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Daily blogs from the frontlines of the Greenpeace planet down under. 

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  • Stand for Indigenous rights – and for the planet

    Blogpost by Dawn Bickett - November 23, 2016 at 13:16

    People gather in San Francisco for a closing ceremony in support of the Standing Rock Nation. The protest was one of many in a global day of action calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cancel the permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline. 15 Nov, 2016  © Michael Short / Greenpeace

    For centuries, Indigenous Peoples have been fighting to protect their lands and secure their rights in the face of colonisation, environmental destruction and violence. Today – with looming global environmental crises like climate change – Indigenous communities continue to lead the world in protecting the Earth. While Indigenous Peoples represent about 6% of the world’s population, their traditional lands hold about 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity.

    Yet Indigenous communities are often those first and most impacted by environmental destruction. Again and again, governments and companies put profit above Indigenous Peoples’ rights. When Indigenous Peoples stand up for their rights and their traditional lands, those in power often go to great lengths to suppress them – from leg...

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  • Citizen science in action: open-source air pollution monitoring in Bulgaria

    Blogpost by Teodora Stoyanova - November 21, 2016 at 16:22

    Every day, we breathe in between 15,000 and 20,000 litres of air – enough to fill three hot air balloons in a year. This precious substance is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% carbon dioxide. But what else is in the air we breathe, how did it get there, and what does it mean for our health?

    Air pollution is an invisible problem. But the consequences for our everyday health are serious. Polluted air can cause shortness of breath, coughing, burning eyes, and can agitate asthma. Long-term deterioration of air quality can lead to more serious consequences for our health such as asthma, cardiovascular disease and lung cancer, as well as diseases related to the nervous and reproductive systems. According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution is responsible for the prematur...

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  • “It's about the people, not about the products” - the faces of PFC pollution

    Blogpost by Elske Krikhaar and Jeffrey Dugas - November 21, 2016 at 16:16

    Elske Krikhaar, Greenpeace International

    The first thing that went through my mind as I entered Jan and Ineke van Genderen’s living room was how close the DuPont/Chemours facility was. I could almost see it from the window. It is one street over.

    Jan and Ineke are a friendly retired couple from Dordrecht, a town of about 118 000 people in the western Netherlands. They have lovely grandchildren and are active in their community. Jan worked at the DuPont’s Teflon division. He met Ineke at the entrance of the plant 35 years ago.

    Today they have become the faces of PFC pollution in the area, a group of chemicals produced by DuPont and other chemical companies and used in many consumer goods, including packaging, cookware and outdoor waterproof gear.

    In April 2015, the Dutch newspaper Al... Read more >

  • We will win – despite Trump

    Blogpost by Jennifer Morgan - November 21, 2016 at 13:03

    I am hopeful and determined today. The first ever truly global agreement to fight climate change, the Paris Agreement, is having its first ever formal meeting. I have been working towards this moment for decades. This is no normal diplomatic affair. Few expected this first meeting to happen in this year. But here we are. The world has ratified the Paris Agreement at record speed. The cynics who claimed that the world would fail to unite against the threat of climate change were proven wrong. The world is coming together to address the biggest threat we face.

    This gives me hope. Indeed, it is remarkable to what degree these global climate negotiations are now about good news. Over the past many years these negotiations were about raising the alarm. I remember clearly the fire alarm that G...

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  • With or without nukes - war is no game

    Blogpost by Russel Norman - November 16, 2016 at 14:29

    There are at least two undeniable existential threats to human civilisation - climate change and nuclear weapons.

    In the context of the first US military ship visit to NZ waters in 33 years happening right now, I want to reflect on the time in history at which we stand and put a challenge to the New Zealand Government about the role that we, as a proud nuclear-free nation, should be taking in the world.

    The USS Texas is met by the Peace Squadron as it arrives in Waitemata harbour, Auckland on August 2, 1983. The growing anti-nuclear movement in New Zealand was hostile to visits from US ships because the Americans refused to confirm or deny whether their ships carried nuclear weapons. Public opinion was increasingly in favour of banning these visits. Between 1978 and 1983 opposition to nuclear-armed ship visits rose from 32% to 72%. In 1985 the Government effectively banned nuclear ship visits. New Zealand was the first country to declare itself nuclear free when it passed legislation in 1987. Greenpeace / Gil Hanly

    Despite progress made in the past with nuclear disarmament, things are now clearly going backwards. Both the US and Russia are investing in their nuclear arsenals and a number of other countries are doing the same. The election of Trump to the US Presidency gives us all a sense of instability and uncertainty.

    The doomsday clock - which measures humanity’s closeness to self-annihilation -... Read more >

  • Kaikoura Earthquake: How to help or get help

    Blogpost by Nick Young - November 16, 2016 at 7:28

    Wanting to lend a hand, or provide some type of assistance after NZ was shaken just after midnight on Monday? 

    Here are some ways you can help or get help.

    HOTLINES TO CALL

    The organisation All Right? works to support Cantabrians' mental health and wellbeing post quakes. They have free help available at 0800 777 846, or online.

    Federated Farmers is encouraging people in rural areas struck by the earthquake to ring 0800 FARMING so that they can get a clearer idea of who needs help.

    The Mental Health Foundation is also encouraging people who have been traumatised by the quake to get in touch.

    DONATE
    The New Zealand Red Cross has a special fund for victims of the Kaikoura quakes. You can donate here.

    ON THE GROUND IN KAIKOURA 

    In Kaikōura, volunteers are needed. If you able, go to the w... Read more >

  • Smog is India's new Instagram filter

    Blogpost by Sudhanshu Malhotra - November 14, 2016 at 16:18

    India’s capital, Delhi, is right now the most polluted city in the world. According to a WHO report, 12 out of 22 of the world’s most polluted cities are in India. It’s a public health disaster, but it wasn’t always like this.

    Winters in Delhi have always had a special appeal to me. I have grown up in its famous mist, shivering in the cold breeze. Riding on my father's scooter to Shahjahan road for chaat (Indian snacks) would be an adventure the whole family would look forward to in the winters. I don't think it was the chaat we all craved for though, it was always the freezing rides through the Lutyens Delhi - the old colonial part of Delhi.

    Years later, my memories of winters revolved around long heated discussions with friends at the local chai wallah (roadside tea stall). Winter was... Read more >

  • One year later and no justice: Communities affected by dam disaster speak out

    Blogpost by Fabiana Alves - November 10, 2016 at 16:46

    The word JUSTIÇA (justice) appears at the ruins of Bento Rodrigues school in Mariana, Brazil. The message is the school's last lesson and a remembrance of those who perished and those whose lives were affected by the mud that destroyed the Rio Doce basin. 5 Nov, 2016 © Yuri Barichivich / Greenpeace

    This past Saturday – 5 November, 2016 – hundreds of people gathered at the ruins of the Bento Rodrigues school in Mariana, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. They were there out of remembrance, and to call for justice.

    Exactly one year before, two nearby dams holding mining waste collapsed, sending a wall of contaminated mud into the surrounding community. Without any warning, the Bento Rodrigues school, along with the homes and livelihoods of thousands, were utterly destroyed. Twenty-one people were killed.

    Read more >

    That was only the beginning of this environmental catastrophe. 25,000 Olympic pools-worth of toxic mineral waste and mud released by the dams flowed into the nearest waterway – Brazil’s Rio Doce. Over the course of weeks, the contaminated material slowly worked its way to the Atlantic ...

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