The Instigator
a_curious_student
Pro (for)
Tied
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The Contender
SloppyJoe6412
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Arctic 30

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/24/2013 Category: News
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 719 times Debate No: 39421
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

a_curious_student

Pro

Recently, a group of Greenpeace activists were arrested by the Russian Coast Guard for attempting to scale the platform of the Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea.

I wanted to get the public's view on this issue and use that to support the pro and con side of an article I'm writing. My opinion is not considered due to the fact that my article cannot be biased in anyway.
**Ignore the fact that I chose Pro, because I couldn't leave the slot blank and chose a position at random.**

I would like your honest opinion on the issue, with no external influences.

I would like to quote some comments received in this debate to use in my article. (User)names and all personal information will be withheld for privacy. It will be strictly anonymous.

Professional and appropriate comments will only be considered.

If you are unfamiliar with the issue, more information can be found here, as well as on numerous other online news sources:

http://www.greenpeace.org...

http://www.independent.co.uk...

http://www.cbc.ca...

http://www.thenews.pl...
SloppyJoe6412

Con

I'm not clear whether you expected others to respond to your request for debate or to post comments. Like somebody else has correctly pointed out, this type of open end question should go in the Forums. But since you posted it here, I will try to collaborate -without taking a "pro" or "con" position since you haven't yourself.

First thing I notice, this is an issue that concerns Russia, yet you posted links to the Greenpeace main site, a Brit and a Canadian newspapers, and the Polish Greenpeace site. That is pretty unbalanced. No matter what you think about the Russian government and its oil production partners or branches, an opinion should not be complete until you have heard all the interested parties. So in the interest of plurality I include a link to a Russian opinion:

http://english.pravda.ru...

Now let's look at the legal issue at stake. The Russians claim that the Greenpeace activists broke their law, and the Nobel Prize winners who asked for their release have no idea what they're talking about (in a wonderful example of Russian deadpanning, the Pravda editor wrote "All of them are recognized experts on oil production in the Arctic regions and climate change"). Are they right to complain? Yes they are. What would the US government have done if a group of Iraqi protesters had climbed the sides of the USS Nimitz to protest the Iraq war? You know the answer. So the Russians have done nothing unexpected. They charged them for piracy first (which sounds a little truculent indeed, but not incorrect) then changed the charges to hooliganism, which does not seem excessive.

But besides the legality of the action, should environmental groups board foreign oil platforms like they did here? I know Greenpeace is supposed to be an international organization, but I'm a practical guy: Greenpeace is Westerner. Yes I also know they don't take funding from any government, but it's a fact they represent the views of the Western middle and upper class. And in doing things like this, they are essentially ignoring Russian sovereignty. This is the same approach they have taken before to third world countries that try to develop technologies outside the narrow frame of "environmentally acceptable Western practices": we say it's bad so you can't do it, without regard to the negative impact of jobs lost and production of useful goods (often food) halted or reduced which is as valid a social indicator as environmental pollution.

Just in case my views are misrepresented, in no way I'm saying that Russian oil companies are angels who know what they're doing and would not harm a seal (baby or adult). I believe every darn oil company in the world is owned and run by scoundrels, and I should know since I have worked as a consultant for many of them (no I'm not proud of it). All I'm saying is, if they are to be stopped, it should not be by a small gang of well heeled Europeans and Americans, but by their very own citizens.
Debate Round No. 1
a_curious_student

Pro

a_curious_student forfeited this round.
SloppyJoe6412

Con

SloppyJoe6412 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
a_curious_student

Pro

a_curious_student forfeited this round.
SloppyJoe6412

Con

SloppyJoe6412 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Oromagi 3 years ago
Oromagi
Tactically, Greenpeace is making a mistake. A pack of well-off, well-educated Westerners sailing around to preach to powerless workers in poorer countries does not come off as particularly noble. These are ordinary men and women doing difficult work, providing for families. One gets the impression that the Greenpeace crew is more committed to "adventure crusading" than to actually changing our energy sources. Russia is the world's number one oil exporter, but is ranked 148th for freedom of speech. So expecting an unobstructed right to protest on a Russian oil rig is simply unrealistic. If Greenpeace wanted provoke arrest, then they should demonstrate their respect for the rule of law by submitting to the punishment. Gandhi said: " I am here to submit cheerfully to the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is a deliberate crime and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen." Gandhi instructed his disciples to take the penance of their opponents upon themselves. Rather than seek acquittal or commutation, Greenpeace should embrace the harshest penalties and so provoke a larger global outcry.

The economic forces that drive oil consumption and production are not controlled by a handful of roughnecks or the sailors protecting them. Say that Greenpeace was 100% successful and stopped the rig from working. We would probably see significant short-term harm to these workers' families, but does anybody really think that oil companies would change their minds about Arctic oil? Of course not. You can kill all the miners in a gold mine and blow up the entrance, but so long as people know there's gold down there, people are going to try to get it. The same is true for oil. The only effective strategy is to reduce the demand and the value of oil. Education, legislation, and taxes might reduce oil consumption and preserve the arctic. At best, Greenpeace's civil disobedience only offers delay.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
You should put this topic in the forums, probably in "Society." It's not a debate, so it should not be here.
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