Dear Ashish (from Greenpeace),

First of all, thanks for your regular emailers, as they open my eyes to a wider reality in my country. In this haze of development and success it is easy for us to lose sight of the heavy price that we pay.

Having said that, I am also a pragmatist. When you suddenly tell me that some turtles are going to suffer because of an important port-building project which can provide much needed financial stimulus to coastal Orissa – it gives me the impression that Greenpeace is a band of tree-hugging hippies with a mindless agenda of stopping "the evils of capitalism" from destroying our planet.

Should Greenpeace be content with just being the "alternative voice"? You see, the reason why the forces of capitalism have thrived and been significantly more successful in destroying, than Greenpeace has been in saving – is the fact that capitalism is driven by reason and solid economic logic (mostly). If you would have told me that yes there is a way how economic development of the battered coastal areas of Bay of Bengal can co-exist with the turtles – I could have supported you with a clear heart.

So many of us are quick to jump onto the Capitalism Bashing bandwagon – and extol the virtues of “Sustainable Development”. Maybe “Sustainable Conservation” will be more successful. But at the moment, being a part of the capitalist machine, and seeing all the work around us left to be done, I just cannot afford to hug trees (or turtles).

Looking forward to a Greenpeace which uses the voice of reason and pragmatism.

Best Regards


(This is the mailer I received from Greenpeace.)

Dear Grimescene,
Despite opposition, Tata is about to complete the construction of the Dhamra port in Orissa. The port is dangerously close to dense mangrove forests and breeding and nesting grounds of Olive Ridley turtles.
Shockingly, over 300 ports are proposed on India’s coast, many in and around mangroves, breeding grounds for turtles, horseshoe crabs and other marine creatures.
Minister of Environment Jairam Ramesh needs to ban the construction of new ports and expansion of existing ones in eco-sensitive areas in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification. He made a commitment to protect our coasts and we have to remind him to stick to it.
Can you write to Jairam Ramesh asking him to strengthen the law and save our coasts?
The CRZ notification was issued in 1991 to protect the Indian coast. But since then it has only been weakened to suit commercial and political interests and most violators have not been punished.
Last year, the government and environment minister Jairam Ramesh promised to strengthen the notification. It’s now time to ask him to live up to his promise
To make sure that this law actually protects coastal diversity, Jairam Ramesh needs to introduce a clause prohibiting the construction of new ports and the expansion of existing ones near ecologically sensitive areas in the new CRZ notification.
Write to the minister to make him keep his promise. Click here:
Thanks a billion!
Photo of Ashish Fernandes
Ashish Fernandes
Oceans Campaigner
Greenpeace India