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Updated: 19 min 55 sec ago

Telling the toxic truth

Tue, 2018-09-18 10:07

Three planned tar sands pipelines in North America could devastate many local communities, says Ocean Hyland from the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation. So, backed by thousands of Greenpeace supporters, she’s speaking directly to Barclays – the only UK bank still choosing to fund tar sands pipelines.

Tsleil-Waututh means ‘people of the inlet’.
Our stories and legends show our deep connection to this inlet on the Pacific coastline of British Columbia. We have always based our lives and culture on it. Historically, 90% of our food came from the inlet; my ancestors said: ‘When the tide goes out, our table is set’.

I’ve always grown up by the water, wandering in the forest and playing on the mountain. I was taught that you treat the land well. None of us own it: it’s sacred and it’s up to all of us to care for it.

At Barclays’ London AGM, I asked the board to withdraw all further funding for tar sands pipelines, and I joined the Greenpeace action at Barclays HQ. It was amazing to meet Greenpeace supporters who have the same vision in their heart as me, the same sense of injustice. If you cut the funding, these pipelines are going nowhere.

People think getting banks to stop investing is impossible, but HSBC, BNP Paribas and ING now all won’t lend to tar sands pipelines.
I explained to Barclays’ board members and shareholders why tar sands pipelines would be so damaging because it’s the one British bank still choosing to fund them.

The Westridge Terminal, at the base of the inlet, is where oil tankers would queue up to collect oil. 
It would affect so many communities, endangering the land, the water and the animals and creatures, and when oil leaks it gets into the air we breathe every day. From inside the earth up to the sky, these pipelines would affect everything.

It’s been amazing to see people around the world recognise that we as humans can make a change. 
People are saying to banks and corporations: ‘This is what you’re doing; this is how you need to stop’. They’re amplifying the voices of the people in affected areas, and standing up for animals and for the land.

We have built the first traditional watch house in around 200 years to monitor what’s happening at the Westridge Terminal.
Traditionally we built watch houses so warriors could see if enemies were coming. Now we’ve built a watch house to see what industry is doing to the land. I’ve been up there a lot.

I’m so worried about our land and our future, but above all I’m hopeful. I’m scared that future generations won’t be able to enjoy what our ancestors looked after so well, but I also know so many people share my deep care for the land and will do anything to protect it.

Barclays is the only UK bank still choosing to fund these dirty and dangerous tar sands pipelines. Please join Ocean – and tell Barclays it’s time to pull the plug on tar sands pipelines

The post Telling the toxic truth appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

Wings of Paradise: drawing attention to rainforest destruction

Mon, 2018-09-17 14:09

For too long the story of Indonesian forests has been painted with the darkness of burning rainforests, disappearing species and displaced communities.  Greedy palm oil companies, that only seem to be driven by the bottom line whatever the cost to humanity or biodiversity, have played a major role in this.

Little or nothing is known about the beauty of the spectacular Birds of Paradise that call the forests of Papua home. So far, around 40 different species of these birds have been found, and they’re considered by some to be among the most beautiful creatures on earth.

After ravaging the forests of Borneo and Sumatra, the palm oil industry has reached the final frontier, Papua, home to these Birds of Paradise. Both the birds and the forest could be lost if we allow these companies to continue.

That’s why street artists and volunteers from all over the world, from Melbourne to Taipei and Vienna to LA, are taking matters into their own hands.

Their mission is simple – to re-create the essence of the extravagant, brightly colored plumage, crazy courtship dances and bizarre behaviors of these birds in our cities through huge artworks on walls. To remind us of the constant threat to Indonesian wildlife, but also inspire us to act to protect it.


It’s time for us to stand together for the future of Indonesian forests. Artists, students, bird enthusiasts or consumers buying palm oil products in supermarkets, we need to come together and act.

Join this massive movement. Admire and get lost in the #WingsOfParadise artworks in your home city or on social media, or share your favourite piece with friends and start your own conversation about protecting the future of the forests and our planet:

United Kingdom: Wings of Paradise mural by artist Matt Sewell in Shoreditch in London. United Kingdom: Wings of Paradise mural by artist Matt Sewell in Shoreditch in London. Australia: Street Artist Scottie Bonzai paints a mural depicting birds of paradise in Geelong. Germany: Artist Sokar Uno creates an mural of a bird of paradise on a wall in Tempelhof, Berlin. USA: Artist Ricky Lee Gordon in front of his mural, Wings of Paradise, on a building in Long Beach, California. Taiwan: Street artist Ano paints a mural depicting birds of paradise close to Taipei 101, in the centre of the city. New Zealnd: Street Artist Sean Duffell, paints a mural depicting birds of paradise in Wellington. Japan: Japanese artist Tsukasa Suzuki paints a Birds of Paradise mural at the Ryozan Park Sugamo community space in central Tokyo. The Netherlands: Illustrator and Print Maker Rick Berkelmans paints a mural depicting birds of paradise in Breda.

