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

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  • Whales, dolphins, and ‘gunshots’

    Blogpost by Heather Braid - December 17, 2014 at 11:06

    North Cape Sunset

    I've just returned from seven days on board SV Vega as part of a small team monitoring the impacts of seismic testing on marine mammals off the west coast of Northland. No research has been done in this area, so I jumped at the chance to be involved.

    We left from Houhora and rounded Cape Reinga. It took us an entire day to get out to the survey site and on the way our first mate Nick showed me how to steer the boat, which was important because we all had to take turns doing this during the trip. Twice on the way, we had dolphins come up and swim along side the boat. The next time we saw dolphins, we had hydrophones in the water recording close to where the Aquila Explorer was doing its seismic testing for Statoil.

    Dolphins alongside the SV-Vega

    Seismic testing involves a ship firing off repeated sound blasts day an... Read more >

  • Statoil’s deafening silence

    Blogpost by Phil Crawford - December 12, 2014 at 16:25

    Seismic Survey Map

    Statoil has seen a lot of Greenpeace this week but so far its staying schtum in response to New Zealanders calling on it to ‘go home’.

    However, that deafening silence does not extend to the deep waters off the Northland coast right at the moment.

    Statoil has started its search for oil, about 120 west of Cape Reinga, using noisy seismic testing. Evidence from marine scientists around the world suggests that seismic testing is bad for whales and dolphins.

    Seismic testing is the first step of oil exploration. Before the oil rigs even arrive, before the drills go in the seabed, companies must first determine where to find the oil, if there is any. The process is done from a ship firing off repeated sound blasts day and night sometimes over weeks or months. The blasts, created by underwater... Read more >

  • Statoil: Licensed to Spill

    Blogpost by Nathan Argent - December 10, 2014 at 15:34

    Statoil Offices Boarded Up

    This morning Greenpeace activists barricaded shut Statoil’s new Wellington office before the Norwegian oil giant has fully opened for business.

    And the reason: to send a very clear message to Norway that New Zealanders don’t want Statoil here drilling for deep sea oil, putting our environment and economy at risk.

    Activists blocked the entry by adding extra locks to the front door and boarding it up with planks and a sign reading ‘Go Home Statoil’. The sign, featuring Maori motifs, was designed by members of Northland iwi that are opposed to deep sea oil exploration off their coast.

    Today’s action comes a day after Energy and Resources minister Simon Bridges opened up vast new areas of our ocean (including maui’s dolphin habitat) and forest parks to oil drilling. Statoil has picked up... Read more >

  • Shell's Arctic drilling team just pleaded GUILTY

    Blogpost by Ben - December 10, 2014 at 6:38

    Read more >

    Shell and its allies cannot be trusted to drill in the Arctic. Their reputation took another hammering last night when Noble Drilling, Shell’s sub-contractor, plead guilty to a staggering eight felony charges relating to environmental and safety violations on board the vessels Noble Discoverer and Kulluk (which it operated on behalf of Shell) in the Alaskan Arctic in 2012. Noble will pay a $12.2m fine, has been placed on probation for four years and must upgrade all of its plans to meet safety and environmental protection requirements.

    This really is bad news for Shell as it gears up for another crack at the Arctic next summer. Pretty much everything that could go wrong in 2012 did go wrong, and this is yet more evidence that Shell is simply not up to the challenge of operating in ...

  • Typhoon Hagupit © NASA Goddard MODIS

    As Typhoon Hagupit hits the Philippines, one of the biggest peacetime evacuations in history has been launched to prevent a repeat of the massive loss of life which devastated communities when Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the same area just over a year ago.

    "One of the biggest evacuations in peacetime" strikes a sickening chord. Is this peacetime or are we at war with nature?

    I was about to head to Lima, when I got a call to come to the Philippines to support our office and its work around Typhoon Hagupit (which means lash). In Lima another round of the UN climate talks are underway to negotiate a global treaty to prevent catastrophic climate change. A truce of sorts with nature.

    But these negotiations have been going on far too long, with insufficient urgency and too much behind the scene... Read more >

  • Vote! #RenameHagupit

    Blogpost by Stephanie Brancaforte - December 6, 2014 at 9:34

    Typhoon Hagupit is barreling toward the Philippines, a year almost to the day since supertyphoon Haiyan killed thousands and devastated an entire city. While we can't directly attribute any one superstorm to climate change, we do know that the strongest typhoons are getting stronger.

    Climate change isn't the Philippines' fault, but its people are losing their livelihoods and paying for the clean-up. And it's not just a chance of nature: detailed research has shown that 90 Big Polluters, including coal, oil, and gas companies, are responsible for nearly two-thirds of carbon emissions.

    Now it's time for the world's leaders and the media to start calling the problem by its real name: let's name the typhoon after one of the biggest companies making a fortune from killing the climate. The more... Read more >

  • Sustainable St... #WCPFC turn here!

    Blogpost by Lagi Toribau - December 5, 2014 at 19:06

    Fish don’t talk, but if they did they'd be asking the Pacific Tuna Commission just how rare they need to become before anyone will step in to save them." Fish don’t talk, but fishing industry people do… operational level data. FAD ban periods, bigeye measures, endless negotiation in endless side meetings, side meetings of side meetings, arguments and agreements winding up and down in the last few days in the tuna meeting in Samoa. All talk, and no action.

    Members of the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, the coastal states, the distant water fishing powers, governments, industry, scientists and NGOs gathered in Samoa to spend the week discussing the  sustainable management of tuna in the Pacific.

    According to the science committee’s August stock assessment, the bigeye stock in ... Read more >

  • Utmost faith in corporations? You must be kidding me!

    Blogpost by Nandikesh Sivalingam - December 4, 2014 at 11:17

    Meeting of Union Carbide Survivors in Bhopal © Greenpeace / Shailendra Yashwant

    Today marks the 30th anniversary of the world’s worst industrial disaster, the Bhopal gas tragedy, the deadliest in human history. The aftereffects continue to haunt the Bhopalis even after the victims’ 3rd generation has been born. What’s even worse is the post tragedy scenario - the apathy that subsequent governments have shown in dealing with it. It’s a known fact that till today, the impacted people are awaiting justice and there are continuing health and environmental issues. One can say that the Umbrella law (Environment Protection Act 1986) was enacted as a fallout of the disaster in order to protect the environment and people from such events in the future.

    Demonstration at Union Carbide factory gates, Bhopal 2001© Greenpeace / Raghu Rai

    In this context, let us look at a review that the current government had commissioned under the ex-cabinet secretary, Mr.T... Read more >

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