David Levy – Has the marine world been shunned by its Friends? – May 2014

It has proved interesting to me that the perception by our members about the relationship between Marinet and Friends of the Earth (FOE) is actually the same as what we would expect. That is, FOE would be assisting Marinet in some capacity.

However members recently joining our Steering Group have been astounded by the waffle that has come from FOE in response to our calls for help during our campaigns for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (fishing subsidies and monitoring of fishing activity).

At best, the FOE response could be called obstructive; objectively, our efforts were ignored by their media department and hierarchy. This reflects an attitude within the organisation that the marine part of our world is not considered as requiring Friends.

The complexity of the problems facing the marine world are legion, and need comprehensive campaigning on a variety of local, national and international levels. Friends of the Earth have the resources to deliver this, but the reality is that the NGO world has failed dramatically to work together, or even separately, on the issues.

As the Chair of Marinet, I have been disgusted by the manner in which the NGOs have used the urgency of the issues as photo opportunities and money collecting campaigns. They have even missed the major opportunities to shine a spotlight on significant events that affect the issue.

As an example you can look at the Bee Campaign.

The failure by the NGOs to bring centre-stage a campaign on the issue of chemical spraying of the bee populations has been particularly noticeable. Instead, the NGOs seem to have considered it to be more effective to concentrate on Blue Peter solutions such as planting gardens and selling bee kits to bolster funds.

I have to conclude that the NGO Movement has lost its way and is no longer the vehicle for raising the important issues in the media or in government.

This is my personal blog, and therefore my personal view.

David Levy

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3 Responses to “David Levy – Has the marine world been shunned by its Friends? – May 2014”

Pat Gowen
Comment posted on 8th May 2014

I do not see that David has denigrated the Bee campaign, but that he has compared it’s obvious success due to the high level of support and promotion provided for it by FoE HQ. So publicised it would naturally have blossomed and attracted attention and activity from many members as it is a relatively gentle and warming topic when compared to the required dedication, hard work, study and high level of attention necessary for those issues promoted by MARINET, which are in obvious isolation from FoE’s platform..

Had MARINET received only a fraction of the attention and publicity given the bee cause, it too would undoubtedly have received widespread and popular membership support. As it is, despite the obvious overwhelming urgency and need of vital support, MARINETs attempts to grow and receive more widespread attention for many years have been continuously frustrated and denied the backing that should and could have been provided by FoE central office.

Comment posted on 5th May 2014

For ‘fat’ in the sentence about Question 5, please read ‘fast’.


Comment posted on 5th May 2014


Leaving aside whether or not this blog post from you can be taken as a ‘personal’ when it is hosted on Marinet’s website and has been tweeted by its own twitter site, can you point out where Friends of the Earth has failed to address the pesticides and bees issue?

That’s the first question.

Please post your answer here.

The 2nd question is: Given your own lack of involvement in Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign – one of its most successful in years – how would you know EXACTLY what the campaign has done on the pesticides aspect of the issue?

Please post your answer here.

Now, here’s the 3rd question:

From 15 January 2013 to mid-summer 2013, which bees-related issue beginning with P, ending in S and including the letters ‘ESTICIDE’ dominated the time and effort of Sandra Bell and Paul de Zylva, Friends of the Earth’s campaign leads on The Bee Cause campaign?

Any clues?

Are you ready for question number 4? Here goes:

How many supermarket, DIY and garden centres withdrew certain products containing neonicotinoid chemicals because of the campaign led by Friends of the Earth during the early 2013?

Question 5 is coming fat and, whoooosh, here it is already, David:

How many other organisations is Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign CURRENTLY working with on the pesticides and bees issue?

Answer: More organisations that you’ll ever be able to cooperate with, given your approach and attitude, David.

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