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

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  • A letter to Tangaroa, God of the sea

    Blogpost by Rosalind Atkinson - September 23, 2015 at 16:22

    Tangaroa. Atua of the oceans.

    This is not a structured argument. It's not an informative 101 on fisheries management. It's an apology, and an expression of my own grief, and a love letter. Some humans have forgotten some things.

    For the last few weeks our ship and her crew have been here out at sea, in your rolling domain, visiting longline fishing vessels and documenting the conditions and fishing practices on board. Rusting hulls filled with the frozen bodies of your children. Tuna are hauled aboard, their fins sliced off with deft, expert hands, their hot blood drained, a line threaded through their mouth and gills, their rounded bulk slung into the depths of a freezer. Fishermen work for inhuman stretches of time, reeling in more... and more... and more from your waters. Tuna, sharks,...

    Read more >
  • Renewable energy for all. Is it possible?

    Blogpost by Shuk-Wah Chung - September 23, 2015 at 9:42

    A world powered 100% by renewables seems like a faraway fantasy. But is it actually possible?

     Children sit under solar panels at Bishunpur Tolla, Dharnai village. A solar-powered micro-grid is now supplying electricity to the village.

    "100% renewables!"

    It's a buzz-phrase that loves being thrown around by environmentalists, passionate protesters and science geeks alike. From activists, to companies or start-ups spruiking their latest eco-powered device, renewable anything is a steadily growing industry.

    If you're reading this then you already know the motivation behind this growing trend. Climate change, pollution, increasingly warm oceans, water and food shortages – these are just some of the factors that are driving us towards an energy poor world. If we continue towards this path we could be living in a world reminiscent of Total Recall – an oxygen starved "Waterworld" with only a handful of habitable cities. With foss... Read more >

  • Last week in the Pacific high seas, we busted a Taiwanese longliner fishing illegally. The case sent shock waves around the region and the tuna industry. Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency agreed to meet with our colleagues in Taiwan after they protested outside their office. The Government of Nauru boldly banned transshipment in their waters, and the issue will be discussed at a Pacific tuna meeting this week, where Pacific Island countries and other fishing powers discuss fisheries rules and how they are being followed (or not, as the case may be).

    Meanwhile, here on the Rainbow Warrior we struggled with the amount of evidence we had uncovered from the vessel. In addition to the fact that it wasn’t on the regional Record of Fishing Vessels (a database of vessels authorised to fish in these waters... Read more >

  • Honouring courage and compassion: Peace Day 2015

    Blogpost by Kumi Naidoo - September 21, 2015 at 13:16

    I was 22 years old when I had to leave my homeland, South Africa. I had no choice. I was living underground for a year by then, to avoid being arrested. This was 1987, in the midst of one of the most bloody and violent periods in the history of Apartheid South Africa. The green peaceful streets of Oxford, where I was lucky enough to end up, seemed like a cartoon to me. They seemed unreal, while the violence I left behind felt very real and near. I stayed awake at night thinking of friends and relatives left behind.

    I remember these feelings now every time I look at the heartbreaking images of people fleeing devastation – whether floods in Bangladesh or war in Syria. The images of desperate parents holding on to their children, trying to get them through barbed wired fences, or off small in... Read more >

  • The Story of Greenpeace & the story Greenpeace tells

    Blogpost by Brian Fitzgerald - September 21, 2015 at 9:15

    The documentary film How To Change the World has just splashed out on cinema screens in nine countries. [Showing in New Zealand this week.] It is by far the best telling of the origin story of Greenpeace I've ever seen, and I've seen a few. As someone who has been with the organisation since 1982 – nearly three quarters of Greenpeace's life and more than half of my own, I've been reflecting on what's different and what's unchanged today from the organisation I joined. To answer that, I have to begin at the beginning.

    Warriors of the Rainbow Book CoverIt was the winter of 1980. I was living in a cabin in the woods with no electricity, no running water, no TV. WiFi and internet were yet to be invented. The snow had been piling up for weeks, and what was normally a couple hour's hike to the nearest town and back could no lo... Read more >

  • Fuel slick hundreds of miles from land

    Blogpost by Andrew Davies - September 18, 2015 at 11:53

    My dawn lookout watch was going well. Strong, fresh breeze coming almost straight at us. Spotted a few flying fish. In the distance, an area of flatter water. Odd. Maybe a patch with less wind? Then, faintly at first, a whiff of diesel fuel.

    I ran and grabbed Maite, an experienced deckhand. “Quickly, come to the bow. We need to check something”. At first she was skeptical, not smelling anything. Then she pointed, “Oh no, look at this”. Ahead of us was a rainbow coloured fuel slick, probably over 200 square meters of it, out in the middle of the ocean.

    Paul Hilton /GREENPEACE

    Using fish holds as fuel tanks

    Just yesterday, Lauren (a food blogger who sailed with us on the first leg of this trip) shared the story that some tuna fishing ships allegedly store both fuel and fish in the same hold (flushing it with se... Read more >

  • Nauru calling for overhaul of Pacific fisheries following Greenpeace bust

    Blogpost by Kate Simcock - September 18, 2015 at 11:51

    Today Nauru became the third Pacific Island State to stand up for conservation and ban transshipping in its waters.  That’s a big stand for the smallest state in the South Pacific, especially in the face of significant pressure from the many foreign fishing fleets sniffing around and competing for fish.  

    It’s definitely worth celebrating. 

    In you and me speak, transshipping is when tonnes of frozen fish are transferred between boats – usually from a longliner to a big refrigerated mothership, which then takes the fish away for processing, so the longliner can keep on fishing. 

    It can be convenient, but it’s also an easy way to take the transparency out of tuna fishing and allow companies to get around the law.  

    Sometimes the motherships also provide the longliners with fuel and food. ... Read more >

  • Paul Hilton has watched countless sharks have the fins sliced from their bodies, some of them still alive and left to suffer an excruciating death.

    The thought almost brings him to tears.

    The conservation photojournalist is on board the Rainbow Warrior on its Pacific tour to document the out of control tuna fishing industry, that is not only leading to a scary decline in tuna stocks, but contributes to hundreds of thousands of sharks being killed for their fins every year.

    Paul has dedicated the last decade of his life to investigating and exposing this cruel industry in an effort to give the apex predators one more shot.

    But with some shark species down by as much as 90%, time is running out.

    “Sharks basically regulate the world’s oceans,” says Paul. “If they die, we’re in big trouble... Read more >

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