Greenpeace’s Rocky Actions in Marine Protection Areas | A Moral Justification

In the heart of the sea where the currents play,
Greenpeace stands firm, in a defiant way.

Boulders they place, to guard the marine,
Protecting a world, so rarely seen.

Against the trawls that tear and scrape,
They offer the seabed a chance to reshape.

For in faith and hope, they firmly believe,
Nature will heal, if given reprieve.

Moral compass set, in waters they wade,
For a brighter, sustained oceanic crusade.


In the labyrinth of environmental discourse, every action — no matter how radical — finds its roots in deeper moral and even Christian compulsions.  Let’s cut through the layers of controversy and delve into the moral and Christian arguments underpinning such actions.

In the labyrinth of environmental discourse, every action — no matter how radical — finds its roots in deeper moral and even Christian compulsions.

Amongst the myriad strategies employed by environmental groups, Greenpeace UK’s act of depositing large boulders in marine conservation zones off the southwest coast of England is undoubtedly audacious.

But let’s cut through the layers of controversy and delve into the moral and Christian arguments underpinning such actions.

Guardians of Creation

The Book of Genesis reminds us that humans, made in the image of God, were given dominion over every living thing on Earth (Genesis 1:28). But dominion does not imply unrestrained exploitation. Rather, it’s an invitation to stewardship — to care for God’s magnificent creation.

Moral Justification: By placing boulders to prevent the harm caused by destructive fishing practices, Greenpeace upholds the Christian duty of stewardship. They actively protect marine habitats, ensuring that the oceans teem with life as God intended.

The Duty to Act against Immediate Threats

Some might view Greenpeace’s bouldering initiative as an extreme measure, but in the greater context, it is a swift and effective response to a looming threat: destructive industrial fishing. Industrial fishing practices, especially bottom trawling, have long been likened to “ploughing a combine harvester through a national park.” This analogy isn’t mere hyperbole. It paints the grim picture of a marine ecosystem under siege, where vast swathes of seabed life are uprooted, leaving behind a wasteland.

Moral Justification: In the face of immediate threats that risk irrevocable damage to marine ecosystems, Greenpeace has a moral duty to take action that can effectively prevent such threats.

Respect for All Life

In Luke 12:6, we’re told that not even sparrows, sold for mere pennies, are forgotten by God. This verse underscores the immeasurable worth of all creatures. Fish, coral reefs, and even the smallest marine organisms are valued in God’s eyes.

Moral Justification: Greenpeace’s act, while primarily an environmental strategy, also serves to safeguard the many marine lives that might n

The Right of Non-human Entities

Who speaks for the fish? Or the myriad marine species, from the tiniest phytoplankton to the majestic whales, that call the ocean home? As humans, we’ve been conditioned to view our interests as paramount. However, these marine organisms have an intrinsic right to life and a natural habitat — a right that doesn’t diminish simply because they cannot voice their concerns.

Moral Justification: By placing boulders to obstruct destructive fishing practices, Greenpeace is essentially advocating for the rights of non-human entities, asserting their importance in the great tapestry of life.

The Greater Good over Immediate Interests

Certainly, the boulders impede certain fishing activities. But juxtapose this temporary inconvenience against the permanent loss of marine habitats and the eventual depletion of fish stocks. It’s essential to consider the broader perspective: a thriving marine ecosystem that can support sustainable fishing and ensure livelihoods for generations.

Moral Justification: Sometimes, short-term sacrifices are necessary to safeguard the long-term well-being of the environment and the communities that depend on it.

Sacrifice for the Common Good

Christianity is built on the foundation of sacrifice — most profoundly, the sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of humanity. In the same spirit, sometimes, we are called to make sacrifices for a greater cause. The boulders might cause short-term challenges by obstructing specific fishing methods, but they pave the way for long-term environmental and community benefits.

Moral Justification: Embracing short-term challenges for the greater good aligns with the Christian ethos of selflessness and sacrifice for the benefit of many.

The Need for Tangible Symbols

Abstract debates on marine conservation often fail to resonate with the wider public. Actions like the boulder drops serve as tangible symbols of resistance against environmental degradation. These rocks, especially the one artistically sculpted into an ammonite, evoke a sense of wonder and a reminder of the age-old bond between the ocean and its inhabitants.

Moral Justification: To spur collective action, it’s occasionally necessary to transcend debates and create symbols that powerfully communicate the essence of a cause.

Symbols as Reminders

Christianity is rich with symbols, from the cross to the fish. Similarly, Greenpeace’s rock-dropping, mainly the ammonite-sculpted boulder, serves as a symbol — a tangible reminder of the need to conserve and respect our marine environment.

Moral Justification: Just as Christian symbols guide believers and resonate with deep spiritual truths, tangible acts like these can ground society in environmental stewardship’s urgency and moral rectitude.


While Greenpeace’s rock-dropping might raise eyebrows, it stems from deep-rooted moral imperatives. In a world grappling with the effects of human-induced environmental changes, it’s paramount to sometimes shake the status quo, question our actions, and embrace measures that truly champion the cause of marine conservation. After all, our very survival hinges on the health of our oceans.

Greenpeace’s action, viewed through Christian teachings, emerges not as a mere environmental initiative but a profound moral duty. As custodians of God’s creation, we must cherish, protect, and nurture our oceans. Their health is a testament to our fidelity to the Christian call of stewardship, love, and sacrifice.

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About Rev Lloyd Hobbard-Mitchell

Rev. Lloyd Hobbard-Mitchell, an Englishman deeply connected to Thailand, was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on 28th May 2023.

In addition to his religious journey, he has worked as an online English teacher and pursued a career as an artist. He has also operated a tour desk business with his wife within international brand hotels.

Lloyd has extensive experience in the voluntary sector, specifically in addressing homelessness and social welfare.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and embraces opportunities to meet new people, see new places, explore cultural similarities, and celebrate differences.