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Rachael Shaw

Rachael Shaw joined Greenpeace after completing her PhD studies. Her role involves communicating the scientific work of Greenpeace in New Zealand.

  • Deep sea drilling will soon commence in the rough waters off the NZ coast. This could mark the beginning of an oil rush in which democratic process, public concern, environmental protection and safety considerations are all swept aside.

    The Arctic is a unique and globally significant ecosystem. It is a fragile wilderness that is being rapidly reshaped by human actions. Anthropogenic climate change is driving the loss of sea ice, leaving ever greater expanses of the Arctic Ocean ice free.

    With a tragic inevitability, oil companies like Gazprom and Shell are greedily eyeing up the opportunities for offshore exploration in this new frontier. If an oil spill were to happen in the Arctic, the damage would be devastating on a global scale. 

    This is why 30 brave people took part in a peaceful p... Read more >

  • Seabirds and Oil Spills

    Blogpost by Rachael Shaw - November 1, 2013 at 10:00

    Albatross at sea

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    Across the centuries and across cultures, the albatross has captured human imagination. They are just one of the iconic seabirds found in the rich waters surrounding New Zealand. Together with petrels, prions, penguins, shearwaters, shags and gannets, albatrosses make up the 140 or so species which frequent the ocean covered by New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

    It is no exaggeration to say that the New Zealand archipelago is a global centre of seabird diversity. However, plans to drill in some of the deepest waters of our EEZ mean that this crucial seabird habitat is potentially under threat.

    Last week, we released a spill model showing the possible impacts that a deep sea oil spill could have in New Zealand’s EEZ. Forest & Bird have also released their own fact file which...

  • As one of the team who worked for months on our spill modelling report released today, watching the response in the media and online has been both a gratifying and infuriating experience.

    It was immensely gratifying to see those people who engaged with it in a productive and thoughtful way:

    The flipside to this was the response from government and industry who clearly failed to carefully read the report, calling it ‘scare-mongering’ and stating that New Zealand doesn’t have flow rates like the Gulf of Mexico and that we probably don’t have heavy black crude here. This left me scratching my head - as our main model is quite obviously a spill one sixth the volume of the Gulf of Mexico spill and we model a medium crude that is similar to oil types known in New Zealand.

    As a sc...

  • “Marco”… “Marco”… “Marco”???

    Blogpost by Rachael Shaw - July 9, 2013 at 10:05

    Picture standing next to a 747 jumbo jet as it is taking-off, experiencing deafening roars that you can’t block out. Now imagine that you rely on your sense of hearing to locate family and friends, find food and navigate through the environment. Suddenly, that deafening roar is more than just headache-inducing: it fundamentally threatens your way of life and survival.

    A blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) swims underwater off the coast of Sri Lanka. 04/07/2009 © Greenpeace / Paul Hilton

    Seismic surveys – which are used to locate sub-surface oil reservoirs - produce sounds that are much, much louder than a 747 and that can be heard across vast distances. In New Zealand, seismic surveying activities are widespread and set to become even more common as more of our waters are opened up for petroleum exploration. This will expose whales and dolphins to threats that we are only just beginning to understand.

    The... Read more >

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