With a test scheduled for fall 1971, little more than a year away, Mr. Bohlen complained to his wife, Marie, that the committee was deliberating too slowly.
As she offhandedly suggested that they sail a boat to the test site, a reporter for The Vancouver Sun called to check in on the committee’s deliberations. Mr. Bohlen, caught off guard, said, “We hope to sail a boat to Amchitka to confront the bomb,” a remark that appeared in the newspaper the next day.
The committee made good on Mr. Bohlen’s pledge. After Irving Stowe, a core member, organized a fund-raising concert in Vancouver with Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Phil Ochs and the Canadian rock band Chilliwack, the committee leased the halibut fishing vessel Phyllis Cormack, and, after renaming it Greenpeace, sailed to Alaska.
You know the rest of this story. Bohlen's group sailed into the hearts of the concerned public. The island was saved. The boat itself became an icon of the counter-culture and environmental movements. Greenpeace, once a fringe group of radical hippies, is now a mainstream watchdog with offices in 40 countries. Over the years, it has become a thorn in the side to governments everywhere, whalers and pro-nuclear organizations, along with dozens of major corporations such as BP, Exxon Valdez and Royal Dutch Shell. Its latest U.S. campaign targets the computer company, Dell.