). In some cases, social and economic impacts are assessed as part of the environmental impact statements. In other cases, they are considered separately.

An EIS usually involves a sequence of steps: (1) screening to decide if a project requires assessment and to what level of detail; (2) preliminary assessment to identify key impacts, their magnitude, significance, and importance; (3) scoping to ensure the EIS focuses on key issues and to determine where more detailed information is needed; (4) implementing the main EIS study, which involves detailed investigations to predict impacts, assess their consequences, or both. After a project is completed a post audit is sometimes done to determine how close the EIS's predictions were to the actual impacts.

A growing number of businesses commission independent audits that help set environmental performance targets, particularly regarding waste disposal and energy use. The term environmental audit is applied to the voluntary regulation of an organization's practices in relation to its environmental impact.

Greenpeace, international environmental organization dedicated to preserving the earth's natural resources and its diverse plant and animal life. The organization campaigns against nuclear weapons testing, environmental pollution, and destructive practices in fishing, logging, and other industries.

Greenpeace was founded in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1971 by members of the Don't Make a Wave Committee, a small group opposed to nuclear weapons testing by the United States military in Alaska. The group renamed itself Greenpeace to reflect the broader goal of creating a green and peaceful world.

Greenpeace won fame for its daring exploits calculated to attract media attention to environmental issues. Greenpeace members in rubber rafts have disrupted whaling expeditions by positioning themselves between the whales and hunters' harpoons. They used similar tactics in Newfoundland to protest the clubbing of baby harp seals, whose soft white fur is highly valued by clothing manufacturers.

The organization is well known for scaling corporate skyscrapers and factory smokestacks to hang protest banners.

Greenpeace's aggressive style has often led to conflicts with corporations, local authorities, and even national governments. In 1985 the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, on a voyage to protest French nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific, sank in a New Zealand port, and the crew photographer, Fernando Pereira, drowned. Investigations revealed that the ship had been deliberately sabotaged with explosives planted by undercover agents of the French military. The resulting scandal rocked the highest levels of the French government, leading to the resignation of Defense Minister Charles Hernu and the dismissal of Admiral Pierre Lacoste, director of the French Secret Service.

During the 1990s Greenpeace has been troubled by internal disagreements over political strategy. Some members want to persist with a militant approach, emphasizing civil disobedience and physical confrontation. Other members, including the organization's leaders, are convinced that Greenpeace must work cooperatively with the companies and industries that have been its targets in the past.

Greenpeace has about 3 million dues-paying members and more than 40 offices in 30 countries. Its international headquarters are in Amsterdam, Netherlands.