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  • favicon The Arctic Sunrise has been seized. Here’s why: 18 Aug 2017, 00:29

    The message is clear: Norway, it’s time to choose people over oil. 35 activists from 25 countries around the world are in the Barents Sea to demand an end to Arctic drilling.

    Greenpeace activists protest Arctic oil drilling 17 Aug, 2017 © Nick Cobbing / Greenpeace 

    Today, activists from the Arctic Sunrise on inflatable boats and kayaks entered the exclusion zone of Statoil’s Korpfjell well, Norway’s most northern oil drilling site to date, and attached a giant globe to the rig Songa Enabler.

    The globe carried written statements from people from all over the world, with a message to the Norwegian government to stop the oil drilling.

    Globe with messages from people around the world urging the Norwegian government to end its Arctic oil expansion. 17 Aug, 2017  © Nick Cobbing / Greenpeace

    The activists halted the operation of the rig, and after several hours of demanding an end to the drilling in the Arctic, the Norwegian Coast Guard interfered with the peaceful protest, arresting the Arctic Sunrise ship, the activists and crew members.

    Norwegian Coast Guard arriving to seize the Arctic Sunrise and arrest activists and crew members 17 Aug, 2017 © Greenpeace

    Just 10 days before ratifying the Paris Agreement, in June 2016, the “environmentally friendly” Norwegian government granted new oil licenses. Now, a year later, Statoil has just started to drill for oil in the northernmost area ever licensed by Norway.

    4 people in kayaks have reached Statoil’s rig, the Songa Enabler. They are bringing a huge globe with messages from people around the world urging the Norwegian government to end its Arctic oil expansion. 17 Aug, 2017  © Nick Cobbing / Greenpeace

    But this won’t stop us. It’s time to get ready for our new battleground: the courtroom—where Greenpeace Nordic, together with Nature and Youth, will face Actic Oil this November.

    With your witness statements we will achieve it. Add your name to the more than 350.000 others and become part of the evidence that the people know a better world is possible.

    Diego Gonzaga is a content editor for Greenpeace US.

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  • favicon The world is on fire 14 Aug 2017, 15:26

    A huge wildfire is raging in Greenland. 150 km from the Arctic Circle and just 50 km away from Greenland's ice sheet, large swathes of tundra have been burning for over a week.

    Nobody has seen anything like this in recent times.

    Sentinel-2 imagery from 3 August,  Anton Beneslavskiy

    Satellite imagery of Greenland, 50 km from the ice sheet, 3rd August 2017

    In the last few years, catastrophic fires have been increasing around the world. From Indonesia to Canada, across South America and Africa, from Southern Europe into Siberia, and now Greenland too. Many are fatal. 

    As you read this, over 1.6 million hectares of Russia are on fire. Forest fires of this scale are unmanageable and blazes like these have become the new normal in Russia.

    Forest Fires in Siberia, 2014Forest fires blazing in Siberia, 2016

    Why do they keep getting worse?

    Lack of forest management, insufficient funds for prevention and firefighting are partly to blame. But climate change is the real problem. The fire season in the boreal forests is getting longer every year. Hotter, drier weather spells make fire spread faster.

    Fires like these aren’t just devastating because of the loss of forests, they also directly contribute to furthering climate change. As well as being massive emitters of carbon dioxide, satellite images show how the smoke from forest fires in Siberia travels north and reaches the Arctic. Black carbon pollutes the ice and makes it melt even faster.  

    Smoke from forest fires in Siberia on August 7 satellite image (MODIS imagery by Terra and Aqua satellites processed by NASA)Smoke from forest fires in Siberia on 7th August 2017, NASA satellite image

    It’s a feedback loop of destruction. Increased wildfires lead to more rapid climate change which in turn, leads to more wildfires.

    Forest fires are one of the most significant sources of CO2 emissions after fossil fuels. We can’t afford to ignore this problem if we want to effectively stop climate change.

     Volunteers are fighting fire in the Republic of Buryatia, Russia in 2016, Maria Vasilieva/GreenpeaceVolunteer firefighters in Russia, 2016 

    The impact of wildland fires on climate change hasn’t been properly acknowledged yet. The global threat posed by wildfires is underestimated. If we want to win this fight, we need to change government policies and raise the public's perception of the problem. That starts with awareness. Share this blog to make the world listen.

