© Greenpeace / Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert
Karli, our oceans campaigner just back from leading our Southern Ocean Whale Expedition, writes:
Two years ago, the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior visited Henoko in Okinawa, Japan. The purpose of our visit was to support a local protest against the construction of a new airbase for the US military. The proposed airbase was to be constructed over a coral reef, the home of the last remaining dugong population in Japan.
This is the 21st century. It is mind-boggling that anyone still considers that it is OK to destroy a coral reef with the construction of anything, and to add insult, the proposed construction is an airbase for the military – in a community that is deeply concerned with peace. The habitat of Japan’s dugongs, as well as abundant reef and seagrass species, should be the site of a marine reserve – not a reserve for marines.
With the Rainbow Warrior, we helped to raise the issue to a new level with international media attention helping the cause of local protesters, who had occupied the drilling platforms day in, day out for over a year already. Shortly after, the original proposal was scrapped. But a new proposal, still impacting the marine area that the dugongs depend on, replaced it.
Now, the protest against the airbase construction has reached a crucial point. The Naha Defense Facilities Administration Agency is about to begin an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed airbase. We are demanding that this EIA is a sound and transparent assessment, and involves the local community.
The local protest groups are taking this opportunity to gather international support to stop the airbase and save the dugong. They have set up an online petition, giving you a chance to have your say on this issue.
© Roberto Sozzani
Please read and sign the petition, and help spread the word.
Thanks in advance!