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Categories: Activist News

What a Global Ocean Treaty means—and why it matters to all of us

Mon, 2018-09-17 12:38

We have paddled the first nautical miles of a long voyage. The first meeting at the United Nations’ headquarters about a treaty to protect all the oceans which lie beyond national borders is coming to an end. It’s been two weeks of political meetings, origami turtles, too many policy acronyms, but, at the heart of it all, the fate of our global oceans. Why? Because the future of almost half of our planet is at stake.

My friends have asked me why I eagerly volunteered to endure two weeks of windowless rooms and legal jargon at the United Nations. It’s because these discussions really matter. For the first time in history, governments have come together to decide on a plan by 2020 that can turn the tide and restore the health of our global oceans. These oceans beyond borders cover more space on our planet than all continents combined!

Right now, our oceans face growing threats from industrial fishing, pollution and climate change. Even though I feel so small when I look out at sea, collectively, humanity has had a huge impact on these blue expanses.

Public awareness of the threats to our oceans is surging and the calls for ocean protection have been mounting for years. Governments are finally heeding the call and, over the past two weeks, they have finally started to develop a plan to protect our shared oceans: A Global Ocean Treaty. This is a historic opportunity to safeguard the future of our oceans for generations to come. We have to get this right.

Greenpeace activists fly a giant turtle kite outside the United Nations headquarters in New York as countries gathered to begin negotiations for a Global Ocean Treaty.

Skyhigh ambition

We kicked off these negotiations in true Greenpeace style: with activists, boats and a giant, flying, inflatable turtle! At sunrise on the day the negotiations started, activists sailed on the river directly in front of the UN building to fly a banner reading “Global Oceans – Global Treaty!” next to a giant turtle kite (which is harder to handle than it looks!). The pictures of the action made headlines around the world, helping us to tell the story of why this matters so much. Watch the video of the action here.

By shining a spotlight on these talks and hand-delivering origami sea creatures directly to negotiators, with the message “The fate of our oceans is in your hands”, we wanted to make sure that governments know that the world is watching and that we expect results. Sea creatures don’t have a voice at these negotiations, so it’s our job to creatively bring them — and the voices of millions of people who care deeply about our oceans — to bear on these decisions about our shared oceans.

Greenpeace activists shared origami inside the United Nations headquarters in New York as countries gathered to begin negotiations for a Global Ocean Treaty.

This first round of talks was a good start. We’ve seen governments from Africa, Pacific and Caribbean islands and Europe strongly supporting a Global Ocean Treaty with powers to create ocean sanctuaries on the high seas. You can track all the statements in detail in the High Seas Alliance’s Treaty Tracker. As South Africa and Argentina said: “we need a Treaty that bites when necessary. We need a Treaty that is a real tiger, not a paper tiger.” But now it will be crucial to see countries take the lead on ocean protection in practice.

(From right) Delegate from Monaco and Greenpeace campaigner, Louisa Casson hold origami inside the United Nations headquarters in New York as countries gathered to begin negotiations for a Global Ocean Treaty.

These calls for a strong treaty are exactly what we, and our oceans, need. While the usual suspects like the Russia, Norway and Iceland, disappointingly joined by Australia, New Zealand and the US, lagged far behind in terms of ambition, most governments are keen to move on to negotiate an actual draft text for the treaty. They know they need to move fast to agree all the details by the deadline of 2020. Our oceans, and billions of people depending on them, can’t wait.

The journey has just begun

The next two years are crucial to ensure the treaty is designed in such a way that it enables the global creation and management of ocean sanctuaries on the high seas. Greenpeace, alongside the millions of people who want to see our oceans protected, will do everything in our power to achieve this. As a campaigner, I know we won’t win the protections that our oceans desperately need if we’re only a small group inside the negotiations. Industry are already lobbying to keep the status quo, which has pushed our oceans to the brink of destruction. To overcome this, we need to keep up the pressure far beyond the UN – from capital cities to the most remote waters on our planet. Join us on this journey and together we can make history for marine life and this vast blue world on which we all depend.

Even while negotiations for the Global Ocean Treaty are at this early stage, next month we have a huge opportunity to create the biggest protected area on Earth: an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. A global movement of almost 2 million people are calling for this sanctuary to protect penguins, whales, and help us all tackle climate change. If we win, we will generate unstoppable momentum for an ambitious Global Ocean Treaty.

