Coal ship activists return to shore determined to #EndCoal

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Feature Story - 25 April, 2013
This week six Greenpeace activists did something incredibly brave for the future of our planet.

In an act of civil disobedience they boarded a fully-loaded coal ship as it left the Great Barrier Reef - a daring but necessary act to help stop Australia’s coal exports driving catastrophic global warming.The activists boarded the South Korea-bound MV Meister on ladders as it ploughed through the open ocean. Once on board, they handed a letter to the captain about their peaceful protest and hung a banner off the front of the ship  carrying the words “End the age of coal”.

Within hours of boarding the MV Meister, journalists from around the world were covering the story taking our message to the coal industry and world leaders with  an international audience. Check out these great stories in The Guardian Herald Sun ABC News Mackay Daily Mercury Xinhua Net (China) The Indian Express New Zealand Week Jakarta Globe and Dow Jones Newswires.

Meet the activists 

The six activists came  from Australia, New Zealand, USA, China and India -- countries where the actions of coal companies are having a drastic effect on our lives. Watch the video and read their quotes below about why they chose to take this stand.

Yang, China

“In China people are getting very worried about the health impacts of air pollution. There is so much discussion on social media about the use of coal, some of which comes from Australia. It is our obligation to do something to change this.”

James, New Zealand

“We need to consider the threat of climate change with the same urgency we gave to atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific. Every day people are affected by climate change, but our leaders are turning a blind eye and supporting the industry which drives the reckless growth of fossil fuel industries. Together we can end the age of coal.

Freya, Australia

“I am deeply concerned about the effects it will have on the Great Barrier Reef, both from the effects of increased shipping through the Reef and rising sea temperatures. I feel this has reached a point where we must do everything in our power to stop it.”

Harmony, USA

“I took action because people deserve a better future than what’s being offered by the coal industry. We cannot allow coal companies to expand unchecked, to continue to sicken communities across the world, and now to export their dirty energy to other countries. By boarding this ship, I am taking a step away from the coal industry toward a clean and renewable energy future.”

Emma, Australia

“Climate change is the biggest threat humanity faces today. Millions are already suffering; we are seeing the effects more and more every day. Our leaders are failing us on this issue, please stand with us and take action in any way you can. Together we can put an end to the reckless expansion of this industry.”

Guarav, India

"I have come all the way from India to take part in this action and spread the message that the world and India needs to look beyond coal. We need energy which is abundant, safe for environment and humans, and we need to act on climate change now!"

Click here to stand in solidarity with these activists and sign on to our statement of support we’re publishing in national newspapers next week. 

And finally, here is a selection of our favourite photos from this week.