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  • favicon Why are there pesticides in our eggs? 11 Aug 2017, 08:00

    In case you missed the news this week, here’s what we know so far: during the first week in August, the Dutch food safety authority (NWMA) announced that they discovered tens of thousands of eggs contaminated with fipronil - a toxic anti-lice pesticide, banned in food production in the EU. Dutch and Belgian police have since made arrests at the homes of buyers of the fipronil-laced pesticides.

    Eggs in ALDI Supermarket in Germany

    Millions of eggs could be contaminated. The full extent isn’t known yet, but 180 Dutch farms have been temporarily closed and major German retailers like Lidl and Aldi have been pulling eggs off their shelves. Authorities in Germany are testing other products made with eggs; like pasta, mayonnaise and cakes.  

    This is just the latest in a long-line of global food safety crises. Industrialised farming has been linked time and time again to outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella, listeria, bird flu, swine flu and Mad Cow disease.  

    Dutch and Belgian authorities may have known about the egg contamination two months ago, but the public is only learning about it now. Why did they take so long to react?

    This is the result of a greedy industrial system bending the rules because of poor government oversight. We exist in a broken food system where suppliers cut corners at the expense of public health just to make more profit. Outbreaks like these seem to be happening more and more. All of this points to a deep-seated disease in the industrial agricultural system.

    Chicken farm in Northern Germany.

    Our insatiable demand for beef, pork, dairy and eggs has created a massive industrial livestock system globally that’s about high volume at any cost. Too often, that system needlessly puts public health at serious risk. It fosters inhumane conditions for animals, encourages runaway deforestation for feed and grazing, causes pollution of rivers and oceans and contributes massively to the climate crisis. It is a disaster for our planet.

    The solution is not just avoiding this product or that product. The best way to protect ourselves and our families from outbreaks is to change this broken system once and for all. We need more transparency. Authorities must put public safety and consumer protection above all else.

    We can all play our part. Find out where your food comes from. Read what the label says. Try to buy from trusted ecological farms, retailers or markets. Grow more of your own food, if you can. Eat fewer animal-based products like beef, pork, dairy and eggs, which are often linked to these food scares. Embrace a diverse diet with more plant-rich food.

    Ecological Farm in Slovakia

    Together, we can fix food.


    Christiane Huxdorff is a sustainable agriculture campaigner for Greenpeace Germany’s Food campaign.

    Davin Hutchins is a senior campaigner with Greenpeace International’s Meat and Dairy campaign based in the United States.

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  • favicon 72 years after Hiroshima, where is Japan’s commitment to end nuclear weapons? 04 Aug 2017, 10:02

    Even with the passing of the UN’s Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, Japan still remains an outlier, betraying the hopes of atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    It started with just 12 of them. With a bold mission, this group of activists set sail to Amchitka island off Alaska to protest the detonation of an underground US nuclear test. It was September 1971, and though the mission was initially unsuccessful, it was the beginning of what became Greenpeace, and just one of the many issues – the elimination of nuclear weapons - that the environmental organisation would campaign endlessly against.

    The “original” Greenpeace crew on-board the Phyllis Cormack on their voyage to Amchitka Island The “original” Greenpeace crew on-board the Phyllis Cormack on their voyage to Amchitka Island

    Fast forward to 2017, and what was once a hard-fought battle and one of Greenpeace’s legacy issues, has now become a successful defeat. On 7 July, the United Nations adopted the "Nuclear Weapons Treaty" with an overwhelming majority - an epoch-making agreement that prohibits not only the development, experiment, manufacture, possession, and use of nuclear weapons, but also the "threat to use". Nuclear and chemical weapons, and anti-personnel landmines and cluster bombs were also banned. The Treaty will be open for signature by states on September 20th.

    To our disappointment, however, Japan did not join the 122 countries, or two-thirds of the United Nations member countries, that stood up to stop nuclear weapons. The peculiar absence of Japan, whose preamble explicitly recognizes “unacceptable suffering of and harm caused to the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (Hibakusha) as well as those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons” begs explanation.  

