Transnational advocacy networks come in many forms, some with aligning interests and some in opposition. The each have their own objective and usually, affiliate groups in other nations that are going after the same goal. Each group usually has an opponent that is trying to reach the opposite objective. For example, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has 10 foreign affiliates and numerous other groups it cooperates with. At the same time, Heartbeat International is in direct opposition of Planned Parenthood and likewise has many foreign affiliates and other groups it cooperates with. The number of transnational advocacy networks has increased drastically in the past decade, to such an extent it is nearly impossible to keep track of just how many are operating. Each network seeks a common normative objective and they partake in many activities to further their interests and get the word of their objective out to likeminded individuals. One of the more well known networks is Greenpeace.

Greenpeace was founded in Canada with Greenpeace International being based in Amsterdam. It operates in 55 different nations and they have many different objectives. Most notably, they are pursuing interests that are in direct correlation with climate change and nature protection. Other objectives include, but are not limited to: saving the arctic, fighting global warming, protecting forests, protecting oceans, promoting sustainable food as well as defending democracy. As Greenpeace operates in many countries, they are able to pursue their interests and activate Greenpeace cells in other nations they may not have much authority in. For instance, Greenpeace USA may prompt Greenpeace UK to take action against a certain issue that is happening in the UK. They have strict standards of behavior and while they may be a very strong influence, the organization does not usually “go rouge” when taking action on a certain issue. Looking at the action Greenpeace took in the case of building a mega-dam that would have destroyed part of the rainforest in Brazil, it can be noted there are no Greenpeace offices in Brazil. Greenpeace USA became involved and were invited by the Munduruku people of Brazil. To date, the licensing process for the mega-dam has been suspended. Until it is cancelled for good, Greenpeace USA will be standing with the Munduruku people to preserve their territory that includes cultural and traditional sites and the irreplaceable rainforest. While Greenpeace USA is a very powerful transnational advocacy network who could have “gone rogue” and entered Brazil to assist the Munduruku people, they respected Brazil’s sovereignty and only entered and participated after being invited into the country. If there is not a Greenpeace office operating in a county, the nearest Greenpeace office will likely take action, however, only after receiving an invitation. On a more recent note, Greenpeace USA is involved with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe campaigning to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. They help the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe with training and other assistance when needed, as they have more expertise in the area of petitioning, protesting and advocation. While alone, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe may have been written off as a minor nuisance, but now, with Greenpeace USA involved, together they are a force to be reckoned with.

Greenpeace is attempting to move up the tiers of the norms life cycle. Their end goal being achieving a taken for granted status on their objectives. However, this likely cannot be achieved in a very short amount of time. As Greenpeace came together in 1971, they are still in the first stage of the norms life cycle. They have a large mass of likeminded individuals who share their beliefs as well as some states who also have similar interests. They have not passed the tipping point described in the second stage of the norms life cycle, as they have much opposition and their objectives have not become a universal standard of behavior. They may have been successful at preventing certain things that go against their interests from happening, but their agenda has not been widely accepted.

Looking at the boomerang model, Greenpeace partakes in numerous activities, some of which involve governments, while many only involve certain groups and some large corporations. Therefore, they can occasionally give information to other interest groups or Greenpeace affiliates in countries sympathetic and perhaps supportive of their cause in order to put pressure on governments that are resistant to their demands. While it is not clear as to whether or not Greenpeace participated in the actions taken by United Nations experts that called upon the United States to immediately cease construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, their participation in standing by the Standing Rock Sioux was widely covered by media and could have aided in calling attention to the situation. Some instances involving Greenpeace may fit in with the boomerang model occasionally, yet it seems that the organization is powerful enough on its own that it exerts enough pressure on the government at hand without needing to lobby other organizations and foreign governments to add additional pressure.

On a further note, Greenpeace has been known to act as monitors. Notably with laws against whaling and pollution as well as deforestation. At one time, they deployed small submarines to monitor Shell corporation’s arctic drilling activities. They are able to easily call global attention to violations due to their massive influence and global presence. Furthermore, in the case of the rainforest situation in Brazil, one can view their presence as a monitor of their own interests to ensure correct action can be taken in the event the permits to continue with the mega-dam are sustained. In this case, there are no laws or norms against building a mega-dam, Greenpeace is attempting to establish a norm against deforestation. In the event that protecting nature became a global norm, it would be highly likely that Greenpeace would be involved with the monitoring and compliance of this newly established norm.

Greenpeace is an incredibly organized and increasingly powerful transnational advocacy network. They are able to easily overcome collective action problems that might defeat larger, less motivated groups of people. Their interests and objectives are well defined and to the point. They know what they want to do and work persistently to pursue a normative objective for their beliefs. Perhaps eventually they will be able to reach the tipping point outlined in the norms life cycle effectively placing them in the second stage of the cycle. This might require them to use the boomerang model process more often to reach their goals. In any event, Greenpeace is an organization that never sleeps. They have people worldwide that have aligning interests and are willing and able to assist with Greenpeace operations and helping convince more people to embrace their beliefs.


De Aguiar, D. (2016, June 16). Protecting the Amazon, Side by Side With the Munduruku. Greenpeace USA. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/protecting-amazon-side-side-munduruku/

Ellis, R., Sanchez, R., Yan, H. (2016, September 9). Dakota Access Pipeline work halted -- for now. Cable News Network. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from "http://www.cnn.com/"http://www.cnn.com/ 2016/09/09/us/dakota-access-pipeline/index.html

Frieden, J. A., Lake, D. A., Schultz, K. A. (2016). World Politics: Interests, Interactions, Institutions. New York, NY. W.W. Norton Company, Inc.

Hargreaves, S. (2012, June 8). Greenpeace to monitor Shell Arctic drilling with submarines. CNN Money. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://money.cnn.com/2012/06/08/news/economy/greenpeace-subs/index.htm

Indigenous Environmental Network. (2016, September 23). United Nation Experts Validate Standing Rock Sioux Opposition To Dakota Access Pipeline. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://www.ienearth.org/united-nation-experts-validate-standing-rock-sioux-opposition-to-dakota-access-pipeline/

Molina, L. (2016, November 04). How Greenpeace Is Showing Up As an Ally in the Dakota Access Pipeline Fight. Greenpeace USA. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/how-greenpeace-is-showing-up-as-an-ally-in-the-dakota-access-pipeline-fight/


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Title: Greenpeace International