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

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  • Five ways seismic blasting threatens whales

    Blogpost by Farrah Khan - September 7, 2015 at 9:48

    Pod of Narwhals in Greenland 15 Jul, 2009 © Jason Box / Greenpeace

    We don't have to look very far back in history to find proof of why offshore oil drilling is a dangerous endeavour. The BP oil blowout and the Exxon-Valdez spill both left surrounding regions devastated, and neither company was able to clean up their mess. But oil disasters come in many forms, not just spills. All stages of the fossil fuel lifecycle from beginning to end – exploration, drilling, transportation, and consumption – have their own dangers, risks, financial and environmental costs.

    A new independent report commissioned by Greenpeace has for the first time gathered existing scientific data about the harms of seismic blasting – an oil exploration mechanism – on Arctic marine life.

    The findings are alarming:

    M/V Akademik Shatskiy operated by TGS Nopec conducts seismic blasting 3 Sep, 2015 © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

    1. Hearing loss

    Seismic blasts are loud. Up to and sometimes over ... Read more >

  • The mind boggling size of the Pacific

    Blogpost by Andrew Davies - September 7, 2015 at 9:45

    The Pacific ocean covers approximately one-third of the Earth's surface. You could fit all the land in the world into the space it occupies – with room left over for an extra Canada. Put another way, it’s bigger than the surface of Mars.

    Paul Hilton / GREENPEACE

    Within it, there are vast tuna fishing areas, which shift as tuna migrate with the time of the year and changes in water temperature. 

    On this trip we’ve been in the area managed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). This agreement, between 33 countries, covers almost 20% of the world’s surface - an area larger than the planet Mercury or roughly three times the size of Africa (take your pick).

    Pacific island island nations have relatively small land area compared to their exclusive economic zones (EEZ), because an EEZ extends... Read more >

  • To the untrained eye it looks like a rogue barrel, fallen overboard from a distant ship, bobbing along in the calm Pacific Ocean.

    Time and again we see odd objects floating past out here, things like mini cocktail umbrellas or polystyrene cups, and it always feels kind of strange because even though we’re in the middle of ocean surrounded by sea for as far as the eye can see, humans have still left their mark.

    But this one is more than just another piece of ocean trash. The ‘barrel’ is apparently a ‘FAD’: Exactly the object we’d been looking for over the past week while each of us was doing two-hour daily shifts watching the sea.

    Since joining three weeks ago in Pago Pago, American Samoa, I’ve been on the Rainbow Warrior to travel around the Pacific and learn about where our tuna really ... Read more >

  • How we responded to the crisis that was Tianjin

    Blogpost by Eric Liu - September 1, 2015 at 9:27

    On Wednesday 12 August, Tianjin’s Binhai port area was rocked by two enormous chemical explosions. Greenpeace East Asia's Beijing team immediately went to the scene to test, check and measure. Here’s what they found.

    Tianjin Chemical Explosion in China

    It was like a scene from Armageddon, but this was no Hollywood movie. Blasts so severe they were seen from space, and when the fires had “settled” local residents and the whole of China woke up concerned for the safety of the citizens of Tianjin and the brave firefighters tackling the blast, many of whom lost their lives. Read more >

    For my colleagues and I at our Beijing office, this was the start of an intense and important period. Thirty staff banded together to become the Greenpeace Tianjin Rapid Response Team, working day and night to investigate conditions and send crucial inform...

  • President Obama is visiting Alaska to talk climate: Here's what you need to know

    Blogpost by Ryan Schleeter - August 31, 2015 at 9:49

    An aerial view of the coast of Sitkalidak Island where the Shell Drill Barge Kulluk ran aground. 8 Jan, 2013 © Greenpeace / Tim Aubry

    President Obama is visiting Alaska today to put a spotlight on the realities of climate change and to forge his climate legacy. But less than two weeks ago, he granted Shell final approval to drill for oil in Alaska's Chukchi Sea.

    We're as confused by that logic as you are.

    That's not the only layer of irony here. The oil deep in Arctic waters is only accessible because of melting ice caused by climate change.

    The fact that President Obama thinks he can forge a climate legacy while allowing Arctic drilling shows that he isn't in tune with the demands of people around the United States and the world to keep Arctic oil in the ground.

    Whether simply ironic or downright hypocritical, what's clear is that President Obama's rhetoric on climate change is not matching up to his actions. You c... Read more >

  • Like longline ships passing in the night

    Blogpost by Sophie Schroder - August 29, 2015 at 16:18

    The Korean longliner looked impressive from a distance. In the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean where you can go weeks without seeing anything but sea, the lights of the fishing vessel at night on the horizon were almost majestic.

    Pulling alongside her, though, the reality was somewhat different. This one had a slick operation going on. The 56-metre boat was 25 years old and looked far more carefully maintained than many of the rust buckets we’ve come across out here.

    But the end result is the same. Crew, many of them young men that look barely out of their teens, work most of the hours of the day and night in an endless cycle of setting lines and hauling them back in again. Each process takes many hours to complete, and typically the ship and crew are only at rest when the lines are le... Read more >

  • A mothership your mother wouldn’t like

    Blogpost by Oliver Knowles - August 27, 2015 at 9:25

    Illegal Purse Seine Fishing Vessel. 24 Nov, 2011 © Alex Hofford / Greenpeace

    Motherships… transshipping… they sound like things you'd find in outer space while you're star trekking across the universe. But the Rainbow Warrior is finding them way out in the high seas, in areas of the Pacific Ocean that are more than 200 nautical miles from land, and outside the jurisdiction of any country or its laws.

    On the surface, they sound pretty innocuous. Motherships are out here providing fuel and provisions to other vessels out at sea, but many of them do a whole lot more. There's a type of mothership called a reefer, with massive refrigerated holds that are filled with the catch from smaller fishing boats. The process of moving fish from one vessel to another is called transshipping, and it lets the fishing boats work for months or years without having to go into port. T... Read more >

  • Fishermen confirm shark finning on tuna longliners

    Blogpost by Dan Salmon - August 22, 2015 at 8:48

    Shark Fins onboard Taiwanese Vessel Nian Sheug. 21 Apr, 2008 © Greenpeace / Paul Hilton

    The cruel yet lucrative shark fin trade is back in the headlines and it's clearly something people care deeply about, public pressure and a petition signed by nearly 180,000 people, prompted shipping giant United Parcel Service (UPS) to ban shipments of shark fins.

    Shark finning is the slicing off of shark fins and throwing the mutilated body, too often still alive, back into the ocean.

    In this shocking new video tuna fishermen reveal that the horrific practice continues in the Pacific today.

    "…even if it was still alive we would cut the fin."


    The interviews were shot in a South Pacific port earlier this year. The men are tuna fishermen from Indonesia, who asked us to mask their identities for their protection.

    Despite various national and international laws against it, ... Read more >

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