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

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  • 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 >

  • How fixing palm oil could save orangutans from extinction

    Blogpost by Achmad Saleh Suhada - August 21, 2015 at 9:20

    Baby Orangutans play at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS). 7 Oct, 2007 © Greenpeace / Natalie Behring

    The United Nations recently, and boldly, declared that orangutans could face extinction in Borneo. Why? Because deforestation is ‘simply unsustainable'.

    In Indonesia, we’ve shown that the palm oil sector was the single largest driver of deforestation between 2009-2011, accounting for about a quarter of the country’s forest loss. Orangutans face extinction in Borneo due to habitat clearing, which is underway across Indonesia and Malaysia; and if this continues, a staggering 75 percent of Southeast Asia’s original forest cover will be lost by 2030 according to the UNEP.

    OK, so that’s the bad news. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

    If you care about forests as much as I do, you may already know that around half the products on supermarket shelves contain palm oil. Until now it’s been i... Read more >

  • 26 politicians who, unlike Obama, got it right on arctic drilling

    Blogpost by Annie Leonard - August 20, 2015 at 15:33

    Mark Meyer / Greenpeace

    I’ve written quite a bit about the inspirational stories of the activists fighting Shell’s dangerous Arctic drilling plans. These activists and the millions of supporters along with them have made so much noise that drilling in the Arctic has become a topic that local, state and national politicians must address. Governors, legislators, members of Congress, mayors and even presidential hopefuls from President Obama’s own party are already weighing in against Arctic drilling. We have the voices of the #ShellNo movement to thank for that.

    We’ve collected some of our favorite quotes, tweets and statements from all kinds of elected officials. I hope they serve as a reminder that when enough people stand up and speak out, our politicians have to listen. With all of these elected officials opp... Read more >

  • Statoil heading for Whangarei with greenwash offensive

    Blogpost by Madeleine Smith - August 20, 2015 at 15:05

    Statoil Greenwash Guide

    Norwegian oil giant Statoil is sending a delegation of executives all the way from Norway to Whangarei. Next Friday, 28th August, they will attend a specially organised meeting with the Northland Regional Council's Maori Advisory Committee, and New Zealand government representatives.
    The secretive meeting is an attempt to gain official local support. Statoil is desperate to show people back in Norway that New Zealanders - especially Maori - have been consulted and are happy to allow Statoil's risky deep sea oil drilling to go ahead.

    Big oil is known for slick PR but the folk at Statoil are the true masters of Greenwash and they’ll be pouring it on thickly at this meeting.
    Take a look at 'The Statoil Greenwash Guide' to see just how slick they are. (Warning - you may feel sick while reading... Read more >

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