Blogger profile

Ben Ayliffe

Ben is a staff member from Greenpeace UK. A keen ornithologist who has worked on many Greenpeace issues, Ben is head of the Arctic oil campaign. He lives in London and watches a lot of Arsenal matches.

  • Greenpeace Training with the Safety Pod. 09/09/2013 © Denis Sinyakov / Greenpeace

    Greenpeace International has a long and proud history of peaceful protests in defence of the environment, but right now Russian authorities are holding 30 of our activists on board the Arctic Sunrise for opposing the reckless oil company Gazprom.

    It comes after officials from the Russian security service FSB, armed with guns and knives, abruptly stormed the ship using a helicopter and ropes. Once on the ship, they rounded up our activists and ordered them into the mess.

    It was a swift and aggressive follow-up to the arrest of two other Greenpeace International activists who climbed Gazprom's dangerous Arctic drilling platform earlier this week. They're now being held with their fellow activists.

    The Arctic Sunrise arrived in these icy waters alongside millions of people around the worl...

    Read more >
  • Telling the Arctic Truth

    Blogpost by Ben Ayliffe - April 24, 2013 at 20:27

    “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” — Oscar Wilde

    With so much at stake in the Arctic, and so much mind-boggling corporate ineptitude at play in places like Alaska, Greenpeace International has taken matters into its own hands — or rather, put the power back in the hands of the everyday workers who are confronted nearly daily with the reality that the industry is simply not Arctic Ready.

    The new Arctic Truth website aims to encourage employees and subcontractors of oil companies involved in Arctic drilling to come forward and to help expose the incredible risks corporations are taking as they look to plunder the resources of this pristine region — particularly on issues such as operational safety, bad practices and pot... Read more >

  • Oh Council, where art thou?

    Blogpost by Ben Ayliffe - February 5, 2013 at 10:09

    While the thought of official councils — with their high-level policy workshops and multilateral task forces — is enough to send most sensible people into fits of abysmal loathing, there is one such council that anyone passionate about the high north should care about: the Arctic Council.

    Laudable aims

    Created by the Ottawa Declaration in 1996, the Arctic Council is “a high level intergovernmental forum to provide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States.” Of particular importance to the Council are “issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.”

    These are fine, noble words and laudable aims. But, as my dear grandmother often reminded me, such words tend not to butter many parsnips. Read more >

    Not much to show for though...

  • Shell's Arctic oil rig hits the rocks

    Blogpost by Ben Ayliffe - January 3, 2013 at 12:22

    Shell's Arctic oil rig runs aground in Alaska

    In another example of why drilling for oil in the Arctic is such a monumentally bad idea, Shell’s drilling rig, the Kulluk, has run aground off the island of Sitkalidak, near Kodiak in Alaska.

    The ancient rig was being towed back to harbour after a spectacularly unsuccessful summer drilling season when it ran into serious trouble and hit the shore.

    Last Thursday the Kulluk was being towed from the Arctic by Shell’s brand new $200 million tug the Aiviq when it hit heavy weather in the Bering Sea that caused the 400 foot towing line to break and the rig to drift free.

    By Friday the Aiviq managed to reconnect with the Kulluk, but it “experienced multiple engines failures” 50 miles south of Kodiak Island, causing the rig to drift free once again in 35ft seas and winds of 40mph.

    On S... Read more >

  • Totally saying no to Arctic oil

    Blogpost by Ben Ayliffe - September 27, 2012 at 8:38

    action against an oil rig in greenland

    "Oil on Greenland would be a disaster."

    "Energy companies should not drill for crude in Arctic waters."

    "The risk of an oil spill in such an environmentally sensitive area is simply too high."

    Sounds familiar? Today, it’s not Greenpeace saying this – it’s a major oil company.

    Total has warned today in a Financial Times article against drilling for oil in the Arctic. The dangers of Arctic oil are nothing new – that’s exactly what we’ve been saying for a long time now – but this is the first time a major oil company says the same.  

    When an oil baron warns against Arctic drilling the world should sit up and take notice. Total admitting that an oil spill in the ice would be devastating flies in the face of the bland reassurances from the likes of Shell and Gazprom that they can oper... Read more >

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