    Greenpeace activists hold up flags of the nuclear nations along with a 5 meter high mock nuclear bomb outside the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (1996)Greenpeace activists hold up flags of the nuclear nations along with a 5 meter high mock nuclear bomb outside the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (1996)

    The Government of Japan expressed a concern that the Treaty that was negotiated only among non-nuclear weapon states could create “a more decisive divide” between the states with and without nuclear weapons. From a standpoint of realpolitik of the Cold War era, Japan is under an American nuclear umbrella, and as such, would violate a Treaty prohibiting the "threat to use" if it were to be a signatory. Therefore Japan sides with the nuclear weapons states (the US, Russia, China, France, UK, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries that rely on the US nuclear umbrella.

    The adoption of this historic Treaty by an overwhelming majority of the UN membership, nonetheless, represents a hard-won victory for people such as the Hibakusha (Japanese word for the surviving victims of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), victims of American nuclear tests and their descendents, and grassroots activists who worked tirelessly against the European nuclear deployment and uranium mining in Australia. The Treaty is a long lasting legacy of their testimonies, protests and actions of the past decades, and keeps a hope alive for realization of the nuclear free world.

    Protest at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. (2016)Protest at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. (2016)

    Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima atomic bomb victim who now lives in Canada, told delegates of the Treaty negotiations:

    "I want you to feel the presence of not only the future generations, who will benefit from your negotiations to ban nuclear weapons, but to feel a cloud of witnesses from Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

    “We have no doubt that this treaty can – and will – change the world.”

    Peace doves released on the 60th Anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombingPeace doves released on the 60th Anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing

    On the 72nd anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, we stand in solidarity with the survivors and those across the world who have campaigned against nuclear weaponry and call for Japan to join the Treaty. The elimination of nuclear weapons has been the cause that Greenpeace campaigned so passionately and heavily for since 1971. As the only country in the world hit by a nuclear attack, Japan’s commitment to the Treaty would not only be a long-fought win for the country’s tainted history, but also an important step towards a future world that is ultimately safe and nuclear free.  

    Yuko Yoneda is the Executive Director at Greenpeace Japan.

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  • favicon Scientists are telling BP and Total to stay away from the Amazon Reef 28 Jul 2017, 17:34

    One of the first images of the Amazon Reef 28 Jan, 2017  © Greenpeace

    Researchers, naturalists, explorers and broadcasters are joining the call for oil companies to leave the Amazon Reef alone. The latest call to protect the reef came as an open letter highlighting the importance of this unique environment, and warning of the threat from an oil spill nearby.

    BP and Total are trying to get permission to drill for oil near the Amazon Reef, but this group of experts called for the companies’ plans to be put on hold, saying that “The priority should be to protect the reef and surrounding waters in order to conduct further research.”

    This letter adds more pressure on BP and Total to cancel their plans to drill. So far, over a million people have signed the petition against oil drilling near the Amazon Reef, and more than 29,000 people have written to BP’s CEO in protest.

    A fascinating puzzle

    One of the first images of the Amazon Reef 28 Jan, 2017  © Greenpeace

    For ocean scientists, the Amazon Reef is a fascinating puzzle, full of new discoveries and surprising twists. In just a few days of exploring the reef, researchers believe to have found not only three potential new fish species , but also dozens more that had not been spotted in the area before.  Scientists believe the Amazon Reef is also home to large numbers of critically endangered fish—yet another reason why an oil spill nearby would be devastating to the environment.

    This first expedition only covered a tiny fraction of the 600 mile-long reef, so with most of this ecosystem still unexplored, the biggest discoveries are likely still to come.

    via GIPHY

    But BP and Total’s dangerous oil drilling plan could devastate this special place before we’ve had a chance to study it properly. There’s little evidence that the oil companies have taken the risk of a spill seriously, and they haven’t been able to show that they could deal with an accident in the strong currents and deep, murky waters near the mouth of the Amazon River.

    Want to help stop BP and Total? Sign the petition to protect the Amazon Reef

    Mal Chadwick is a digital campaigner for Greenpeace UK 

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