There’s never been a more critical or exciting time to be fighting for our oceans.

Join this wave: the future of the oceans is in our hands.

The post What a Global Ocean Treaty means—and why it matters to all of us appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

In pictures: Saving the blue in our oceans with a Global Ocean Treaty

Thu, 2018-09-13 15:02

This September the world’s governments meet at a UN conference in New York to negotiate the protection of the high seas. Creating a network of ocean sanctuaries on the high seas will have global benefits: ensuring healthy, thriving oceans all over our planet. The pictures below give a glimpse of the stunning world beneath waters all over the world. They also illustrate threats like plastic pollution and overfishing the marine life faces.

Seagulls follow the Scottish trawler ‘Endurance’, east of Unst, the most northerly island in the UK. Underwater image off the Sylter Aussenriff in the North Sea. A pod of Sperm Whales move into a defense line to stop a pod of Orcas (Killer Whales) getting to their calf, off the coast of Sri Lanka. A flying fish jumps out of the water. Greenpeace is in the Indian Ocean to peacefully tackle unsustainable fishing. A silky shark and other marine life school around a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) in the central Pacific Ocean. Greenpeace travels in the Pacific to expose out of control tuna fisheries. Tuna fishing has been linked to shark finning, overfishing and human rights abuses. A Loggerhead turtle swims around a fish aggregation device belonging to the Ecuadorean purse seiner ‘Ingalapagos’, which was documented by Greenpeace in the vicinity of the northern Galapagos Islands. Around 10% of the catch generated by purse seine FAD fisheries is unwanted bycatch and includes endangered species. An octopus crawls across a seagrass bed in the Mediterranean Sea at night. A nudibranch on a hydroid colony, similar in features to Hypselodoris tricolor.
The Rainbow Warrior is in the Mediterranean for a three-month ship tour taking action on the threats to the sea and calling for a network of large-scale marine reserves to protect the health and productivity of the Mediterranean Sea. In the Andaman sea, Satun, Thailand shoals of barracuda and Banana fusilier swim over the reef at Hin Khao, two small pinnacles in the sea of Pakbara. Coral reefs are critical habitats of countless marine life, which in turn nurtures the artisanal fishing community in the region. A lionfish, an ambush predatory fish, hovers above colonies of sea fan (Melithaea sp.) at an artificial reef site near Pakbara, Satun province, Thailand. A large number of lionfishes as well as groupers and snappers were observed in this area during the recent expedition, suggesting a productive ecosystem, which can support a large number of marine predators. A Blackside hawkfish (Forster’s Hawkfish) is pictured off the Egyptian coast. Southern Resident killer whale J35 spyhops in Haro Strait off Lime Kiln Point State Park (Washington) with a container ship in the background.
The Salish Sea is one of the richest and most biologically diverse inland seas in the world. Yet all of it is being put at risk by the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline which will lead to a seven fold in the number of tankers carrying tar sands oil through the Salish Sea and massively increasing the risks of an oil spill in this beautiful part of the world. The largest octopus on the planet, the Giant Pacific Octopus, with its three hearts and blue blood, lives on the bottom of the ocean bed. With tentacles that can span 8 meters across, it can move fast (25 mph!), but most of the time it crawls slowly along the ocean-bed with its long tentacles suckering crabs and scallops to eat. A Blue Shark (Prionace glauca) swims near the Azores. Hydrozoan Jellyfish is one of the deep sea creatures that is found in the Arctic. Gentoo penguins near Discovery Bay in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.
Greenpeace is conducting scientific research and documenting the Antarctic’s unique wildlife, to strengthen the proposal to create the largest protected area on the planet, an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.

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Categories: Activist News

Update on Hinkley mud

Wed, 2018-09-12 15:33
There has been concern over EDF moving mud from the Hinkley site to the South Wales coast. This morning Greenpeace wrote to EDF to clarify our position:

Dear EDF,

We have been informed that EDF has misrepresented Greenpeace’s current position regarding the dredging and dumping of mud from the Hinkley site to the South Wales coast.

We request in the strongest terms that EDF ceases from stating that Greenpeace accepts that the mud is not toxic as that is not our current view. We are clear that we do not know if the mud is toxic or not, and therefore we support calls for more testing to be undertaken.

Legitimate questions are being raised by local residents and concerned citizens about the limits of the testing that has been done so far. Their calls for further testing should be respected and we support calls for further testing of the mud before it is moved. It is important that the results of this testing removes any reasonable doubt that this mud may be harmful for current or future generations.

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Categories: Activist News